Friday, September 11, 2020

Pork Shares for 2021! Reserve Now!


Offering shares of pork for 2021! Limited quantity available for next summer and early fall. Selling shares in advance helps this farm plan it's year ahead. I offer a flat rate that includes butchering, smoking, vacuum sealing of meats in 1/4 and half hog. Please email me at dogsinourparks@gmail.com to get details!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Winter Prep Update!

With September well underway this farm is slowly meeting its winter preparation goals. There are around 75 bales stacked in the barn, lining the entire base floor of the small structure. This is the most hay I've ever had in that little barn because in the past I only needed to store a max of 40 or so bales at a time since I could constantly resupply that same space from hay banks around the area. Now with being in charge of an entire winter's worth of hay I need about 200-250 bales to get through the winter. Possibly more. But I want the lion's share of that stacked and dry by the first snowfall. 

There is still a cord and a half of wood stacked and under cover, and I will want another 2 cords or so by end of October. But I have a dependable and trusty wood delivery guy and time to accomplish that. Even now, just that small bit of hay and wood is a comfort. It's paid for and stacked and waiting for use. 

My days here are good. This is the first winter I am prepping for not to spend alone with the animals, ever. The needs of another person need to be figured in and letting go of preferences that don't serve the whole of the farm fam need to be let go. So I am learning to adjust to all of it, and very happily so! When you're stacking wood to keep someone you love warm, you stack better. Simple as that.

The farm's gardens are small and fighting their own battles against groundhogs and other pests, but the squash seem to be doing well enough and there's a nice little crop of butternut and pumpkins coming along. There's also herbs to dry for winter herbal teas, seeds to save, animals yet to butcher and sell. But it all will get done. So far half of our meat birds have already been harvested and we are hoping to sell a good amount both to get a return on investment and make some freezer space available for pigs this winter. This has been the most successful meat bird year in memory. No losses at all to predators and the birds we already harvested... shoot, some were nearly 8lbs! We have the first chicken feast on our own kale, potatoes, and herbs coming up with friends this Monday. Pretty excited about that!

Falconry season is coming up, fall and winter. I don't have a bird yet but have been trapping whenever I can find the time. So many juvenile red tails and kestrels are out and about! It's been a whole new experience trapping with someone who has never seen the whole process of making the trap to getting the hawk to starting training that same night you bring it home. Lots of trial and error on this hawk trap (I have never made my own trap until this year and just learning some of the skills that make it work was a bit of a challenge. I had to follow directions, which I am horrible at. Don't try anything I bake that requires measuring.) But just seeing so many birds out is comforting and encouraging! Soon I'll have a new charge on my gauntlet. Exciting!

I'm still slowly working towards the August Mortgage. I hope to take care of it soon. It'll take a lot of frugality and luck and planning to pull it off, September's house payment, butcher bills, hay and wood... but so far I am okay. And as long as sales keep coming in I should be. I can certainly eat here at the farm for next to nothing, and eat like a queen this time of year, and I'll tell you that for free. It's a grand way to save money - eating your own butter roasted squash, potatoes, and chicken!

So that is where the farm is at. I'm slowly getting in hay and wood. I am behind on the mortgage but not scary behind. I am excited about small things like birds and foliage. I am worried but optimistic. I'm in love and hoping for a calm and gentle winter, warm and safe. I wish the same for you all. 




Friday, September 4, 2020

A Small Adventure


Monday night was an evening I'll never forget. One of those perfect little trips that make your heart whole again after a hard few weeks. I got to get outside with everything I needed to be safe, warm, fed, and comfortable in the wilderness alongside my Love and my two very good dogs. We hiked in cool late-summer weather and spent the night without wifi or cell service on top of a mountain. The Japanese have a phrase for this sort of medicine. It's called Shinrin-yoku, to us, Forest Bathing. And if a regular walk in the woods is a bath, then we had a soak in Nature's most glorious hot tub. 

This was a short escape. We planned our freelance work around just 24 hours away from the farm. We left around noon on Monday and were back by noon Tuesday, but in that time we managed a small six mile loop backpacking trip in the mountains of Vermont. We had arranged for the permit and farm sitters in advance. We planned our gear, meals, and the needs of two very happy dogs (who carried their own packs, might I add!) and we set off into the wild. Just driving away with your backpacking gear loaded up and a plan to be outdoors all night fills me with a quick rushing happiness. And once our bodies start huffing and puffing with trekking poles in hand and muddy boots beneath our feet all the worries about money, the farm, anything but that night's home and dinner fade away. It's primal. It's good.

What I love about backpacking is it is right here. It's nearly free. Our permits to camp at that amazing spot were $5 a person. The gas was already in her car. The gear and the food already in our home. The gear I have nearly all was on sale, slowly collected over the years. Some of it I got for gear tests for magazine articles. But even if you wanted to buy gear today online to backpack, you could do it for far less than a weekend in a nice hotel and reuse it over and over. Since I had what all four of us needed, all we had to do was arrange time to get away. We did. Forest Bathing, here we come!

We were so lucky to have the trails almost entirely to ourselves with the weekend folks back from their hikes and many kids back to school. So we talked, walked, sang, and listened to podcasts as we carried our heavy loads up and down trails and along gorgeous views of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. When we arrived at our campsite it felt almost too good to be true. The campsite jutted out like a little peninsula of earth high in the air surrounded by sweeping mountains on all three sides! The site had a picnic table and room for our three person tent so we rested with happy hearts and shaky legs. We were both of tired from the day's work both at the farm and on our feet, we enjoyed the most beautiful sunset of my life and ate a warm meal of potatoes and stroganoff as the sun melted away into the sky.

It was such a reminder how lovely this world is even during all this hardship. I hope you are all finding time to do what you can with the resources, energy, and space you can give your heart. It does us all good to get away a little when we can.

And since home, it's back to winter prep and hoping to cover August's mortgage before mid month. One day at a time. One hope at a time. One amazing view at a time.