Keeping busy and staying warm.
Well, what a month! Everyone was battling with record cold temperatures in January, us included. Living in snow belt country definitely has its challenges at the best of times. In addition to record lows feeling like -40 degrees, we also received lots of snow mixed with high winds. Although we weren't able to get out very much we still were kept busy here at the farm.
January 1st, Maggie delivered her babies on a very cold night. Raising and farrowing pigs outdoors come with unique problems - weather conditions being a major one. Temperatures continued to fall and Nellie had her babies 3 days later. For the next four weeks we were consumed with keeping all of the animals warm but, especially the newborn piglets and their moms. What a challenge! We finally weaned the babies at four weeks of age when the temperatures were at their coldest and some of the babies appeared to be succumbing to the effects of the prolonged cold. Struggling in the cold and snow, we managed to get them away from angry moms and into the heated area of the barn. Now we can finally sleep easier!
We are excited about a few things. In addition to getting our official farm business designation, you will notice that we have new branding and product labels this year. We will be selling strictly from our farm store and taking online line orders. We had to say goodbye to four pigs that we were raising for a friend along with one for us. In our quest to raise animals ethically and to waste as little of the animal as possible, we rendered lard from all five pigs. Who knew that you would get 20 gallons of lard from five pigs. Thanks to our Amish neighbours Abram and Norman for helping us out. Paul has already baked a few pies and butter tarts to try it out! It's awesome! Flaky! We also tried a different butcher and some different products including Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, peameal bacon, cutlets, and Black forest ham. Yum!
The woodstove has been going non-stop making the kitchen the warmest place in the house. So I've been improving my bread-making skills while keeping warm at the same time. We've also been cooking lots of hearty winter foods. Seeds have been arriving. I've even found some time to read and get caught up on bookkeeping. We have all our poultry ordered for the year and Paul has processing dates booked up to the end of 2020!
Warmer temperatures are on the way for the next few days. So now we'll have to worry about flooding and keeping the animals dry. I guess we'll venture out and join civilization once again,