Our Celtic ancestors marked the change from fall to winter by celebrating Samhain, now known as Hallowe’en. Our Viking ancestors called this time Winter Nights. Both cultures considered this transition as a time when the walls between the living and dead were thinnest. It’s also a good time to take stock of your harvest and the livestock you can support through the dark and cold winter.
Seven Trees Farm is located in a rich and bountiful part of the United States. The periodic droughty summers and arctic winters manage to balance out to a fertile productiveness that sees us through the dark time of the year.
Learning to live with our microclimate has been very rewarding. We’ve been harvesting a pound of raspberries every other day for weeks. Friends of ours living upriver in Skagit County gifted us with everbearing raspberries a few years ago. They continue to amaze us with their resilience and productivity. Who needs Halloween candy with sweets like this in our berry patch.The greens we started last month are ready to harvest. As boring as constant salads can be in summer, fall/winter greens are a treasure. We have a row of lettuce, spinach, chard & kale maturing in one part of the garden, and a fresh crop sprouting in a hoophouse closer to the house. Our goal is to have fresh greens year ’round. We managed to get a comprehensive tilling in before the main farmer went in for surgery. As much as we love our big Husqvarna tiller, we’ll probably invest in a mini-tiller for quick clean-ups between rows.
The strawberry row will need serious rehab before spring. But in the meantime, the canines & felines are happy to ‘help’. The entire 1.25 acres of Seven Trees got a skim coat of fir needles and other tree debris after a recent rare northerly windstorm. A brief reminder of our usual rainy season combined with the evergreen shrapnel to make a clean and lovely scent no ‘pine tree’ air freshener can touch. In other news, we have 11 Black Copper Marans eggs in the incubator, from the same breeder we got Big Boy and a lovely Blue Copper pullet from. Unfortunately, as is often the case with shipped eggs, it doesn’t look like many are viable. Not to count our chickens before they hatch, if the two likely eggs turn out to be pullets, we can work with our stock to breed up some champion Marans. Our Ameraucanas and homegrown Olivers are maturing enough that we’ll start incubating more eggs as soon as we have this craigslist ‘broken’ wine cooler score converted to a cabinet incubator. We hope to have custom-bred Marans, Ameraucana & Oliver chicks available next spring, as well as point-of-lay Oliver pullets. We also have a nice-looking group of New Hampshire chickens in the works, which will add some old-school heritage layer/meat birds to our flock. Never a dull moment!