My birthday fell over Labor Day Weekend, and for the first time in several years, Karl wasn’t called away to a conference at the end of August. With all hands on deck, we took advantage of the long weekend to do some much needed farm projects. It’s called Labor Day because you’re supposed to do hard labor, right?
The weekend began when Karl granted my dearest birthday wish and rented a wood chipper to attack the many piles of saplings that the goats have stripped over the past few years. As he pointed out, the project combines two of my favorite pastimes: organization and cathartic destruction, and it was amazing! It was such a satisfying project that I want chipping wood to become, like carrot cake and homemade cards, a part of my annual birthday celebration. Pile after pile went into the grinder and came out as tiny bits. We now have two chipped mounds, ready to spread on a path down to Grampa Steve’s house in the woods.
Next up: processing the chickens. With helpers John, Fiona, and Lisa (and runner Grampa Steve), we processed the meat birds in a surprisingly short day. To celebrate, a meal from the farm’s bounty: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, sautéed kale, warm goat’s milk biscuits, and hearty slices of birthday cake. The best birthday weekend ever!
Ten Apple Farm fried chicken
- Charlotte and Bea watch the maple sap drip from a newly tapped tree
Last weekend it seemed like the winter was never ending, my back would never heal, and we’d be stuck inside forever. But this weekend it seems like spring is right around the corner! Maybe it was the 40 degree temps that had the snow melting and the sap running, or maybe it was just finally crossing some things off our “get ready for spring” list that we’d been needing to get done for some time. We ordered our poultry from Murray McMurray hatchery, ordered our seeds from Fedco, got our oyster mushroom growing project started, and got our maples tapped.
We’re pretty excited about these mushrooms. We got the spawn a couple weeks ago at the February swap meet, and have been waiting for them to completely colonize their jar, and then holding it in the fridge until this weekend. Margaret and the girls spent Sunday morning cutting up straw for the mushrooms to grow in, and then we spent a good part of the rest of the day trying to pasteurize the straw in the downstairs bathtub. By evening, we got the straw and the spawn packed in a milk crate, wrapped in plastic and in the basement. We’ll know next weekend, I think, if things took.
We celebrated getting the taps in with waffles topped with last year’s strawberry sauce. We ran out of maple syrup some months ago, but it’s exciting to think, next weekend, when we dig into our pancakes, they’ll be topped with a fresh new batch of maple syrup.
For more pictures of our weekend activities, check out our page on Facebook.
- Charlotte, Bea and Margaret fill our bathtub with the cut straw for our oyster mushrooms to grow on.
Agriculture, Homesteading & Farming