Day In The Life

These are quick updates from the Stoddart family regarding their farm.

Zero-emission automatic eco-lawn mower – great with mint sauce

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Zero-emission automatic lawn care system – great with mint sauce

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Birds and hay timing – a study at our farm.

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Birds and hay timing – a study at our farm.

Here are pictures of the two birds that are being studied in our hay fields this year. We’re co-operating with Trent University Master’s Students to study the impact of the timing of hay cutting on both the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark. Both birds nest in wide open fields. The students are trying to determine whether changes to hay cutting schedules will have an impact on successful reproduction for the two species and how much impact on feed quality and quantity the change in timing will...

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True No-till pasture planting

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True No-till pasture planting

This what happens if you graze mature clover! Cow eats seeds. Seeds go through cow. Overwinter in ‘fertilizer’. And germinate in spring to rejuvenate pasture. And all that happened while I was swinging in a hammock. Well I COULD have been swinging in a hammock. At least it’s good to have dreams?

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Winter mouse house

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Winter mouse house

Some industrious mice built this little nest under the snow during the winter.

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4 Canada Geese

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4 Canada Geese

A few more pasture friends I came across today.

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Pasture Frog

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Pasture Frog

Another friend we share our pastures with. Hate to think what the mosquitos would be like without these guys hopping around. If you don’t see it at first look closely almost dead centre in the picture.

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Killdeer Nest

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Killdeer Nest

Came across this killdeer nest while walking the pastures to decide on where I should start grazing the cattle. I’ve always enjoyed watching the spunky killdeers and their brood.

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April Showers …

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April Showers …

Here’s what April showers bring. But what do May showers...

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Country Boys versus City Boys

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Here’s a little comparison between country boys and city boys that I wrote up when the snow was blowing. I used it in the April Newsletter but thought posting it here would give it a wider audience. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it: A city boy can tell the difference between a Honda Civic and a Subaru Impreza just by the sound of their exhaust. A country boy can tell the difference between a John Deere and a CaseIH just by the sound of their exhaust. A city boy’s dreams are filled with images of himself seated at the controls of a $400,000, 640hp...

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Grasslands Bird Study at the Stoddart Family Farm

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We are collaborating with two Master’s students from Trent University in two different studies of birds. The first is looking at the impact of the timing of cutting hay on the populations of Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks. Both are ground nesters and have a preference for the wide open spaces of a hay field. The second student is doing inventories of a number of species of birds to better understand their habitats and populations in the Kawarthas. I’ll keep you updated as the summer progresses. Today Kristen was here installing some insect pit traps in the field to find out...

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Amazing Complete Double Rainbow

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Amazing Complete Double Rainbow

This picture doesn’t do it justice but we just witnessed one of the most brilliant double rainbows that I have ever seen ( and as a farmer you get to see more than the average person). Both the primary and secondary were complete semi-circles and the interior was a faint pink. Conditions were perfect – sun low in the sky just before sunset with a slight drizzle falling. It was followed by a beautiful sunset. All artwork is a cheap facsimile when compared to the beauty I witness everyday. Posted from the front...

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Proof that Ducks aren’t Herbivores

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Here’s some video I shot this morning.  Unfortunately all I had was my iPhone – so no zoom capability and I had to balance startling the ducks with getting the chance to shoot the video.  If you watch closely you’ll see the ducks snapping up at the wall of the shed and the door.  They are snapping up flies that are warming themselves in the sun.  From what I saw, very few flies escaped once targeted by our web-footed egg layers.  So if you thought ducks were vegetarians, sorry to burst your bubble.  I’ve also seen them down a frog in one...

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Which is smarter a duck or a border collie?

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Which is smarter a duck or a border collie?

We had a little amusement this evening.  Our border collie has learned that he can herd ducks.  But our ducks aren’t particularly fond of being herded but their natural instincts always wins out and they react as predicted.  Tonight at sundown as we were tucking everyone in, we noticed Kasne (the border collie) over by the pond and could hear some quacking.  Sure enough, the ducks were in the middle of the pond, standing on the thin ice and it was clear that Kasne had attempted to follow them out on the ice but had gotten a very cold bath.  So essentially, we had a Mexican stand-off...

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If you thought all baby chicks were yellow…

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Here is some video of our latest arrivals – Ameraucana chicks. These will grow up to be our blue and pink egg layers.

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Video Tour of the Farm

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I put together this video for our booth at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and thought those of you who haven’t been out to the farm might enjoy seeing it as...

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Chicken in a Tree

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We had several chickens that insisted in roosting in a particular cedar tree each night even as the nights started dropping below zero. I think it was about -10 where they finally decided that roosting inside the greenhouse at night was the preferred option. Usually in the morning they would fly down as soon as we opened the hatch on the greenhouse so they could go in, get feed and lay their eggs. So it wasn’t that they didn’t know where to go. They just stubbornly chose the tree over the roost provided in the greenhouse. I shot this video one morning when every other hen had...

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Moving Sheep

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The following video shows just how easy rotational grazing is with sheep (after you’ve fences to keep them where you want them). Notice how all the bleating stops as soon as they’re on the fresh grass. It’s almost as if they are saying “Wait for...

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First lamb

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First lamb

Had a little surprise at chores tonight. In theory all the boys were locked up when this one was conceived but clearly somebody was sneaking around!

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FarmFest Pictures

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FarmFest Pictures

A big “thank-you” to everyone who dropped in for FarmFest – we had over 240 visitors between the 2 days. Below are some pictures a couple of our visitors took. Susan B. was the winner of the “Chicken ID” contest – the answers were: A – Black Australorp B – Buff Orpington C – Speckled Sussex D – Red Frizzle Bantam...

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A Thanksgiving Adventure

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A Thanksgiving Adventure

The picture is Connor after he and Silvia spent almost an hour wrestling a ewe out of the mud in the bottom of our dugout after we got home from Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt’s. Not sure what the ewe was thinking when she went in there. She didn’t even say thank-ewe once she was finally free. We’re happy to report that the ewe seems no worse for wear after the incident. Only consequence seems to be a deepened belief in Connor that “stupid” is implied when you say “sheep”. Not sure if you can read Connor’s shirt but it says “Got...

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