Hard to believe that Christmas is now less than 2 weeks

                           away at the time of this Blog entry!

By now most folks have a tree up and I would imagine have a pretty good handle on their holiday shopping. Menu's will have been planned for Christmas dinner and in some households if baking hasn't already been done then it's underway. Great looking decorations are everywhere and the sparkle of Christmas lights shine in the evenings from peoples homes.

  Our daughter  made this lovely seasonal/winter display for our entry way and she designed it so that it would be enjoyable both coming and going.  A big thank you of appreciation to her!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
An arrangement like this brings many layers
of family together. Kim brought the soil and planter over to the patio for us. My daughter and I went and collected the greenery together along with one of my grandsons, the cheery little snowman was made by my dad, (grandpa and now great grandpa to 4 great grandkids) and the snowshoes in the centre belonged to my grandma.

With all the hustle & bustle of the holidays may we take a moment and reflect on  the reason for the season. To remember our own individual memories and celebrations of past years and to look forward to many more to come. To spread kindness, joy and love to our fellow beings.

As we lay our heads down on the 24th with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads may we awaken to a world full of lasting peace.

To family, friends, acquaintances and all who read this Blog we wish you all the best for a WONDERFUL and VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Until next year,

Jeanne & Kim



November 2014 - EARLY SNOW !


Mid November:  We awoke one morning mid November to a lovely view of still green grass covered with a sprinkling of the last golden leaves to fall from the ole’ Maple trees. The very next morning, just 24 hrs. later the scene was entirely different. The leaves were nowhere to be seen. Not blown away into surrounding  fields as I always hope for ( way less raking that way! ) but now just a distant memory as they lay beneath a 3-4”  blanket of snow! One night’s sleep had turned our yard into a winter wonderland!  While lamenting the early onset of winter ( a season I really do enjoy ) we are all reminded of the severe conditions just a very few hours to the south west of where we reside. The poor folks of Buffalo have been hit hard with snow amounts that are hard to believe.  Now with warmer temperatures in the forecast my leaves may surface again but worse is the inevitable melting that will take place in Buffalo. Our thoughts are with you and think safety first.

The farm has pretty well been winter proofed by this time. Horses have been moved to the higher, drier ground, water troughs drained and turned over, outdoor hoses drained and put away until April of next year, winter tires in place, farm machinery under cover, corn stove turned on to heat house. Unfortunately with the late planting season our corn like many hasn't dried down enough yet to combine. Worse is the soybeans, lower to the ground they can't take the snow cover like corn does. We don't grow any of them but have plenty of farming neighbours that do. Hopefully we will get a reprieve in the weather, enough to harvest.

Juno & Jag, Kim & I and Allan (former owner) in rear seat
We should take this Blog time to introduce a few new faces around Merryville Farm! We have gotten a new team of Belgian geldings named Juno & Jag and they are 11 years of age.  They hail from south/western Ontario and from the U.S. before that. After spending the last 4 years of  Ontario winters in Florida, Juno & Jag are reacquainting themselves with SNOW! I didn't have camera in hand that first day but lets just say they were literally JUMPING FOR JOY! They were chasing each other all around the field and kicking up their heels like a pair of young colts. They have done parades before and will do the honours this year at some of the local Santa Claus Parades. I have included a picture of the two handsome fellows in harness on the day we bought them.

 Kim has also decided to go back into the Belgian breeding business ( albeit in a smaller way ) by bringing 12 year old Stoney Lake Olympia ( Olivia - barn name) to live with us and 2 year old Stoney Lake Tender ( Poppy- barn name ) Olivia is bred to foal in the Spring of 2015. We also brought home handsome fellow Calvin as a future herd sire, he is 2 years old.

 Top left is Olivia, above is Poppy
and on the fly is Calvin! They have
all settled in very well and getting
along with everyone else.  The plan
 is for any future offspring to be
offered for sale at Carsons Futurity
sale in the Spring of the year, see( held in the Spring of the year with the actual Futurity competition in Halter Class, Cart Class and Driving Class that is held in October of the year.

