In the whirlwind that is life I forgot to stop and take a moment while the moment was there. So here I am, as I usually find myself, a few days late (ok a few weeks in this case).
Labor Day weekend marked one year on the farm. We built in one year what took us three years at our old place. And I can promise you that we are exhausted. Winter brings it’s own long list of troubles, but a period of rest sounds wonderful.
Here’s how the farm has changed in one year…
We went from 20 laying hens to 50, 6 goats to 9, we got rabbits, heifers, and another livestock guardian dog. We fenced half the summer away; thousands of dollars and about a billion T-posts later we have pasture. We learned electric fence and started rotational grazing. Hayley, our livestock guardian dog, went from a puppy brained goober to fully mature and out working full time. She is currently training the next generation.
We brought home another Maremma pup, Mathias. He is serious, and low key. He takes his duty of protecting the farm literally, and at 12 weeks old is out working full time with Hayley in the chicken yard.
The garden, that got neglected for a good portion of the season, is producing way more than I ever expected. I have hauled in 100 pounds of cucumbers from 3 plants. I pickled more than we’ll ever eat in a year, we eat several every night at dinner and yet still the plants are flowering and putting off cukes. As well as cucumbers, we are enjoying a variety of tomatoes, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, corn, peppers, eggplant, and peanuts!
Our work load was made a bit simpler with the addition of a full sized tractor and a Ford F-350 6L diesel with a dump box insert. We have fenced, heaved, hauled, sweat, bled, and cried all over this dang farm.
And while we have had many many gains this year, there was still a lot of loss. We had our first goat kid die during birth. The longest moment of my life was out there under the blazing sun trying to get this giant dead kid out of our smallest doe. We lost 16 chickens to various things, 3 of which were my favourites. Loretta, Pocket, and Scarlett (all active faces on my Instagram account) died within days of each other, and I’ll admit I ugly cried as I buried them in my garden. Our main breeding rabbit came down quickly with an ear infection (they get ear checks weekly so the fact that the infection took hold of her so quickly was a surprise). In her saddened state she wasn’t moving around very much and ended up getting fly strike. I spent the night pulling maggots, bathing her, brushing her, and tried desperately to pull her through the shock. I have never yet been successful in fighting fly strike and at 3:30 in the morning she crawled into my lap and died.
And while the lows brought mountains of grief, the highs always make it all worth it. Bringing home the heifers was probably the highest of the highs this year. As well as sharing this place. We opened our home a lot this summer, and almost every weekend was spent socializing, eating, and showing off the beauty of the farm and the mess of life (because not everything is blog or instagram pretty) with friends and family.
As we are at the end of another season, I’m looking forward to the grounding feel of Autumn. I’m ready for blankets, pumpkins, apples, cider, scarves, and frost. Last winter we spent many an afternoon out on the snowmobiles tearing through the fields and the forest. Exploring the forgotten nooks and crannies of this beautiful place, and I’m looking forward to doing that again. I’m not looking forward to frozen gates, and putting on 26 layers before stepping out the door…..
What a year.
Now indulge me a few more pictures. It was sooooo hard to only pick “a few”. I want to submerge you in the beauty of this place!
Next up: a sugar shack, running lines through the almost 100 acres of maple bush out back, and hopefully next Spring we’ll be on to honey bees. Next year is looking pretty sweet already.
See what I did there?
With the craziness of this season the blog got pushed a bit to the back burner, and I’m sorry for that. The blog is where I keep track of my thoughts, document our progress, and hopefully inspire some of you to get your hands in the dirt and create something beautiful and delicious.
Because we all need more food in our lives.