This past summer has brought some significant changes to the farm. Ethan has gotten the cattle on a good rotation through the pasture, and he is following them with the tractor mower to knock down whatever weeds they don't get (which are a lot this year due to our land just coming out of CRP). The improvement to the pasture is impressive, and I'm sure it will continue to be the longer we are here.
The hogs have also made a move into the woods and are doing a great job of clearing out the woods. Our woods are quite thick, with lots of undergrowth which makes it almost impossible to get through. The area the hogs have been in is now completely bare ground except for the older trees. We are excited to have our woods become more usable as they continue to rotate through.
This summer we also started doing a farmer's market at the Living History Farms. It was a smaller market, which worked well for getting our feet wet. We were able to meet some great people and have some wonderful new customers.
This summer we processed our first grassfed beef as well. It has sold fast, and now we are waiting for the next round to become ready. From processing the beef though, we became aware of our need for freezer space. We ended up taking our home deep freeze and transitioning it over to a business deep freeze as well. Even so, with the both beef and pork, we struggled to make everything fit.
It seems like our farm is growing wonderfully and we are needing to take steps to help bring it to the next level. This is always a challenge, and even more so this year. Ethan is now just working 20 hours at the church as the youth pastor. In order to make up for the difference, he is also working 40 hours at the NAPA center at the farm store. I do have to say, working at the farm store does have some nice perks, but the extra hours also bring some challenges to the farm set up.
Thankfully, we were able to get our perimeter fence up last year, although we were waiting to do around the yard until this year. The fence is working great, but we have found we need to make some rotation changes with the cows to help keep the voltage its strongest. The reason we have found out is because we have 6 small cows/calves who are able to work their way out of the paddock of the day and come terrorize the yard - scratching on trees, walking through the garden (which isn't that big of a deal this year if you have been following along), and tearing apart the shed.
Ethan has plans to put up a semi permanent fence around the yard soon to stop the recent wanders, and hopefully we will get the permanent fence layout figured out early next year. Until then, I decided that enough was enough in the shed. So today I strung some wire across the front and made gates between each post. I didn't charge it, but it can be. Hopefully they will just see that there are multiple strands and not bother.
When it comes to farming, I starting to feel that you need to devote 25% of your time to the expected and 75% of your time to the unexpected. I guess such is life on a beginning farm, or maybe even any farm. Even so, we are still moving along and amazingly still moving forward. :)