Our Farm Year
In our Appalachian region of steep, untillable slopes, livestock are the best choice for turning solar energy (via grass) into healthy food. The unplowed pastures sequester carbon. Our border collies and guard donkey work with us to shepherd our herd and flocks humanely toward their ultimate purpose.
Autumn is traditionally harvest time, but on diversified farms like ours the season stretches from April asparagus through hoophouse greens in December. We shear wool in May and October; our sweet potatoes, apples and cardoons are harvested after the first frost. But peak vegetable season is high summer.
From apple to sauce, from sweet potatoes to baby food jars, from vines to wine, a lot of our farm work involves processing our animal, vegetable and fiber harvests into edible or potable - and sometimes wearable - products.
Knitting is Barbara's favorite avocation, so she oversees the fiber production process from our multicolored Icelandic sheep. On shearing day we enlist friends' help for skirting; fleeces are spun into yarn at a local mill. Barbara avidly knits it into sweaters, but the yarn supply is large - and available for sale at the Meadowview Farmer's Guild.