Thursday, December 11, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of December 2014

The reality of farming is that it creates dependency on the farmer - animals, plants, and infrastructure need to be supported 365 days a year.    This week, I had a failure of my personal anti-virus software (and my flu shot) and developed the 2014 flu.  My wife, who has been my life partner for 35 years, took over my tasks feeding, watering and cleaning all our animal areas while my energy was reduced. At nearly 53 years old, my endurance is boundless, but the flu does reduce my physical abilities.   Illness has caused us to realize that we have to be careful to balance to the joys of farming with our capacity to maintain what we’ve built.    Farming during winter with its cold, ice, snow, sleet, and wind takes a toll on even the most fit.

I did work from home two days this week as a courtesy to those around me - I did not want to infect anyone.  

As we head into the coldest part of winter, the tasks turn toward indoors.   Kathy and I emptied the pantry and root cellar then reorganized everything keeping only those foods that were still fresh and appealing.    We’ll do the same with our vegetable and mushroom supplies in the farm refrigerator this weekend.

I cleaned out the barn loft and did some electrical work in the barn in preparation for wiring the cider house to the power grid.

My father-in-law’s death a month ago provided us with several indoor projects as we go through his belongings and sort them into the donate, keep, and resell piles.    We’re busy working on trust accounts/wills, transfer of assets across two generations, and canceling credit cards/accounts.

There is alpaca fiber to sort, holiday decorations to put up, and attic/basement cleaning to do.

I continued vole patrol (and humane trapping) in the hoop house, ensuring that our winter vegetables are not being eaten.

There’s paperwork, taxes, and licenses to complete.   Last May I applied for Unity Farm to become a bonded winery so that we can sell our hard cider.   The application is multi-step and quite complex.   At this point all our applications are complete and we’re awaiting the scheduling of a site visit to inspect our cider house and fermentation/bottling facilities.

The alpaca, dogs, chickens, guinea fowl, ducks, and bees have all adapted to their winter life.   The mammals are clustered together in the barn at night keeping warm and dry.   The chickens and guinea fowl roost early in their heated coops.   The ducks seem to enjoy the wet, frozen mud and have no issue with inclement weather.  

The humans (include those of us recovering from the flu) are sitting next to a cozy fire, under a blanket, and using the winter months as a kind of hibernation, recharging our batteries for the rigors of the spring to come.

1 comment:

bruce said...

The best of holiday wishes to you, your wife & daughter and all the creatures in your care. My winters also turn out to be the best time to make time for rest, recharging, reflection and joy.

Thanks for a year of farm reports which has brought me recurrent and anticipatory pleasure. Life is good.

bruce bowden