Spring on the Farm

Posted on 28th June 2022 in adventure, animals, foto story, nature, photojournalism, Red Spruce

Today it’s nearly the beginning of July. The summer solstice has passed and it’s shorter days from here on forth for another half year. On the farm here, we have a litter of piglets nearly ready for weaning, our first calf of the year was born a few days ago, Rosie our Great Pyrenees dog is about to give birth, lambs are almost all at the target weight of 90 lbs, and the grass is ready to cut if only we had a few days in a row of sunny, dry, and windy weather for the hay!

I’m definitely starting to feel more like a farmer. I think we all are here. We have chores that definitely involve animals. We have learned a great deal about fencing and the importance of it to keep the animals where you want them to be and safe. I watch the weather religiously and keep an eye on animals for any symptoms of something wrong. I also sweat through my shirt on the regular and enjoy a cold beer on the patio at the end of a day.

It’s been quite a test of my devotion to photographs these last few years as I learn to re-integrate the camera into my arsenal. Most days I’m covered in something that I don’t want to get on the camera. This means carrying a camera has been a challenge for me. It’s also a challenge carrying all the things I like to keep on me, my every day carry stuff. As of right now, I have started to put everything into a ruksack that I take with me everywhere. Inside there is my Lowepro camera bag keeping my camera behind a second wall of defense. It seems to be working, but also quite heavy! But I use it like one would a jacket: I take it to where I’m working and hang it on some hook I can find and then go about my work.

Perhaps these photos will show some of what we’ve been up to where my words cannot elaborate.

Highland Cows - Red Spruce Farm
Shawna our Highland cow with her new calf
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Across Canada 2019

Posted on 1st January 2020 in adventure, nature, wandering

In the summer of 2019 my girlfriend, Crystal, and I drove across Canada to pick up a load in a cargo trailer from long term storage to bring back across Canada to our farm. For me, this had been the fourth year in a row to make this exact same trip, but for Crystal it was her first time being past Northern Ontario driving.

We slept in the empty trailer on the way West, which was an absolute luxury. We tried to pull off the side of the road so we wouldn’t have to get a campsite, but it was during the time of the nation wide man hunt for the two young fugitives from Vancouver Island so we were always just a little bit on edge when we’d find a nice place to stop. Nothing like a little danger to keep a trip exciting. I like to put little camp symbols on our oversized map so that in future years we know where a good campsite is. It’s probably not necessary because there are campsites in nearly every town, but sometimes you’re sitting there thinking to yourself: “I know the campsite was somewhere in this part of the country, but I just don’t remember the name of the little adorable town it was located in.” So there, on the map, is a little camp symbol that solves the mystery.

I think one of the more memorable things for me was when we stopped in the Fraser Canyon of BC to look down the canyon on a particularly beautiful turn in the river, and behind us we hear a few rocks tumbling down. I was worried because the truck was below those rocks, but up up up we see some goats following an ancient trail. First a big male goes to show the way, then a few females, then about 5 little kids make their way across! What a sight! Sometimes it’s easy for me to get caught up in our modern industrialized and urbanized world and feel like our wildlife is a thing of the past, that we no longer have any, and then seeing something like this makes me realize that there is still something out there untamed, wild, free, true.

At this point, we were on our way to Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. Seeing the wild Pacific Coast one last time was pretty special for us. I remember growing up I always wanted to live in Vancouver. The wild old growth forests and the gnarly roots everywhere was to me something very special. In fact, it was in the mountains around Vancouver that I really started photographing as I hiked endlessly. For Crystal, it was her first time seeing the giant cedars and firs and the wild, rugged coastline of the open Pacific Ocean.

And just like that, it was time for us to zip back to Atlantic Canada and back to the farm.

Outside Sault St. Marie, Ontario
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Coast to Coast Part II

Posted on 26th September 2017 in adventure, nature

During the summer of 2017 my father and I traveled 20000 kms from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia and back again. The crossing itself is about 7000 km, and we spent a considerable amount of time driving around in Nova Scotia, too. My initial plan before I left this summer was to go from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia back to Vancouver Island and then back to Nova Scotia where I would move into our new house. Well, the second part of the journey across didn’t really happen since we ended up buying land without a house, so now I’m sitting here trying to decide what to do for the winter.

For the entire journey we stayed in Canada. Canada actually has quite beautiful roads – the trans-Canada for the most part has double lanes and smooth roads.

The order of these photographs are in the order that I took them, so you can kind of follow our path along as we went.

