Sun, sand and a yurt

We are pretty big on camping (the tenting kind that is), but this year with a toddler and 7 month old in tow, we decided on a family GLAMPING trip! Vancouver Island has so many great options when it comes to finding a nice beach spot, and of course, we needed dog-friendly accommodations! We didn't have to look long before we found Seaview Game Farm. So we packed up the kids and dog and left Nanaimo for a yurt. 

Sunrise from the yurt

Sunrise from the yurt

The yurt was nestled right on the beach, which was basically derserted, save for all the sea creatures. Perfect for toddler and adult exploring alike, with tons of little treasures to be found!

Much to my delight, the farm also had these little darling Scottish Highland Cattle. My absolute favourite! 

Scottish Highland Cattle

Scottish Highland Cattle

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The farm features fresh local vegetables when in season, venison and grass fed beef. They also have goats, alpacas, llamas and a nice little playground for the kids. 

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All and all we had the most fantastic time here. If you are looking for a little local getaway (and love animals), I'd highly recommend the farm. You are also a stones throw away from Miracle Beach,  a meadery and a whisky distillery! 

So long to the yurt and summer, we will see you again next year. 

Beary taking a siesta.

Beary taking a siesta.

Spring is in the air

I was born and raised in Victoria, B.C., and I can't think of anything more spring-like than a stroll in Beacon Hill Park to enjoy the beautiful flowers and cherry blossoms. 

Cherry blossoms at  Beacon Hill Park

Cherry blossoms at Beacon Hill Park

The spring flowers were in full bloom, which was definitely a pick me up after the drab and snow filled winter we experienced this year. 

Tulips at Beacon Hill Park

Tulips at Beacon Hill Park

I'm sure at this point in the blog you are wondering where are the animals?! Not to worry, it's coming. As a child, I spent many hours volunteering at the Beacon Hill Children's Farm. I wanted to become a veterinarian as long as I could remember, so I jumped on any opportunity to work with animals. It's fun to go back now with my kids. I get to see it all over again from their eyes. The goats are definitely the main attraction. The kids can brush and pet them to their little hearts content. 

Mama goat with her kid

Mama goat with her kid

The peacocks were out proudly displaying their full plumage. Their calls are iconic and can be heard from afar. 

Stunning male peacock displaying his feathers

Stunning male peacock displaying his feathers

Some of the animals, like the miniature horse Peanut Butter, have been at the farm since I was a kid! 

MIniature horse Peanut Butter with her Miniature donkey friends

MIniature horse Peanut Butter with her Miniature donkey friends

Of course, no trip to Beacon Hill Park can be complete without stopping in at the Beacon Drive-In. Fries and soft serve ice cream...yes, please! 

So next time you find yourself in Victoria, make sure to put Beacon Hill Park on your list of places to visit. In truth, my 3 year old spent most of the time following the ducks around the ponds and somehow managed not to fall in!

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A few of my favourite things: Cows, cheese and wine

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and MooBerry Winery is possibly one of my favourite places to visit on Vancouver Island. With toddler in tow, we headed up for a morning of fun. It's always nice to take off my "veterinarian's hat" for a few minutes and just enjoy being around animals. 

I've always felt that knowing where one's food actually comes from is so important. I buy local if I can and try to support small businesses. The dairy industry has taken some big hits recently and criticism for animal abuse. Little Qualicum Cheeseworks is a SPCA certified farm. So what does that mean exactly? Well, they have to meet some pretty high standards as well as pass on-site inspections. 

Check out the BC SPCA's website for a list of SPCA certified farms.

Look for SPCA certified signs!

Look for SPCA certified signs!

Something pretty special recently happened at the farm. They installed a state of the art robotic milking machine! Robotic milking machines have been around for a while, but you don't see them very often on small scale operations. So what the heck is a robotic milking machine?! Well to put it simply, it allows the cows to milk themselves when they feel full! Many also have the technology to monitor the cows of mastitis (infection of the mammary gland). All of which equal improved animal welfare.

Is it my turn yet?!

Is it my turn yet?!

Giant brush in case the girls have an itch they need scratched!

Giant brush in case the girls have an itch they need scratched!

You can really get up close and personal with these girls. They are some happy cows! It's been shown through numerous published scientific studies that happy cows produce more milk. Seems like a win win to me.

Happy cows!

Happy cows!

Now we certainly can't forget about the cheese. At Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, they produce the cheese on site. You can also sample any of the cheeses before you buy. Be warned though, you may want to buy them all!

Making cheese.

Making cheese.

Glorious, copious amounts of cheese!

Glorious, copious amounts of cheese!

Now for the wine connoisseurs out there, don't forget to check out their fruit wines. Apple is my absolute favourite in the summer months. The neat thing is, their flavours change with each batch they make, so they are different all the time. Construction is currently underway for an outdoor patio for their new cafe! (I literally cannot wait)!

Next time you are in the Qualicum area stop by and check out the farm. See what happy cows look like, and use it as a fabulous learning experience for your kids!

*Haven Veterinary Services provides small animal mobile veterinary services in Nanaimo, Lantzville, Nanoose and Ladysmith.*