Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Processing heifers & the Fair

 On Sunday we processed our replacement heifers. This means they got branded, needled, new tags and tattooed. Other than the wind it was a beautiful day.

 And they are now behind our house waiting for the bull...who is supposed to go in with them tomorrow.
 I kind of like looking out there and seeing them.
 Yesterday we hit up the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. The kids had a blast, Tanner especially loved the Super Dogs. Ali petered out pretty quick.
 Last the line up was so huge to ride on these tractors, so this year we made sure he got to ride on one.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Day to Make Perogies

 Perogies are a food that with it are attached many fond memories for me. Perogies were something we grew up eating lots of. And not the ones you buy out of the store either. Cottage cheese perogies are what we grew up eating. With farmer sausage usually and cream gravy. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! I remember helping my Grandma make perogies.
 Mine turned out quite beautiful I must say...and tasted even BETTER! I ended up with 17 cottage cheese and 2 dozen potato and cheese. The kids really enjoyed helping me make them. Mostly they loved turning the handle to roll out the dough. I loved doing that too as a kid. Corey was laughing at me. I would tell Tanner, Ok, go slow - not too fast! So he'd start and I'd say, Not so slow!! LOL. I remember getting the same lecture from my Mom and my Grandma. Have to find the happy medium.
 So we'd roll a piece of dough out like this, put a scoop of filling on it, fold it over and use my pampered chef press and seal to close and cut the perogy out.
 Here I'm doing a cottage cheese one.

 Tanner is cutting out a perogy here.
 Here they are rolling the dough all by themselves!!! I have to say that they were very helpful with making perogies. It was nice.
 A pan full of gold here :)
The left over pieces of dough, we eat the same as the perogies. Boiled or fried with cream gravy. Growing up if kids didn't like the cottage cheese filling them this is what they usually loved to eat instead.

I bought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe book the other day off of Amazon and I'm in love. I also love their blog. This is the recipe I used to make these perogies.

I forgot how easy they really are to make...might have to make them a lot more often!!


Wednesday, 18 March 2015



...I woke up stuffed right up! I guess since I was the only one who didn't catch the cold this time around it had to get me too...

...I'm sitting drinking my morning coffee thinking about my day. I needed to send text reminders to all my fellow nursery school board members that we had a meeting at 5 pm. As I'm texting, I had this epiphany that it was actually Wednesday today and that I totally missed the meeting. (Which is supposed to be on Tuesday!!) I couldn't believe I totally forgot the meeting. This means that the teacher would have come all the way to the school and wasted her time! Not to mention the other ladies as well. So I send an email out apologizing and stating that we would plan another one for the following week. It was bugging me so much that I forgot about it I needed to chat with one of the ladies. So I phoned Christina and as I started telling my story she started laughing at me! It was indeed Tuesday, not Wednesday. I had not missed the meeting at all! Talk about scatterbrained! They all got a good laugh out of me anyways...

...I got all my floors washed...

...I got my bathroom cleaned...

...I made chocolate no-bake cookies...

...I got a tater tot casserole in the oven before I left for my meeting at 5pm...

...I came home, ate supper and nursed Whitley...

...we went to my Aunt's for haircuts for 7 pm...

...8:30pm we're back home and getting everyone ready for bed...

What a day!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Flat Aggie visits our Manitoba Beef Farm

My name is Ashley Nelson and I am a beef farmer. Along with my husband, Corey, our three children and my mother and father-in-law we breed and raise beef cattle at Austin, Manitoba, Canada. This year we are calving out about 210 commercial Angus/Hereford & Simmental cows. The heifers, which are first time Mommas, started calving January 12 and the cows started the middle of February. In addition to the cows we also grow several different crops including wheat, barley, oats, canola, sunflowers, silage corn, alfalfa and millet. There is also a separate herd of cows that we calve in the fall, usually starting in August. (I will only be talking about our spring calving cows for now) We mostly use Simmental bulls with the odd Hereford or Angus for heifers.

 Here is Flat Aggie pictured with an alfalfa hay bale. Alfalfa is part of our cows diet along with silage corn.

