We're at our family gathering - now what?

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After the meal is eaten and the gifts are opened are you looking for something to do? Perhaps you have not gotten that far yet. Maybe the turkey is taking a bit longer than expected. Or your uncle is late. Or the dogs got into the kitchen. Or your brother got stuck in the snowbank by the train tracks. Or your grandma got run over by a reindeer. Whatever it was, you have some time to fill.

We’ve got you covered. Get your family moving and laughing with our Christmas scavenger hunts. Print directly from the images below or email us at teresa@farmfemmes.com to get your own PDF copies.

RULES:

  • Find the items (person, place or thing).  Be creative!

  • Capture proof of your find by taking a selfie with the item.

  • You may choose to include more than one item in a single photo.

  • One point will be awarded for each item photographed.

  • One bonus point will be awarded for each photo that includes the item and ALL team members.

  • All team members must report to the home point at the end of the time limit.

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Best of FarmFemmes: Connected, Protected, Respected

Originally posted in March 2017 with a follow up post in May 2018

A family business has a unique set of dynamics – everyone is trying to balance their roles as both a family member and as a business partner.  I recently heard the motto “Connected, Protected, Respected” and it really spoke to me. In order to have a happy family and a sustainable farming operation I need to make sure that I am attending to each of those things.  Each of those words can mean many different things, so here is what they mean to me, for my farm and my family:

Connected

To me, this means that I recognize that we are all one unit, working together for our collective good.

  • I facilitate communication between employer and employee.

  • I facilitate communication between the generations.

  • I facilitate communication between the trainees and their family and friends.

  • I make sure that my kids feel connected to farm life.


Protected

To me, this means that I have a responsibility for the safety and wellbeing (physical and mental) of all of the members of my farm family.

  • I am a protector of our farm’s good reputation in the way that I choose to do business and make operational choices.

  • I am the protector of family time.

  • I am the chief safety officer.


Respected

To me, this means that I know that we all have a role to play.  I know my role and my strengths and try to use those strengths to the betterment of our family and of our farm.  I also know my weaknesses and I hope that I can use the strengths of others to help navigate through the areas where I need help.  I expect that our family farm relationships hinge on give-and-take that changes with the seasons, but that everyone is respected for what they can contribute.

  • I say please and thank you for the jobs that I need help with.

  • I recognize jobs well done.

  • I respect time, curiosity and effort.

Connected, Protected, Respected – that is how I would like to view our family and our farming operation.

Best of Farm Femmes: Reflections of a Host Mom

Originally posted in November 2017

It is time for me to try to capture what it feels like to be a host mom… First, I feel way too young to be a mom to our trainees – I would totally prefer to be a cool older sister.  But, putting that aside…

Each year we open up our home to strangers and they become family.  It isn’t an easy process… We don’t have a huge house so you can forget about privacy, and it takes a while to figure out how “on” you have to be all of the time.  This pertains to superficial things, like when everyone wakes up in the middle of the night because of a huge thunderstorm, is it okay to be seen wearing PJs? But it also pertains to heavier things, like conversations about budget, work or family.  We are constantly negotiating how much of this conversation happens in front of trainees and how much is just husband/wife…, which goes back to privacy, and finding the time for those more private conversations.

Having trainees in our home every year also influences how we raise our girls.  They have a totally different expectations with regard to attachments, brothers and what it means to be a family.  It is always fun to see the reaction when they explain to people that they got a new brother yesterday! And the girls are still negotiating what it means for brothers to arrive and leave – this year we had two brother Michaels for a time and that was entertaining.  About a day after Andre left this year our oldest asked, “When do we get more brothers?” Whew… I need a bit more of a break than that!

Our trainees are much more than simply employees.  I like to think that we teach them way more than just about Canadian living or life on the farm.  Some have never been away from home before – never done their own laundry or realized you have to make an effort in long-distance relationships if you want to stay in them.  Some have picked up a few new favorite recipes and cooking tips along the way, not to mention learning about child development, hair extensions and work-life balance. I am sure that they get more “sage wisdom” from me than they ever bargained for, or perhaps wanted!  Being a mom of five is hard work! When November rolls around, I am ready for a break. And ready to have leftovers in the fridge!

Living with trainees has been a seven-year adjustment for me.  It is different every year. The trainees who lived with us when I was pregnant had a very different experience than those pre-kids and those this year where the girls are more independent.  And, our trainees next year will have another different experience as they meet each other, and our ever-changing family. Even though we have a few months as a family of four, we are already in the process of getting trainee placements for next year – April is just around the corner.



Happy Thanksgiving!

We enjoyed a weekend full of Thanksgiving celebrations and I hope that you did too. I hope that everyone takes time to think about what they are thankful for. And, perhaps most importantly, take time to think about WHO you are thankful for - then tell them!

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One of the best things that I learned in my years as a teacher is the power of being specific with your positive comments. It is great to shower your loved ones with kind words, words of thanks and words of appreciation. It is even better when you take the time to include a specific example of when or why they are a great organizer, someone who can make you laugh, a wonderful cook, a thoughtful gift giver or a supportive motivator.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Memorial Day in the USA

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Every day we drive the gravel road past the small Milford cemetery on the way to daycare.  However, one day we took a trip, and as we passed a large cemetery my oldest said “Mom, there are a lot of people in Heaven!”

This Memorial Day, there will be pictures of rows upon rows of headstones, flags and crosses, but each of those headstones represents an individual.  Someone special to those who loved them.  An improvised explosive device in Iraq changed my life, and the life of my family, forever when my late husband Jason was killed in action on February 21, 2005.  Jason was a guy who embraced life.  He was a member of the army national guard, but he was also an outdoors lover, a community volunteer, a teacher and lighthearted guy.

 

So, use the Memorial Day long weekend to celebrate with loved ones and to remember that our blessings, individual and collective, came at a cost.

This years class: teaching us!

Every year, trainees bring a unique set of their own skills that we both learn from as well.  Over the past several months you have been seeing some of the amazing photographs taken by last years trainees.  In the 2018 class we are looking forward to learning the drone expertise that has led to this fantastic YouTube Channel.  

We thought you would enjoy the channel as much as we have!  We hope to learn some of his great drone & GoPro technique for our own videos in 2018!  Below is the quick link to his Best of 2017 video.