See our ad in the up coming Christmas Belgian Banner at then click on Belgian Banner.

Well, baseballs, bats, gloves and soccer balls have been traded in around here for skates, helmets and hockey sticks. HOCKEY, HOCKEY, HOCKEY!  Along with grandkids games and some Belleville Bulls games Kim and son-in-law Joe are working on a home rink for winter fun, (spelled HOCKEY) If it works I'll post a picture in the December Blog.

May your shoveling be light but enough of the white stuff for outdoor winter fun!

Till next time,

Jeanne & Kim



                                                                Well there it is!                                                                                                                 August escaped me and slipped into September                                                                               and when I wasn't looking October started gaining on our heels
                                                                  and here it is!


A great year for hay if you could find enough dry days in a row to bale!

       As I write and play catch up on what has been happening this summer around the farm I can't not mention the weather. Like it or loath it the days were fine for some and not hot enough for others. Late planted crops may never have the chance to mature do to lack of heat units. We will always be farmers and the weather will always be of concern to us and the crops we grow for our livestock and  vegetables for ourselves.

Class of 2014
Learning to drive
      Summer plans don't always materialise the way we plan but we did get out to a few things. Horse Progress Days were held in Mt. Hope, Ohio this year and we enjoyed a great time while there. A wonderful bunch of students took the driving course again this year (see photo) and one in particular was a young man 12 years old that hailed from Pennsylvania (see photo).  He and his family run an organic vegetable business and he wanted to incorporate draft power into the farm. He apparently started with a team of goats at home for a couple of years and taught himself the basics.  When he took the lines in hand at the course he already had a pretty good idea of what he was doing. He and all the other students picked up lots of tips from the instructors and we wish them all well and great success with their future horse endeavours.

Husband & Wife team from Texas where a delight to meet as well as all the other students. 

O'hara Mills Heritage Day rolled around again at the end of July and we once again took Pete & Jake to do a plowing and stone moving demonstration. A wonderful place for learning and if you haven't been we highly recommend attending any of the functions that take place throughout the year at this beautiful place.

On a rather sad note we were not to know that the demos that day would be Pete & Jake's last performances together. Sadly Pete passed away just a few days later in his 22nd year. He is very much missed by all of us at the farm and mostly by his long time team mate Jake.  Pete & Jake where Kim's team of choice for many plowing matches over the years as well as sleigh rides and 8 - 10 Santa Claus Parades every year not to mention their team contribution to the farm field work. They both have enormous hearts and may Pete be walking, trotting & galloping through the heavens.    We miss you buddy!

The friendships that these horses make with one another is awesome to behold and although we know Jake will never forget his friend 2 months later he has forged a plowing relationship with Ben. They did a great job at the Peterborough Match and despite the heavy sticky land they managed to pull off a first place finish on their first match together. Well done Jake, Ben & Kim!


  The vegetable garden is pretty well past its prime as I write. Still getting beans (green & yellow) and peas every other day or so for a meal. Carrots & beets hold their own until Thanksgiving as well as potatoes and then we'll store whats left for winter. Had to take a picture of the Peppers. We had never seen such BIG ones and so MANY ! I would pick up to 40 every week from just a few plants.

Our fruit trees are in their 3rd year of growth. The McIntosh did very well and we nic-named it the Century 21 tree as it had 21 apples on it. They have since been picked, eaten in hand and enough to make a pie!

From blossom to budding fruit to
the beautiful ready to eat apple below. Now if  I can just get the pear, peach and Empire apple tree to produce as well. Oh well, will try again next year. We were thankful for the ones we did get!


     We were at the 2014 International Plowing Match in Ivy, Ontario ( near Barrie ) in the middle of September where Kim and our Grandson placed 2nd & 4th over all in their respective divisions. A fun week with friends and acquaintances. A cold cold week in the early a.m. and late p.m.  A  GREAT  BIG THANK YOU to our Bed & Breakfast hosts ( dear long time friends ) who gave us a warm and comfortable place to rest our heads each night along with something warm to drink and late night snack!

