Our upcoming move to the Catskills means leaving this farm behind. It's been very good to us. We've been lucky to have a turn at caring for it for awhile. We wish the new owners many happy years.
Our pastures provide a rare opportunity to support grassland nesting birds like the bobolink. We love hearing their song fill the air as we do our morning chores.
Ramps are a favorite spring treat! We've enjoyed living in an area with such a bounty of wild edibles from leeks, to maple syrup, wild blueberries and raspberries, wild rice and even mushrooms harvested from our own pastures.
While I enjoy growing food I love going out into the wild and harvesting it even more!
Connecting the Past to the Future
Our old dairy barn with its new metal roof keeping it sound for the years to come. Feels good to play a small part in preserving history.
The Fuchs family arrived in this area around a hundred years ago, started farming the land, built a simple home, and raised 15 children. In 1944 they added onto the house and along the way brought more fields into production. This photo was taken in the fifties. I'm still in awe of what they accomplished through sheer hard work erecting buildings and turning the land into a productive dairy farm. Some of the children who grew up here have told us stories of sleeping on pallets in the unfinished upstairs in wintertime when the snow would sift in through the spaces between the boards. The house is very different now from its early history and also from its life in the sixties and seventies. We've revealed and finished the original hardwood floors, removed dark paneling and opened up the rooms. Snow no longer drifts in to settle on us in the night. Still, the history feels very close by.
It's easy to look out on the pastures and think it's all about grazing, ruminating, foraging.
To think about the lives of cattle and sheep, hogs and chickens and how they intersect with the life cycle of the grasses: growing, grazing, and growing again. It's easy to overlook the little guy, living life on a smaller scale, perhaps, but dreaming big.
Slowly, but Surely
With each warm spell the pastures get a little greener.
Grass spears and clovers emerge with the rains, and the land takes on the green glow of spring.
Bloodroot, hepatica and wood anemone are blooming in the forest.
I've been having a small battle of wills with our older sow. I'd like her piglets to sleep in the specially built nest under the heat lamp where they won't accidentally get crushed when she wants to stand up and move around. I bed it with straw, adjust the heat lamp so it is nice and cozy, and carefully move each sleepy piglet from the shivery pile at her side. When I return to check on the gilt who is still waiting to farrow I find that the sow has removed the straw from their nest, built up her own inviting nest, and once again has a shivery pile of piglets at her side. So I step inside and move each piglet into my rebuilt nest. Soon the pigs will be old enough that crushing and cold are no longer life-threatening risks. In the meantime I have a steady occupation.
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