Since Belinda posted about her exciting Happy Camper Cocktail updates I figured it was time to post a winter farm update.
Winter is a pretty slow time on the farm which is good because it gives us time to catch up on projects we don't get to during the busier seasons. This winter Farmer Ross has been focusing on selling some of the extra equipment we have laying around which will give us the room and funds to buy some new equipment. One of our most recent purchases included some refrigerators and freezers we bought to store our farm produce and meat. Our local grocery store went out of business which is a pretty big bummer, but it allowed us to make some really great purchases without having to drive all over the state to pick them up.
We were REALLY late getting garlic into the ground this year (we planted February 6 and normally plant in November) which meant that about 2/3 of our seed spoiled so our harvest will be much smaller this year. We weren't too upset because we had already decided we want to try to expand our horizons and try some new crops so we feel like we were left with a manageable amount. I spent a small fortune at Uprising Seed Company buying seeds for the farm and garden. Uprising was recommended to us by other local farmers and I love that they are located in Bellingham, Washington. All their seeds are Open Pollinated, Certified Organic by the USDA, and grown by small family farms in the PNW. In addition to the warm, fuzzy feeling I get by supporting local farms, I love that the seeds they select to sell have been tried and tested by farms who are in the same growing zone as we are.
This year we chose to send our female goats (does) to the breeders a little later than in the past so while everyone else is posting pictures of early spring kids, I am eagerly counting down the days until May/June when our kids will start coming. However, we recently learned that our herd queen EB is now a grandma! Ginger, EBs daughter, now lives with one of our fellow 4H families and she had triplets last night. Just like EB she has a strong mothering instinct and delivered with ease. One of the little doelings (the one with the spot on her rear) is going to go to one of the other 4Hers in our club so we will have mini EBs all over the place.
The pigs are growing like crazy and packing on the pounds. They outgrew their original pig pen so we spent a couple of weekends building them new digs. Like all things you do for the first time, we learned a lot. Now that we have our first round under our belt we are feeling very confident about our ability to do it again and again. I promise to write a whole separate post about our lessons learned raising pigs but the gist of it is there is a LOT of mud and they are VERY enthusiastic eaters!
And probably the coolest thing that has happened on the farm recently is we had a calf! Our Red Angus, Big Mama, surprised us with a winter calf! When we bought her there was a little communication breakdown somewhere along the way and we thought she was due this summer sometime so we were a bit surprised when she didn't come up to eat one night and instead stood in the back bellowing. Farmer Ross being the good farmer he is, went back to check on her and found her cleaning up a fresh calf. Since Big Mama isn't very tame, we decided against bringing her in the barn and instead brought the barn to her. Cows are usually pretty smart when they calf and will find a sheltered area that is on high ground. Big Mama found a nice dry place under the trees to welcome her calf so all we had to do was provide some straw to help keep it warm until she could dry it off. After checking if it was a girl (heifer-which it is) or a boy (bull) Ross and I spent a couple hours sitting under the stars in the John Deere Gator, drinking a couple beers and watching the wonder of it all. Within a few hours, the calf was up walking around and the rest of the herd was greeting her. The next day we were able to get a few more pictures although Big Mama didn't want us to get too close so we let her have her space. We are planning to wean her a little early (4 months) so that we can start halter training her early and she can make an appearance at our local county fair.
Brand new calf
Getting her sea legs
That's all for now. As the summer approaches we will be much busier around the farm so there will be many more pictures coming your way!
Here are my secrets for pre-batching drinks for parties. As a former cocktail caterer who has served drinks on mountain tops, in the woods, in horse corrals, backstage at music festivals, and to thousands of thirsty wedding guests, I have some tips for making batched cocktails for events.