I have always enjoyed working with animals and the land. Each year I raise a small garden. There is something about putting my hands in the soil the brings me joy and an inner peace. I observe how everything is growing on my little farm.
Today, while filling up water troughs, I noticed an area by the horse barn that exhibited a lot of worm activity. When we first moved to this place thirteen years ago, I could not find a worm. I looked for worms. Worms are a sign of healthy soil for growing healthy plants. When I planted my first garden here, I actually went and bought worms to put in the soil of the garden. This year the worm population was very healthy with large fat worms. I harvest the worms to do one of my favorite hobbies – fishing.
With my small garden I am able to supplement our vegetable intake with the garden. There is nothing like eating something you have grown. While my garden and sheep are not able to be certified organic, they are all natural.
My garden is close to being organic. I do not have organic feed for the sheep, and since I use sheep manure to fertilize my garden, my garden in not organic. There are no pesticides or herbicides used. This year I planted butternut squash for the first time. I have plenty of butternut squash to put up for this winter and next spring. Eating from my garden is a reward of accomplishment. I have managed to grow a plant, it produced fruit and I harvest. Another favorite hobby – cooking. I love to experiment with new recipes and some old ones. Learning to cook butternut squash has been a delicious adventure.
This next week I will be slaughtering and butchering a lamb for our meat supply. When I eat my own lamb I know what is not in the meat. These lambs were not raised with medicated feeds, growth hormones or anything else that a person would not want to put in their bodies. I do vaccinate at eight weeks and twelve weeks and only the lambs I am keeping. The butcher lambs do not get vaccinated. I know that there has been nothing but feed put into my lambs. I always thank the animal when I slaughter and say a prayer. I am grateful.
I mowed my pastures last week. I am pleased with the care I have given the pastures as I am being rewarded with grass and feed for my sheep. With the rain a few weeks ago and some coming this next week, the pastures are growing and green. Next spring, the grass will be even better because I have taken care to not over graze it this year.
When I look at photos from years past and what I see today in my pastures, I am pleased with a job well done.
There are plans for next year of getting chickens again to raise eggs, a few turkeys for the freezer and maybe a couple of ducks. Duck eggs are the best for baking. There is also thoughts of replanting some peach and plum trees. The hard freeze two years back killed my young fruit trees. I had been able to harvest enough plums and peaches to make one batch of jam by combining both fruits. The jam was awesome.
There are rewards of satisfaction in a job well done with farming.