Higher Ground – Farm Update

I love snow. Powdery, crunch, gorgeous snow that perks up our winter grass pasture and feeds are animals all through the year. But not this year, or last year, or the year before. We have RAIN. We have mud. We have winter grasses dying off. And we have Flooding not unlike the famous 2010 flood in farm damages. On the upside – no beavers. Thanks to the rain!

2016 snow

We had two floods in December. The first took out the driveway. The second took out the driveway again and laid the fence down. The critters are grazing in the back – when not confined to the barn. All three cattle are growing. It never ceases to amaze me how much they can grow over the winter on nothing but hay and a small scoop of grain. We are currently walking in and out of the farm across the creek when possible. I made a short video about it:

Watch it here

The frosts finally came in earnest and killed off most of the summer grasses.

“Where did the grass go, Shepherd?”

However, we still have a few radishes hanging on. We are continuing to mulch the garden. While on the garden – I discovered I basically use the Ruth Stout method of gardening. I had no idea. I’ve been enjoying watching her video and following along with other gardeners using this method. I really thought I was an odd ball. Come to find out – I’m just following in some very lovely foot steps!

Our beloved rooster Kang died from cancer. It was sad. Now his mate Cordilia is on the slow slide down. She’s been very sad without him. Cordy has been my pet hen since day one. She’s always been the hen being carried around the farm like parrot or favored pup. I know that the day to say good bye to my best birdy is coming soon. But I am enjoying the days we have together.

Her sister Buffy died a few days after Christmas as well. I saved a few of her feathers. I don’t know what I’ll ever do with them. But I have them. She, too, was a sweet girl. Our little flock is becoming smaller and smaller. So, 2020 is the year we breed out new hens to replace our old girls who are rapidly leaving our company. I can’t wait to meet my new friends.

Christmas was our typical low keyed affair. We did enjoy some time together cooking a gorgeous Dutch Baby topped with aged Cheddar, asparagus, and mushrooms along side a few other tasty dishes. I tried making drunken pears with a few of out last pears and some pear wine from last year. I ended up making rocket fuel pears! Even with sugar they were… medicinal! We all had a good laugh about my range in cooking skills. Best dishes and worst dishes – my family loves me!

I ordered the bulk of our seed from Baker Creek this past month. We are very excited to start planting the first week of February. Our line up for produce this year in addition to our tomatoes include sweet peas, radishes, beets, carrots, chard, kale, zucchini, patty pan squash, cucumbers, and beans. Did I mention we are excited? I still need to pick out our tomatoes varieties, lettuce, and of course our famous organic potatoes. Well, famous at our local farmer’s market! With crop shortages expected again for 2020 we feel that expanding our sustainability is important. We are adding an heirloom flint corn and Emmer to our farm. The hope is by 2022 we can grow enough for animal feed and table grains there by reducing both our dependency on commercial commodities and our overall carbon foot print.

We live our homemade bread!

We are also planting apple trees from seed this January along with pears, peaches, and paw paw. For those of you who don’t know – apples are not something easily propagated by seed. If you have two Fuji apples and cross them – you will not get a Fuji apple. You will get something entirely different. Apple genetics are very different from other plants. We may hit gold, or we may have some very nice firewood. It’s a toss up. Either way I’m looking forward to the journey. I do expect our pears and peaches to breed true. The same ancient pear can be found up and down our cove growing wild. They’re a hard pear, but juicy and they store well. The Paw paw is the local wild variety. And they are yummy! Three years from now I hope to make my own paw paw cookies.

Our Elderberry and Herb sales have done well. We pretty much sold out. So, we have plans to double our production this coming year. I’m excited about that, too. I can’t wait to forage in the woods with my boy Asset.

Mom hurt her leg. I dislocated a rib and had my own fall that twacked my nervous system. We both are quickly recovering. As usual, we are thankful for the good health we enjoy but still frustrated by not being as independent as usual. So often we focus easily on an injury as a bad thing while forgetting to be thankful for our body’s ability to heal. I’m thinking this should be my New Year’s resolution – to be thankful for my healthy body instead of focusing on the inconvenience of injury when it arises.

The past month has had its ups and down. Mostly, it has been peaceful. Which, with a name like Serenity Cove, suites our little valley just fine. Even with the extra work that the rain brings I feel thankful as I listen to the pattering on the old metal roof. Even facing the depths of winter and major weather changes that sound reminds me we are still here. There is still hope. And like the spring awaiting the sun, my hope springs eternal. The wheel is always turning. We are the ones that choose where we want to jump off – into the flood waters or onto higher ground. And this year – I’m intending higher ground as my jumping off point. I hope you join me.

Until next time,

Craft No Harm

Moriah