We're finally settling down by the wood stove on a Sunday afternoon after having been to visit our parents and coming home to finish our chores. Reflecting on the past few months, our thoughts are already on what's to come as 2018 is coming to a close. I know it's only mid-November but, we're looking at snow-covered fields so I guess winter is here. I'm hoping for a bit of a warm up so I can finish a few outdoor chores. If not, I guess they'll have to wait.
Our pigs seem to be doing well right now. Our five little feeder pigs are happy in the new area set aside for them to grow. Maggie and Nellie are both pregnant and due to farrow at the end of December. Maggie injured her leg but is finally moving around much better. We divided the pig area up so we can rotate the animals throughout the year. We have vaccinations ready for them to protect the newborns. Sounds like things are under control. We'll see.
Except for Poppy, the sheep have been great. Balthazar's horns keep growing and his voice keeps dropping. The two lambs are beautiful, maybe even more than their mothers. Poppy ended up with a parasite and was in very poor condition. Of course that included many visits by the vets and a couple weeks of worry. As soon as she recovered it was time for shearing. Then our usual fleece processor announced that she is closing shop so we had to find another option. We met up with Caitlin from "Fleece to Fabric" in Kitchener. She hand processes the fleeces so we are very excited to see the outcome!
Since we've had such damp weather, the goats have spent much of the fall indoors. They are really susceptible to pneumonia and we don't need any more sick animals! We have been getting them out into the fields though to hunt for remnants of corn and soybeans. They love that. I call them our "gleaners".
The turkeys and geese will soon be leaving the farm only to return as someone's Christmas dinner. Our experiment with the Chanticler chickens has ended. We were calling them our "meatless meat chickens". While very tasty, they don't provide a lot of meat, even after 6 months. I have to say that they are very beautiful. We have kept three females though and they spend every night perched in the oak tree which hangs over the chicken coop. In another week we will be getting the traditional meat chickens so fresh chicken in the new year.
We've been very fortunate to have had many visitors to the farm this summer and fall. It's so exciting to see and hear people's reactions to what we've accomplished. It's hard for us to get away so it's great having people take the time to drive out. We also know that once the winter weather hits these visits will be much less frequent. Our open house was a lot of fun. It was so great to have friends (some we haven't seen in a long time) together, socializing, and enjoying food grown here at Fallen Branch. The pigs are still enjoying the pumpkins that people brought for them.
We are both really happy with the success of our little farm store. Our sign at the end of the lane advertising Berkshire Pork for sale is working. Since opening in July, we have attracted many people on their way to the cottage as well as many locals just driving by. Paul has really enjoyed meeting and talking to people as they drop in. It's been great seeing repeat customers and hearing their reviews. Having friends from the city drive out to check out the store is awesome. We've basically sold out of pork and the store is closed for the season but, we still have loads of canning available. If you're looking to stock up or get Christmas gifts, just get in touch and we'll make sure you get what you're looking for. We will also be at a Christmas Market on Sunday November 18 in Kitchener from 10 -3 at Grand River Rocks on Borden Ave.
We've got our garage loaded with wood. We've stocked up with home made beer and great food. Paul has started painting and is hoping to have a show next year. I have a pile of books and a few little jobs waiting for me. Maybe this winter we will be able to slow down and enjoy the winter. Fingers crossed!