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It was a tough winter here at the farm. We didn’t get a lot of snow but the freezing temperature required extra work keeping pigs and chickens war, keeping water from freezing and worrying about the bees.
I’m happy to say that both hives survived and are now busy making honey! I added a queen excluder and honey super to each one about a month ago. And for the first time in my tenure as a beekeeper, I saw the queen! I want to go down and give a quick look to see how the honey is coming. Everything I read says to let them alone while they are working so this will be a quick peek into the top.
We had an unexpected litter of piglets in mid-March. The sow didn’t look pregnant and also didn’t seem to be able to feed her babies so they ended up on our sun porch. We bottle fed them, fought off disease with antibiotics after losing two of them, and have managed to sell four of them in the past few weeks! We also sold six gilts (female pigs ready to breed). All this is a good thing since we have 14 new piglets down with their mothers. Two groups born a week and two weeks ago. Everyone seems happy and we have already sold a couple of them once they are weaned. We have had calls as far away as Connecticut: the pig virus you’ve been hearing about seems to be taking a toll on herd stocks.
The gardens look better than ever and the vegetables are coming in. I have beans to freeze after this blog post. We welcome visits to the farm and you can find us at the Waverly Farmers Market every Saturday. Starting next Friday, we’ll be at the Claremont Circle Store from 6 to 8 PM.
I’m going to commit to making a weekly update here on Sunday mornings. The story of trying to be a small farmer is one that is important to everyone, I think, as we struggle to create something that could be a model for others. We have benefited from a project at Virginia State University called 43,560. This demonstration farm has a goal of making $1/square foot and thus, $43,560 on an acre of land. It benefits from volunteers like us who then also learn techniques we can apply on our own land. You can learn more from the article.