The race is on to get ready for winter ...

October 31, 2020

Fall is always the busiest season on the farm. In fall the seasons seem to overlap as we're still busy going about our regular daily chores but have so many extra tasks to accomplish to prepare for the coming winter. We also have some extra challenges to deal with in the shoulder seasons like frozen water tanks in the morning when the temps dip below zero but just give it a few hours and you'll be sweating in the heat by 2pm! Keeps it interesting anyway!

So what're we busy with over here? Here's a quick snapshot of October on the farm...

Piglets!

We're busy weaning piglets, training them to electric fencing, and preparing their winter pastures. These guys need lots of cozy hay bales to snuggle into under the outstretched branches of our big old spruce trees for shelter. We make sure they get plenty of room to romp in and run around. We've got 2 groups of 50 that we'll combine into one big group hanging out together in a winter pasture piggie paradise!

Bale Pod Placement

Rick is busy trucking in loads of our winter feed. When he arrives with a load we get busy placing them out in pre-planned bale grazing pods. We make grids with 30 foot spacing between bales to ensure the best use of the bales and cover the most ground possible with all that incredible organic matter. This always gets me super excited because I know how amazing the grass will be in those places next summer!

Ditching & Yard Work

We've had some issues with drainage around the farm here over the years and rather than crying into the mud puddles, this fall we took the bull by the horns and did some extensive yard renovations. We put in new ditches along some of our roadways, widened out some of the roads in key spots, created some space for unloading bales, and brought in some gravel to mitigate the mud.

Firewood

The week of premature cold temps that we've had here already reminded us that if we'd like to keep ourselves cozy and warm this winter we better get that firewood put up! Rick and I will go get a load during the day and the kids split and stack it when they get home from school. Last year we got a wood splitter to streamline the job, but our boys love racing each other ... one on the splitter and one on the axe to see if they can beat the machine! These guys might look skinny but they're packing some serious guns! lol

Garden Harvest

Our garden was off the hook this year! It grew like crazy and we've been busy putting up the harvest. Sophie took the lead and did a bunch of canning, pickling and making sauerkraut on her own while I was busy with other projects. She's amazing!  We put a great deal of our root veggies into cold storage to be eaten and processed throughout the winter - there's just never enough time in the fall to do it all!

Grazing Animals

While we're prepping all of the paddocks and setting up all of our winter systems we still need to do our regular work too. Our cows and sheep are out happily grazing through the snow on our stockpiled grass. Our grass has been abundant and beautiful this year which means we have plenty of pasture for them for another month or so yet. They'll happily graze through the snow to find the still green grass beneath and we will start them on bales when the snow becomes too deep to forage though.

Joy Stephens

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