Winter is a slow and simple time on the farm. We cook and eat a lot in the winter! It’s nice to have the free time to work on kitchen projects like rendering lard, developing sourdough starter and perfecting the baking process, and pressure canning dried beans. Both of us write and read quite a lot over the winter too, something we don’t have as much time for during the other 3 seasons of the year.
Our ducks are doing great and enjoying their winter break from laying eggs, although we’ve been finding one egg each morning- this might mean that some of the ladies are going to come out of vacation mode earlier than we expected! We’ll see. The chorus of excited quacks coming from the duck barn in the morning as we open the doors to let them out is adorable, and except for the very chilly -10 days, they always race outside every day.
The piglets are doing fantastically in the deep bedding in the hoophouse. We opened up the entire 30 x 60 space for them so they can carouse and ramble like all piglets should. They spend their days digging, eating hay, playing together and resting in the sun. They really love their soaked organic grains, and also get an organically grown mix we buy from a grain grower’s cooperative in Minnesota. We are getting very excited for spring and summer pig pasturing, working out our plans for our pigs to be able to graze over about 10 acres of hilly land in our northwestern corner of the farm, which we call the “gully.” The gully is home to many apple trees and delicious discoveries for the pigs! They will help reinvigorate the soil through their gentle rooting, and then we will be seeding clover and alfalfa after we move them off each paddock to develop even better grazing areas for our pastured pigs. We will be retaining our top female pigs this summer to begin our own pig breeding program on the farm. We want to select the best grazing pigs to be the mothers of our future piglets.
Andrew’s working with our local butcher to develop some super delicious pastured pork products, but we won’t go into that until they are ready for you to taste! Sorry for the cliffhanger, but you won’t disappointed!
This winter has had a few frigid peaks but overall has been quite mellow, knock on wood. Speaking of wood, we are splitting up some of our black locust trees today – Andrew is also finally selling his old yellow truck to some folks who are keen on getting it running right again.