When we start calving it is quite cold here in Manitoba. It is not unusual to have temperatures dip down to -30C (-22F) and even colder with the wind. So it is very important to keep a close eye on the cows we know are close to calving. We have a barn that we fill every night with cows we think are close and then a couple different pens outside with loose housing sheds to block the wind for the rest. With cold temperatures like this the cows need to be checked every couple hours night and day. A calf being born in the extreme cold could mean they freeze their ears and tails or possibly not survive at all.

  Flat Aggie is in the barn with a couple of cows and their calves. We have quite a few maternity pens that we can keep cows and their calves penned separate from other cows and also to assist in the birthing process if necessary. It is important to keep clean, dry bedding in the barn for them.

Checking out some cows outside, you can see in the background one of the loose housing sheds the cows use for shelter from the weather.

The cows depend on us to feed and bed them every morning all winter long. Like I said, they get alfalfa hay with a corn silage ration. We add to the corn silage, vitamins and shredded straw. The vitamins are very important for the cows when it comes to having their calves and looking after them as well. Helps to keep them healthy.

 Flat Aggie just had to check out the silage wagon! This wagon has a scale on it so we can give the cows exactly what they need for feed. I mentioned before that we add vitamins and straw. This wagon also mixes it altogether.

We used this tractor and bale shredder (processor) to feed the cows bales in their feeders and shred straw for them to lay on and stay warm. Can you see where Flat Aggie is?

After the calves are born, they are tagged with dangle tags so that we know which cow they belong to and they are also tagged with an CCIA tag (Canadian Cattle Identification Agency) so that they can be traced back to where they were born after they have left the farm. We also give them needles for vitamins and for common diseases such as Pneumonia, that could make them really sick or cause them to die. 

 Flat Aggie is assisting with the tagging process. We like to use this little calf chute so that the whole process is safer for the baby calves and us as well. Their mommas are VERY protective and can be dangerous.
The blue and green tags are dangle tags and the yellow button looking tags are called CCIA tags. 

Beef calves are mainly used for their meat, eg. hamburger, roasts, steak etc. Meat is not the only piece of the bovine (cattle) that is used. Their skin, brain, fat, hooves/horns, bones, blood, internal organs, milk and manure are all used for many different products. 

Our baby calves will stay with their Momma till about October when they are weaned and are either taken to the Auction Mart or sold directly to a feedlot.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our farm, we were so glad to host Flat Aggie. I know my oldest two, Tanner and Ali really enjoyed taking him around the farm and teaching him what it was all about.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Calving Update & a Hamburger Recipe

We have been really busy!! We are in full swing calving right now and of course the majority come in the middle of the night. We've been having upwards of 5 and 6 calves in the night. And even though we lose sleep and are tied to the farm for weeks...calving really is one of our favorite times of the year. I am feeling a little left out this year! Having a newborn and temperatures of -20 and -30 make it pretty much impossible to get out to the barn with the kids. I have got out to the barn two times with Whitley.

We've also been shipping grain. Our sunflowers are all gone, our canola is gone and most of our oats. Still one more load to go. Unfortunately it's that time of year that the big bills are due....

Other than that we have not been up to much. Just enjoying my kids and hibernating. And drinking lots of coffee of course!

Here is a recipe that we had for supper last night. I definitely went on the make again list!! Everyone loved it. The best part is it's a hamburger recipe and there's certainly no shortage of hamburger around here!

Barbecued Hamburgers

1.5 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal
3 squirts Worcestershire sauce
Fry hamburgers.

1.5 cups ketchup
1.5 cups water
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soya sauce
1.25 cups onions, diced

Combine cornstarch and water. Mix other ingredients and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil and pour over hamburgers in a casserole dish. Bake for ~ 45 minutes at 350. Serve with mashed potatoes. (or tater tots if your lazy like me)

These were SUPER yummy!! I don't really care for fried hamburgers...prefer them on the BBQ. But these were just delicious, you have to try them. I omitted the onions and I actually used 2 lb of burger. I also halved the recipe and put one half in the freezer for another day!

 My lifeline these days. Can hardly wait to get out on the verandah to drink it.
 Sunflowers leaving.
 7 weeks old here.

 Tummy time.
 All snuggled in <3
 Our basement is now 100% kid zone......it's so awesome for them to have this space now.
My farm kiddos!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!