Spring Lambs at Thistle Lane

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Spring is very exciting around Thistle Lane, not only are the days warmer and lighter, and the seeds are well under way for the flower farm, but this time of year is filled with planning and prepping for the much awaited lambing season to begin.
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The 2018 year has us potentially lambing out 38 ewes with 22 of them being first timers. Part of the prepping is turning a portion of their outdoor shelter into about four lambing pens which is connected to a larger corral. This is like a waiting room for the birthing pens.
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We do separate the ewes according to how ready they appear to give birth, being herd animals they do not like to be singled out, so this does require a bit of patience.
Some sheep do lamb in with the rest of the ewes, however if that does happen we do move her and her lamb to a pen for about a day. We do this to ensure they bond and the feeding is going strong.
During the lambing period, my husband and myself tag team two hour checks, just to make sure we don’t miss anything. Through the night we will stretch that two hours depending on how many are in the waiting pen.
Do things ever go wrong? If you don’t check, it is almost a guarantee that something will! We often have to help pull a lamb or to make sure the ewe takes care of her lambs. Occasionally, the ewe will not allow the the little lambs to nurse, they will be searching and she won’t let them latch on.
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The timing of the newborn lambs to receive the first colostrum is crucial, it’s rich in antibodies and minerals and gives the lambs energy for survival, hence the need to make sure this happens.
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Farming with livestock has its challenges, but it’s also invigorating and rewarding. There is nothing quite as amazing as seeing a pasture full of ewes grazing, while their sweet little lambs are running and jumping.
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Soil Obsessed

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Since the beginning of my flower farming career, I’ve been consumed with a desire to improve the clay soil that we are planting in. The past two years, our garden has left me feeling challenged, with great needs like aeration of the soil, fertilizers, irrigation, pest and weed control and the list goes on. Knowing from the beginning adding organic matter of any kind to the garden was always important to me, I just did not know more than that.

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How to Improve Your Soil
This last fall the research began, “how to improve your soil”. This brought me to an article by Ruth Stout on “no dig gardening”; eliminating the need for digging, fertilizing and watering. Who wouldn’t love to garden like this? This has peaked my interest, continuing on the road to more knowledge, I found the no-dig gardening method is very popular.

Back to Eden Method
The Back to Eden Method of gardening is another form of no-dig gardening, following nature completely according to Paul Gautschi. He takes scripture as his basis for creating a natural garden the way the creator has designed for us. I love this method and he has a  documentary teaching you how to grow your own food.

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Lasagne Method
Lastly, the Lasagne Method of no-dig gardening, the layering of different organic materials, that will break down over time, resulting in rich, aerated soil that happens all on its own with the least amount of soil disturbance possible.

All of these no-till no-dig methods, allow the soil to create Mycorrhizal Fungi which is essential to have in the soil with host plant (flowers, vegetables, cover crops). It allows the plants to use nutrients and water from the soil. It is a sustainable natural way that plants receive moisture and nutrients.

What happens in soil if you till or turn over your soil, it decreases the mycorrhizae fungi drastically so the plants lack in nutrients and moisture, hence the need to compensate.

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A New Season-A New Method 
Moving forward, this year we will be concentrating on turning our 1/4 acre flower farm into a regenerative no-till farm. The goal would be to create the best soil conditions using natural layering of our organic, straw, manure (sheep & chicken) compost and a covering of either hay or wood chips.

In this form of gardening we should never have to use chemical fertilizers, no need for irrigation, and best of all very little weeding ( which my back will appreciate).

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It may take a little while to get this all right, but my garden will not be tilled, so follow along this summer as we document the progress of this type of gardening at Thistle Lane!

 

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A Season of Love and Flowers

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As we start thinking about another wedding season, I’m reflecting back on 2017. My interest in the floral wedding industry came as no surprise with my daughter’s upcoming wedding this past October.
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With that in mind and my background in growing flowers, the stage was set for some creative floral designs. This last year it was a privilege to be involved with flowers for several weddings, as well as a beautiful photo shoot at Cielo’s Garden.
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The floral wedding trends are leaning towards romantic garden inspired bouquets. Brides are looking for lush, textured, and seasonally inspired flowers which are perfectly suited for a rustic Manitoba country wedding.
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It seems a natural fit to offer farm fresh flowers as well as a design services for any events including weddings, bridal showers, special events, dinner parties and more.
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We are looking forward to expanding our flower varieties in 2018, which in turn will provide endless possibilities and much creativity.
Book your 2018 event today, we’d love to design and create gorgeous locally grown arrangements for you. 

Photo Credits:

Photos by Lilli
Megan Steen Photography 
Arianna Tennyson photography 
Julia MacCharles Photography 
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Easy Christmas Recipes

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We’d like to share with you, our favourite and super easy Christmas recipes. Your family and friends will love them. Enjoy!
Magic Bars
Magic Bars
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or peanuts, your preference
1 (14oz)  sweetened condensed milk

Combine butter into graham wafers, pat into 9 by 13 inch pan.
Sprinkle chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, and coconut over crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk over everything. Bake at 350, for 25min. Or until golden brown. Let cool completely, then cut into squares.