Pictured is the easel board we take to all plowing matches promoting Kim's current listings.
He may go to the weekend matches but he's only a phone call away!

Will leave you with a few pictures taken at the farm over the last few days. So long for now and here's hoping for a long fall.

Till next time, Jeanne & Kim


          Diago the Milking Cow

Three of the 7 calves born this spring. 6 were bulls!

              Early morning sky.

    Foggy morning.





     Near the end of the school year I had the opportunity to attend on of my grandsons track & field days. There where kids from many different schools in attendance & every level of ability.  As I sat and watched I witnessed those that the athletic ability came easy to and those that, well,  it didn't.  I saw all of the kids work hard!  With great determination these kids gave it their all.  As the runners 1st, 2nd, 3rd, crossed the finish line to loud accolades I saw others that had fallen behind, some out of breath, some in pain, some in tears, some just too tired to carry on.  BUT.....  the..... INSPIRATIONAL part is  THEY ALL DID FINISH!!!
     Whether they were a few feet behind the winners or almost a lap, they perservered and finished the race!

    The real cool part was that classmates on the sidelines cheered for the winners & even louder for those falling behind!  They bolstered one and all until everyone had crossed the finish line!

    The LESSON here for all of us & for life in general is that some things will always come easier for some and others will maybe have to work a little harder to achieve their dreams, but  never - ever - give - up  and if your lucky like these kids were here this day, then you will have a bunch of friends at the sidelines of life to cheer you on!!!

Until next time,

Jeanne & Kim


A WET SPRING ( June 2014 )

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
          We turned into the driveway the other day and saw what looked like a "foot stool" in the middle of the drive. As we got closer we confirmed our guess that it was a SNAPPING TURTLE. This was not just a snapper but a HUGE one.  We have seen a few in our years here on the farm as there is a marsh just across the road but this fellow or lady was the biggest we had seen. I got out to take a picture and should have got Kim to stand beside him/her to show just how large it was but he reminded me that they can move faster than you think and their bite can be pretty bad. So with that in mind I carefully got as close as I could. As I did that the turtle lowered its self down on the gravel and pulled legs and head inwards in self defence. I know they live to be a good age and we figured this one might have some age on it. He or she looked positively pre-historic with its massive tail and claws. After the photo shoot we moved on and when next I looked back down the drive the turtle had moved on into the long grass.

And with that said that leads us to the WET spring I eluded to above. We have way too much water at the end of our drive this June hence the turtle, geese & goslings, ducks & ducklings, muskrats, and blue herons.

Crops in this region have been slower going in and corn that should have been planted has been swapped out for soybeans that have a shorter growing season. Some hay has been cut for haylage or baleage (put in silo damp or wrapped damp) makes good feed in winter, but ground is to wet to knock hay down and expect it to dry for traditional square bales. ( big or small )  So hopefully as June progresses it will dry out some but give us at least an inch of rain per week, that would be ideal. Mother Nature however will do her own thing and we will work with her.

covered with ice
spring has sprung
I don't think to many of us will complain about the weather being wet or hot after the Winter of 2013/2014.
I was out the other day with my camera and snapped a picture of one of my blossoming apple trees and thought the comparison of weather that it had been through in the last 6 months was amazing.
Beautiful blossoms, future apples!

Along with crop planting on the farm in Spring is the planting of the vegetable garden. It is now all in and up and was doing fine although evenings have been a bit cool, until the torrential downpour
put a rut through the tomato plants. Its nothing that can't be fixed with a rake.

We continue to add to our raised beds which makes planting and picking so much easier on a persons knees. Four generations where hard at work the other day building me two new ones to add to the garden.                                          

THANKS BOYS !   I will post pictures when they are placed, seeded and growing.

Lastly I was on a hike with the grandkids the other day and they both presented me with a bouquet of lovely wild flowers so thought they deserved a picture.

            Hope your June is dandy and a HAPPY FATHERS DAY wish for all the Dads!

Until next time,   Jeanne & Kim

May 2014



 Is it Safe to Put

   It Away Yet ?

