May has been a spectacular month for us at HiBar Ranch, Farm and Forest.
First, we opened up the ranch in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, prepping for summer activities there. The bees in the hives are beginning their early spring foraging and survived a somewhat mild winter. The woods were traversed to assess the winter’s tree blow down and assess the crooked rooted trees that we sell to local craftsman for furniture building. And, the sugar bush is waking to a new season, though still a few seasons away from maturity for syrup making. We are in the process of turning our maple forest into a sugar bush farm to go along with our bee apiary.
On the Smoky Mountain of Tennessee farm, the growing season is already in full production mode.
- The four lambs are growing leaps and bounds and are ready to be weaned from their mothers. It’s soon to be shearing time and we will be taking this project on ourselves this year. So, out come the shearers with blades to be shipped off for sharpening. The first of June will be our shearing date this year. We have a total of eight Navajo Churro sheep now.
- The alpacas were sheared just yestarday by a professional shearer. It’s always fun to see what the alpacas look like after their fiber is off. What cute critters they are. We have two aplacas: an intact male and female that we are breeding currently.
- The dairy goats are in full milk production mode and I am now milking twice a day. All six baby kids are doing great. We separate the babies at night from their mothers and I milk the does out in the morning. Then I let the kids be with the mothers all day. This way they gradually get weaned and we get the milk for all of our milk, cheese, butter and soap making adventures for the coming year. We have eighteen Nigerian Dwarf goats at this time.
- We have two new litters of baby meat rabbits. This takes our meat rabbit population up to 33.
- And, our ducks have all been moved out to their very big pond and are now happily swimming their days away. We how have three ducks left as many were taken by predators this year early on.
- The chicks are now nearly full grown hens. There are no eggs yet but we expect to have them laying later this summer. Our older hens are laying however, so we we are now flush in eggs and milk. We have twelve
- The grapes are rapidly growing on our new trellises we installed this last winter and the apples are maturing on our outstanding fruit trees. The asparagus shoots are shooting to the sky. The strawberries are ripe for the picking.
- In the vegetable garden the lettuce, chard, spinach and collard greens are all pickable and ready to feed the family. The corn is shooting up and the peas are climbing their poles. The squash, zucchini, pumpkins and melons are all starting to bloom. The potato green tops are nearly four feet tall allready and we continually cover the green with more dirt, applying a ‘vertical’ approach to our potato growing this year. The tobacco starts will be going out into the garden in the coming month as well.
We’ll have pictures coming your way soon. As we move into June our major project will be installing the solar technology on all our out buildings/barns to take our farm off the grid. We’ll be doing an extensive write up on that journey along the way.
We hope you have enjoyed your May and we look forward to posting pictures shortly of our wonderful progress at HiBar Ranch, Farm and Forest.
~ L. Davis, God Bless !