Harvest Time

17 10 2007

Harvest WagonOctober is upon us in all of its harvest splendour. In the last month we’ve harvested all the winter squash from Rare Earth’s garden- almost 1600 pounds! The haying is almost done. These days it takes a long time for the hay to dry, but that third cut is so worth it that we have to try. Firewood deliveries are coming along despite the late start this year due to various equipment problems- we’ve put a hold on new orders for a bit, but we should be up to speed by the end of the month. This time of year has also seen a resurgence in compost orders- now is a great time to work compost into those gardens while putting them to bed before the ground freezes- it will give you a jump on the spring and make for gorgeous spring tulips as well.We’ve started putting some fields to bed for the winter by discing and planting cover crops such as oats and winter rye. These ‘green manures’ hold the soil in place during the winter months and either die off by the end of winter, leaving behind a lovely mulch that needs just a little raking to plant directly into, or we will let grow into straw that we will then mow off before turning under the stubble which adds more lovely organic matter to our soils. Farmstand Tomatoes

Rare Earth Market is going strong! The sunflowers have gone by and all we are left with to remind us of their beauty are tall stalks and heads heavy with seeds. The birds, squirrels and mice are getting fat out there on all that food. I love walking down the field to the flurry of goldfinches and sparrows that wing out from their dinners. Despite the lack of gorgeous sunny splendour, there are still lots of delicious vegetables coming from the field. Salad mix and mustard greens (not bitter at all, fall is the best time to eat these!) such as arugula, mizuna & red giant, sweet sweet orange carrots, Swiss Chard in all colors, tender Red Russian Kale, sweet red peppers, broccoli (any day!), and of course, tomatoes until we have a killing frost and the basils to go with it. The old orchard was fair to bursting with incredible organic apples this season and we’ve been picking- we have no idea what kinds they are, but they are delicious. We have apples for cider, apples for pie, for applesauce or apple-butter and just plain old great fresh eating apples.We’ve also got Golden and Idaho Russet potatoes and Winter Squash….do we have winter squash. We planted a number of different kinds, some of which are familiar and others which will seem quite strange, beautiful, and delicious! Come and check out all of our offerings! We also have a whole field of gorgeous pumpkins of all sizes for you to Pick-Your-Own! We’re open earlier on the weekends from now until the end of the month…..get those Jack-O-Lanterns now (don’t carve until the night before Halloween!) To complete your harvest decorations we’re also offering bunches of cornstalks and broomcorn (seedheads on the top make for a lovely and more colorful display), all sorts of crazy gourds, specialty pumpkins, and gorgeous deep red and multi-colored Indian corn.We are now offering our own pasture-raised Pork- chops, sausage, roasts and ribs will all be available in the first week of October from the freezer up at the farmstead office (we still don’t have electric down at the stand). If you are looking for hams or bacon- we had them shipped off to Connecticut for a real wood smoking and we’ll let you know when it gets here. Sorry folks, we still haven’t worked out the logistics of sending frozen meat through the mail.  Dalton Girl Scouts on hayride

The Education Program had its first workshop in a while, we gave a hands-on seed saving demo to the Dalton Girl Scouts and they followed that up with a hayride up to the top of Cooper Meadow where they had a picnic snack. The girls had a great time opening up the seed pods of calendula, zinnia, batchelor buttons, torch (ouch!) and dry beans. They also tried some fresh sunflower seeds and and took home a bunch of seeds to start in the spring. Desirée is continuing to schedule group workshops and hayrides for the fall foliage season.  


Animal news:   Pinky was due (according to the 3 month, 3 week, 3 day rule of gestation) on Oct. 6- but the new piggies came one day early!! She even had them while we were around so we got to witness the birth of eight healthy piglets- 3 girls and 5 boys. There was one little tiny ‘runt’, but she was vigorous and healthy. However we were a little worried that she wouldn’t be able to keep warm or fight her way to enough food, so we found a lovely new home for her with our friends in Plainfield who have milk goats (the perfect piglet food if they can’t stay with Mama). Thank you to the Abend family for being willing to care for a newborn piglet! According to the most recent reports she is doing well, has doubled her size, drinking her milk from a dish, and potty training to a litter box. Pinky and her firstborn
We moved Lucy into the pig barn though we have them separate since we didn’t know how either Pinky or Lucy would react once the piglets were born. They will still be able to commune through the fence, so neither will be lonely. We are looking into finding a young heritage breed boyfriend for Lucy- the heritage breeds usually grow better on pastured systems with less outside grain needed, so we’ve got our ears out for a lovely Tamworth (the red ones!) or another long, lean breed.



Jesse & Mike working on new mobile Hen HouseThe hens will soon have a new home. Jesse is hard at work, among all the other things he’s trying to do, building the new deluxe mobile chicken house. We should be transferring them to their new home by the middle of this month. We’ve got the young pullets grazing on as much pasture as we can reach from the barn and they are loving it. They started growing really rapidly once they had access to lots of sunshine, grass and bugs and have filled out beautifully. We are looking at fresh eggs from them starting next month.

Sorry that things are getting out a little later than usual this month, we’re pretty busy around here- we’ll keep you updated on all the things that are going on!

Rainbow over Cooper Meadow




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