Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Musings on Future Plans for the Farm...

As the season begins to wind down into autumn and on to winter, it makes my mind turn towards the many projects we have planned both for this winter and next spring. Winter is a fabulous time to sit in front of a warm wood stove with a mellow lap kitty and plan out your projects for the coming spring! We are milking our does once more this month, and then they will be officially "dried off." September will mean breeding five of our does, which is always a bit of a crazy time trying to organize that! I am really looking forward to having 5 does on line next March...every year we get a little bit bigger on production, and a little more organized (imagine that!). Ryan plans to finally break down and get a cheese press this winter, so that he can begin making hard cheeses next year. We had bartered for a cream separator with one of our neighbors earlier in the summer, so I have been able to enjoy fresh cream and butter this year! I am going to miss our goats milk during the cold winter months! Though, I do have to admit that I dread baby season every year...all those nights spent staying up watching the barn camera, praying that there are no complications (I don't care how competent you are at assisting with deliveries - neither Ryan nor I relish having to stick our hands into goats...it does not rank high on my list of things I enjoy!)...this year we only had to assist with one goat. We lost two kids, which was terribly sad (one was a twin that was born so small and weak there was no chance of survival, despite our best efforts, and the other baby even the vet couldn't figure out what was wrong) - the other reason I don't look forward to baby season. I love goat babies, but I can't help feeling my stress levels rise at the thought of 5 goats kidding...it's worth it though, in the end - it always is! This year we will be breeding two first timers: Citrine and Poit (who was our first nigerian dwarf kid born on the farm!).

We extended our small orchard this past spring by planting 12 heirloom apple trees. I told Ryan that I want to start a small fig orchard, so we are planning on putting in at least 5 more fig trees (there are already 4 on the property) next spring. We will also put in a plum tree and two peach trees. Ryan is going to extend his hops garden further out (we'll be removing some diseased fruit trees from the back of the orchard this winter to make space for more hops). And speaking of trees, we are also getting three more trees removed from near the house (those three scary oak trees that are leaning over the Apothecary Suite). We are trying to wait until the end of tourist season, so that we don't have to lose out on a weekend booking to get the trees removed.

We are going to be putting in the final raised bed in our new herb garden as soon as the weather cools down again. Then, we will take down the old baby goat shelter, and landscape that area into a walkway leading to the future trout pond. We will probably begin work on the trout pond next spring. We have plans to expand our garden even further...each year we have more and more ideas about how to best utilize our space for maximum garden production! I have finished transplanting all of my plant babies into the new herb garden, so that they can get their roots established before winter. In about two weeks I will be putting in 24 saffron bulbs as well. I also ordered my fall herb seeds, so I will be planting juniper and bayberry (to name a few) soon. I have had the WORST time tracking down bayberry wax for candles, so I finally decided that I would just grow my own!

Even though the days are still incredibly warm, you can feel the chill in the air at night. It's time to begin thinking about getting a good pile of wood for the fireplace soon. Chopping wood in the snow (which I had to do about every other day last winter) is NEVER fun. I want to make sure that we have enough wood piled up that I don't need to do that! Someday, I would love to put a wood stove insert where the fireplace is located in the living room - then the house would REALLY stay toasty all winter long!

Well, I suppose that's enough musings for now...my coffee is finished and I guess that means back to work for this little farmer!

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