Peanut Butter Crackles
Peanut Butter Crackles
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
Granulated sugar
Chocolate candy stars

In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl beat butter and peanut butter until well blended. Beat in sugars until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Shape dough into I inch balls. Roll in sugar. Bake in ungreased cookie sheets, at 360 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and quickly press chocolate star firmly in the centre, cookie will crackle. Cool completely.

Christmas mimosa
Christmas Mimosas- These are so easy and SO good!
2 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. orange juice
Sparkling white wine to fill the glass
In a Pitcher:
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle sparkling white wine
From my family to yours Merry Christmas! Have a safe and happy holiday season.
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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Luke 2:14
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Reflecting on past seasons of frantic holiday preparations, I find myself craving a more simplistic version of the previous years. Instead of running myself ragged looking for a mountain of gifts for everyone on the list, or busy baking a freezer full of cookies just because or to snack on them all month long!
The idea of less is more, keeps running through my thoughts …..
Living in the land of plenty, we often forget that as consumers we do not need everything that is advertised. Intentional gift giving is a priority this year for all our purchases, and is a focus for the future in everyday living. This new found freedom in the “less is more” has already created a feeling of contentment and calmness.
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 Thistle Lane along with our home are fully decorated, using foraged evergreen branches from the yard, along with a few repurposed items, this rustic simplistic decor is easy and affordable for everyone to recreate for themselves. It does not take that much time to turn your home into a dreamy Country Christmas.
When hosting family gatherings or friend parties it’s easy to get overwhelmed, it appears on social media that everyone has a perfect party plan. There is nothing wrong with a well planned party, this requires pre menu planning as well as a bit of delegating in order for things to run smoothly. Remember as you host, family and friends are really coming over to spend time with you not to seek perfection. The more relaxed and easy going you are during the festivities, your guests will be at ease and consider the Christmas get together a success.
The Christmas season is a great time for a few DIY projects, this could include making a wreath out of foraged greenery, or baking a batch of cookies and surprising someone you love with them. There are so many ways to bless other people during the holiday season, even the smallest gestures of patience and kindness go along way to bringing joy to others.
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With this new take on the holidays, it allows my soul room to celebrate the real reason we give gifts, the birth of Jesus and the true story of amazing love.
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 Try not to forget the true meaning of Christmas as you celebrate the holidays this season.

Blessings from our Home to Yours!

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Christmas Market At Thistle Lane

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A glimpse into our “Christmas in the Country Market.”
With fourteen local vendors setting up their Christmas displays on the eve of the market we were reminded that -21 is actually very cold in the beginning of November. Thankfully, Friday came with a strong south wind to change things up and created a perfect temperature for a country event. An event where our friends from near and far could shop small and support our talented small businesses.
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An outdoor fire was a welcome feature, combined with hot chocolate and marshmallows the market was in fine rustic form. The holiday feeling was felt by vendors and just over four hundred shoppers alike.
The value in shopping small was a reward in itself with the uniqueness of all the treasures and the talents of the artisans, Christmas in the Country is so much more than just a market, it’s an experience.
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To connect with one another as well as the great outdoors, all the while supporting your local economy, artisans, and small business owners. This event was definitely a great start to the holiday season.
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From Thistle Lane and all of our vendors, Merry Christmas and a big warm thank you to all of our shoppers!
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Christmas in the Country- A Thistle Lane Market

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The Christmas Market is guaranteed to set the Christmas mood for shoppers and vendors alike. Come and join us, to experience the joy of shopping, in a country atmosphere, all the while looking for that unique gift for yourself or someone you love.
Early Bird Market-
Friday November 10th
Dessert Night $15 (50 people max)
*Must have a pre-purchased ticket to attend*

Full Market-Open to the Public-
Saturday November 11, 1-5 pm.
Open to all!
$2 admission includes coffee, hot chocolate

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Our Vendors-

Prairie Pine Decor-  Born from our love of woodworking and our infatuation with farmhouse Decor. Specializing in handcrafted clocks and home decor.

Handmade with Love- Working with used materials as local findings to create vintage indoor and outdoor furniture and decor.

Golden Butterfly- We are all about unique handmade items for children and your home. Children’s accessories such as various types of head bands, bibs, scarves, baby blankets and pacifier chains. Home decor such as blankets throw pillows and wreaths are only a few items we live to create.

Chrystal Sabourin Soaps- Creating soothing and cleansing soaps, perfect for the holiday season.

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Then & Now – Designs by Wanda- An expression of my love for painting and transforming old pieces into something new and refreshing.

Crimson & Violet- Specializing in Natural Skin care, as well as versatile bags made from reclaimed material.