One of my challenges of this journey was to try and get some lifestyle photographs, which I really did fail at horribly. I am trying to train my eye to see casual settings to take photographs of, that I am a part of. I know it exists somewhere in remote triggering with my phone and setting the camera up on a tripod, but I still definitely haven’t come close to mastering that. Maybe I just need a sidekick with a camera…

Do you have any locations I should go to next spring when I’m doing the trip?

 

Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies

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Off To Nova Scotia

Posted on 13th September 2016 in adventure

My pops and I recently drove from Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia. That’s from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and back again. The journey took us more like 50 days, not two months. I had everything theoretically set out in my calendar for two months before we left to make sure we had enough time to spend in every place that we wanted to spend time in, and at some point just as we were coming into Nova Scotia we jumped ahead about 10 days and could never really find a place to delay in again!

I think if there was one place I would have liked to spend more time exploring, it was PEI. Such a neat community I’ve become fascinated with. It’s a very small island compared to the large expanse of a province like BC that I’m used to, but because of that it’s quite a neat place. In some parts it’s mostly potato farms as far as the eye can see, but then in other parts that I’ve become more partial to, it’s smaller farms with the biggest gardens you’ve ever seen and more wild forests that haven’t been logged in at least 20 years.

On our way across we drove through the States. They have beautiful interstate highways that I kept wanting to go further and further south on to go through some of the big cities I’ve always wanted to visit, like Denver and Kansas City, but all my pops could see was the temperature on the thermometer rising the further South we went. He kept looking at the map and telling me I had a crooked eye and my line across the States wasn’t so straight.

Vermont was an absolutely eye catching state. Something about the history and attention to detail and craftsmanship there that just took my heart into a little basket. It could have just been the beauty of the forests, too.

We camped the whole way, drove all day. Everywhere we stopped there were earwigs, and the next day when we were unpacking our tent we counted how many we had transported. I didn’t like this for multiple reasons, but clearly there had been many people before us that had already contributed to the widespread of them. We only got rain a few times. It’s always a pain having to dry things out or pack things up when they’re wet. Then they start to smell and that’s just no good. When this would happen, we’d go out for pizza.

One thing I really like about being on the road is I get so many ideas of how successful operations run. Things like signage and a good choice in brand names and rather iconic storefronts, to name a few things. For my pops and I, this provided many hours of banter as we’re both chalked full of ideas that have a chance of success. We met with many farmers and agriculture specialists who also gave us much insight into our future.

tech // Sony a7 camera / SMC 50mm f1.4 / SMC 35mm / Jupiter 11A 135mm f4

From Vancouver Island to PEI by Ned Tobin

Winthrop, Washington

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The Ranch at Christmas

Posted on 5th September 2016 in adventure, nature

Tonight my mom said, “I really miss my mom.” When I get stuck inside of my head, responses like, “I do too,” become unnecessary to me, yet so very necessary for conversation and community, for family.

It’s hard to write that it’s not the same without my grandmother, it’s really not. Writing about it somehow still feels like I’m still inside of my head with no audience or empathy, yet still doesn’t come easy.

Last winter my mother and I went to the ranch as soon as she got out of classes, in early December. Mom helped her mom put up her Christmas tree, I brought firewood in to her box. In the relationship my grandmother and I had built, we spent a lot of our time reminiscing, looking through old photographs. When I asked her if I could have a used pencil and scissors of hers from 70 years ago she looked at me and laughed the way she always did when she couldn’t understand what I was up to. I think she got used to the idea that she was incredibly frugal or thrifty with some particular things; I think older generations get used to the idea that some of us young kids scoff at them for using the back of mail letters as scrap paper, how silly we sometimes are. I told her I used the old tools for photographs with my poems, and showed her my book of poems I had written with my old gothic script and pressed flowers glued into it.

Omi pressed flowers too, so does my mom. I was recently reading Hermann Hesse’s Autobiographical Writings that I had taken from her, and I’d come to pages with stamps or flowers pressed inside. Sometimes I find little notes, scraps of paper..

Winter can get cold up there at the Ranch. I can only imagine how modern technology has made it at least somewhat bearable. I can’t imagine using an outhouse in -30 deg C, let alone what was used for toilet paper. Even with the cold, my grandmother was a firm believer in fresh air. Even just sitting and getting a few rays of sunshine on her face would make her feel like she had got her bit for the day.

She was always incredibly insistent on going for a walk, even in the bloody ice. I’d be slipping and sliding around and there she was, sure as she could be, with her spikes on her boots making her way about. She was a walker. I guess that’s where I got it.

 

Kamloops for Christmas Click here to read more.. »