Welcome to our Holden's Hide a way farm

Holden's Hide-A-Way Farm is a diversified farm that produces a wide variety of meat product, in much of the same manner as a farmer would have 100 years ago. Our ideas on how to raise livestock come directly from mother nature. We raise grass fed beef and lamb because that is what mother nature intended. Our pigs are free to root and roam through out the warm seasons. Winters are spent in a barn with ample space and lots of hay to eat and root around in. Poultry is raised on pasture where they get lots of fresh air and can do the things poultry likes to do.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Early Spring

It sure has felt like spring for the last couple weeks. We jumped the gun a bit and started some seeds we saved from last year. We have not had much luck saving seeds before, so our technique usually involves saving and sowing many more seeds then we need. However this year we seem to be doing a much better job. I sure hope people like squash. The rest of our seeds arrived this week as well. Lynn was like a little girl on Christmas opening the big box that arrived in the mail.
 The grow lights are set up. Lynn is already asking me to build more. I am afraid the OPP are going to show up at the door soon. We don't have a big house so finding room for these seasonal projects can be difficult. so far we have butternut squash, pie pumpkins, giant pumpkins, yellow zucchini, ground cherries, tiny tim tomatoes, sun flowers, mint, rosemary, and some flowers that Allison planted. I don't know what type of flowers she planted because she through out the envelope they came in.

The cattle have been busy as well. This is our first pure highland calf. A little bull. I will post pictures soon of our Angus bull calf just shortly after birth to show the difference in size. The highland is only about 40 lbs. The Angus are usually 60-70lbs. Unfortunately despite being very small the cow had a very difficult birth.We think that the little guy might have took a breath before all the birth fluid has cleared. This can cause pneumonia. Hopefully he will be ok, but he is a little dopey and slow. He is four days old a still going, but still slow. 

                                                                  Christina is enjoying the spring weather. The girls have built a "fort" in the bush behind our cow pen. Using bits and pieces that I have thrown out from various building projects. I have to give the girls credit, they are ingenuitive. I have noticed that most of my pictures are of Christina. I am going to have to make an effort to get some more of Allison.

Another view of the fortress. Unfortunately I know that one day I will be cleaning up all that lumber.

All the cattle have been brought in to their spring paddock. We do not confine our stock unless it is really necessary. In the spring the frost comes out of the soil making it very soft. The cattle range in weights from 400kg to 600kg. They can make a mess of a pasture, turning it into what looks like a mine field. It is also the beginning of calving season. Having the cattle close to the house and all together makes it easier for us to keep an eye on them. As soon as the grass is up to about 25cm they will all be out on pasture. The girls are confined to about 1/2 an acre so they still have lots of room to lounge.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

New Projects

Everybody is pitching in with the new projects. Allison, Christina, and I are assembling the new greenhouse. We were able to pick up a few old portable garagees last fall. Enough material was scavanged to make a 24ft long greenhouse. The entire frame was assembled. Now we just have to add some strapping to fasten the plastic to. If the weather lately is any indicator we will be needing the greenhouse early this year. Lynn and the girls started the first seeds earlier this week. We have never used a greenhouse before, so this will be year should be intersting. In the next few weeks we will be ordering the rest of our garden supplies as well. More seeds are coming as well as mulch and row covers. We use a mulch material that conserves water and supresses weeds. Without the mulch weeds would out number the vegetables. Floating row covers are put over plants creating a greenhouse effect. This will speed up plant growth and help keep pests off the plants. We have always grown the bulk of our own vegetables, selling off excess, however this is the first year that we will be growing specifically for sale. We are all looking forward to providing natural chemical free produce to everyone. The taste alone of fresh naturally grown vegetables will make them a hit. It is difficult to compair the bland, residue covered, mass produced vegetables that are shipped from around the world to the grocery store, with the fresh, crisp vegetables produced locally. 

Its Chicken time

Spring looks like it has arrived. On the farm many things are happening during this time of year. The cows and sheep are having their offsrping, seeds are being ordered, and chicks arrive. Our chicks arrive on March 28th. Anybody interested can order chickens ahead of time. We do require a down payment of $10 per chicken. Chickens will be available by June however pre-ordering ensures you get as many as you want. Chicken is a popular and we usually run out quickly.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


I was recently forwarded a link to FRESH the movie. I will attempt to put the link on our blog. It is another very informative movie explaining the corruptness of our food production system and explains many of the ideas that we have tried to implement on our farm. My personal opinion is that the movie does an excellent job of explaining how our food production system is controlled by big business. Big business has a commitment to its shareholders, not to consumers. Where this movie and all the previous movies fail is in explaining how this in only one piece of a massive puzzle.
Many of these movies vilify the meat production side of agriculture. Unfortunately all that does is make people want to protest against meat production. By the time I am done watching this type of movie, I want to protest, and I am primarily a meat producer. However I firmly believe humans are omnivorous and require meat in our diet. It is part of our nature, which is what the basic argument of movies or books like FRESH, Food inc., or An omnivores dilemma. Meat production in nature is inseparable from vegetable production. Food production is so far removed from "natural" that it is no longer life sustaining. A good example of the symbiotic relationship between vegetable and meat production is Will Allen's farm, which is talked about in the movie.
I do not believe FRESH will get the publicity that Food Inc received. Food Inc. caused a big stir. Unfortunately after all of the publicity people went back to the grocery stores and bought all the conventional produced meat and vegetables. Big businesses like Monsanto have done a terrific job of capitalising on every humans lack of will power, short attention span and ignorance. I will admit my family is as guilty as the next. We are trying to make the best decisions when it comes to not only food but every purchase decision we make. It is difficult to pay "extra" for a Canadian or even USA made product when you can buy the same thing from China for significantly less. Even though quality usually suffers and many countries have terrible labour laws. People need to start putting the same effort into buying their food that they put into buying any other product. Stop buying junk at the grocery store.  Find a local farmer and talk to them about their production methods. Paying a little more at the till for good food will make a big effect on our health care system, the environment, our communities, our independence and society in general.
Despite my criticisms of the movie we did enjoy it and will probably watch it again. If you want to be more informed about where/how your food gets to your table, then watch the movie. It does give some good examples of how our food should be produced. People that enjoyed Food Inc will appreciate the movie.
Please forward the link to everyone you know. The more people that see it, the bigger the effect it will have.