Outside the snow is falling and roosters are crowing, boo-hoo

OK, so, it is not actually snowing right now but it’s a gray winter day here on the farm. The part about the roosters is true though.

This photo is from a few months ago but you can still see the rooster development starting.

If you recall, earlier this year, I incubated and hatched chickens for the first time. I knew I would end up with roosters but, now, five months later, it seems like there’s a new one every day! Birds I thought would be laying hens all of a sudden are sprouting long tail feathers and towering over the the smaller chickens. Oh well, at least I know they are not all roosters (I purchased some sexed birds as well, not knowing what I would end up with from the hatch).

We still have pigs but finally have begun the butcher-day countdown. This is, by far, the latest in the year we’ve had to care for the bacon and I look forward to not breaking ice and hauling five-gallon buckets of water to them every day.

This week, I also put in our potato order for the spring. Some items already were listed as sold out! I typically don’t order until late January but as crazy as 2020 has been, I think we are going to be looking at shortages of farm supplies, seeds and other things for a while still. I feel extremely lucky to know great people who keep an eye out for things, such as Mason jars and lids, on my behalf. Other than those (and toilet paper!), most things have been available here, even if it takes a little longer to find them.

But winter is when we get to sit for a minute and reflect on what we’ve accomplished during the warmer months. Despite Covid-19, we were able to keep the farmstand open for the whole season. We sold out of potatoes (and barely managed to save any for ourselves!), squash, maple syrup and pumpkins. We have a plan for next year’s crops, turned over new areas of the fields and got the garlic in the ground when it was a balmy 65-degree day in early November. The greenhouse frame is up and leveled where we used to have a fenced-in garden of raised beds we built years ago. Plans are rolling around for new fencing and raised beds around the greenhouse, as well as what crops will be started inside and stay inside for the season. Firewood for most of the winter is split and stacked. I canned all my usual stuff, and froze some garden produce. There are boxes of squash and onions stored away, and garlic. While the freezers are not yet full of meat, the pigs’ days are numbered and we’ve got plenty of chickens.

We made some incredible equipment finds this fall, too. A small garden tractor we plan to use for weed control also came with a snowblower attachment, which Jeff intends to give a whirl once we get more than a couple of inches of snow. In the next town over, we picked up a big scale that will be great for larger amounts of potatoes and a little more professional than our bathroom scale for pumpkins.

I’m learning more about QuickBooks every day but am also planning to get back to writing a little more often during these slower months.

Did I mention we also got a new kitten? This is Gracie, shown here with Penelope for scale, and she’s very much a kitten — always annoying the other two cats and running (unless she’s asleep).

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