Welcome New Year

8 01 2008

Sunset after Snowstorm over Holiday Field

Happy New Year to Everyone! The farm has been very quiet around here for the last month. We had a few folks out to pick up a ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree, but, especially with all the snow and holidays, we haven’t had as many visitors as usual. We’ve been hibernating a little as well, taking in the lovely soft whiteness of the snow, sledding, skiing and snowshoeing with the kids and trying to motivate ourselves to plan for the coming sugaring season which is all too quickly followed by the start of the growing season. Currently, the desk is piled with seed catalogs in preparation for sifting and sorting through for the best varieties of vegetables, flowers & herbs. You probably don’t realize that there are about fifteen choices for plain old zucchini, and that is just for the straight, green kind, that doesn’t include the yellow, the round, the striped, etc. And then there are the tomatoes and the flowers and so many other things. It is worth the time, and it is one of the truly fun parts of the growing process- this is the dreaming phase- when you can picture the gorgeous, perfect, weed-free rows of pest and disease-free plants complete with perfectly timed rainfalls (not too much, not too little). While the fantasy is lovely to picture, in truth, I would probably find it dull since it is the work that we put in that makes the result so much more satisfying. And that is all the more from a little complication. Snowy Elm
Animal news: The piglets have moved out. They were starting to put too much strain on poor Pinky and she was still losing weight, so we set up another pen for them. They got to stay with their mother far longer than piglets ordinarily do. The standard is for weaning at six weeks of age and these guys are now almost three months old and they are big! Pinky was a little depressed for the first two days after we did so, but she seems to be perking up. She can still see and hear them, so they converse through the fences.
We’ve also opened up the fence between her and Lucy, trying again to make them friends now that Lucy is much bigger and Pinky is a little lonely. It has been successful for the most part, we hear or see evidence of bickering once in a while, but we also find them curled up together. We are hoping to bring in a boar in the next month so that we have a chance of having both sows farrowing on pasture in late April or early May. The chickens have started to pick up with their laying and there are usually eggs for sale in the fridge at the barn office. If you are lucky you might even get a green one or two in your dozen. They seem to be faring well in their winter quarters- I’m often surprised that even on the coldest days, their space is relatively warm without being stifling. However, with it being so incredibly bitter the last few days, don’t be surprised if you find an egg in your dozen that is a little cloudy- the egg is totally fine to eat, the cloudiness just means that they got a little too cold. We also just placed our chick order for this year. March 3rd will bring us 80 more baby chicks of all colors. Farm happenings: The maple season is fast approaching and we are gearing up for it. Sometimes it even starts as early as the middle of next month depending on the season. Keep us in mind as February nears its end, the sugar house is open anytime you see steam pouring out of the cupola and we welcome visitors. You can participate in the sugaring process or just have a simple tour. We also schedule more extensive group tours, please contact us at the farm (or stop by) and we will get you a detailed brochure.

I’d also like to remind everyone that snowmobiles and ATVs are not allowed on farm property at any time. This is for the protection of our boarders, their horses, our livestock (who tend to panic at the sight of loud, fast moving machines) and the numerous public who frequent the farm for quiet recreation (often with their dogs). We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and respect in this request. That said, the farm is a great place to come for cross-country skiing, sledding & snow-shoeing and it is absolutely beautiful. If you would like more information, or a trail map, give us a call and we’ll get one out to you.

Farm Cottage after Snowstorm

Garden CSA and Rare Earth update: The CSA brochures have gone out to last years members and the CSA is growing, so if you are interested, we will happily mail you a brochure. You can also check out the CSA page on the blog and cut & paste the Sign-up form into a Word document, fill it out and mail it to us. The planning is well under way- we’ve got lots of seeds to order, field layouts to plan, seedlings to start, a greenhouse to finish and so much more, but we’re excited about this endeavor.  

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