We have been on our own farm for a whole year!
Happy New year to you!
We moved to West Glover and to our dream farm just before Christmas in 2012. The day we had our closing we scooped up our children from their schools, drove to Hardwick to pick up a bunch of piglets and then we were on our way to our new, prefect, dream farm. We were so excited because our dream had actually come true! We owned a whole big farm! Our plan was to drive our new piglets to Glover (where most of our animals were already), get them settled in, have a celebratory pizza dinner (from the infamous Parker Pie) and then head back to Middlesex to keep on packing while all the children (and animals) slept.
It started to snow while we were unloading the pigs, hard. So hard there was no way we were going anywhere! Luckily we had moved a few things up to the farm before the actual closing, so we dug through some stuff we had put in the barn and found a couple sleeping bags. We lit a fire in the woodstove in our cozy new living room, cuddled all up together on the floor and, bellies full of pizza and hearts full of excitement, tucked in for the night. We had no furniture, or silverware, cups or plates or food besides pizza, but our new life had begun, and it was already awesome.
The year has proven to be like that first night. It has been one adventure after another, and really fun. We love that we see all of our animals every day, all day long. No more driving from leased plot to leased plot. It is a joy to be able to walk out the door for the late night check, wander around and listen to all the sounds of content animals settling in for the night. It is even nice to enjoy all the smells, from fresh hay just cut to the sweet breath of our cows and horses. And to stand in the middle of a huge field, surrounded by hundreds of turkeys or chickens roaming, sunning, and scratching about, well, there is absolutely nothing better than that.
This year, our farm grew a lot. We processed about 8,000 chickens, turkeys and guinea hen. We grew our herd of rabbits to 35 breeding does and three bucks. We were able to raise 1,000 rabbits for meat this year. Our little flock of laying hens went from 200 to 600, and we plan to almost double that number by June. We raised about 50 pigs this year and will probably stick to that number again. We started a non-profit, Smartburgers, which helps get healthy beef into school lunches at affordable prices. The thing that is so fun about having a whole farm is that we can continue to grow but still do the very same, wonderful job we always have, caring for the animals. I still enjoy the antics of our pigs, and how the hens are so curious and dramatic! Even better, I love having our own land we can pasture and nurture and take care of. It is exciting.
Our children are growing and thriving too. Sam, our oldest, has learned how to drive our little farm truck around. it is a standard and he is really good at it! Governor, our middle child, helps us kill the chickens. He is intrigued by the anatomy and physiology of the birds, and is a very hard worker. Willa, our littlest, is our organizer. She collects the eggs, she snuggles the bunnies and keeps us all in line.
We set out five years ago to farm as a family. It hasn't been easy a lot of the time. But we are doing it, and it is working, and that feels great. It is an incredible feeling to stick with something because we have a passion for the work. Showing our children that it is possible to work hard and be successful doing something that we love and see as beneficial to our community is another wonderful benefit of the life we have chosen. Thank you to all our wonderful customers and friends who have encouraged and supported the growth of our farm for the last five years.
We are taking orders now for our spring shares. If you order today, you will receive your pork and beef shares in late March or Early April. The first chickens will be ready Mid-may to early June. We have whole and half pigs, we have 20 lbs boxes of pork, we have 20 lb boxes of beef, and bulk chicken shares. We also have our regular CSA, which is really convenient and always will ensure you receive just what you like to eat most. Buying early helps us with feed costs and will guarantee you always have the healthiest, tastiest and well cared for meats in your freezer.
Happy New year to all! See you at the Montpelier Farmers' Market or come visit us on the farm!
Thank You and we wish you all a happy, snowy winter!