Why is the corn harvested before the Halloween weekend?

 

We need to harvest the corn maze shortly after the Thanksgiving weekend, so we can make corn silage for our cattle to eat during the winter.  The best quality corn silage is made from corn harvested shortly after the first hard frost in the fall time, usually in September.  Harvesting the corn in mid October greatly reduces the quality of the corn silage; however, we realize that the public enjoys the Haunted Corn Maze Events, so we don’t harvest the corn until after the Thanksgiving weekend.   

 

Note: Please pack out all of your garbage from the corn maze because we do not want our cattle exposed to any foreign objects that could potentially harm their stomachs.  You would be surprised what cattle accidentally ingest.  

 

Watch the corn maze being harvested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqy9XF6eFFs&feature=youtube_gdata

 

Why do you not sell corn on the cob?

 

This variety of corn is developed for cattle feed.  These corn plants produce very starchy and bland corn kernels.  You will likely enjoy the other corn varieties found in the grocery stores, much more than these corn cobs.  All of the cobs, along with the entire corn plant, are harvested at the end of the season and provide our cattle with a protein-rich source of food during the winter months.  Whatever corn is not picked up with the corn harvester will be consumed by the cattle grazing this field until the first snowfall.  We assure you that nothing will be wasted, so please try the leave the corn cobs on the plant and the corn plants in an upright position!

 

Why do we need to bring the correct change for admission?

 

We have a coin drop at the entrance to the maze and the honour system has worked really well over the years.  Even though our family really enjoys meeting the people who come to visit the corn maze, we also need to complete our daily farm chores so we might not be around to provide change for your group.  Most of our visitors have visited the maze before so thank you for helping us continue with this simple payment system. 

The money you place into the coin drop helps pay for the corn seed, fertilizer, irrigation electricity costs, tractor fuel costs and rota tiller maintenance costs all needed to operate this corn maze.  We are thankful for your support so we can continue to operate the corn maze as an affordable activity for all families.

 

What are those noisy and funny looking grey and white birds running around the corn field?

 

You have been fortunate to see our resident Helmeted Guineafowl.  They are considered our barnyard watch dogs because they are quick to alert everyone about potential predators in the area.

Helmeted Guineafowl are native to Africa, but have been domesticated in North America and have adjusted to life with our chickens on the farm.

It is not uncommon for these birds to walk 10km a day!  They spend their day chasing insects and scratching the dirt looking for small invertebrates and seeds.  They will spend the winter inside the chicken coop and will be ready to run around the barnyard and the cornfield in the springtime.  We hope that you have the opportunity to see these interesting characters during your visit.

 

Why does the concession stand always appear closed when we visit?

 

It is not always closed.  Their will be a concession stand during our haunted corn maze events.

 

We encourage everyone to bring their own snacks and drinks.  The corn field can be quite hot and humid during July and August, so bring your water bottles.  If you desperately need a water bottle refill, the water is safe to drink from the tap outside the outdoor washrooms.

 

Are there washroom facilities at the corn maze?

 

Yes, we have one flush toilet for the ladies, one flush toilet for the gentlemen and a sink for washing hands.  The washroom is located south of the corn maze entrance in a little beige shed. Watch for the signs. 

 

 

Why is this ranch known as the Australian Ranch?

 

The Yorston family is not from Australia; however, there is an Australian connection with the men who pre-empted this land in the 1860’s.  These men were Andrew Oleson (Olson?), who was Swedish, George Cook, who was Australian, and William and Stephen Downes, who were English.  There are slightly different versions of the history involving these men and this ranch--the following seems to make the most sense.  What is known is that Mr. Oleson had travelled from Europe to Australia in the search of gold at the age of 23.  He had worked in New Zealand and Tasmania for ll years before leaving in 1861 in pursuit of the Fraser River Goldrush.  Mr. Oleson had met Mr.Cook and the Downes brothers in Victoria where they spent a few months helping rebuild the Cary Castle.  In 1863, these men formed a partnership and headed into the Cariboo with their newly designed 2-man wheelbarrows.  They arrived at the current location of the Australian Ranch in June of 1863.  Mr.Cook had enough of the hard life in the Cariboo and left the partnership after only one year.  The other three men continued to work hard to clear farm land to grow crops.  Initially they had cleared a parcel of land which is located on the east side of Highway 97, behind the Cariboo Place Campground.  This area is referred to as the Old Ranch.  A stagecoach stopping house, called the Paradise Hotel, was built on this land.  It is my understanding that this log structure was moved to the present day farmyard, near the corn maze, when the Cariboo Road was completed in 1865.  The new stopping house, was known as the Australian’s Place, and became a popular stop for weary travellers, including Judge Begbie.  Since the time of the stagecoach stopping houses, this small area in BC and the creek that transects this property both bare the name Australian.

 

Here is a link to a newspaper article from 1904 about Andrew Olson (Oleson?):

http://www.britishcolonist.ca/tc/1904/08/30/19040830007.pdf