Summer is here in full force,
and we are beginning to anticipate the harvest.
I walk through my gardens in hope,
enjoying the promise
and anticipating the rush
of putting up.
Take a photo tour of a few of the plants with me.
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.
Fisher’s Earliest Sweet Corn
Kabouli Black Garbanzo
The taller plants are Titan sunflowers. In front are Red Calaoo and Love Lies Bleeding amaranth.
Red Cabbage and Broccoli
Cucumber Mexican Sour Gherkin and Potato
Beefsteak bloom and Roma babies
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.
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.
She came back hairless and gutted. We did the rest.
Dave and Andrew broke open the pig along its spine.
For the marinade, we used lots of salt, garlic, lemon, lime and orange juice. Mom and Leah were the garlic peelers.
Dave welded a rack and built a roaster.
Dad and Amos helped Dave secure the pig and wrap the ears.
Dad kept his eye on the fire and rotated the pig when needed.
Charred on the outside and deliciously tender on the inside. What a satisfying feast.
Of course the company was lovely too. Dave’s family camped out (well, most of them).
And we had a few fun activities…upstate style.
Looking forward to next year’s roast already.
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.
We worked and we played together. Here you see all the help Dave had in throwing vegetables to the pigs.
Brady and Katie eagerly helped in the hot garden and made some good food.
After moving fences, the guys took the kids to the pond for an afternoon swim.
And no visit is complete without a jam session.
Harry’s job this spring has been to collect eggs from the nest boxes. It’s a small job, but it helps him feel like he’s contributing to the farm.
He is always sitting on the counter, cracking eggs and helping in any way he is allowed at breakfast. He was really excited when he learned that our bagel recipe calls for eight eggs.
I received a wheat grinder as a wedding gift nine years ago, so I get to make freshly ground flour from the berries we purchase at Honest Weight Food Co-op.
The kids don’t mind that I need more practice making bagels.
They are happy with the other uses for the flour, too. Like pizza.
And bacon, kale, cheddar, egg calzones.
Come share a meal with us sometime.
The sun shone beautifully yesterday for the first time in a long time.
Today we are back to steady rain with more and heavier in the forecast.
We got our garden in a few weeks ago.
Allie planted her row of strawberries.
Despite the over abundance of water and the pesky hens’ attempts to scratch up the entire thing, the garden is growing.
We’ve been taking armed midnight walks out to the chicken tractors to see if we can catch the critter that has been killing our birds. 15 of our meat chicks were snatched along with 6 layer chicks. Our guineas are dead, only two of the chicks born to the three hens this spring remain.
Our favorite rooster was scattered from his tree roost across our front yard and down into the lane that opens into the pastures below. I’ve been sleeping later since he died–no 4am wake up call. He and the other rooster had come to blows and the lesser of the two must have been cowed out of his roosterness.
He lost his tail feathers, his comb shrivelled up and he stopped crowing.
Two days ago Wilcocks’ hen mother Wild Woman got smashed by a car. What luck. The two prettiest birds gone in the same week.
A local cheese plant delivers 6000 gallons of whey at a time to our pigs.
It comes off the truck steaming and is drained into three tanks we installed in early January.
Below Dave is working on the fittings for the pipes.
All we have to do is open a valve, and the whey is carried by pipes down the hill to the waiting trough where our pigs drink it at a rate of 6 gallons per pig per day.
Besides the tenderizing effect of the whey on the pork, whey provides a complete protein that enables the pigs to put on weight more quickly while on pasture.
The result? Hmmm. Yes, please!
The word we like to use to describe our pork is pastured. As soon as the winter snows are over and the fields begin to grow, we get our pigs out of their winter paddock where they have enjoyed a diet of whey, grain and hay and move them into the fields. During the early stages, we prefer to use them to clear out any underbrush that has gotten out of control,
but by the beginning of May, we have them in the fields.
Our management of the fields is intensive. We use a double strand electric polywire to fence a 50×50 ft section of pasture and move the pigs into a new area about every three days. We then come behind them and reseed with clover and forage brassicas. We sometimes use field peas, oats, or barley, depending on the season.
The first day the pigs graze the grass.
The second, they focus on rooting.
By the third day the pasture is mostly turned over.
Time for another paddock.