Some might say spring had a minor setback this weekend. We got a pile of snow at the farm. The goats venturing out to say hi. And yes, that monster with his head over the fence is our tiny Jack Jack puppy. Hi Jack Jack! The bees are all snug in their hives, waiting out this winter storm While there were plenty of things we would have liked to have been working on this weekend, it was kind of nice to have a slow, snowy weekend. And boy was it a pretty snow! The grapvines, all pruned and ready for the season, still sleeping beneath a layer of snow. But look! Tomato seedlings all warm and toasty inside the house. So, see? Spring is on it’s way. Just a minor setback.
It’s official … gardening season has begun. I know, I know, you’re going to say it’s like 20 degrees outside. You’re going to say there are snowflakes swirling around. You’re going to say it’s MONTHS until the ground thaws.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it is seed starting time in the Werner household.
One flat each of cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi …
Four flats of tomato seeds for the high tunnel …
Two more flats of tomatoes and one of broccoli to go. It may be freezing outside, but we know summer is coming!
I never have as much time as I would like to write about our farm. I always have a running list in my mind of the things I WANT to write about. Only a small percentage of those make it here.
So, as the year winds down, I thought I would go through some highlights from the year, as well as fill in some gaps.
Speaking of pigs, here is our sow Ruby. Have you EVER seen such a big pig?? I mean, she’s almost as tall as our 5-year-old. Good thing she is friendly.
We expanded our goat herd with Salvador Perez (or Perry), our little grey buck, and three more little females. Sadly, we lost our littlest goat this past weekend. Not quite sure what happened, but Gage worked and worked to save that little goat.
We are getting ready to shear for the first time next year. Excited to send our cashmere fiber off to the fiber mill and get back some beautiful yarn!
Speaking of yarn, my “knitter’s block” seems to be ebbing and flowing this year. I certainly haven’t knitted as much as in past years, but I was determined to make this little dress for Willa for her 1 year birthday. Luckily, it is big enough, she will be able to wear it for awhile. 🙂
P.S. Thanks, Amy Shepherd for the awesome pictures!
Back to the goats, something that happened this summer is that we almost lost Petunia, our little red goat – and our friendliest goat. Gage was out in Western Kansas helping with wheat harvest when Petunia was bitten on the face by a copperhead snake.
You can see how swollen her face is here. It’s a miracle she survived!
Seems like the crises always happen when Gage isn’t around … Murphy’s law, I suppose.
We hosted three groups on our farm this summer:
…a Farm Bureau Day Camp
…a summer Science and Adventure Camp
… and the Kansas Rural Center high tunnel workshop. We really enjoyed having so many people out to our farm this past year, and hope to continue this in the future.
In the midst of the summer craziness, I somehow forgot to mention that we got a new kitten.
This is Charlie.
He is a total spaz, but we like him. He has been known to alternately jump into fire pits, and jump into outdoor showers. He may not be the brightest cat we have ever had, but he sure is entertaining. 🙂
Charlie is weird and wonderful, and luckily likes little kids.
We significantly expanded our beekeeping operation this year. We nearly doubled our number of hives, now being at around 21. We have big plans for the bees next year, and hope to expand even more.
Incidentally, this is what a REALLY BAD bee sting looks like. And also why I haven’t yet gotten my nerve up to start beekeeping with Gage.
We had a BUMPER year with our vegetables and fruits! We rarely ran out for our faithful customers at farmers market …
And had plenty left over to can …
… And eat fresh. Pretty sure this baby girl was alone responsible for eating an entire bushel of apples in the month of September.
Applesauce for the pantry!
Lots of Caprese Pizza‘s this summer – My FAVORITE!
This fall, I have been experimenting with our fresh carrots. So far this Glazed Carrot recipe is my favorite. I will post the recipe soon! Going to make this for Christmas day!
Tried, tried TRIED to find a good use for all of the green tomatoes we had in November. Made this delicious looking green tomato pie.
It was NOT delicious.
Experimenting this year with the low tunnel we got from the Kansas Rural Center. So far, we have been enjoying carrots, spinach, lettuce, and hopefully soon – cabbage!
It’s good to have help when digging carrots. 🙂
We added the fuzzy little Jack Jack livestock guardian to our family!
He is just the best. We love Jack Jack and have faith he will turn out to be a great guardian for our goats (even though some may argue he might be “over-socialized”)
The kids love Jack Jack.
Jack Jack loves the kids. Maybe a little too much. He will NOT leave Willa alone. It is pretty cute. Even when he plants himself right in front of her so she falls over him.
I think he has already quadrupled in size from when we brought him home less than two months ago. Jack Jack, what did we ever do without you!
It’s been a great year on our farm! Looking forward to an even better one in 2015!
As much as I hate, hate, HATE it, the reality of life on a farm with lots of animals is that we frequently have to deal with death.
We lost our Dusty cat last week. He was the first animal we added on our farm. Or I guess technically he just “showed up,” as if to say, “Here I am. Let’s get this farm STARTED.”
He appeared when we were just making plans to build – no buildings, no gardens, just lots of mud and weeds (okay, well, we still have that).
But then we had Dusty.
Look at the scrawny little guy – more than 6 years ago.
He was our “camper cat.” For a cat, he was pretty good at unconditional love.
Rest in peace, old friend. We miss you already.
We agreed we weren’t getting ANY more animals. Not for awhile anyway.
But, just one more goat, he said. This may be the last crop of really good cashmeres, he said. Bruce and will just run over and pick out one little goat, he said.
Two hours later, this is what I see.
Never in a million years, did I dream that I would be the voice of reason when it came to animals.
In hindsight, I think the mistake was letting my son go along to help pick out A goat.
But they are pretty cute … 🙂
We may have ended up with a new dog last week.
Meet Jack Jack. He’s pretty awesome.
Gage brought him home on trial. It took about .3 seconds to convince me we needed him.
Jack was an add-on with this guy. We had planned to get this guy – a little black spanish/cashmere buck. HIS name is Salvador Perez. 🙂 In tribute to our Royals.
Jack Jack comes from two livestock guardian dogs – his mother is a great pyranese, his father is a komondor/anatolian cross. Probably not a bad idea to have a livestock guardian as our goat herd expands.
So that puts our animal tally at:
That puts us at a solid TWENTY. I think that might be the cap.
For now …….
This is what our tomato field looked like hours before the first freeze.
… And here is what it looked like the next morning. Good thing we picked all the tomatoes!
And here is what the high tunnel looked like after it got down to 28 degrees – warm and balmy inside! Amazing!
Looks like we will have tomatoes a while longer.