Deer, deer… everywhere you look there are deer. Walking down alleys, through fields, across roads, in town and out, from garden to garden, munching away at the fruits of your labour. While most people in the valley are busy putting up fences to keep the deer out, the OpenMinder found someone who put the fences up to keep the deer in! This week we talked to Rob Kirkham, who owns a fallow deer farm here in Grand Forks to find out a little more on this interesting subject.
OpenMinder: What started the idea of having a deer farm?
Rob: We wanted to live on a decent size property and be farm exempt and there wasn’t a lot of alternatives and we felt for the long haul we would be feeling o.k. with the fallows and we still feel that way.
OM: How did you get it going?
Rob: I found out about the licensing aspects, there weren’t any up until 1987, but we didn’t get organized until ’92, so we had to get a licence and find stock to buy, get the fencing and handling system approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
OM: Where did you buy the animals?
Rob: From a farm in Hat Creek, which is north of Cache Creek. There were about 100 farms at one time, I think 40 of them have given up or gone to other exotics.
OM: What do you do with the deer? Do you breed them?
Rob: Yes, we selectively breed them. We put the best buck we can get our hands on out with a select number of does and we were hanging on to our best velvet-producing bucks, but the market is just too volatile for that, so we kind of let it go this year. We still have some from last year, but we’ll hang on to that until the prices are up. The drop is caused by the asian financial turmoil.
OM: Do you sell the deer?
Rob: Yes, the bucks get sold for the meat and the velvet is a side line. Some years the velvet’s worth $80 to $120 a pound, other years it’s like $20 per pound, so it’s not really worthwhile harvesting.
OM: What exactly is”velvet”?
Rob: It’s the antler when it is in the velvet phase, that’s when it’s only a month and a half old and I hate this to be a primer for poachers.
OM: Do you sell any of the does?
Rob: No, we keep them for herdbuilding… so, it’s good to be born a doe around here.
OM: Where does the meat go?
Rob: It’s for the “white tablecloth” restaurant industry. I’ve tried farming it out little by little, but I just
don’t have the time, so this last batch was sold to Rocky Mountain Game in Calgary. Prices are down, we are being swamped with products from New Zealand, they can raise them and ship them and still sell it cheaper than we can. They have a different tax structure in New Zealand, they are extremely low cost producers and their winters are much shorter than ours.
OM: Do you sell any to the U.S.?
Rob: That’s what we originally were going to do, but the Department of Agricu-lture in the States closed the Washington border to the import of animals, they were concerned that somebody would smuggle in a wild one.
OM: Is there any disease problems among the herds?
Rob: No, these animals are extremely resilient. We immunize them when they are young against tuberculosis and hoof rot and all the other things, just like cows, basically. I think so far we had one die in fawning, that’s it. They just never cease to amaze us.
OM: Do the deer become tame or do they basically stay wild?
Rob: No, you’d have to hand-rear them so they would be tame and then the other animals would come towards you, too. Other farms have done that and it worked well for them. But we’re small enough, so we don’t have to be chasing them around.
OM: How big is your facility here?
Rob: It’s about 20 acres, and you can run about 7 to 10 to the acre, that’s lots of room for them.
OM: Do you consider deer farming fun or would you rather have cows?
Rob: No, they are very easy to farm, you just feed them and handle them 3 times a year, that’s it. They are very low maintenance. When they are having their babies, they don’t want anybody around.
OM: How do the deer get from here to the buyer?
Rob: We ship them live to an abattoir in Langley or Vancouver Island, which are the only ones West of Saskatchewan. There used to be one in Salmon Arm, but they went under.
OM: I heard there are some particulars about the deer’s diet, like some people throw hay out for them in the winter, which is not supposed to be good for them?
Rob: Yes, if I’m introducing something new to their diet, I’ll do it over a 5 to 10 day period, to give their rumens time to develop bacteria to digest it. You have to be careful.
OM: What do you feed the deer?
Rob: We feed them second and third cut alfalfa/grass hay, about 50/50 rate. During the summer they are on pasture, the minute they get on it, they’ll drop the hay like a hot potato; they graze like sheep.
OM: How long have you been doing this?
Rob: It will be 8 years coming up.
OM: Would you call this a decent source of income?
Rob: I think this year maybe we’ll be braking even. We were herd building all this time and we both work full time.
OM: Do you eat the meat, too?
Rob: Yes, we are our best customers. We get a local butcher to make some really good sausages like pepperoni out of the meat. We only eat deer hamburger, it has no fat, and many say it’s a lot healthier. We also sell them, they’re gone the minute they come in.
