Monthly Archives: November 2012

Christmas Season

It’s our first official Christmas on the farm!! We were here last year, but in the middle of our mini-remodel, so we didn’t take the time to find our own tree but instead bought one from a neighbor.

But this year, we took the time over Thanksgiving to hunt down our own tree on our own property.

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We chose a tree from the bluff along our road, and took it down with a small pruning saw.

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Talina carried the tree back home for us, and we set it up in the living room… Happy Holiday Season, let the Christmas Caroling begin!

Thanksgiving

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For Thanksgiving dinner, we celebrated our year on the farm with many local ingredients:

  • Turkey
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Goat Milk
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Sunchokes
  • Herbs

Goal for next year: Add brussel sprouts, parsnips, and carrots to the list.

Harvest: Turkey

Today was the day we’ve been working towards since I brought our turkeys home at 10 weeks old, on July 4th.  We’ve fed them and cared for them and now, half of them are destined for the holiday oven.20121123-102912.jpg

A last meal, last Saturday.

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We chose four turkeys to butcher, and kept them separately in cages overnight, to keep them from eating before being butchered (easier to clean).  Catching them was easy, we went out at midnight, and picked the sleeping turkeys off their roosts.  Sunday, Glenna came up, and Thaddeus having returned two days prior, we had a butchering party in the shop.

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Thanksgiving morning: our biggest tom was only 9lbs, which is quite small!  Still, all plucked and brined, he was a beautiful looking bird.  You can see the difference between these animals and the Broad Breasted variety that is most often sold commercially.  Ours had much longer and more muscular legs, but a much smaller chest.  Overall, ours is longer and less compact than the commercial turkeys.

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All roasted and ready to eat!  We are grateful to our turkey for his life, and this meal. Happy Thanksgiving!

Harvest: Potatoes and Sunchokes

We pulled in the potatoes from the garden grow bags this evening.  In all, about 30 pounds of potatoes were harvested this season. Seems like not all that much, but Talina doesn’t really eat potatoes, so 30 pounds is PLENTY for us!  While we were out there, we also dug up the sunchokes that had grown as volunteers in one of my containers by the house:  Not a bad harvest for an accidental crop!

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Leaf Piles

With the goats set up for a winter, and the freezing weather on it’s way, we turned our attention to the chickens today. Their original bedding was straw, thick stacks of it put in in March. But a years worth of chicken scratching, and the bedding was more dirt than straw.

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The fallen leaves froze along with the dew this morning – winter is on it’s way!

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We scrapped out the last of the original bedding, and swept the floor clean.

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Then we hauled huge loads of maple leaves down from the trees by the shop, and filed the coop up 3′ high with leaves.

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The chickens were a little weirded out by the leaves at first, the ground shifted so much beneath them!  But soon they’ll get the bedding flattened out, and in spring, we’ll have new mulch to add to the garden!

Fence Party!

As fall has approached, two things became clear to us:

1) There was not enough available fodder in our current pastures to keep our 7 goats fed all winter, let alone keep the 15 goats we expected to be hosting when Thaddeus returned for the winter.

2) Due to a number of issues, there was not going to be any new major goat barn construction happening before the weather got very bad.

So, a mini epiphany came to visit us, and we decided to put in a new, temporary fence off the north side of our current barn, down into the forest, for the winter.  The goats will have plenty of blackberries and brush to eat, and would still have access to the barn when the weather is terrible.  It avoids the compromise of having to deal with a half-built shelter for the winter, and gives the goats access to way more food variety than they would have had.  Win-win!  But we still had to build the fence.

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We started with fiberglass posts and bags of insulators.  A few West Wing episodes, and our 100 posts were fabricated into equally spaced insulated posts for a five-strand electric twine fence.

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The best way to get anything big done on the farm (and in life) is with helping hands.  So we prepped some delicious food, and invited our community to come out and swing some mallets in the damp November weather.

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Two hours of putting up the posts, around what would be a 2-acre pasture.  We took a break for hot soup lunch, then went back out for 4 hours of putting up the electric twine, setting up the gates, and reinforcing the fiberglass posts with steel t-posts at the corners.

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Nearly finished on our way back to the barn – a little math, and we had a fully enclosed pasture in just about 6 hours!

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The goats (and the sheep) are in favor of these new developments…

We are so grateful to all our friends and family who drove out on a cold day to help us put the fence up so quickly!  Our community is amazing, and we feel so blessed.