Thursday, November 11, 2010


If Einstein was right and the definition of insanity really is to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results, then come take me away because I am certifiable.

Every year spring and summer come and go in a blur of gardens and farm projects. Every year early fall is gone in a blink of the eye while Tim works crazy hours and the garden is harvested and preserved, and we begin to feel the pressure of getting buildings and animals ready for winter. And every year we look forward to the months following Tim's busy season telling ourselves that things will be calmer, quieter, and that we will enjoy a restful season. HA! We are certifiable.

Things don't ever really slow down here, they just change. Here we are well into November, well past Tim's busy season of work, and the to do list is longer than ever. Here are some of the things happening around the farm now.

Deer season is here. Tim never did get out last year, and frankly the odds of him having time to hunt this year are not looking good. Terry, a family friend, is here frequently to hunt though. He does the hunting. Tim helps with the processing, and we end up with most of the meat. It is a win win situation.

Then there are those darn pigs.  Mostly, I enjoy our pigs. They are fairly low maintenance most of the year. Fall is prime time for them in the woods. They feast on the nuts that have fallen, and require very little attention from us.

But pigs can also be very destructive. They are strong and will tear up fencing and gates. They also will tear up the earth where they are by rooting for nuts and other food. This is all fine and well if they are in a place you'd like to have rooted up and cleared a bit, or if they are in an area devoted to them. It isn't so good when they are where they are not supposed to be. Say, like your neighbors' hay fields.

A couple days work were spent building a new and smaller fenced area for the pigs, and repairing the damage that was done. And more fence needs built to move them into a fresh area. Good thing those pigs are so cute now, and so yummy later.

The garden is not yet put to bed. Today we dug about half a feed bag of sweet potatoes. Two thirds of them still need dug.This was our first year trying sweet potatoes. Mom actually bought the slips on a whim at a produce auction last spring. I am very pleased with how they produced. Besides planting and digging them (plenty of work for sure,) they required no other care.

We also had a garden surprise this fall, potatoes. Yes, we did plant potatoes this year. We harvested them back in August when the plants died off. To those of you who helped me with the digging, it will be no surprise that we missed a few potatoes. The surprise is that they started growing again.

We let them grow until the frost killed off the plants. Then we dug again, and found a sink full of potatoes. We had some for lunch today, and you just have to love that freshly dug potato flavor.

I pulled the remaining beets today. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I fed them to the pigs. I like beets, but the family isn't so crazy about them. Normally, I would pickle them to enjoy later, but right now I don't have the time. So, the pigs are enjoying them.

The Swiss chard is still producing like crazy. I don't think I've ever had more prolific plants. I've had the kids cut it down to the nub, and it still comes back. Today I pulled a feed bag of it for the chickens. They will be getting a lot more of it in the next few days.

But don't think our chickens are spoiled lazing around getting fed Swiss chard. No, they have their own work to do in the fall. They have been put to work in the garden spot that we are done with. They have done an amazing job of digging up bugs, spreading the manure piles, and turning the dirt. Good girls.

We also have some new little girls. We ordered two batches of mixed chicks. They arrived last Saturday. One group is Rainbow Layers. There should be colored, white, and brown layers in the mix. The other group is Mixed Brown Layers. It consists of a variety of brown laying breeds. I have no idea what all we have, but am having fun trying to guess while watching them start to feather in.

The above babies were planned for. The ones below, however were not. Apparently, Red and the Billy did not share my vision for their family planning. She is ready to pop any day now. Truly, I did not want her to freshen now, and I am still undecided as to a milking plan. Milking through the winter is not appealing, but it looks like that is what I'll be doing. Even though this is a surprise, I'm excited for the kids to arrive. Baby goats are my favorite. I just wish she would hurry up and get them out this week while the weather is so pretty. 

Ever thinking that this time of the year will actually be easier, slower, or quieter, makes me insane by definition. There is no slow season on the farm. The work just changes through the seasons. But please don't come and take me away. I am enjoying this insanity far too much.


  1. I just finished reading...and was utterly taken away by your story telling. Although 'story telling' is probably not as accurate as 'a day in the life'. Anyway, I really enjoyed escaping for a while.

  2. Sounds like things have been busy! I didn't realize pigs could be hard to keep fenced in. I guess they have wild pigs running loose in Oklahoma and a guy we know is going down there to hunt them. I imagine wild pigs could do a lot of damage to crops!

  3. Thanks Jean.

    Jennifer, Pigs train to electric pretty well. The sows aren't too bad, but the young pigs who aren't trained to the fence (especially when you don't have your fence working so hot) will go under and through. And of course the Boar will tear anything non electric apart to get to the girls. To be completely honest, the issues we had this fall were completely our fault. Can't really blame the pigs. :)

  4. Love this story Stephanie! Yes, piggies can sure do some work on property. Just ask my neighbor with the nice pretty landscaping :o)

  5. Yum on those sweet potatoes and I'm jealous of your pigs getting the beets. Have you ever planted sugar beets for your critters? You get a lot of bang for your buck with them and the animals love them (cows, chickens, pigs, goats, even the deer) my Dad used to plant them for the stock when he had the farm; although they aren't the best for human consumption. They are like your garden beet but much bigger and woodier.

  6. Flipper looks so pretty :-) Can't wait to hear if she has more than one baby this time!