“A Building Year”

One of our goals here is not to sugarcoat things. This farming/homesteading life has it’s drawbacks as well as a lot of good stuff. It’s hard work, and not everything works.

This year we bit off too much, even for us. We added three kinds of birds, and then a cow. I started spending weekdays in the city. It was more work than Lisa could do without me, and with no pasture, we were feeding hay 365 days a year. The recovery plan was getting the minions, and getting some land cleared. The minions were a success, the land clearing a qualified success.

The loggers were here for probably twice as long as planned. There are plenty of reasons, some out of their control, some not. However, we were unable to get any use out of the new land this year. We can finally start running fence, but only where we can use trees instead of planting posts. Still, even with no real grass next year, we can move the animals to clean pasture regularly and the sheep will browse whatever comes up. The horses are grass queens, with our Yankee cow somewhere in between. That’ll be some help on the hay bill, and we can finally plant our surviving orchard trees.

The garden was a success. I had my usual sweet corn experience, but everything else did well. We’ll schedule a little better next year, and plant for the minions from the beginning, but we know how to garden. We’ve both done it all our lives.

Sugaring was a success too.  We made six gallons, sold three and kept three. We normally bought two, so three seemed like a good number to keep. Combined with the honey, which we’ve both sold and given away, it looks like enough even with the minions. I do apologize to the maple community of New England for causing the bad season though. Next year’s run should be better. We should also have more and better taps. We had 70 last year, but some were in silver maple. This year we should have at least 100 and all in sugar maple.

Life isn’t perfect. We love it here.

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