It’s that time of year again. Time to begin to catch our breath from farming and look at what’s been accomplished over the season and also look forward to those wonderful days of fall quickly approaching.
This year we’ve had wonderful moments and very sad moments too at our ranch and farm. On the brighter notes, the honey has been flowing great as our bees survived the winter on the NY ranch. That is always exciting as bees continue to flounder throughout the United States.
The vertical gardening experiment went exceptionally well. However, mid summer our dogs broke into the garden and found the melons and squash to be chew toys. They not only destroyed the plants but got entangled in the trellises and pushed them all over. That was a very frustrating day for my husband and I.
Also, a rat got into our vertical potato boxes. You don’t know this from the top of the box. You only learn this when you dig all the way to the bottom of the box and find ZERO potatoes. So, we’ve opted to not do vertical potatoes in a box anymore and just do them in the ground the old fashioned way. We did a great deal of produce earlier in the summer beyond any garden I have ever done. I was able to can a great deal of jam from our blueberries and blackberries along with canning pickles and salsa.
I also froze a bunch of zucchini for fall zucchini bread. This year I also actively harvested wildflowers and my medicinal herbs for my fall and winters teas: red clover, mullein, calendula, lemon balm, hyssop, peppermint, basil, parsley, lemon grass, etc. So, I am pleased overall. But, it is sad at the end of the growing season to not have a late season bounty that I am used to. So, today I am going to pull up the rest of the garden other than the tomatoes and get prepared for the fall/winter garden that I put in.
On the animal front it has been a very sad year. Neighbor dogs who were left to roam broke into our pastures and killed three of our four spring lambs and also killed three of our dairy goats. In addition, they left a very wounded top breeding ram sire with a chewed up hind leg with teeth marks all up and down his hind leg. After many hundreds of dollars of vet bills we were able to disband the infection that had gone all the way into the joint, nearly killing him. We have never experienced any mortality on our farm in all our years of farming other than when a doe has given birth and there’s been complications. But that has been rare. Roaming neighbor dogs have this year took out a third of our sheep and goat population. Fortunately, the neighbor got rid of their dog after that knowing he was killing other livestock too. It’s been a tough year at our farm on that front. I lost my prized milking doe who was very valuable and dear to my heart. Our daughter had to collect her remains as we were travelling and she was doing this while crying but being the stoic young lady she is, she finished the task. These are hard moments on a farm.
Up here in the Smoky mountains where the farm is, the leaves are beginning to turn color and the evenings are beginning to cool. With that comes the new eggs from our spring chicks, now producing. The apples are on the trees and ready to pick and usually my pumpkins are getting big all in preparation for my fall harvest decorating on the beautiful wrap around porches we have on our victorian farm house here at the farm. This year I’ll have to buy some pumpkins thanks to those labs of ours.
All in all, it is another reminder that farm life is loaded with ups and downs – birth and death, trials and victories. God has been here at our farm this year as we pray often and seek his guidance in our daily walk with him. More than anything this year, we’ve seen peace and harmony fill our days as we walk with the Lord while we work. That has been the greatest gift for my husband and I on our farm. HiBar Ranch, Farm and Forest means having a higher bar — a Christian bar that stands for doing right at all times, not just good times. And, hibar stands for the cross of Jesus Christ. The Lord continues to guide us and teach us as we take this walk with him and we hope you are blessed too and growing in your walk with the Lord as you homestead on your own land.
May you all have a blessed fall and continue to enjoy your walk with Jesus Christ!
God Bless! L. Davis