The other day, while visiting our pen pal classroom, one of the children asked me how many animals we had on our farm. Together we began counting and adding them up. I was astonished to learn that I have 100 mouths to feed on our farm. It is no wonder that it takes me anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours to do chores in the morning.
When I grow weary of my chore time responsibilities, I think about the days long before grocery stores and food markets. Families and homesteaders made their way across our country before there were highways to take them where they wanted to go and stores to provide for them. These hearty souls spent almost every single hour of every single day on activities which sustained them. They were totally dependent upon the weather and their own abilities to provide sustenance for their families throughout the year. I would love to have met these women, men, and children Though we try to grow most of our own food here on our farm or purchase it from neighboring farms, I still find that I spend amazing amounts of money in the food store each year. I can’t imagine knowing that every single thing we eat, must come from our own land.
So with all this in mind, the farm grows in size every Spring as our meat bird chicks and new piglets arrive to the farm. Every February, I place my meat bird chick order so that they arrive in April. We raise 50 heritage breed chickens every summer to put in the freezer. A few neighbors purchase some and then the remainder feed our family and our Bed & Breakfast guests who request dinner. For now, the chicks are in the barn. Once they grow large enough that they can not slip through the holes in our poultry netting, they go out on pasture. There they will help nourish our fields as the field helps nourish them.
When my son Luke said he wanted to start eating pork, I told him that he would have to raise the pigs himself. So each summer, he raises two pigs. He puts some of the meat in our freezer and sells what he can not use. A side benefit is that our B&B guests get to enjoy the bacon and sausage year round as well as Luke. The piglets arrived over the weekend and I must say they are quite cute. This year, he bought his piglets from our good friends at, The Perry Family Farm. This year, I hope to put the pigs in a pasture where we cut some saplings a couple of years ago. There are lots of stumps that need to be rooted up and that way the pigs will help me maintain the field.
I want to overhaul the garden this Spring. As my time has more demands placed upon it, I am constantly trying to think of ways to make my work easier. The past few summers, the garden has gotten the best of me with weeds galore, and little time to water in the greenhouse. I have drawn up some plans to rearrange the herb garden, redo the vegetable beds, lay more permanent paths to reduce weeds, and install a watering system. Our greenhouse needs new poly this year as a winter storm put a huge rip in it. My biggest challenge right now is patience….Our busy schedules, uncooperative weather, and our broken tiller have all put a halt to my plans. I have managed to get some seeds in the cold frame already in hopes they will survive. I am craving fresh greens and beets that I am used to having in my kitchen by this time of year.
So with high hopes of providing for our family-I go out at chore time to care for those 100 mouths.