Friday, August 21, 2009

Almost a year later...

We have had an incredibly busy year and the farm has just grown and grown. The most important addition to the farm was Rustina, a dairy cow. She is a beautiful dark Jersey cow with a rusty-colored spot on her head. She is just getting "dried up" (we won't milk her after today) so that she can concentrate her energy on the calf that is due in early November.

The pigs were such a success last year that this year we formed, with the same two families, a pig co-op. We are, together, raising eight hogs. Three and one-half are for the co-op families and four and one-half are being sold. So far we have deposits securing 2 and one-half hogs, so there are just two left to sell. Tomorrow I will, along with another co-op member, attend a pig slaughter and butcher class. We don't intend to do our own butchering this year, but want to be educated about the slaughter and butcher process.

We also formed a strawberry co-op. Tired of paying a lot of money for u-pick strawberries that were not organic we decided to get together with two other families (one from the pig co-op and one other) to plant a lot of strawberry plants on our property. We won't get away with not doing u-pick this year because most of the plants are young. Next year, though, we will be able to look forward to a great crop if the weather cooperates!

There are a total of four large gardens on our property this year. One of them is the large strawberry co-op plot. One of them is the "pig garden." This is planted with "extra" seeds that we had left over from various seed-saving ventures. There are corn and green beans and squash and pumpkins in this garden. We throw the pigs a lot of this and at some point we will strip graze them in the garden to eat it all up, plants and all.

Then we have two large vegetable gardens. We have put up so much food this year and will put up so much more. Our freezer is just bursting and my mother-in-law's freezer is also getting full. She has the 29 chickens that we slaughtered last week in her freezer. This week we will shuffle things around so that there is a little of everything in both freezers.

New buildings include a cow-shed and a large two-story two-car garage. There is a large corral around the cow shed. We also put in a water line that serve our new sheep wintering area. We will put up a sheep shelter and fenced area on a high spot for over-wintering the sheep.

Dial up prohibits me from uploading any photos, but I'll go to the library (wireless access) soon and upload some photos.

We're looking forward to a great fall on the farm!