OM: Everyone has a different opinion about how high a deer fence is supposed to be? What is recommended in your business?
Rob: A 7’2″ fence, with the posts being 3 feet buried in the ground on the straight and 4 feet in the corners.
Ask the Man
Ask your question to a local elected representative and we will try to get an answer in writing for you.
Question to Mayor Brian Taylor from the OpenMinder: In our May 27th issue when talking about the expansion of Grand Forks city limits you asked “Will we take control of our recreational services?” Could you elaborate on that statement.
Answer from Brian Taylor: Over the past few years, in the areas of history, culture, sports and recreation, numerous community-driven initiatives have come to fruition or are in the planning stages. We have a new children’s park, other small parks are being considered, we have a BMX track, additions are being made to Donaldson Park, the Fall Fair could be close to finding a home, groups are working at internal city trails and others are working on the trail links to the East and the West. Recently a group has proposed a cultural centre and the community centre group are meeting and continuing to work. The community understands that in our new economy the amenities, the pool, the museum, and the library are as important as the other infrastructure. Under the current system recreation services in Grand Forks are ultimately responsible to the Regional District. The system we have in place has apparently worked in the past. My personal opinion is that, with the tremendous growth and interest in culture and recreation it is time to reconsider the management structure of the recreation services and time to consider a more comprehensive approach to how the city manages parks, trails, tennis courts and the many other services planned for the future. It is an evolutionary step to bring accountability and the control of recreation and cultural services back to Grand Forks.
Special High Intensity Training
In order to assure the highest level of quality work and productivity from employees, it will be our policy to keep all employees well trained through our program of SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (SHIT). We are trying to give employees more SHIT than anyone else.
If you feel that you do not receive your share of SHIT on the job, please see your manager. You will be immediately placed at the top of the SHIT list, and your managers are especially skilled at seeing that you get all the SHIT you can handle. Employees who don’t take their SHIT will be placed in DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEE EVALUATION PROGRAMS (DEEP SHIT). Those who fail to take DEEP SHIT seriously will have to go to EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE TRAINING (EAT SHIT). Since our managers took SHIT before they were promoted, they don’t have to take SHIT anymore, and are full of SHIT already.
If you are full of SHIT, you may be interested in a job training others. We can add your name to our BASIC UNDERSTANDING LECTURE LIST (BULL SHIT). Those who are full of BULL SHIT will get the SHIT jobs, and can apply for promotion to DIRECTOR OF INTENSITY PROGRAMMING (DIP SHIT).
If you have further questions, please direct them to our HEAD OF TRAINING, SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (HOT SHIT).
BOSS IN GENERAL
SPECIAL HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING,
Designing and planning a home automatic watering system involves laying out a map of your property to determine the location of buried utilities, the dimensions of the yard, house, fences and walls, paved areas and water source & capacity. Your map is then divided into “zones” according to watering needs and capacity with each zone being controlled by its own valve. For the real do-it-yourselfer you may want to design, plan and install your residential irrigation system, but for this article we will assume you have the design and plan for your system already and now you want to jump in and put it together.
If you need help designing and planning your system, contact your local irrigation service company to set you up and you can still save lots of money by installing it yourself.
Most of the tools that are needed are common tools you will probably already have. These will be: hammer, pea gravel, shovel or spade, sandpaper, screwdrivers, pipecover, pipe wrench, stakes, tape measure, utility knife, large pliers and string.
Stake out sprinklers: Using your plot plan, place a stake at each sprinkler and valve location. Tie a string between the stakes to mark where to dig the trenches.
Hook up water supply according to the plan and assemble valves and backflow prevention device.
Install one zone at a time. Test it, then move on to the next zone.
1. Dig trench: Place a piece of plastic along the string path where you want to trench. Remove the sod. With a straight-edged spade, dig a “V” shaped trench 6″ to 10″ deep, carefully placing sod and dirt on the plastic. Special tools are available to rent for digging trenches, pulling pipes or going under sidewalks, saving you time and labour.
2. Measure and cut pipe, gather fittings, and lay them out in order along your trenches. It is important to keep pipe and fittings clean as you work or dirt will clog your sprinkler heads when you connect the system. Pipe ends that you are not using should be covered with tape to keep them clean.
