We have been looking forward to February Break for quite a while. It is the real start to our 2018 farm season here at Schenk Homestead Farm. Although we have ordered and received our seeds, bought some new hand tools, and started our crop plans, the 2018 season has mostly been a dreamy future project on a future to-do list. WELL! with the week long pause in Jeremiah's teaching and a few extra days for me, we have a chance to put our nose to the grindstone and get going. Here is a recap of our last few days and our plans for the days after that.
We finally finished the hoophouse. This has been a long time coming and something we are very proud of. Last summer we built a 12'X24' medium height hoop house. We were inspired to build the hoop house after looking upon our crowded basement floor, warm and bright, with seedling trays, lights, and tarps preparing for the 2017 season. With the help of various heat mats, we will start our seeds here for the season.
Over the weekend we sent our first pair of hogs to the butcher. We raised a set of Old Spot X Idaho Pasture pigs for our family's use alongside a pair of American Guinea Hogs. AGH's take longer to reach butcher wait and will be butchered around June or July. The first set of pigs we raised have faced a tough winter. We faced many days of sub zero temperatures, consistent snow, and a prevailing wind. We can look forward to the pasture rotation for the AGH that went live today and have already witnessed their many appreciative grunts and snorts.
On the completed list is goat hoof trimming for our three resident goats, Marge, Lilac, and Rudy. Marge is our 3 year old Alpine nanny, her nearly year old Alpine X Saneen daughter Lilac, and Rudy, a new addition, an Alpine X Lamancha cross billy goat. All of our goats are mainly for homestead purposes, including providing a source of goats milk for drinking, yogurt, cheese making, and pig feed. Marge is expecting mid April and we will be dam raising her second set of kids. We are hoping for twins again.
Another component of our farm includes poultry. We raise organically fed, pastured, egg layers that provide us with a mix of white, brown, and pink eggs (soon to include easter eggers!), pastured meat chickens, and pastured turkey. Our turkeys poults have been ordered and are expected this April. We are incubating 55 of our own eggs that are a mix of Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, and Americauna hens crossed with Barred Rock roosters.
In the upcoming days we will seed onions, followed by some brassicas (i.e. cabbages, kale, brussel sprouts, and broccoli), and early lettuce varieties in the new hoop house. We will test some of our new hand tools, including the broad fork, to prep some of the plots that will give the onions their annual home. We will review the new large scale poultry feeders and waterers, 26 lb feed and 8 gal water capacity, respectively. We will prepare for the upcoming rabbitry season by moving the rabbit hutches outside, making improvements to hutches, and breeding our five does. Goat pastures will be expanding and their field shelters will be completed. Here's to the season ahead, we look forward to seeing you at market, in town, and on the farm.
Amanda and Jeremiah
Schenk Homestead Farm