We’re proud to announce that we now have Iowa Swabian Hall pork available for private sales! Read on for more information and how to order your custom, heritage breed pork!
This past weekend marked four years since we moved to the farm. Not four years since we’ve been farming, because that first year was a lot of cleaning and moving. And honestly, we didn’t know what we were doing. But four years ago we started this weird journey. I remember sitting down by our creek and in our new house full of old people furniture from the previous owners and dreaming of what our life would be like in the future. We moved out here with the goal to be homesteaders; have a few chickens for eggs, a garden, maybe some livestock. Over the past four years we learned a lot, quit our jobs, started a business, expanded our garden three times, currently care for 100+ animals and met some pretty incredible people. We had some of those incredible people out at our farm this past Sunday to help us fill our freezer with delicious, heritage breed pork that we raised ourselves. In short, it was the best day ever. Oh, besides our wedding. Whew. That was a close one.
It’s been a month since we got our first installment of our heritage hog herd. 11 gilts (most of which are preggo, a few of which are super preggo), 4 young boars, 3 barrows (snipped boys) and one very adorable little Piggy Azalea (the pig formally known as Britney Spears). In the past month they’ve taught us a lot; how curious they are, how they can really make you appreciate a mid-day nap, and how quickly they can completely tear up an entire pasture within a few days. Luckily, it’s only a temporary pasture that’s buying us some time until their permanent home is finished. We’ve been sketching out ideas for their pasture for about a year now after talking with Carl Blake of Rustik Rooster Farm, researching the Joel Salatin method and bouncing off ideas with fellow farmers. I think we’ve finally come up with a great easy to manage intensive rotational grazing set-up for our pigs that will keep them well fed on open pasture and woodlands containing hickory nuts, acorns and persimmons.
You guys, it’s been way too long since we’ve posted anything decent. Our bad, dudes. Frankly, I’m ashamed and a little sad. But we have a good reason why we haven’t had time to chat. You see, every year the month of May is when we basically disappear off the face of the Earth and continuously work long, grueling hours trying to get the garden in and summer projects completed or started. And we also begin a strict farm workout regimen of dirt and sweat. We’re looking like bronzed lobster “after examples” in medical weight loss ads. It’s great. (PS I will never, ever convince myself in January that I should join a gym. That would be silly.) It’s like the entire month of May becomes farmer hell week. So here’s what we were up to during our month of May.
About a month ago we started on an exciting (albeit stressful) endeavor. We started growing wheatgrass in our greenhouse, filling every square inch top to bottom with trays, soil, seed and bright green blades of grass. Why does one need 100+ trays of wheatgrass? What is that stuff anyway? Why do crunchy-granola health junkies go nutzo over wheatgrass? Who decided that juicing lawn clippings was a great source of vitamins and nutrients? That last question I can’t answer but for real, let’s talk about some wheatgrass shall we?
It’s officially June and the garden is officially looking kickass! Zach has been hard at work pruning, weeding and tending to the garden. After we transplanted everything, we made some improvements to the soil, constructed supports for the tomatoes and laid down various materials for weed suppression/organic amendments. Translation: our garden looks hella profesh and waaaayyyy better than it did last year.
Last week we collected sap from our maple trees in order to make homemade maple syrup. (See how we tapped the trees here) We tapped the trees on Sunday and by Saturday afternoon we had about 72 gallons of sap! With a 40:1 ratio, that means that we should have just under 2 gallons of syrup. Here’s part two of our syrup making endeavor.
In Missouri, we have a saying, if you don’t like the weather all you gotta do is wait like, 15 minutes. However, in February these temperature swings are perfect for tapping a sweet little sugar maple tree. Ideally, what you want is for the temperature to drop below freezing at night and get up to the 40’s during the day. What happens is that at night, the tree is all cold, lonely and constricted, then as the temperature rises it gets all hot, loosens up and lets its milky white sap flow. Okay, enough innuendoes (haha, in your end-o!).
It’s January 10th, so it may be a little overdue. But it’s never too late to set goals, right? Maybe my first New Year’s Resolution should be to stop procrastinating and make more lists. Maybe not. But here’s a list of goals that we would like to accomplish this year at Such and Such Farm:
Earlier this spring it was decided that we were going to build a greenhouse. We had originally planned to just build a hoophouse. But after deciding to try to heat the greenhouse with our wood boiler as well as doing a lot of research, we realized that a hoophouse just wasn’t going to cut it for many of the plans we had. It also would not be as strong or as efficient as a kit model greenhouse. A hoophouse would have taken care of some of our needs but not all. So as it turned out, we needed a real greenhouse. Not just any greenhouse. A really kickass greenhouse.