The fall is a season of bountiful harvests and waning light, taking animals to the slaughterhouse and long lists of food from the farm read off at every meal. It is also – happily – the season to start to imagine starting the cycle all over again. This week the farm and kitchen crew met to plan our crops for next year (fewer scallions, more summer onions; cut back on the number of slicer tomatoes and plant more paste tomato plants). And we’re right in the midst of breeding and early gestation for many of our animals. As the farm population reaches its lowest of the year (60 laying chickens, six pigs, two dairy cows, one future dairy cow, three beef cows, ten sheep, and one great Sal), we are looking ahead to spring, when the population of the farm skyrockets.
In early March, we’ll welcome the first chicks of the season and a new calf from Gerry, our clumsy-yet-charming milk cow. She’s the mother of Greta, our yearling heifer and future dairy gem. We’re hoping for a face just as cute as this one:
In April, the lambs will start coming. Our new ram Josiah Henry (named for two of our farmiest summer campers) will be the father of all of the lambs born to our six ewes. Our fingers are crossed for a mix of white and black lambs.
Late May brings piglets and calving season #2 on the farm, with Halo the Great due to produce one baby and prodigious amounts of milk.
With so much to look forward to (from the cute faces to the sleepless nights of spring), the farm crew is happily hunkering down in these quieter times, leaning into planning and preparation this winter. We’re knee deep in seed catalogs and garden planning and tending daily to our gestating mamas in the barn.
-Megan Phillips, Chewonki Farm Manager