End of Summer...Autumn...then Comes Winter
We had a busy summer starting with lambs born in May 2022. One ewe had twins.
Then two ewes died from Flystrike, which is a condition where parasitic flies lay eggs into the wool (or on open wounds, but we are pretty careful about wounds), and the maggots bury themselves in the wood and feed off the sheep's flesh. Gross--right! The secret was to spray them with tee-tree oil--five drops per quart of water.
Katahdin breed sheep are supposedly a hair sheep and not a wool sheep, so we're now guessing these are not pure-bred. We will need to do more shearing. We need a 'Jacob' to sort out the wool sheep and the hair sheep and breed out the wool.
So we had two little orphan ewe-lambs to bottle feed all summer long. Kids and adults came to help, and we nicknamed one 'Lammie' for she went the longest before weaning. Both ewes are doing well, thankfully.
Our chickens slowed down in egg production and we bought more and more and more. We also bought pullet chicks that will begin to produce brown eggs in December, except that 6 or more of them got eaten by predators. And a large female Narragansett turkey got swooped up by the Great Blue Crane that visits our creek and steals our trout. I guess we can conclude that this was not a good year for predator-loss and disease loss.
We finished two batches of broiler chicken meat and now waiting for turkeys for Thanksgiving. Then we can relax--haha!
We took an hour drive and picked up two Katahdin rams, and I want one for Passover/Easter dinner. So presently, we have five rams (I think that's what Craig said). Keeping up with the number of sheep is quite the task. We separate rams and ewes and will breed them at Christmas time for 2023 May lambing.
It takes all summer to get 20 bins of firewood for our cold New York winters, so that gets done in between times.
We tore out a row of bad red raspberries because the black raspberries we planted the other year gave us a bountiful harvest this year. Our left-over one row of red raspberries gave us enough berries for our freezer and our cereal. Our grandchildren can one day plant more red-raspberry plants. After our strawberry plants washed away from a flood in early Spring, we planted just 25 plants of everbearing variety for next year. Then we ordered and planted 6 new (and 2-3 older) blackberry plants and Craig has begun the trellising for them--tall posts and cattle panel.
Our fruit trees were interesting this year. A very very strong wind (that blew down two cattle sheds) blew off all the blossoms of the peach tree, the plum trees, and at last one apple tree and maybe one pear tree too. So, we got no peaches; the tree rested. We got a dozen McIntosh apples from a young tree and a dozen or so Bartlett pears. Lammie ate too many leaves off the new cherry trees, so two will not survive. Lammie also nibbled at my rose bushes, so now they're dwarf.
Should we even mention our garden? Caring for diseased sheep took time away from the garden, so we basically only got potatoes because they had a plastic cover. We got nice big Adirondack Blue potatoes, Norland white (with red skins) and a few Fingerlings. Garlic was huge and in abundance but no onions; I planted 114 nice big garlic bulbs in October for next year. I found a young guy at Syracuse Regional Market that raises tomatoes without spraying, so he and I became good friends while I purchased Roma tomatoes to make the most delicious sauce ever. After three weeks, I told him I'd be seeing him next year. He learned that I really liked his tomatoes and he also raises the orange tomato, which has less acid. I instructed him to market them 'not as low acid' but as 'not causing inflammation.' The customer wants to know what the food will do for him.
We sold 6 beef cattle this 2022 year, but they had smaller weights than previously. Craig will have to research and figure that out. Soon, the cattle trailer will arrive with more stock for next year; there are also three beef cows left on pasture for next year.
Seems as though farming is very circular--just like the seasons. One season follows another and the years go by. We are not getting any younger, but Craig continues to thrive in and enjoy the routines of farming. I try to keep after canning and freezing and dehydrating and meal preparation, oh--and berry picking. We love it when friends come to help.