FARM ACTIVITIES FOR FALL ~
For new homesteaders and micro-farmers just learning the seasonal ‘flow’ of things, we have to say, it takes about two to three years to figure it out. There is a seasonal ‘rhythm’ that becomes so familiar, it’s in your bones. But that doesn’t arrive all at once. It is so true what people say about old farmers who are wise beyond their years. Experience begets such wisdom, and that indeed takes time.
So, to help shortcut that learning process, we are sharing our top seasonal activities we do this time of year in an effort to assist others in this same journey towards simple and sustainable living by way of a small farm. As the weather cools and the leaves begin to turn, we begin to look at two things: our soil and our infrastructure. We begin to turn our summer garden over and incorporate more compost as we trade out the summer garden remains (which go into our compost pile) and bring in compost that has worked its cycle. We plant more cool season crops and also prepare to plant in the coming months those items that will carry over in the soil into next spring, i.e. garlic, etc. We clean all the beds and may remulch as well beyond our garden and into our medicinal beds and landscape. We also spend a great deal of time in fall on putting in new fence to maximize our pastures for rotational grazing. Since we run an organic farm it is imperative to have good pastures that are sectioned off to rotate the livestock through. We seem to spend a great deal of time in fall building fence and repairing fence when the climate is cooler yet pleasant and with less bugs. Last, we make sure that all our electricity and water systems are up to snuff for the coming of winter and shorter daylight hours. We need lights for the chicken coop so the chickens keep laying, we need lights in the barn well located as our evening chores now begin to wax on into dusk and dark hours and we need electricity for heaters to keep the water from freezing for all our livestock in the dead of winter. We do all these assessments and repairs/updates during the month of September. Moving into October, we may well have lambs and/or kids birthing as our goats and sheep both have babies twice a year. We prepare for those birthings with up to date birthing pens, ready for the new arrivals. As we move into November that becomes mating time for our goats and sheep so they can have their babies in March or preferrably April when the weather is warmer and easier for birthing.
As you by now know, summer is packed with garden toil, rapidly growing livestock birthed in spring, ample hay baling, hauling and storing in the big barn, and lots of sweaty hot days tending to the milking, gardening/harvesting of your farm’s bounty. Fall is another flurious burst of energy and effort to wrap up the gardening season and prepare for winter. It is with this last mega burst that leads us to final harvest/slaughter of beef, rabbits, goats, chickens, etc. for food that goes in the freezer in November. When we arrive upon Thanksgiving, our table is full of everything we’ve worked so hard for all season – with the turkey being our own, the potatoes both mashed and sweet being our own, as well as our own wheat bread, our own green beans, our own apples for apple pie, and so on. When our family sits down at the dinner table for Thanksgiving we can truly experience the rewards of our labor as we look at the results.
Farm life is truly a blessing and one that takes years to really master – if any of us ever really do. The rewards along the way make the journey fulfilling as we move into season after season, enjoying the rhythms that this way of life offers us, our children and our grandchildren.
May your fall be full of health and harvest!!