Toy Ridge Farms Year in Review

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Toy Ridge Farms Year in Review

Postby George Collins » Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:15 pm

I haven't posted much of late and with good reason - I've been farming like a maniac.

The hog operation is up to four sows and we are marketing the production of two others. Currently, on farm, we have 37 pigs being fed out, three pregnant sows, one sow with week old pigs and our boar.

This year, for the first time, I was able to convince Youngblood to keep all of his bull calves which we have marketed for him to end consumers. He, for the first time ever, is about to make a really good return on his cattle operation.

Ella, if in fact pregnant (and I have my doubts), is due to deliver March 3rd. She is now the star of our show and our whole world revolves around her schedule. For Christmas, we got a Cuisinart ice cream maker. (Whatever love I felt for that cow doubled with the first bite of homemade ice cream we made.)

I did manage to produce a dairy fattened hog thanks to Ella's abundance. The dairy products that pig consumed did impart a unique and exquisite flavor to the pork.

Recently I had a pig develop a rectal prolapse. I decided for the cheaper option and put it down. Doing so provided the opportunity to sample very young pork. Verdict - It might be the best thing I've ever eaten. Certainly one of the best. After harvesting the pig, we scraped it with the intent of smoking a full half of the pig. However, even at the diminutive live weight of 40 pounds, the pig was still too big to fit into our smoker. After halving the carcass, I carved off both hams and shoulders, smoked one of the sides as if it were merely a rack of ribs, and froze the rest. I would highly encourage anyone that can to sample such pork.

The Ruth Stout inspired garden produced so abundantly I've expanded it and will likely continue to do so every year for awhile. Youngblood has started back producing his own hay so hopefully old hay will be even more abundant in years to come than it has been till now.

All of the fruit trees in the forest garden made it through another year. Hopefully next year will see us with some material level of fruit production. This year's forest garden project has been to greatly expand the shrub layer. Yesterday I planted ~15 blueberry bushes, three of which are shoots that came from wild blueberry bushes that produce exceptional tasting berries. I'm anxious to see how well such a bush will produce in full sun. Also, about a month ago, I finally managed to get to something I've been meaning to do ever since I started forest gardening - lay down a thick mulch layer throughout the whole planting. My mother and a neighbor were each in need of a yard raking. The kids and I obliged so now a "mixed bag" of leaves form a thick carpet throughout the main body of our forest garden.

Many of the chestnuts lived through our exceptionally wet summer so hopefully, in a few years, they'll be producing seeds for expanded planting of even more potentially blight resistant pure American chestnuts.
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George Collins
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Re: Toy Ridge Farms Year in Review

Postby Lollykoko » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:09 pm

Great news, George! I will be mentioning your success to Sis and brother in law.
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Re: Toy Ridge Farms Year in Review

Postby mannytheseacow » Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:19 am

Rad. So happy it is a success for you, George.
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Re: Toy Ridge Farms Year in Review

Postby matt walker » Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:08 am

Great news George, I'm so happy to hear it. Your post made me think that as time goes on here we are going to have some great progression to show on our 'steads.

Also, that's a lot of hogs! And, as to the young ones, I've been fortunate enough to get to sample some unfortunate young ones at my friend's place, and they are divine. He brought me a side of young Mangalitsa on New Year's, about 50 lbs or so. It is amazing.
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