Last weekend was filled with catchup for the time missed and preparing for the time to be missed.
Luckily, the farm was buzzing with activity - my daughter and her partner David, David’s parents,
and Kathy were all able to join me for farm work. Our tasks were
1. Crush 450 pounds of apples. We made 3 batches of hard cider, two of which will be for drinking and one of which will be cider vinegar for next year’s Unity Farm pickles. Our small batch methods are labor intensive but we have total control of the process, ensuring a perfect blend of apples - sweet, tart, aromatic, and astringent. This crush involved a combination of Spencer, Golden Delicious, Baldwin, Macoun, McIntosh, and Northern Spy. I've moved the cider to our mud room since the cold nights could result in a stuck fermentation.
3. Plant 600 cloves of garlic - every October we plant hard necked garlic (about 10 different varieties) outdoors so that it can set roots, over winter, and the begin growing as soon as the Spring thaw arrives. We harvest garlic every July and use it in the majority of our cooking/canning. This year we created 7 beds and used a template to set the cloves in perfect 6 inch rows, 2 inches deep. When then covered the beds with salt marsh hay to keep digging animals out and heat/warmth in.
5. Herd health - all the animals received their inoculations and we released our final flock of 8 week old guineas. We have 68 to overwinter, so I built extra roosts in the coop. Our 50 bird coop can now accommodate 80 birds and our multiple generations of guineas have bonded together as a single flock. The mornings are crisp and the compost piles are steaming
At the moment, the farm is entirely ready for my absence next week. The plants and animals are prepared for the possibility of snow and the harvest is complete, although we’ll continue to grow greens for the next few months. 2014 may very well be the last time I accept extensive foreign travel commitments. Occasional trips are fine, Skype is better, and the farm needs my nights/weekends.