We are in winter prep mode…
Drake built a new hay feeder to minimize hay waste and give the cows and calves equal access to hay (Buttercup can be a bully with her horns). This was accompanied by tweaks to fencing around the barn. Our few times loading cattle made it clear that when the flow of movement works for them, there is less stress for everyone.
The new hoop house is still a work in progress. This will be the chicken’s winter home, where their coop will park and they will have deep bedding and access to pasture when it isn’t too windy. And it will make a great space for us to use in the summer – exact plans to be decided.
The last of the pigs went to the abattoir last week, with two gilts and boar Johnny (photo above) remaining to grow next year’s litters. It’s bitter sweet: while pork is part of our business, the pigs were born and raised here and we don’t like that they have to leave the farm. There’s a saying among farmers who value animal welfare: #onebadday. We strive for this, and our animals’ #onebadday is as ‘good’ as it can be: the animals exhibit little, if any, signs of stress, and are treated with respect until the end. You can taste their quality of life in the meat, I think.
On the farmstead front, we built a new wood shelter out of pines from ridge 3 and with help from Drake’s parents from Missouri. We also had our home chickens and ducks butchered; and then pieced most of them in an epic event. As I bagged up chicken livers on Halloween night, I thought of all of the kids plunging their hands into grape ‘eye balls’ and spaghetti ‘brains’. It was intensely satisfying to see the bags and bags of nutrient-dense poultry we put up for the winter. Piecing is work, but it diversifies meal options and allows you combine organs into appropriately sized meals. Our goal this winter is to find some favourite organ recipes!
With the holidays approaching, we hope to see you at the pop-up markets!
Cheers from your farmers at 3R,
Sarah (& Drake)
(Originally published in our e-newsletter)