With the summer CSA drawn to a close, the last few weeks have been a lot more relaxed. We have been working on a number of cleanup and maintenance projects, wrapping up the season and getting ready for winter.
I’ve spent lots of my time recently in the shop working on equipment fixes and improvements. I started by fixing the Grimm tedder, which broke during our very last haying in September. After David oriented me to his stick welder, I welded new skids onto our ancient single-horse springtooth, the old ones of which had finally worn off. I then moved onto fabricating a new frame for the culti-packer. This tool is pulled behind the seed drill to help firm the soil and improve germination. Previously it was towed by a pair of chains, but the loose hitch was an issue on hills and making tight turns. With fifteen feet of steel square tube, I built a frame, a short tongue, and a hitch on the back of the drill, which should keep the whole package much more rigid in the future. I am so excited to be welding! It feels great to add a new skill, but I’m also really enjoying putting things together and making a new tool essentially from scratch. I also installed a new fuel filter on the truck, re-built the single tree, fixed the table saw, built a roof for the A/C unit that powers the cooler, and I’m working on a new handle for the transplanter, new cover chains for the grain drill, and reinforcing parts of the four-horse evener. Especially when the weather is crummy, I appreciate having lots of indoor work!
We also have some very exciting new members of the farm family! This last Tuesday (and in the wee hours of Wednesday) Red gave birth to six teeny little piglets!!! They are very small, very cute, and so far, very healthy, which is great. Sidney did lots to improve her pen in preparation, including a stronger ramp and a better door to give her access to the outdoors, as well as a second heat lamp.
Around the farm, we’ve been doing lots of cleanup. We pulled up the last of the pepper and tomato stakes, rolled up the last of the row cover, and packed up all of the irrigation. We spread all of last winter’s hen bedding to clear their area out for them, and also have been spreading lots of manure on hay and vegetable fields. We also finished pruning the berries, and have been cleaning up a few piles of random junk leftover from the spring’s cabin construction project. Owen has been spending lots of time with the chainsaw cleaning the field edges, pushing back the bushes and clearing fallen logs. Sidney has spent part of a few days inputting paper harvest records and other notes into the computer. Also, it snowed!
We only have a few weeks left here at Natural Roots, and after the holidays we will be moving back to Hinesburg. We’ve got big plans for next year, including more chickens, a big garden, and some sheep! We’ll try to post when we have exciting things to share!