While it seems like everyone around me is thrilled at all the things opening up, their children heading back to school, sports are a go, concerts and professional sport events where 10, 000 of thousands gather..
As summer came into being, the lull came and I enjoyed outside visiting with friends, and one or two very select friends where we did some limited indoor visiting as well. As the summer went by, locally our numbers were so low that it was very much put on the back burner and when friends asked me what I thought, I was like.. enjoy the summer and we will see in the fall..
Fall came early.. and really nothing much is changing for us, hubby was sent home and is working full time from home for the past 18 months and counting with no signs at all that he will be asked to go back to the office this year and maybe not next year and maybe not ever who knows at this point..
We continue to stream line the farm.. I am making the heavy choice to stop producing farm gate lamb, and we are cutting our flock down to personal use only.. keeping back a tiny little flock of 4 to meet our own milk, meat, wool and sheep compost needs.. The rest being sent out to the butcher mid sept..
It will be a very small lambing season for us in 2022 that is for sure.. We have not had only 3 ewes since the first year we moved to the farm.. but it is the right choice.. in a way, “they won” the cost of the feed, the cost of the wormer, Cost of tags, the cost of the hauler, the cost of the butcher, the cost of hay and 3 out of 5 drought years which has truly done a massive number on my pastures that need to all be sectioned off and redone over the next couple years.. Spring seed sowing will just not get the job done..
We have already downsized the small stock, bringing us down to just our turkey, chicken and duck flocks, plus one group of meat birds per year for freezer camp.
The new barn we are getting is perfectly suited to the two horses, plus small number of sheep, where as the small stock will continue to use the croft barn. If need be, I do have room to raise one beef calf, at this time, we have moved over to buying a full beef from down the road.. Its just so nice to do so.. but I am fully prepared to once again move back to raising our own beef calf every two years if we need to do so..
We will continue to buy a weaner piglet and raise our own pork for the freezer, we didn’t this year and the chickens and ducks thank us very much, and really they are rocking it on the clean up, extra milk, just let it clabber and serve, extra produce bits and bobs, chickens, even butcher bits, throw it to the chickens who will take it down to the cleaned up bones.
I have always been able to massively overproduce protein on the farm, eggs, milk, meat and so on.. I am working to find more balance, turns out I need a lot less livestock to just supply ourselves and our 0 mile closed loop.. Its kind of shocking really as I am so used to have so many more heritage breeding programs on the go.
I am moving over from “Animal Heritage” breeding to even more Heritage Plant Breeding and Seed Saving.. Its different but just as important work.. I have always enjoyed my plant breeding and seed saving.. it will be a pleasure to give back to the community in this way, I continue to grow seed for a Heritage seed house that goes to them for resale on their site.. It is exciting to know that what grew on my land one year can be grown in hundreds of garden in the coming year..
We are ordering in locally produced ton of wheat, barley and oats plus our hay and straw and 480 pounds of BOSS sunflower seeds orders are all in place and looking good this year.
That includes all the garden straw, I normally get 3600 pounds for the gardens but I am moving it up to 7200 pounds for 2022 as we are greatly expanding the food forests and somewhat on the gardens..
So we are heading into fall in the best shape possible to enjoy our farm, our horses, hounds, purr-pots, the beloved fish and of course with even more bird feeders and a ever ready Camera .. its a little foggy on how the fall will go.. but I fully expect a winter lockdown.. its coming.. its so coming..
I too am worried about another lock down. I am really hoping I am wrong but my pile of books to read and a new project are tucked away in a corner just in case. Fingers crossed that it will not come to pass.
On a brighter note – great pictures!
Glad you liked the photos 🙂 we could be wrong but it just means we are ready and ahead of the coming inflation over the next year.. still a good thing in my mind.. I would love to be wrong.
We are preparing for a winter lockdown as well, especially as the number of cases are so high here. I buy a couple of extra tins or bags every time we shop now, in case that happens, plus as there’s many bare shelves now, it makes sense to do. I can’t see myself returning to the office full-time anytime soon.
I hope it goes well for all of us this winter and given the supply bottle necking, what we put up and do now and over the past months can’t help but give us a buffer zone on the inflation.. I do not know what the inflation is like in UK but here in Canada, we seeing it everywhere, and pretty much everything from food (very much so) to power to wood, to gas and more..
I am under no illusion that this winter will be any different than last. To that end I’m still stocking up what I cannot grow and process, hoarding snap lids as there’s still no real supply. We did not raise weaner pigs this year – cost of grain was too high. And have to make a hard decision on that for next year as our local gov’t slaughterhouse has informed us that from this point forward they are only doing beef. The owner suffered an injury that has forced retirement on his part, and though his son is well able to take over and has, he cannot find reliable help. We now have to decide if we want to go back to the slaughter/butcher for ourselves. We are on the downside of getting ready for winter now – with as few livestock as we can have. For whatever reason I feel that this is going to be a tough winter in regards to weather – I could be way off, but regardless, have almost two years supply of firewood stacked up. Dropping the insurance on one vehicle. Watching for sales at the grocery stores. Tightening our belts.
Thank you for the overview ValB, We also took the insurance off one vehicle, we were not using it enough, left the registeration of it as its paid for two year and I do not want to need to do a safely again on it to bring it back to road worthy, so its prepped and parked.. I understand wanting to come into this winter as lean on the livestock as possible, I did the math and it will cost us almost double for each animal we hold over compared to the winter costs of 2019.. I have had a few peaple ask me if I have extra lids and the answer is a firm no.. I have lids, I do not have extra lids.. and I really don’t.. I need them for putting up our supply.. They are telling us locally that its going to be a long hard winter and I am prepping for it. I have no answers on the butcher, if you can get a few peaple together, a single pig is not to bad but if you want to do two or more, it gets to be alot more work.. Speaking of things being hmm, I called to book my hauler and nope waiting on a part for the equipment, could be 6 weeks.. and maybe have it in time for my haul.. I had to book my spots a year in advance for the sheep, thankfully got a new hauler at the 2 weeks out mark, glad to found her and local as well, used to use her dad but he retired and I didn’t find out this week that she has taken over the business, if she is anything like her father.. she will be great to work with. I still have some fowl to butcher yet myself and still have garden coming in..
Way behind you and many of your followers and working on a much smaller scale. Having been in stage 5 drought this summer, which is just breaking now, we have upped our rainwater collection to 12 000 litres. This will help keep the strain off the well through next summer. Really pleased our shallow well held through this summer. Working to connect sets of IBC totes together, but running up against parts being out of stock. I started bucket soaking, then spinning and machine rinsing the laundry to save water, and it’s cleaner than it was using the machine!! We do have a machine with a mangle on it. Need to get that functional for next summer. Saved tons of seeds again. My bought spaghetti squash seeds didn’t grow true, so I need those and some of those peppers you had success with, but think I am ok for seeds outside of those two. Will no doubt buy more perennial vegetables, as that’s a long term thing. Planted a proper fall bed or two for the first time. Hoping for late carrots and some greens and brussel sprouts. My son bought me a low greenhouse cover that will go over one bed, so will experiment with that. Saved lots of herbs and many leaves for teas. At least as the food prices go up, we can add some flavour variation! Grocery stores are starting to look quite strange, glad we just buy simple things, that tend to be less popular. We haven’t really changed how we live. Even fully vaccinated, husband is pretty high risk. We stay home and keep ourselves occupied. Managed to see both of the kids over the summer, which was lovely. They came here, and spent most time outside or well ventilated inside. Good for all our mental health.
thank you for the lovely overview and I am glad your well held and that is a wonderful collection system and I agree.. good for our mental health for sure..