As the last bits of snow hung on our daughter snapped this picture of one of our canine buddies. I think she's saying:

 "Enough is Enough, put this thing Away"  

MAY IS HERE! It isn't that it hasn't snowed in this month before but I feel
( hope ) it won't! ( have faith ).

As I walk the green hills of the back forty tonight I can't help but glance to the far side of the hills & imagine I'm on the moors in Ireland. So emerald green!      So Beautiful!

Another sign of spring is this wee Killdeer watching over her nest. If you look
 directly under her front feathers you can see the speckled eggs against the
 rocks. We spotted her at a property showing the other day.

A Sure Sign of Spring

Another sign for sure would be the odd mosquito flying about. Are they new to this year or left over from last?  They have an uncanny way of seeking us out. ( Black flies as well )

Enjoy the emerald green of grass and the soft lighter hues of leaves unfolding after a long winters nap. Watch for new hatching's as they will appear and lovely spring flowers emerging and we will all tolerate the mosquitoes etc...

A Very Happy Mothers Day to All

Until next time,

Jeanne & Kim

April 2014

        H A P P Y      E A S T E R

I think Spring has Sprung! On a lovely walk with my pups this day and we hear all kinds of different birds singing. I can pick out the Woodpecker over in the woods, the Blue Jays shrill cry, a Robins sweet melody.

The grandchildren heard the Killdeer the other day and the Red Wing Black birds greet us every morning.

The last few nights the marsh across the way has hosted a wonderful serenade to fall asleep by as the frogs and other wildlife make their presence known.

The breezes have gentled after winter winds and the air is fresh and warmer. Soon the spring flowers will follow, winter will become a memory and  summer warmth a reality.

Enjoy the days of spring!

Until next time,

Jeanne & Kim


SPRING 2014.......WHERE....ARE....YOU....?

If you happened to have been snoozing two Tuesdays ago, you will be forgiven for not seeing Spring when it arrived & left all in a 24 hr period!

              SPRING 2014...

The winter of 2013/2014 will go down in the history books as one of the coldest and for us in the Quinte Region, one of the snowiest we have seen in the 30 years we have been here. It's not that the winter has not been enjoyable because if you are an outdoor enthusiast, then it has. Many a day I have snowshoed across the fields and the grandkids have skated dozens of times on the canal. If you are a downhill or cross country skier then you have been in your glory, if you are a snowmobiler than it doesn't get much better than what we have had.

The snow on the fields is a farmers delight as it insulates the ground and keeps precious crops comfy. Even all the ice has a snow cushion under it so it shouldn't have harmed  any fall wheat or hay ground. The melt so far has been wonderful. No fast melting to cause flooding, we hope for those that live close to water ways that it continues a slow melt.

Syrup on the other hand is not getting a boost from Mother Nature. The nights are VERY cold and the days not really warm enough to get the sap moving. It will come, just hope it's not a short run.

A smelly tale to tell, in regards to the Tuesday that was Spring 2 weeks ago. It started about 10 p. m. that warm evening when our dogs began a bark that indicates they have something wonderful in their sights. I imagined it to be a raccoon or a cat up a tree so didn't pay to much attention. When I went to give them there good night treat my nostrils were assaulted by the horrid stench of SKUNK!!!  The lovely warm day and beautiful evening had brought one of the black & white beasts out of hibernation. Now we have dealt with skunk sprayed dogs before but what we had not dealt with was the critter had made his way up to the house and through a small hole
 ( that the garden & sump pump hose fit through ) that hadn't had the bale of straw placed over it in the fall and ended up in our BASEMENT!!!  ( we will leave the matter of the unplaced bale, it's a HE said SHE said kinda deal ) Well one indoor spray and 4 nights of sleeplessness between 2 & 5 a.m. had us scrambling for an answer on removal.  Kim was sure the skunk would just leave by the means that he got in  if the dogs weren't out to prevent his escape. Night after night he or she would walk the tops of the air ducts banging and clanging looking for either food, water, or exit. We did our research and came up with a great plan to capture and release and hopefully not get sprayed or fill the house with spray. The 5th night we had everything ready for the "event" and it all fell into an anti-climax as " Peppy La-phew"  left on his/her own! All was quiet on the 6th night and we were able to catch up on some much needed sleep.

