At the end of each year, we take some time to relax and enjoy time together with all the employees at the farm. The hard work of the year is done, and we can catch up on things like farm machine maintenance.

This winter will be different than past ones because two of the employees will become fathers in December and will start their parental leaves. (Their hard work is just beginning!)

Parental leave is an excellent program for fathers – something that didn’t exist for past generations of farmers.

Many farmers don’t have enough employees to take over if their employees take parental leave.  I have seen neighbouring farmers help each other to allow one to take parental leave. We are fortunate that our team can cover for two new dads at a time.

One of the workers, who will be a first-time father, is from Belgium. I’ve written about him before. He and his wife don’t have family here, so the little boy will know us more then their family in Belgium. We are taking our role of ‘grandparents’ very seriously! We organized a baby shower with all our friends that have also become their friends over the three years they have been in Canada.

When we count the employees at the farm, their significant others, and their children, we are 35 this year. So, it’s a nice-sized group to do something different.

This year we decided to do things early so everyone could participate. Both pregnant wives are due to have their babies in December, so we have planned the party early November (this Friday, in fact). We hired a caterer who will serve a traditional Québec Christmas buffet, with devils’ eggs, bacon wrapped sausage, meat pie (tourtière) from Lac-Saint-Jean, macaroni salad, fava bean soup, home made donuts, and chocolate (no turkey, we leave that for the real Christmas diner!).

Once the party’s cleaned up, we will be waiting for our two little babies to be born. The new arrivals will make this Christmas extra special for us!