Despite the struggles, life is always full of blessings, and as we finish off another blessed year on the farm we are happy to look back and see what happened on the homestead.
To read previous Year-End Reviews, click the following links:
- We had anywhere from 7-21 chickens this year
- We don’t have complete records of how many total eggs were laid, we are estimating from what records we did keep that the total was around 1,500
- We kept approximately 78 dozen eggs
- We sold approximately 47 dozen eggs
- 7 eggs were set by our broody hen
- 3 eggs hatched successfully
- No chickens were sold
- 14 chickens were butchered for meat for us
- 1 hen died from being egg-bound and 1 hen was attacked by a hawk but survived
- 32 kits born live
- 6 stillborn kits
- 8 kits froze at a few days old
- 17 rabbits butchered and sold for pet food
- 7 rabbits butchered and canned for our own meat
- 3 adult rabbits butchered for our dog food
- 2 adult rabbits died
- Angora rabbit sheared 5 times
- Started the year with 2 pregnant ewes and 2 yearling ewe lambs
- Twin ewe lambs born successfully
- Second ewe miscarried and was replaced with a ewe lamb
- Sold twin ewe lambs
- Butchered one yearling – 20 lbs of meat
- 6 fleece shorn this year – approx 18 lbs of wool after cleaning
- Purchased 2 new bred ewes
- Ended year with 4 pregnant ewes and 1 yearling ewe lamb
- Purchased 2 pregnant Nubian goats in the fall
- Between our vegetable garden and our berries we harvested 220 lbs of produce this year
- We spent $80 on the garden this year, thus averaging $0.36/lb
- I knit 3 balaclavas, 1 ribby neckwarmer, 2 hats, 1 shawl, 1 infinity scarf, 1 hooded sweater (baby size), 4 pairs of socks, and 1 pair of reading mitts
- The kids sewed 100 bandana backpacks for Operation Christmas Child
- I altered 2 pairs of pajamas for Mr. Smiles to wear during his hospitalization and surgery
- I sewed 24 placemats and 48 cloth napkins
- Sunshine and Little Miss continue to be amazingly productive with heritage arts projects. I was unable to keep track of them this year, but they sewed, knitted, crocheted, crosstitched, and embroidered MANY MANY items.
We canned over 118 qts of food this year –
- 20 Qts Green Beans
- 9 Pts Pear Sauce
- 5 Qts Pears in Honey Syrup
- 9 Qts Applesauce
- 18 Qts Apples in Honey Syrup
- 4 Qts Plum Syrup
- 8 Qts Plum Jelly
- 22 Qts Nectarines in Honey Syrup
- 28 Qts of broth (some chicken, some lamb, and some beef)
We froze 28 lbs of carrots.
We made several pints of syrup from our gooseberry and currant bushes.
January through June our life revolved around surgeries, hospitalizations, and specialist visits, for our baby, hours from our home. Life continued on the farm, and the routine and rhythms of the farm was a healing balm to us during a trying time.
June brought a terrible hail storm to shred our young, newly growing garden plants. I also finished our first set of seasonal placemats and cloth napkins. We had some visits from bears, and one chicken was attacked by a hawk, but survived. We sold our twin ewe lambs, and replaced one of our breeding ewes with a new breeding ewe lamb.
July included unseasonably warm weather, and the start of the harvest from our garden and berry bushes. We painted the exterior of all the buildings on the property, and we had another bear incident.
In August we enjoyed participating at County Fair and bringing home many ribbons and prizes. The garden harvest continued, and canning season started. We continued to have bear struggles, including a break-in to our camper.
September brought another surgery and hospitalization for Mr. Smiles. The Pediatric PJs I sewed him worked wonderfully to allow all the tubes and wires to be accessible. Despite the time away from the farm, we were still able to have a very productive month with harvesting, seed saving, canning, freezing, and working on starting to build the ram shed, and building the root cellar, a new gate, and the smokehouse. The adventure was never-ending when our farm dog partially amputated his toe, and we continued to have bear problems – our worst year ever for bear issues by far.
In October we added two milk goats to the farm and did a bunch of winter prep and building projects. We put the garden to bed, and filled the freezers by both butchering livestock and hunting. We finished the smokehouse and root cellar.
November included a lot of building projects, including new hay racks indoors and out for the sheep and goats. We took down a few trees and we finished the new retaining wall on the onion/garlic patch. The sheep went to the breeder and we smoked our first meat in the smokehouse. And Little Miss took quite a ride when the goats broke out of the yard!
December was filled with working on homemade Christmas presents and making Christmas treats while we celebrated advent and awaited the chance to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We purchased two new breeding ewes which are pregnant to provide us with our future flock sire ram and we prepared for the upcoming births of anywhere from 11-14 lambs and kids this coming winter and spring. I got my livestock record book in order and ready to keep better records in 2017 and we planned for more chicks this spring as well. We finished phase 1 of the barn remodel, and were shocked to still be enjoying fresh tomatoes from our harvest in September!
What an amazing year we have had here at Willow Creek Farm!