P S.  The house and dogs are smelling much better!

Hoping April blog can be about Showers bringing May Flowers.

Until next time,

Jeanne & Kim



Go Canada Go
                               WOW !!!


                                   EH !!!

Have been watching the Olympics off and on, mostly in the evenings when they do the days wrap up.
               Our congratulations to all the athletes that participate whether they medal or not.

Now being the Hockey Family that we are we tend to gravitate more to the hockey games than some of the other sports. We were ecstatic with the outcome of the Canadian Women's Hockey Team.  Fabulous, nail
biter of a game.  CONGRATULATIONS !!!    WELL DONE !!!

This morning we were up with the birds to cheer the Canadian Men's Hockey Team to their WIN.  Maybe not the final moment heart stopping way the women won, but one heck of a good game throughout. A big
CONGRATULATIONS !!!   and  a  WELL DONE !!!  to the men as well.


February 2014



     VALENTINES    DAY !  

If I added up the "Valentine" years 

that my valentine and I have shared it would start to look
like a lot of them. I'm sure like most people we want to
remember them as all being picture perfect! Flowers, dinner
out for two, maybe a movie, a romantic evening!
Truth is probably most of ours were spent with calving cows,
frozen water pipes in the barn, and helping kids finish home-
work or a project. These days you would think there would
be more time for the "Valentine Dream" but alas, we are still
working with animals, frozen water pipes in the barn and now
running grandkids around to hockey and helping with home-work! It's all relative and all good. The love that's shared with friends, family and that special someone on this day and the rest of the year can be something expressed as simply as a weary but knowing smile. My Valentine and I  have shared 41 of them this year ( if we haven't miss counted) and for that alone we are very thankful for that and a whole lot of other things in life.  Last year ``someone`` left hints in the barn (see archive on right, February 2013) that the day was coming. This year when I was out and about in the yard the other day I couldn't believe the Valentine ``HINTS`` that I found out there. While surveying the landscape I couldn`t help but notice the clues that Valentines was on its way.                                                       


           THE CLUES
  Two out of the many bird houses in our yard had changed their entry doors from circles to HEARTS.

The garden tool shed had been graffitied with a HEART on its roof.  But maybe the most amazing was what happened at the barn when we went out to do the chores and found:

Tony the Mule. While a lot of equine have white stripes, snips or blazes, it was astounding to see that Tony had aquired a white HEART marking in honour of the Day.



                                                                 FARM UPDATE

 The Farm is generally in slow mode this time of year. Yes there are always chores to do and this year the mounds & mounds & mounds of snow to move, pile, shovel, scrape and clear away from all walkways, laneways, buildings and roofs has seen rest for no man or woman. Other than all this snow to contend with and the usual chores, we have been very busy with Real Estate. It seemed to take a very small break at Christmas and then the phones have been ringing. We are very busy and thankful for that.
 There has been almost to much snow for me to snow shoe but I have made it out a couple of times. During one of the 1/2 dozen or so snow storms we have had this year I was able to take a few photos.  A few days later I thought I would snap the same location so one could see just what had been obliterated by the snow. When you look at the horizon line of these pictures and do the comparisons its kind of cool.

We keep busy in the off hours this time of year with meetings for real estate, planning meetings for the Hastings County 2014 plowing match, a couple of night school courses, hockey,  family and friends. Its always nice if we are in town when we  run into a customer we've had in the past either with the on Farm Store or Real Estate and have a chat and a catch up. I think this winter is going to feel longer than most as it had such an early start and has been rather severe. If your over 50 it seems like the winters we had as kids. 

If your in the LINDSAY are on March 5th or 6th and interested in anything agriculture, be sure to take in the East Central  Farm Show at the Lindsay Fair Grounds.  

Until next time, 

Jeanne & Kim                 

P.S.  This time of year its nice to put a potted daffodil on the kitchen window sill and thing SPRING!