With late summer and early fall wild crabapple, apple, plum and berry foraging all taking place, it means that I am driving down some roads that I typically only go down twice a year, once in the spring to confirm bloom and or spot new area’s to pick, and mark down what is growing where, so I have a idea of when to head back to the area in general.
Now I live close to a number of biggest cities, within an hour to hour an half in three directions, there is a city but the area I live in is quite rural, and we have the families that have been here for 100 plus years, so we are always going to be those new folks to the area, right now folks direct them to my farm with the comment, that sheep hippie lady, cracks me right up.
Anyway despite it being a farming area, averaging between five to 30 acres for those on small to those that own more but tend to rent out the fields to the big farmers in the area, compared to out west size, our big farms are still small, but switch provinces and they are considered quite large in our area.
It was a surprise to me when I moved here, that most folks that had small farm land, didn’t really small farm, they were single or double income off the farm, and either rented out their fields or left their barns empty, or were what the “old farmers” called, hobby farms which around here means you have horses mainly.
Now I like horse’s and so I readily would learn where and who had horses with their cute little fancy red and white barns and I am always on the look out for anyone who has what I call a small hobby mixed critter farm, they are where few and far between.
Well this year driving around was eye opening, farm after farm that had horse’s, are now missing them, many fields have clearly not been grazed at all, but a number of them have been replaced with either sheep or goats, the place that had the mini horses, all gone, the place with the emu’s, pens empty, the place with the donkey’s, gone.. the place with the herd of big work horses, empty..
However in their place is something interesting, the mini horses are gone, but one pen had ducks in it, one pen had chickens and one pen had a milking goat with kids.. hmmm
Turned down one of those Mc Mansion roads that leaded to a High bush cranberry picking spot, each house is on five acres and normally its mowed lawns, fancy plantings, now I had noticed that every second or third place about three or four years ago had started gardens and they have gotten bigger but this year was a shock, on what seemed like every third house was sudden makeshift, slapped together pens for rabbits, ducks, chickens and turkeys being raised for the families. At two different homes, they have staked out goats and one even had a small homemade lean to with a heavy pallet fence nailed together with pig or two being raised in it.
Don’t think folks are seeing or feeling the rising costs of food at the store, well that one drive down that well to do five acre, half million dollar houses road showed me that O ya, the pinch is being felt everywhere!
Stopped in to do some elderberry picking at local farmers field edge and they popped over to see how I was, and to see how the summer had gone, and one of the first things they said was, have your noticed that the price of everything is going up, and that they had done a couple extra cords of wood up and that they were thinking that they would use more wood this year, less heating oil or power, I can certainly see their point.
So are you seeing more folks with smaller critters in your neck of the woods? Are you seeing that the pens are being done as frugal as possable? Do you see more folks putting up more wood to help control heating costs for the coming winter?
Just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your posts. If I were younger, I’d do more. It’s just the two of us, so it doesn’t take much for an old man and woman. haha We have about 24 acres which is mostly woods. There is a creek that doesn’t run but has pools of water. LOTS of sand. We forage berries, muscadines, and elderberries. Sometimes my husband hunts. If we had to, we could become self sufficient. Today, we get muscadines and elderberries for one more making of jelly. Have a happy day!
I’ve been watching for this sort of thing, expecting to see more gardens going in, but so far not really. It frustrates me because I know people who could really use that extra that comes from producing your own, and they have the means and the space to do it, but it seems like some have a sort of mental block about being able to do it themselves. I imagine as times get tougher people will get up the nerve to take the plunge, though. We were just talking about this sort of thing yesterday, and my friends from Germany said that a lot of people are switching over to wood heat there.