3. Assemble pipes and fittings and place in trenches. Sand the pipe ends and fittings before applying pipe glue.
4. Connect piping to its control valve. Open the valve to let water flush out any dirt or debris.
5. Attach sprinklers and risers. Turn on the valve again to check for leaks. Adjust each sprinkler for proper patterns and overall uniform spray. Most sprinklers have built-in pattern size and shape adjusters. If the sprinklers are misting instead of sprinkling, too much water at high pressure is flowing to them. You can adjust the amount of water by turning the flow adjustment on the control valve, if it is so equipped.
6. Wire controller to valves. It may be convenient to wire all the valves in one manifold at this time, not just the zone you are working on. Using you plan, wire control valves to the automatic controller, being sure all splices are sealed.
7. Test the zone. Before filling in trenches, test the zone one final time, this time using the automatic controls to activate the valve.
8. Bury the pipe. After the zone is tested and operating properly, cover the pipe with dirt by pulling the plastic sheet to the edge of the trench and sliding the soil in place. Pack down and carefully replace the sod.
9. Repeat steps 1 through 8 for the remaining zones.
10. Enjoy it, you did it yourself!
A Giraffe to Us!
Is there something you think “they” ought to do to make life better here in Grand Forks? What if you stopped waiting for “them” and go to work on it yourself? The Giraffe Project says, “Stick your neck out!!” That’s exactly what Tyler Peterson did.
When Tyler Peterson was in the seventh grade, he started devoting all his spare time to helping people in Grand Forks, B.C. – free. He helps elderly women do chores and escorts them to their appointments. He cleans bookshelves at the library. He collects empty bottles, sells them to stores, and donates the money to charitable causes. He takes care of people’s animals when their owners are away. In the winter, he shovels and plows snow. He’s also done more dramatically heroic acts: he rescued one of his brothers from drowning and ministered to another during an epileptic seizure. But it’s Tyler’s nonprofit entrepreneurialism that earned him the taunts of his classmates at school. Tyler printed business cards, calling his services “Kid Power,” and distributed them to local businesses. He thought maybe they could use some free help too. Then he asked the local newspaper how much it would cost to place an ad for his free services. Instead of selling him an ad, the paper did a story about him, complete with photograph. The business cards and the news story may have helped Tyler’s “business”, but it also brought him unwanted attention: The kids in his school called him names and chanted “I have kid power! I have kid power!” Tyler didn’t give up helping people, but he did stop wearing his Kid Power T-shirt; it just provoked more name-calling.
He’s encountered other difficulties, too. His mother had to be convinced that he’d be safe, working out and about in the community. Some potential employers hesitated to use him because they thought he was too young. And then Tyler and his mother moved from their in-town home to a place several miles outside Grand Forks, where transportation into town is erratic. Through it all, Tyler keeps on working. The adults of Grand Forks love Tyler’s spirit, though some of his classmates just don’t understand it. Tyler Peterson doesn’t see anything particularly unusual about what he does. He likes to help people. And, he says, with all innocence, “It keeps me busy. I get bored really easily.”
For more info. call Carl Dortch: Director, Lolita’s Legion
As the daily temperatures increase, we at the Boundary S.P.C.A. would like to remind pet owners of the dangers of leaving pets in their vehicle or any other hot contained environment. The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with the windows partly open, can reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill your pet.
On summer days the air and upholstery in your vehicle can heat up to high temperatures and make it impossible for pets to cool themselves. Dogs (and cats) cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws. If it is possible, leave your dog at home on hot days. It takes only a few minutes for a dog to go into heat distress. Brain damage or death from heatstroke can result.
The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate your dog has heatstroke: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors. lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting.
If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place. Wet the dog with water and fan vigorously to promote evaporation, as this will reduce the dog’s body core temperature. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of water, but do not apply ice to any part of the animal’s body. Lastly, take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you observe a pet confined in a hot car and the owner is not around, please call the S.P.C.A. immediately.
In less than a decade, the sport of paintball has become one of the world’s most exciting outdoor participation sports. Paintball is played in over 2 dozen countries by millions of men and women of all ages, races and lifestyles.
Paintball is a combination of the childhood games of “Tag” and “Hide and Seek”, but much more challenging and sophisticated. Although there are many different styles of games, typically a group of players will divide into 2 teams to play “Capture the Flag”. The object of the game is to capture the opposing team’s flag while preventing them from capturing your own. As you attempt to capture the flag, you can also eliminate opposing players by tagging them with a paintball expelled from a special CO2-powered paintball gun. Games usually have a time limit of 15 to 30 minutes depending on the type of game being played. Win or lose, everyone has a great time and there’s always the next game waiting for you.
