Farm & Ranch

Saskatchewan in October

Once upon a time, “back in the days” (last year, in October) when the Greyhound bus still existed, a garter snake slithered out of the way, a pronghorn bounced over a fence, and I happened to step into cactus. This is the beginning of a most auspicious tale … In the days of the Greyhound, …

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Locally grown, raised, harvested, crafted …

The long-running Fireweed community farmers market has grown over the years into a destination event each week, as a multitude of local farmers, vendors and crafters gather to share their products.

Cooking Up a Career

Teresa Kozakewick grew up in Alberta. Raised by a father who had a passion for food, she had always been drawn to cooking. She enjoyed watching her dad cook on special occasions. Now her passion has become a career path. After moving to the Yukon, she enrolled in the Yukon College Culinary Arts program for …

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Home Is Where the Heart Is

In August of 2008, we had ground cleared so we could build a new house. It wouldn’t be very big or fancy, but it would be a clean, dry place to live. You see, the previous winter I had had pneumonia. Which was exacerbated by the mold in the existing house we lived in. It …

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Whitehorse: The Edible City

At the downtown community garden in Whitehorse, a beekeeper tends to the newly built beehive in the fading evening light. Nearby, a gardener waters his small plot of potatoes, beans, and lettuce – a zucchini plant takes up a quarter of his raised bed box. Vegetables grow in plots on the other side of the …

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Here’s Your New Home, Bees

We saw the queen recently. She wasn’t wearing a crown. She was sporting a big blue dot on her thorax though. The Cheshire Beekeepers’ Association, founded in 1899, has great information about queen marking on its website. The queen is much easier to locate in the hive when marked. Queen records are easily kept. Most …

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Winter: A Season for Change

“The more things change the more they stay the same” and “The only constant in life is change” are both very cliche and very true. In some sense farming and gardening means things are staying the same. We usually use the same plot of land and plant the same kinds of vegetables. We also raise …

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Chicken and Egg

Smooth and brown, the eggs slip through the machine where they are held up one at a time to the light. The light shines through the shells and illuminates the interior of the egg and then the machine moves the egg down the light so the next egg can be inspected. This process, called candling, …

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Winter is Coming

Over the past few years the gardens have been producing more and more vegetables. So, come fall we start to look for places to store the root crops for the winter. Our main root crops are potatoes and carrots, which need a dark, cool space with a bit of humidity. We have been storing them …

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Fava Beans

One of the biggest animal raising expenses in the Yukon is feed. So I am always on the look out for crops we can grow that will meet the nutritional needs of the animals. When I find something that might work I give it a try in the garden. If it does well, I feed …

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Perennials

In spring, while we wait for the snow to melt, we check on the chives to see if there will be enough for a taste. Once the snow is gone we keep an eye on the rhubarb. This year I was also watching for asparagus to return. Last year I seeded asparagus in a flowerbed …

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A Celebration of Spring

Spring… there is nothing quite like it. Living here in the North, we generally have a long winter followed by a long spring. It seems to take forever to finish melting the snow and warming up the ground. To help keep us going, the pussy willows are out, as well as the crocuses. But to …

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The Real Dirt

A few years ago, a neighbour told me my garden needed to be amended with some dirt. He was referring to the stereotypical black soil that can be purchased from either big-box stores or a local distributor who harvests the soil from old marshland. Neither source promised high nutrients for the vegetable garden. Here in …

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A Frozen Pipe Dream

I went to Vancouver a few weeks ago. I wasn’t looking forward to trading sunny skies for rainy ones — although the temperatures were going to be much warmer than the -24°C temperatures here. Before I left, Allan asked me to bring back some spring with me. When I got there, it was indeed spring. …

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Homemade Seed Tapes

Winter can be frustrating for gardeners.  There are days when it feels like spring won’t get here soon enough. Combine this with the knowledge that when it does, there is only a small window of time available, and a gardener can become anxious. Last year, I tried to get a head start on planting the …

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A Quiet Yukon Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the farm. Not a chicken was stirring, they’re all in the barn. All summer they roam, but when once the snow flies, our hens will not go out to where the snow lies. They scratch up the bedding and look for some treat; it might be a …

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A Chicken and Egg Story

Last year our chickens stopped laying eggs. For the first time in a decade we had to buy eggs instead of selling them. The egg strike, as one of our customers called it, lasted five months. But by the time they started laying again, their replacements were already in the barn. The life of a …

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Winter Gardening

Years ago I was asked by a Japanese helper what kinds of plants grew here in the winter. I laughed and said nothing grows, it is all frozen solid. She was amazed. In many places they rotate their crops based on the season. Heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers can be followed by crops that …

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Yukon Harvest Time

I can’t believe it’s almost over. This summer was one of the best on record as far as gardening goes. We always had lots of produce to harvest and a sell at the markets. But the garden doesn’t stop producing just because the Fireweed Community Market is done for the season. In fact, there are …

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No Future for Food, If There is No Future in Food-

From farm to plate, our food travels many miles and touches many hands. My generation saw the traditional farm gobbled up by corporate agri-business and the cost of food decrease markedly. Today, average consumers pay only 10 per cent of their income on food and the farmer/food producer is the lowest paid person on the …

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Christmas for Farmers

I love Christmas … the lights that light up Main Street, the smells of Christmas baking, the excitement of wrapping up secrets and putting them under the tree. I love just about everything about Christmas … except the commercialization of it. So when doing my shopping, I try to look for things that haven’t been …

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Eat Your (Northern) Broccoli!

This past September, I was privileged to attend the seventh annual Circumpolar Agricultural Conference in Alta, Norway. Alta lies just below the 70°N latitude, which makes it a bit farther north than Old Crow. The Circumpolar Agricultural Association (CAA) was founded in 1995 in response to the ideas created at the first Circumpolar Agricultural Conference, …

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Ode to Beets

Most vegetables have their share of pests and problems. If it’s too wet, mildew will attack peas or tomatoes. An early fall frost can kill many of the garden vegetables commonly grown up here, such as lettuce and potatoes. Radishes, cabbages and others of that family have a beetle (I don’t know the name of …

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Schwartz on the Job

One of my pet peeves is dogs (no pun intended). More specifically, other people’s dogs that come onto the farm. One reason dogs were domesticated was that they were territorial and would protect their territory and their pack. Farm dogs are here for security of the pack, which includes humans and farm animals. Our dog, …

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Christmas on the Farm

Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way, ha, ha ha. Bells on bobtail ring making spirits bright, what fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight….” This is a common Christmas song heard at this time of year. And while most …

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