Friday, March 16, 2012

2011: A year in (photo) review

  I was going back through older posts of mine, and came across my very first one from December of 2010. In it, I had listed some of the things we had accomplished in our farm lives to date, and also goals for 2011. So I decided to compile a little photo review of last year and see what all had been done. Here was my goal list for 2011, "Add on to the orchard, plant/not kill a garden, add a beehive and rabbits, brew beer, make an aged cheese, and slaughter more chickens!".

1. I did indeed add on to the orchard. We now have peaches, figs, apples, plums, pears, blueberries, blackberries, and kiwis. Phew. 2011 was, however, the last year I will be planting anymore fruit trees here, as we hope to move to a "real" farm someday soon.

baby peaches

2nd year peach harvest


 2. Planted/didn't kill three gardens actually! The first was a large raised bed for cool weather crops like lettuce, kale, beets, turnips, carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and fennel. The second, a perennial herb garden containing rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, and oregano. And lastly, Chad tilled a large portion of the front yard into a summer patch for corn, squash, zucchini, watermelon, green beans, peanuts, and sunflowers. All in all, everything was pretty successful, save for the Watermelon Massacre of '11 (which is what got me to thinking about putting chickens in the freezer), and the squash/zucchini. Squash bugs are vile creatures.

The Garden

Glowing Melon

red sunflower


Mammoth sunflower

sunflower seeds

3. Added ducks and rabbits. I still very much want bees, but I unexpectedly acquired ducks last Spring instead. A weekly outing to the feed store for seeds resulted in me caving for 2 tiny ducklings that were all alone in a giant brooder pen. Seriously, how was I supposed to resist that? Turns out Pekin ducks are a fantastic heritage breed that consistently lay huge decadent eggs. Not to mention they are just damn entertaining. We also finally added meat rabbits to our menagerie. I was lucky enough to purchase 2 very rare American Blue Rabbits from Broad River Pastures. They will be my breeders for future rabbit dinners and fur blankets.

Fuzzy bundles of joy

sleepy ducks

duck eggs

curious bunnies

4. Brew beer and age cheese I did not. Ok, I slacked off here. I did not brew any beer, and have yet to age a cheese at my own home. I did manage to make several fresh cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta, and cure quite a few meats like pancetta, bacon, and duck prosciutto. Beer and aged cheese this year, I swear!

Fresh Ricotta

Freshly made Mozzarella

Finished Pancetta


Duck Prosciutto

5. I butchered more poultry. Ok, I admit I didn't do this one in 2011. It was actually early 2012. But it still kind of counts, right?

newly processed chickens

So what's in store for 2012? Beer brewing, cheese aging, turkey chicks, sewing, and composting!

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