Farming has always been a big part of both Samantha (Greenwood) and Dylan Breault's families. The new generation has continued with the traditional trade but added their twist to it.
This spring they once again turned into caregivers for four dozen of Katahdin sheep, and lambing was not without surprises. One of their sheep had quadruplets, which is not that common even for lambs.
"It's fairly rare for sheep. We usually have twins. We have lots of singles. We had about four sets of triplets born this year. And we actually did have a set of quads born last year. It was a different mom. But this month, we really weren't expecting her to have four. And they were pretty big, healthy babies," Samantha said with a smile.
Not only were the sheep birthed on their own, but she also was taking care of all of them for quite a long time.
"We were expecting to have to take off one to two babies right off the start. But she really carried them up until about three weeks in and then we noticed we had two, one of the white ones and one of the black ones, one's a girl and one's a boy, they weren't doing as well. So we ended up having to take them off to bottle feed," explained Samantha.
Two babies that were taken off mom to ensure that all offspring get enough nutrition and grow into strong and healthy animals eventually found new homes. And the other two stayed on the yard.
Samantha said that raising sheep was originally Dylan's idea. He wanted to do something on top of grain farming since he was a teenager.
"My husband started with two ewe moms and three babies, I think back in 2013 or 2012. And now we're up to 43 new moms and we had 73 babies born this year," Samantha said.
Dylan's family used to have cattle, but they've sold out that part and went strictly into grain farming, and according to Samantha, Dylan really missed the livestock. So he started getting into sheep before the couple started dating, and now the entire family finds joy in it.
"I love lambing so much," Samantha said. "We had a surprise lamb that was just born a week ago. We were two or three weeks done lambing by that point, and this mom just had a baby. We were like, 'What?' It was the tiniest little lamb. It was a first-time mom, and she had this tiny little lamb. And now my daughter is hooked on it, and a little lamb follows her around. When we go to do chores, they have their buckets of oats with me when we do our chores. And she sits on the ground and she'll just pet her little lamb for the whole half hour that we are out there."
On April 28 the family, consisting of Samantha, Dylan, Dylan's parents and Samantha's brother and his wife, started seeding. As of May 12, they were just over halfway done.
Samantha, who is originally from Lampman, where she grew up on a grain farm, now works side by side with Dylan at his farm at Forget. This time of year, he runs the seeder, and she does spraying and fieldwork such as disking and harrowing.
"I am just newly onto my husband's farm. I grew up on a bigger farm; I grew up with 18,000 acres on my family farm. And I actually managed the spraying operation on there," Samantha said.
She said she grew up "in the tractor and the combine." The originally small farm gradually grew, and Samantha was learning how to be a farmer while also growing a love for the trade.
"I just love being outdoors. I enjoy that special connection with my husband, being able to farm with him now. And raising our children to be in the farming world that we both grew up in. I really, really enjoy that now seeing my kids have that life that I did growing up, being able to experience those things that I know a lot of kids don't get to experience. I feel like it made me a better person. And yeah, just something about driving equipment. It has always been a part of my life and I couldn't imagine not being a farmer," Samantha said.
Dylan is a fourth-generation farmer and Samantha is fifth. The young couple got married about three years ago, and now they are raising the next farming generation - Haven, 3, and Jack, 1.
"We knew we wanted to farm since we were kids. And we've been together since we were 14; we were high school sweeties. And now we have a couple of kids of our own," Samantha said.
"My kids they love it. My son … the only words he knows right now are tractor and dada. He sees a tractor and he will bend over backwards until you get him in the cab to sit him down. It's like a drug for him. And my daughter too. She sees daddy in the seeder, and she's like, 'I want to go ride in the tractor with daddy’ or, ‘Let me go riding with mommy in her tractor.' She even has her own little farm animals at home. That when we're not out farming or doing chores, she's at home and she's got her little farm animals and farm equipment that she does. And my son also does."
The family has about 4,000 acres that they work, growing spring wheat, barley, canola and flax.