Wrong Direction Farm

Preserving

The gardens are flourishing,

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and we have been enjoying the bounty.

I haven’t harvested enough to begin any large scale canning,

but the tomatoes are just starting to turn red.  If we get a few more warm days, I’ll be making sauce soon.

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We have harvested enough to fill our plates and put a few cans of fermented goodness away.

fermented salsa

A pepper relish.

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A corn treat.

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Loads of pickles.

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Carrots and Pole Beans.

And we’ve been experimenting with jams and jellies.

We picked 50 pounds of blueberries at

Ingall’s Blueberry Hill

in Cooperstown

and our crab apple trees are loaded.

crabapples

Blueberry with balsamic vinegar and black pepper,

blueberry with cinnamon and amaretto,

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crab apple with brandy and

crab apple with cinnamon and whiskey.

I am growing calendula flowers and recently made calendula oil.

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Dave has been processing apples by the 5 gallon bucket.

We packed away a dozen apple crisps into the freezer,

and he has begun dehydrating the slices now.

New Fence

Making use of these cool sunny days lately,

 hayed field under gorgeous sky

cut field under gorgeous sky

Dave has been building fences.

The pigs have plowed through more pasture than ever,

so we are expanding.

The background shows the pigs' progress through the pasture.

The background shows the pigs’ progress through the pasture.

Dave cleared a strip 40 feet wide through a section of trees

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and rented a post hole pounder to put in 12 posts,

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stringing three wires two thirds of the way across our property.

Every 50 feet he added a supporting post.

For now, the wires measure 6, 12 and 18 inches high,

but we can easily add more as our use of the pastures

expand to fit the needs of our beef herd.

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Of course it is never so straightforward as we hope.

During the process, our truck

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lost its ability to shift into reverse,

making for some creative maneuvering with the help of the backhoe.

The kids aren’t fazed by the inconvenience

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and find plenty to occupy themselves.

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beauty

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A Day In The Life

A friend asked yesterday if I would map out a typical day in the life of our farm.

Each season has a different rhythm; I enjoy summer’s most.

Getting up with the sun,

working in the garden,

seeing fantastic looking bugs,

dragonfly

finding some new flower in the fields,

feeling the cool breeze blowing up the hill,

watching the piglets snuffle for food,

the pigs wallow in the mud,

the cows waiting for their new paddock,

the sheep running along beside the four wheeler,

and the chickens chasing bugs or stealing scraps from the cats,

my family eating pork chops, hamburgers or chicken legs we have raised

along with vegetables and fruit we have grown,

winding down the day as the sunset dazzles us,

sitting on the patio listening to Dave read a silly book to the kids,

and falling into bed wonderfully tired and satisfied–

life is beautiful.

I took my camera along on most of my choring Monday.

Some of the pictures I took on other days but am inserting them in the sequence for clarity.

Can you imagine getting up every morning to views like this?

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The garden is first on my agenda, and to keep from having to leave it in the middle of a project,

I bake some granola for the kids before I head out.

Dave will take it out of the oven, and they can serve themselves.

granola

I take a look at the house garden,

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but decide to build a better trellis for the cucumbers in the strip garden.

cucumber trellis

Next job is to get the sheep into a new paddock.

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I set up a new section with electronet, pull the shelter over and renew their water.

I’m going to need water for the cattle later, so I bring up the truck and fill it with water from the cistern.

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Meanwhile AJ has let the laying hens out of their coop

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and biked down to the broilers to feed and water them.

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This day, the kids have some friends over for a few hours and go berry picking behind the house.

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I get a load or two of laundry hung.

laundry

In the afternoon, we bring water to the cattle

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and open up a new paddock for them before building the next section,

opening

while the kids play in the shade.

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The piglets need grain and the growers and breeders get more whey.

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We expand their paddock every few days, but today is not one of them.

We load up the broilers for the butcher. (More on this in a coming post.)

loadingchickens

Dave has his other job during the day, but afterwards,

he repairs a vehicle (a common activity for him since every vehicle has needed repair this month)

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and clears brush for the next fence.

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And that about wraps it up.

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If you are interested in hearing about specific aspects of our farm, let me know.

Hope of Harvest

Summer is here in full force,

and we are beginning to anticipate the harvest.

I walk through my gardens in hope,

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enjoying the promise

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and anticipating the rush

of putting up.

Take a photo tour of a few of the plants with me.

cornbean

As a result of the kids’ interest in the American Indian custom of the Three Sisters,

we planted corn, beans and squash (or melon in our case) together.

This is the Long Thai Purple Podded Yard bean.

cornsilk

Fisher’s Earliest Sweet Corn

bean

Kabouli Black Garbanzo

amaranth

The taller plants are Titan sunflowers.  In front are Red Calaoo and Love Lies Bleeding amaranth.

cabbage broccoli

Red Cabbage and Broccoli

cucumber potatoes

Cucumber Mexican Sour Gherkin and Potato

radish

Beet

tomflower roma

Beefsteak bloom and Roma babies

grapes apples

I had nothing to do with the wild grapes and apples, but I have plenty of plans for them.

This coming week is supposed to be full of sun and warmth,

so I’m looking forward to seeing everything take off.

beauty

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Robins

We have some robins who made a nest in the eaves of the pigs’ portable shade hut.

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A baby hatched.

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And the fledgling left the nest.

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I didn’t have the heart to photograph the mama cat snatching it for her kitten

or the parents trying to persuade the cat to let it go.

2nd Annual Pig Roast

Dave’s family from New Jersey joined us this week for our 2nd pig roast.

Last week we barely made it through the mud, but we loaded up the chosen pig and hauled her off to the butcher.

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She came back hairless and gutted.  We did the rest.

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Dave and Andrew broke open the pig along its spine.

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For the marinade, we used lots of salt, garlic, lemon, lime and orange  juice. Mom and Leah were the garlic peelers.

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Dave welded a rack and built a roaster.

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Dad and Amos helped Dave secure the pig and wrap the ears.

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Dad kept his eye on the fire and rotated the pig when needed.

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Charred on the outside and deliciously tender on the inside. What a satisfying feast.

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Of course the company was lovely too. Dave’s family camped out (well, most of them).

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And we had a few fun activities…upstate style.

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Looking forward to next year’s roast already.

beauty

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More Visitors

In summer our house seems to become a retreat center with all the guests we have. It is a lot of fun to show the farm to others and share work and meals.  This past weekend we got to meet some new friends (thanks again to the Rainbows). Katie is a lovely, practical domestic goddess and her husband is a middle school principal in New Jersey. They intend to start a school one day that is both high tech and agrarian.

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We worked and we played together.  Here you see all the help Dave had in throwing vegetables to the pigs.

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Brady and Katie eagerly helped in the hot garden and made some good food.

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After moving fences, the guys took the kids to the pond for an afternoon swim.

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And no visit is complete without a jam session.

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