Oma’s Quilt Shop- Selling aprons, and various quilt supplies ready made or made ready for you to create.

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Old Church Bakery – What a treat to have once again Old Church bring their line up of speciality breads and some Christmas cookies.

Annie Lynn’s Custom – Creating home decor with a rustic modern touch, vintage inspired one of s kind items.

Artist Pivot- A variety of antiques in vintage and retro collectives. A flea markets dream, with an assortment of new and gently used items.

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Rootsies Baby Muks- Re-purposed leather and fabric toddler footwear that is durable with barefoot like comfort.

Prairie Pickers – Antiques and rustic home decor are just some of the unique treasures that you will find and be able to add to your collections.

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Dadirri Naturals- All natural alternatives for health and beauty at your finger tips. Quality ingredients and hand crafted products that are great for body and your world.

Barnboard & Pallet Creations- A rural Manitoba business specializing in Rustic, Repurposed, and Vintage decor.

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As you can see, this line-up of artisans and vintage collections is going to be fantastic. We are so excited to host and create a special Christmas shopping experience for all of you. See you at the first annual, Thistle Lane “Christmas in the Country”!

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Follow us on social media @Thistle Lane Bed & Breakfast for directions, special sneak peeks and more!

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A Special Bridal Shower

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One of the very special moments during an engagement is the bridal shower. It’s a way of honouring the bride and lavishing her with gifts and encouragement.
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The scene was set, taking place in a Country Barn strung with vintage patio lights, paper lanterns and the festivities were about to begin.
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The guests had arrived, creating a feeling of excitement as we awaited the arrival of the bride. Her joy was contagious as we celebrated her, alongside family and friends.
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The generous gifts were varied from household items, to camping gear, as well as gardening tools. All of us attending feel an invested interest in her life as a married women, by being a part of this celebration.
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Simply stated, it is more than just gifts, it’s really about supporting the bride in her journey as a newly married woman, and sharing with her all the excitement of creating a new home with love and dreams of a happy future filled with contentment.
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We must never take for granted the role that we play as older married women in the lives of our daughters, sisters and younger women. It is vital that we encourage the next generation in their marriages.
Our Thistle Lane Tips for Throwing a Bridal Shower:
1. Make it about the bride
2. Pick a theme
3. Delegate tasks, don’t try to take it all on
4. Ice breakers for the guests…. activities or games
5. Honour the bride with words of encouragement
6. Personalize your shower, it’s all about the little details
7. Make it fun & relaxed; the bride and guest will appreciate it
Have fun and enjoy every moment!
If you want help throwing your own bridal shower or would like flowers or a venue, contact us. 
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Flower Farming- Season Two

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Finding myself in my second season as a flower farmer with a flood of mixed emotions. Comparison to last year with an abundance of rain three inches at a time, drainage ditches were incorporated to alleviate the year’s excess water. This year we are finding ourselves scrambling to add some form of irrigation for our dry field. Sharing this with my brother, a farmer of twenty years, laughed and he said “Welcome to Farming!”

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Photo of our bouquets displayed at The Home Workshop Open House. Photo by Sawmill Photo Co. 

This being said, the year is going better than last year as we have had plenty of orders to fill, along with sales at a few local spots we are encouraged to continue.

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The nurturer in me loves to care for the flower field and is driven to provide the most fertile soil for the best blooms possible. We have a little ways to go yet with our heavy clay soil, having added six loads of new earth and lots of compost we still can use more.

On the design end of things, God has already designed the beauty of each flower, now it’s up to me to make the right combinations of blooms with foliage. With a few weddings coming up this fall we will be busy creating our flowers into the brides dreams.

ParkviewFinished (27 of 48)Photo by: Sawmill Photo Co. at The Home Workshop Open House

It is a privilege to work with flowers, learning from others and seeing all the beauty that can be made from locally grown flowers is inspiring to say the least.
The farming aspect is a challenge, as a colleague of mine stated, if it wasn’t a challenge you wouldn’t do it.

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Spring Market Success

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Hosting our first ever Thistle Lane Spring Market this June  left us feeing inspired and encouraged. Together, with a very dedicated committee we managed to provide our visitors with a market filled with 17 vendors for a local shopping experience.

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The country ambience of a farm house bed and breakfast and horse barn setting was the perfect place to display our merchandise. The day could not have been any nicer, the weather was fantastic, the food at the canteen was second to none, and the customers were greeted by the artisans and farmers themselves who were more than willing to show their gifts, talents and products.

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The market hosted just over 300 people throughout the course of the day, with that being said, we will be looking into hosting future markets.

We are excited to announce that plans are already set into motion for our first ever Christmas in the Country Market. We look forward to sharing details on this event soon.

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This brings us to the possibility of an even larger Spring Market in 2018!

Thank you so much for sharing in this day with us. If you missed it, you may get another chance to attend a Thistle Lane Market soon!

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