As 2019 begins, I've been sifting though some of the photographs we took last year. It's been fun to remember the visits we have had, and the things we have accomplished! 2018 was the second season on our farm, and we took on the huge project of building (or, rather... having someone build for us) a pack shed that we will be able to use year round- in other words, it's insulated, so we can increase our storage crop and winter CSA capacity. We also had our first harvest party this fall, where friends and CSA members came out to the farm to take a look. It was loads of fun, and we had a neighbor come by with his mobile pizza oven and serve up some tasty pizzas! We doubled our growing area, and increased the number of CSA shares we offered, which was a big deal for us, as it is a step towards financial sustainability for us. As we learn what works and what doesn't for our size and scale, we will be able to feed even more people from our small plot of land. We've had all manner of visitors out at the farm, family, friends, and folks that we had never met before that were looking for community in other queer farmers. Here are some of the gems hidden deep in my photo reel- I hope you enjoy the glimpse into our year, and perhaps it'll inspire you to come out for a visit!
Photos from our fall harvest party- the rain held off, and the hot tea, friendship, and fires kept us warm.
You know that saying, "there's never a dull moment"? Well, there is this moment that happens in early fall. It's the moment when most things are planted, and you are just waiting for the big harvests to start rolling in. It would be a nice time for a dull moment or two. The weather is beautiful and there are an array of summer crops available, should you want to cook an elaborate meal or do some canning. It seems like we find some trouble to get up to every time this happens... and this week, we brought home a mule. That's right, a 2 year old miniature mule- her mom was a pony and her dad was a donkey. The other way around, we learned while doing about some internet research before making this decision, is called a hinny. She's young and a little feisty, she's bitten us several times already, so we decided to name her after one of our most favorite devas, Stevie Nips.
She is technically here at the farm to be a guardian animal for our sheep, but I'm looking forward to getting a little driving cart and training Stevie and Els to go for rides.
A farm mystery solved!
Since last May we have been hearing a song- we didn't know if it was a bird song or a frog song- down in the marshy area past the sheep pasture. It went Ba-Bo and then would pause and then another Ba-Bo. It seemed to be just one voice, but we didn't make much of that at first. It was a call Els didn't know (I'll admit, I can only identify a handful of bird songs, but I'm working on that). Els' parents are enthusiastic birders, and so we asked who this might be, and they didn't know either. After moving the sheep this week to fresh pasture (we do this every few days) we laid down in the grass enjoy a short break while the sheep munched all around us. Ba-Bo has been a steady backdrop to any time we spend out behind the barn, and so it was that afternoon. But, as we laid looking up at the clouds we saw a Red-winged Blackbird sitting on the telephone wire who appeared to be singing Ba-Bo! This is not their normal call, "purple queeeee", but I guess certain birds can find their own voice. As we looked closer, we could see it steadily saying "ba-bo queeee".
As folks who spend lots of time outside and tracking the weather, the longest day holds a lot of practical meaning for us... the days leading up to and right after solstice have all the plants growing at top speed. And weeds are no exception... often at this time of year our to-do list has 'week the whole farm' somewhere on it. It blows my mind to think that all the days will be shorter than the last from Friday forward... and in about four months everything in the field will have been harvested, and eaten or stored for winter.
,Amidst a "historic" spring snow storm that dropped about 10 inches of heavy spring snow on the farm this weekend, we had our first baby lambs born here at the farm. Els, in a moment of clarity suggested that we put all the sheep in the barn for the storm (even though they weren't due until next week, at the earliest). When we went to do chores on Saturday morning, there were these two little fellas hanging out with their mom, Lady Baba. Welcome to winter, Snowball and Blizzard!