As we are still in the throes of winter in Vermont, I can begin to see signs that spring is coming. The Boston Red Sox are in Florida for Spring Training, the buckets are up on the maple trees, and our seedlings for the vegetable garden (the first group) have been planted.
Some of you know, we have a little family farm. Years ago, we made a family decision to try to produce as much of our own food as we could, and to try to locally source what we can’t produce. Now, we recognize that some things are hard to get locally — for example, it’s really hard to get local Vermont shrimp. But we are so fortunate to live in an area where we can either produce or buy most of our food needs from known entities. Currently, we produce our own maple syrup and honey. We shear our alpacas yearly, and I spin yarn from their fiber for knitting. We have laying hens who produce more than enough eggs for us and our extended family. We grow “non-laying” chickens for meat each year. In our vegetable and herb gardens, we grow potatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, beets, carrots, celery, cilantro (and therefore coriander), dill, tomatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, basil, sage, rosemary, lavender, mint, green and yellow beans, kidney and black beans, garlic, onions, leeks, summer and winter squashes, kale and chard. Our fruit trees and bushes produce blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, gooseberries and currants. Hopefully this year we will add a couple peach trees. We also have one lone black walnut tree growing as well, but that will take a long time to produce walnuts for us. When the weather permits, we also have shiitake mushrooms growing. All in all, it’s a busy place year-round.
Here are a couple pictures, one of the layers investigating a pile outside of the big animal barn, the other of two of the alpacas waiting for a treat.