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Winter 2012-2013

posted Feb 18, 2013, 7:37 PM by Dan and Caroline Swansey   [ updated Feb 18, 2013, 7:41 PM ]
Though we've been right on schedule for many of our farm projects we've definitely neglected our blog for quite some time, so here is my attempt to share with you our 2012 season wrap-up and the beginning of a new year 2013.
As October 2012 rolled around, Dan and I, tried to keep it together as we wrapped up the last farmers markets with loads of tomatoes still coming of the plants and a great winter squash harvest. We noticed how our efforts to add manure to our fields did wonders on the winter squash and decided to make our biggest investment yet and ordered a horse-powered manure spreader with a lime attachment. In October we also had a great turn-out to a harvest celebration farm tour we took part in. It was organized by WSU and we plan on participating in years to come. Dan demonstrated some plowing with the horses in the pasture. This plowed area we plan to reseed with a diverse pasture mix to improve our pastures. 
When we reached November we were so beat by the incredibly busy end of season we took a little break to see family on the East Coast...little did we know traveling with a one year old is far from relaxing and we came home needing a vacation. We took a couple of days though Dan didn't wait too much longer to start some house remodeling projects we had planned for this winter. By the end of January we had new wood floors in our living room and a new kitchen which will make processing farm products much more possible than it was before. We also squeezed in putting up the last part of our sheep fencing that completed our fencing efforts. Needless to say February came really fast.
Sofar February has been fun though, we took the horses back out to try the new manure spreader and had a lot of fun spreading manure over one of our large pastures. (will try to post pictures soon) This we hope will really increase the growth of the grass, add organic matter, life and nutrition, and will in turn feed our animals well. We've got one pile of manure left that we are saving for the squash fields. This year we will grow an exciting variety of winter squashes, including red kuri, black futsu kabocha, delicata, acorn, butternut and some blue hubbard. Of course, I have not started those seeds yet, however we have started seeding and harvesting some of our early greens and onions. We are applying some simple organic compost teas which I'm learning to brew to our greenhouses to help keep the soil biology balanced which we hope will reduce mildew issues we can get here in the North-West. Every year we are trying to improve our methods and with an early start we hope to have another great CSA this year.
Our new batch of baby layer chicks has also arrived and will increase our production of eggs by July.  And of course baby lambs! The 5th lamb was born yesterday and it was the first one we actually saw being born, in less than 20 minutes it has been hard to catch the sheep in labor, though it hasn't been due to lack of trying as we hang out by the sheep barn any chance we get in the hopes of being able to see a birth. It is an event that doesn't stop being exciting, at least not yet for us. We've got 2 more ewes that are due soon so we suspect not having more than 7 or 8 lambs total. This is less than last year as we reduced our flock in another effort to regain healthy pastures before increasing the flock again. Our turkeys won't arrive until April but we are taking preorders already, we are looking at the Bourbon Reds as the heritage breed we would like to try this year to compare in taste and size.

Well, that sums it up for now...we will make an effort to post some pictures of the horses in action with the manure spreader and the new baby animals on the farm!