November and still on pasture!

It was 2012 when we brought Highland Cattle to the farm. We only had 3 at first, but as we had calves Hubby’s focus was adding new areas for them to graze and browse. Now here it is November and we still have some areas we can turn them out in, and it is exciting to not be feeding hay yet and to know the farm is able to support them better. Countless hours of work went into this fencing, and I’m happy for him to have achieved this goal! Nobody can work harder then him, anyone who knows him would agree!

This is what we laughingly call “Artisan Compost Grown Squash”! It was all volunteer and there were at least 100 of them on the hill of compost! It is feeding both us and our pigs very well this time of year! Now that we had a frost and harvested them all, Hubby went in an scooped off the whole compost pile and moved and turned it. Now the spot where the compost was is a wonderful fertile, cleaned up spot for the garlic that will go in this weekend! We did this last  year and it worked great! I am trying soft neck garlic this year in addition to the hard neck we always plant. I hear it is milder but stores better so we would likely use up the hard neck first and then move on to the soft neck.

A benefit of having a ridiculous amount of Squash is that we have an seemingly endless supply of yummy roasted Squash seeds. We did get a few pumpkins and will cook up those seeds but these Squash seeds are just as good!

The chickens too, are eating well with all the garden leftovers as I processed the last of the garden produce.

Loving the Fall goodies.

This is a new addition. Hubby built a cold smoker but this is a hot smoker. We picked it up online for $50 and it will be great for learning on, and for taking care of some of the pork we set aside for a hot smoker. We have a pork belly, and loads of ribs, It will be fun to try a new adventure, and maybe next time we will do some of our own smoking instead of having the butcher do it all. We sell meat so legally it has to be processed at the butcher, but we could take our cuts home in the future to smoke ourselves.

This is the beginning of a Wine Cap Mushroom garden. The inoculated pegs go into the dirt and then get covered with wood chips. The mushroom spawn will eventually cover the whole bed under the chips. Not sure if we will see our first mushrooms in the Summer or maybe not until Fall. This is a new type of mushroom for us to grow. We have been growing Shiitake mushrooms for years and love them. They take to drying very well, and at this point we have them year around, either fresh or dried.

This little girl is Messy Maggie. She forages and browses well, but seems to always prefer the toughest places to do this, and then she comes out covered in brush and burrs! Hoping Maggie will be finding a new home this week, we have someone thinking hard about her. She already came to look and loved her, messy and all. Fingers crossed, as we have to move her off the farm soon.

It’s exciting to me that we’ve had enough time on this journey that we are really seeing substantial strides towards growth and productivity both in us and on the farm. We’ve seen this in more pasture, increased cattle numbers, increased vegetable, fruit and mushroom production, and also I have increased my skills at many methods of food preservation. Each day we become a bit more sustaining here and each day we couldn’t be happier doing this.

3 comments on “November and still on pasture!

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Are those hens white leghorns? I don’t see white leghorns often. We got docile breeds starting with araucana when the neighbors were close. They were very quite and stayed close to home. When the neighbors were not such a concern, we got breeds that were compatible with the araucanas, which excluded white leghorns.

    • Hello,
      I don’t have experience w Leghorns, or Araucanas, but I just read up on them. Look like great breeds! These birds are Delawares. We also raise heritage breeds here and we’ve been very happy w these birds. Great layers, and foragers and they have a deep chicken flavor, unlike the blandness (in my opinion) of most faster growing breeds. We do have to wait longer to butcher, and we are ok w ours weighing 4.5-5.5, going into the freezer, which is considerably smaller than many of today’s faster growing larger birds.
      Thanks for following!

      • tonytomeo says:

        Delawares! I have only read about them. We have mostly the hip and trendy hens available here, whether or not they are good layers. It is kinda weird. After several were taken by coons, we got a few unknown breeds from the SPCA, and they have been working out very well for hip and trendy hens. They are quite nice with the other hens. I would only recommend araucanas if hen noise was a concern. (In urban areas where hens are not yet outlawed, some neighbors dislike hens.) If I had my choice, I still like the common Rhode Island Reds because they are good for everything! I know white leghorns are probably more productive, but I am told that the reds taste better.

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