Thursday, March 23, 2017

Maple Weekend Success And IPP Boar Update

We made it through our very first Potter-Tioga Maple Weekend and even though we weren't on the map, we had a fair amount of visitors.  

It was so interesting to talk to everyone about the maple process and the visitor's kids really enjoyed going around to visit the horses, pigs and piglets, chickens and ducks, and turkeys.  The horses loved all the extra treats they got from their visitors and the turkeys were happy to have an audience to whom they could strut their stuff and show off.  The piglets were, of course, a hit.  They provided lots of entertainment as they ran and chased one another.  

As we were preparing the sugar house for this past weekend, we said that even if no one showed up we would have the sugar house all clean and organized.  It was a win-win!  

We sold two meat piglets during the weekend.  Out of this litter we felt that two piglets really stood out - a gilt and a boar.  The absolutely beautiful gilt and a meat piglet are sold for pick up this weekend.  We are keeping two meat piglets to raise ourselves and I'm contacting the other people who were interested in meat piglets about the other two.  

That leaves this black and white boar.  He's really something special and we hate to castrate him for meat.  He's a big boy with great body shape and the short nose we want.  So, if someone wants to get into Idaho Pasture Pigs, this is the boar you want.  Please contact me via the link on the upper right hand side.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

IPPs and Potter-Tioga Maple Producers 13th Annual Maple Weekend

Thank you everyone for the great response on the Idaho Pasture Pigs.  This has been a crazy week in preparation for the Maple Weekend and I will contact you shortly.  

So big news!  

For the first time ever, Fitzgerald's Family Farm will be on the Potter-Tioga Maple Producers Maple Weekend Tour! (with the Association's blessing)  

The Maple Tour takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 18th and 19th.  The sugar house hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Although you won't find us on the brochure, Fitzgerald's Family Farm is conveniently placed on the road between Brydonson Farm and Sons of Dunn Farm.  We have signs out on the main road pointing towards our farm.     

So don't forget!

Saturday and Sunday, March 18th and 19th

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Fitzgerald's Family Farm
144 Snowman Rd

Look for signs to Fitzgerald's Family Farm between Brydonson Farm and Sons of Dunn Farm

Here is a link to the Potter-Tioga Maple Producers Annual Maple Weekend Brochure.

We look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Registered Idaho Pasture Piglets For Sale

Finally, a chance to get the new, small-homestead, Idaho Pasture Pigs in your barnyard!

We sell only the best for breeding pairs and the rest as meat pigs for butcher.  We request that you do not breed pigs purchased for butcher as this would ruin the qualities for which we're striving.  

If you're not sure if you want to start out as a breeder, we offer you the opportunity to purchase and raise one or two piglets for butcher, see how you like them - their characteristics and their outstanding tasting meat - and we're pretty sure you'll be looking for a breeding pair next year! 

This little black and white boar (he's a big boy!) and ginger-colored gilt below are really something special with the traits we look for in the Idaho Pasture Pig.  They will NOT be sold as a breeding pair as they are brother and sister.  We work with another farm to bring you high quality, non-related breeding pairs. 

Here are a few more pictures of our piglets.  This little gilt flopped over on her side after eating and allowed the other piglets to poke around at her.    

For more information about Idaho Pasture Pigs, click on the above link to "Idaho Pasture Pigs" and follow the link to this and this site.  

2017 Pricing:

Breeding Gilt: $350

Breeding Boar: $350

Breeding Pair: $700

Pigs for Butcher: $85

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March = Spring!

We saw the first robins this weekend.  They must migrate together because all of the sudden there were lots of them!  

I haven't laid eyes on one yet, but while we were out tapping maple trees we've heard the familiar trill of another harbinger of spring... the red-winged blackbird!  

The daffodils and tulips are pushing up through their mulch, and yesterday, at my son's trap shooting meet, I looked down and saw a true, yellow, dandelion flower!

I hadn't written about it, but late last fall we had a disaster in our Odin bee yard.  A large tree branch had fallen across the wire from our solar fence charger and a bear had taken advantage of the power interruption.  The damage speaks for itself. 

One hive managed to be just shifted and there were still bees in it, so we're hoping they'll survive the winter.  

Every year we contemplate going on with beekeeping and every year we decide to keep doing it.  I guess it gets in your blood.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Raspberry Pruning Time

Half of our second high tunnel has been devoted to red and yellow raspberries (have you ever had a yellow raspberry? - they are swooningly sweet and flavorful!  But they have to be eaten within a couple of hours of being picked - which probably explains why you won't see them in the grocery store) 

This year I would like to add a couple of black raspberry plants to the rows. 

The other half of the high tunnel is devoted to early, late, and everbearing strawberries.  

But right now I'm pruning back and cutting back all the old raspberry canes.  

It's quite an intensive job, but very, very satisfying as the results are dramatic!

Before pruning (the closest canes are partially pruned):  

After pruning:

Of course our kitty "Thug" (so named because when he lived with my MIL - he would attack her feet), hangs out with me.  He is the ultimate farm cat.  He's always "overseeing" or giving companionship during chores.

Next I'll clean out all the debris and we should be ready to grow!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Maple Season Freight Train

Maple Season came upon us like a freight train.  One day we're looking out at below zero temperatures and the next day the snow melted and suddenly we have to start tapping trees right now!

So, we get outside and get to work!  Lo and behold the sap is running and we're actually getting splashed a little bit as we pound the spiles into the tree!

I love maple season.  After spending a sedentary winter it feels so great to get outside and walk up and down the mountains, over trees and through brush, feeling the ground soften beneath your feet and noticing all the little wonders of the forest.  

Sometimes you come across something strange and wonderful.. like the remains of a tree that once grew around a previous generation's barbed wire fence and now has decomposed into artful and fantastic shapes.  

Now I need to get out into the forest and work on getting all those taps done and boiling started.  We're behind the curve as our neighbor maple producers are boiling already! (Granted, they have a lot more young labor to help them out in the forest :  )  )

On a final note.  Does anyone know where I can find a drain plug for a Red Lion Semi-trash pump? Model 6RLAG-2ST.  Just the plug....

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's Not Always Bucolic On The Farm

While I was cleaning stalls yesterday I heard piglets screaming.  I ran to see what was happening because I feared they were being injured!

This is what happens when two piglets want the same thing....

Just like kids!