A paintball is a round, thin-skinned gelatin capsule with coloured liquid inside it. When a player is tagged by a paintball, the thin gelatin skin splits open, and the liquid inside leaves a bright “paint” mark (or a “splat” mark). A player who is marked by a paintball is eliminated from the current game. The “paint”, which is non-toxic, non-caustic, water-soluble and biodegradable, rinses out of clothing and off skin with mild soap and water.
Paintball is a very safe sport when the safety rules are followed. Players must always wear special goggles and masks, made specifically for paintball, to protect their eyes and faces during the game and while in any area where shooting of paintball is permitted, such as the target range. Paintball guns are tested with a chronograph to ensure the paintballs do not exceed a safe speed (generally 300 fps). Referees are on the field to control the game, enforce rules of safety and fair play, and assist players with their equipment.
Paintball is a sport played by people from all professions and lifestyles. It is a sport where men and women compete equally, and where age is not dominated by youth. Physical size and strength are not nearly as important as cunning and determination. Being able to think quickly and decisively and good sportsmanship is what makes you a winner. Above all, paintball is fun. It’s a chance to relax from your day-to-day responsibilities and rekindle your spirit of adventure.
Here in Grand Forks there is approx. 50 – 70 people already enjoying this sport. For more info. call Kevin at 442-2231.
It’s A Wonderful World!
By Sonja Gartner
In our last issue I introduced this column, because I wanted to let people know about the “little miracles” that show how there is people out there who do care. Here is another example:
A couple years back I was shopping at Metrotown Centre in Burnaby. As the Mall was about to close and I wanted to know which way was the fastest way out to the parking lot, I asked a SEARS employee. She was very friendly and gave me directions. When I got to the parking lot (since it was one of those days where they close at 9 p.m., it was dark outside), I found to my dismay that my back tire was completely flat. Before I had time to think about what to do next (most repair shops would be closed now), the same SEARS employee that I had asked for directions earlier happened to walk by. She asked me if I needed some help and when I told her what was the matter, she immediately offered to use a device that she had in her car, one of those air compressors that can plug into your cigarette lighter inside the car. She got her vehicle, hooked everything up and soon after my tire was useable for at least a few minutes (you could hear a hissing sound from the air escaping). She suggested I go right around the corner to the SEARS Auto Service Centre, she would drive by them and tell them not to close yet. When I got there, one of the employees immediately took care of my tire by plugging the hole and when I wanted them to take some money for their services, they refused, almost offended. They just said, “You can always put a word to our manager.” So, I took their names down to do just that, but by the time I looked for my note in the car, it was lost. I believe the name of the lady inside the Auto Service was Shirley, but I’m not sure. Nevertheless, the selflessness of those people sure made my day!
Did you know?
If you were to run a powerful magnet through some “fortified” breakfast cereals, you’d find some tiny black specks sticking to it. Those specks would be iron filings.
Are cereal makers playing some kind of weird joke on us? Not at all. Your body needs iron – not as much as a Chevy and not necessarily from your cereal. Eating iron filings is as good a way as any of getting the iron you need into your system. Bear in mind that these are very small iron filings. They aren’t strong enough to set off an airport metal detector, but they’re iron just the same.
Summer Activities for Youth!
School’s almost out and you’re probably looking forward to a hot, lazy summer. That’s great for a while, but you don’t want to get bored. So, the Grand Forks Recreation Department has a variety of activities planned to help you fill your days.
For the first time ever, a Live Band is coming to play at the pool for a special Teen Swim on Friday, June 25th. The pool will be open from 9 to 11 p.m. with admission restricted to ages 13 to 18 (no adults!). Along with the music, door prizes and special activities there will also be a barbeque on the patio. What a way to start your summer!
There will be lots for you to do throughout July and August with drop-in Roller Hockey – FREE – every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the arena and drop in Floor Hockey on Thursday nights in the arena. And in August you can get ready for hockey season at an In-Line skating clinic.
Stay in shape at the Youth Weight Training and Fitness Camp July 5th to 9th and learn the “hows” and “whys” of lifeguarding at a Junior Lifeguard Camp August 23rd to 27th. G.F. Recreation Centre also has a couple of 3 on 3 tournaments coming up, some adventurous Mountain Bike Rides and Discovery Scuba in the pool. It’s all for you this summer!
|This weeks guess where?|
Last Weeks Winner
Meaghan Ronaghan in grade 5 at Perley School wins the $5 prize money for correctly answering “1901 pumper in Gyro Park” was where the #3 was