Farming in the Yukon

Lefebvre children, from left: Immaculée, Geneviève, Josephine, Phillippe and Benedict (front), in the garden at their Takhini home

I lived in Whitehorse until this spring, when we moved to the country. We always wanted to make the move, but didn’t get to it until this year.

We had barely arrived when Papa ordered 100 chickens, (75 meat birds and 25 laying hens) and two pigs. We were considering getting a puppy, but fortunately someone was looking for a home for their dog. So instead, we ended up getting a 3-year-old Great Pyrenees dog, already trained and a gentle giant. We grew a huge garden this year with tons of potatoes (Yukon Gold), radishes, lettuce, beets, cauliflower, peas, and more!

It is getting quite cold now and we have gotten a few frosts already. Our garden is now harvested and whenever I walk outside in the morning the cold, crisp air always surprises me. Now the darkness is starting to come sooner and leave later, sunrise is at 7:00 am and sunset is at 6:30 pm.

All our meat birds are gone (in the freezer) but we still have our laying hens and pigs. We estimate that our pigs are around 200 lbs. but we won’t be keeping them through the winter. Whenever we go to feed the pigs, we always go in groups of 2 or more because we don’t trust the pigs anymore.  They will do anything for food. If we are late to feed them, they tip their water bucket, and we must refill it.

We haven’t seen much wildlife out here since we got our dog, but before we got Odin, we saw a fox. We also had deer come and eat our birdfeed until we chased them away. We haven’t seen a bear on our property yet, but our neighbor has told us a few times that one was seen on our road.

Berry picking has also occupied us quite a bit recently. On our own property we have picked wild strawberries, rosehips, and wild cranberries. With the wild strawberries we made jam, with the rosehips we usually make fruit leather or jam and with the wild cranberries we usually make muffins or save them to put in porridge. We tried to grow raspberries this year, but the plants weren’t quite big enough, so we are hoping for next year.

Living at nature’s door has been a great experience for all of us and I thank God every day for bringing us to such a beautiful home.

Our home is only 25 minutes from Whitehorse, so we can still host all our friends, even ones who come all the way up from Telegraph Creek. The drive into town is beautiful, and I don’t mind it. There are mountains and trees all around and once early in the morning when Papa was driving me and my sister, Immaculée, into town for early morning gymnastics, we saw northern lights.