Our planting season started early with an order of over 300 trees and bushes that included Cherry, Plum, Elderberry, Arctic Blue Willow, Lilacs, Apricot, Hazelnut, Persimmon, and Serviceberry. All of these were planted in half of the 5 acres that we have deemed our food plot. We also added 5 domesticated apple varieties later in the summer that we hope will continue to thrive. Ground that our neighbor helped plow last fall was broken again this spring and planted with a flower and dye garden, tomatoes, tomatillo, flour corn, squash, kale, zucchini and lots more. Our children enjoyed planting and harvesting from this space throughout the season.
We were able to get a small storefront up and running on our property to sell some of the produce that we had planted in our garden. In addition to that we put some of our wool products and some of the other quilted and canned items that we made during the year to sell along with selling some fresh eggs. We were open Friday - Sunday 8am-4pm.
In addition to the storefront we were also a vendor at a farmers market that was hosted at the Perlick's Distillery in Sarona WI. The market was held on Thursday evenings and was a great opportunity to meet new customers and fiber artists in the area.
Additional fencing was constructed in July to allow for more pasture space. This pasture housed our three cows, two rams and two wethers for the remainder of the summer. The fence was slightly damaged due to a high wind storm that blew across our property and destroyed over a dozen large trees in its path. It took us almost two days to fully chop, remove and re-stretch that section of fencing.
Sean built a chicken tractor that would accommodate 25 broiler chicken. The tractor was moved once a day. Our first batch of chickens that we ran were a breed called Gingers. They are a relative to the white broilers you see at larger operations. It was very obvious that this breed of chicken was not meant to be raised in an open environment. Our second run of broilers were Rainbow Rangers. They loved the field and grew beautifully throughout the late summer/ early fall season.
This was our first year using our tractor and learning how to use all the different attachments. We had our issues trying to get it all going but in the end we were able to put up a little over 600 bales of hay to feed our animals for the winter.
A high tunnel was installed in August in our garden area. Since neither of us had the knowledge or experience installing such a structure, we brought in 4 fellas from the Green Bay Area to help construct this beast. The dimensions ended up being 30 wide by 100 feet long and 8 foot side walls. It took all of four days for the installers. The wind blew every single day and of course the worst of it was the day we installed the roof. Neighbors and friends came to help hold down the plastic while one of the installers went along to stabilize it. We hope to grow tomatoes, peppers, dye plants and herbs in this structure in the 2023 growing year.
As fall approached we sheered the Icelandic sheep, butchered lambs, closed up the shop for the season and settled in for the slower season. The cows were moved closer to the house for easier winter care, the sheep were settled for fall breeding and the garden was put to bed. While the months leading up to the end of the year were still busy, it was a good kind of busy. Making new connections at holiday markets, traveling to Ohio for a new business opportunity, catching up with friends and finishing up gifts for the holiday season.
We have started making a few new products that we are looking forward to showcasing soon. Soaps have been made of herbs that we grew or foraged from here on our property. While we enjoy making blends from our own botanicals, these will be limited quantities. We have made these soaps with the intention of providing for our own use and possibly selling the extra to help fund the ingredients that we cannot produce here on the farm yet.
Year 2022 has been a productive year of building, producing and making new connections. We have a large surprise coming to the farm by the end of January 2023 and we cannot wait to let you in on the news. But we will wait until it arrives!