Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter Fun

Well, not exactly playing-in-the-snow kinda fun. There's been precious little frozen precipitation of any kind so far this winter.

Instead, we've been cutting hemlocks from the back woods to build a covered wash station and doing some overdue house repairs. We even took an afternoon and sketched out how we want to debrief on this year's growing season and how to plan for next year.

Our farmers' markets are over for the year and we only have two more weeks of CSA pickup left for the year. It seems like yesterday we were tilling the fields during a surprisingly hot January, then losing all the fruit blossoms to a late frost, then hurtling into a drought -- ill prepared, to boot. But we still managed to grow more veggies than we did in the previous two years we've been farming and now the pasture is lush with young winter wheat plants that our friend Thor has planted. Despite not bearing much fruit this year, the orchard put on plenty of new growth -- including buds for the crop of 2013 -- and our winter cover crops look solid.

The farm's lead hunter just took a doe and a young buck to the butcher and we're getting ready to hunker down by the fire to enjoy a favorite all-Tree Gate cabbage/potato/onion/pork sausage dish when it comes out of the oven. We've also been taste testing a few of the winter squash varieties we tried out this year.

Butternut, Hubbard, spaghetti squash, and a pumpkin heading for the oven. Last year we read Carol Deppe's The Resilient Gardener and learned that in some cases we weren't letting our squash sit in the root cellar long enough to get sweet. Now we're more discerning about which squash get eaten first and which can hang around till the spring snows have begun melting. We'll also keep a good stash of potatoes for ourselves this year and not sell them all in early winter. Among the simple rewards for all of the hard work that went into growing all this food: We sure do eat good.

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