Dealing with my shoulder slowed things down a bit for us but we were able to keep up with things without tackling many new jobs. We cleared paths throughout the property to provide us with trails to walk with Cyrus. It also allowed us to explore our property more fully. We hope to make more trails through the forested areas this year. Our geese, Fred and Martha raised nine goslings throughout the summer. We also raised meat chickens and turkeys as well as another batch of pigs.
Throughout the summer and fall months we were also part of a study with the University of Guelph studying parasite control in sheep. This was useful in monitoring our sheep for an ongoing problem when raising sheep on pasture. We also hosted a group of 4H members who were interested in learning about Icelandic sheep.
Following a hot and dry June and July rain set in for August. The vegetable garden suffered a bit, especially the tomatoes which started rotting because of all the moisture. Other crops seemed to thrive. Canning was in full swing. We cut down a bunch of dead trees and reworked the flower gardens and spread two truckloads of mulch. And the animals kept on growing. We also sold a number of ewe and ram lambs to several local farmers to use as breeding stock. And of course we continued hosting summer visits from family and friends. As soon as September comes around the visits start to slow down.
September and October
The fall is always a busy time at the farm. There were lots of vegetables to harvest and preserve. We collected over 200 pounds of honey. Peaches did really well and we discovered dozens of apple trees scattered throughout the property. We made juice, chutney, pies with them and the animals all had an abundance of them as well. The sheep would run directly for their favourite trees to collect the apples. Cyrus would jump and grab them off the branches and play with them before eating. Next year we hope to make cider with them. Another foraged treat were wild grapes which we used to make grape jelly.
Our farm store continued to keep us busy as the Thanksgiving holiday approached and people were taking advantage of the weather to do lots of grilling.
November and December
November began with snow and soon melted away ending the year with a green Christmas. We took over the last field that had been rented by a neighbour farmer and planted pasture seed and transplanted a number of trees along the property line. New piglets arrived. The final fall cleanup was finished. Christmas turkeys, geese, chicken, and lamb were all processed and sales remained brisk right up to the end of the year. We freshened up the shop and first thing in the new year we hope to put up a greenhouse off of it. Always lots of plans. Two special additions arrived in November as well. We welcomed two White Galloways to Fallen Branch Farm - Margot and Nora her calf. Margot is also pregnant and due in June. We also probably have 18 pregnant ewes so next spring is going to be exciting! Let's not forget that I had my shoulder surgery before Christmas and my arm is in a sling for at least 6 weeks followed but lots of rehab. Poor Paul! He has the burden of doing all the work.
FINALLY..... it was a super busy year. I think I've only touched the surface of what happened. We still love our life and hope to continue as long as we can. Of course we have plans and ideas to explore in the year ahead. Stay tuned!