We will soon complete all of this season’s transitional work, consisting mostly of planting and soil tasks. I put out our last application of burr clover this past weekend, so we are close to completing the chores necessary to take our creatures through the winter in a fat and happy serenade to Mother Nature. While we are putting on our coats and long johns, the critters are reveling in their natural splendor. Fall and winter remind them of spring - they love the cold weather and they see the prospects of new green stuff working its way out of the soil, as it does in spring. They are watching the birth process with excited anticipation, except that this is the birth of new forage - oats, wheat, rye and clover.
And veggies - turnips, carrots and beets.
The vegetables are planted not only in our house garden but in the pig paddocks as well. One of the most satisfying things about farming the old fashioned way is watching for the next astounding thing to happen. This fall, that thing has been the effect of 3 years of the pig rotation through their 8 paddocks. Each paddock has been visited 6 times in those 3 years. Pig manure, in all of its pungency, is known to be one of the most potent fertilizers, second only to chicken poop. The advantage that a pig gives you over a chicken is their bigger poop factory.
So what gift has that fertilizer factory delivered this fall? The biggest turnips we have ever seen, literally the size of a soccer ball. Not just one turnip but all that have germinated are huge! And the turnip foliage - that is, the turnip greens, are 2 to 3 feet tall and dark, dark green. I expected a turnip that large to be full of air, but no, the turnips are dense and luscious to eat. The pigs love them and we do too. If I had not read about these kinds of things as we were preparing our model for heritage farming years ago, I would be shocked!