Note: I’ll try and post some current pictures with this post ASAP. -WM
This past year has been one of great blessing and growth, for which we thank God. as usual, I’d like to provide a farm status post here to give everyone a heads up on what’s going on around the farm.
1. Horse Power Means Horse Power
Last week, we traveled to Dalton, Ohio to spend the day with the Amish men at Pioneer Farm Equipment. This incredible family business is restoring the horse-drawn equipment industry and we had the pleasure of getting to know them, taking a tour of their shop and establishing a friendship that I trust will be a blessing for future years. They answered all of our questions about working with draft horses, and we came home with the essential gear we needed to get our horses working this Fall. I’d share their website with you, but they’re Amish…and don’t have one.
2. No More Buying Feed
God helping us, we will have 25 acres of land clearing this fall for the production of our own wheat, corn and hay in the future. Grain and hay expenses have always been great for our farm and we may soon see the end of those expenses. we have a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to it. We already mill our own grain and mix of our own feeds, so the production of the grains here will eliminate our feed expenses and cause the profitability of our farm to multiply.
3. Lots of Milk in 2014
We currently have three Jersey cows pregnant and due to calve next Spring, which will mean 6 to 9 gallons of fresh milk and cream daily. We also have 6 Nubian does that will be bred this fall, which means another 2-3 gallons of goat’s milk. The following year, we’ll be up to 10 does. To handle the added work, we’ll be moving our dairy stanchions from the barn into the back of the market building to make cleaning and transporting milk easier. It’s also lighted, so we can get an earlier start in the morning, and can continue beyond dark at the evening milking.
4. Full Freezers
We produce a lot of meat here on the farm. we currently have 12 Dorper meat sheep, 3 jersey bulls and 16 Yorkshire pigs. This year we’ll be sending most of our meat to a Grade A processor so that it can be sold to the public, but our family’s share will always be brought to our Christian butcher.
5. Eggs for Sale
Despite feeding our own family of 11 and another bunch of teenage boys staying here for school, our hens are producing more eggs than we can consume, so we’ll be selling them to neighbors and friends this year. We collect as many as 80 per day from our flock of about 90 hens (you can try counting them if you’d like).
6. Leicester Longwools
Despite losing one of our beautiful ewes last Spring (pregnancy toxemia), we have 6 Leicester ewes and a ram from Williamsburg growing strong. we’re going to have a ton of wool next Spring. Dania is making ready and is organizing a room for the girls in the school building that will be dedicated to spinning, weaving, sewing and clothes-making.
7. Gardens Increasing
We will have about 2/3 acre of gardens next Spring as we continue to expand the gardens at the new farm. That will put us beyond what we had at the old farm, but the soil here will take some time to improve. Fortunately the boys are bring tons of manure from the cow and horse stalls and, with the chicken litter we have, we should be able to improve the soil here much faster than we did at the old farm. We’re also plundering our county’s free compost that they make available from their ridiculous suburban leaf collecting service. There’s a mountain of composted leaves located in a field town and we’ll be taking it by the trailer load–they think we’re doing them a favor…just clueless. Anyway, we’re hoping to set our first grape vines in the Spring and continue with our garden fruits and vegetables which were abundant this year despite our busy-ness with other affairs.
It’s been ten years in the making, but 2014 seems to be the year we’ve been waiting for since the beginning. We’ve developed a complete self-sufficient farm that flies in the face of the industrial cash crop farmers that surround us on every side and now it simply needs to grow. Our goal has been to win our freedom from the American market and to enable others to do likewise. We’ve already begun to take our first major steps of separation…