2022 - Our Farming Year in Recap
Updated: Jan 11
Was 2022 a whirlwind for you too? Still recovering from a world post-pandemic? We sure are! Here's a summary of the goods, the bads, the challenges, and the wins of the past year at Hungry Fox.
The orchard is really the first kick-off to any new year for us. Even before we've planned the spring garden, we're making plans for the orchard and beginning necessary pruning on each tree. We've been having some on going challenges getting specific mature apple trees to fruit well or produce nice-looking fruits and our one Red Delicious type tree has been battling an unknown illness. Winter 2022 I pruned those particular trees more thoroughly than in the past so that I could gauge their ability to rebound/produce nicer-looking fruit. The Red Delicious type may be pulling through quite well, but we did conclude that at least two of the other struggling trees would be better for us to cut and replace. Decisions still out on the Golden type tree. We'll give her another year with an improved canopy to see if she yields as I desire. She is older and stronger than the cull-outs and so I do not want to be hasty in her removal. The lone cherry by the garden will need a netting placed on her in 2023. Two years in a row she lost all her foliage to Japanese beetles, which has stunted her considerably.
We did not add any new trees in 2022.
The fails? The pear lost all her fruit! We believe due to squirrels moving back in while Della has not been outside as often to keep them at bay.
The wins? The peach tree planted in 2015 had a fantastic yield! Bushels of beautiful fruits graced our kitchen AND quite a few went to market to be sold.
The goal? Specifiy rather than diversify. I stopped trying to grow a whole salad and instead chose a handful of specific crops with a few varieties each of those crops. My gardening skills and my soil remain subpar, so instead of overwhelming myself with failures yet again, I buckled down to succeed in just a small facet of food growing.
The fails? Chinese Broccoli, all flowers, cucumbers. Weeds.
The wins? I learned some valuable lessons in seed starting as well as utilization of weed suppressant fabric. My soil is really beginning to improve in certain areas of the garden that have been continuously worked. I identified several cultivars of beans, kale, tomatoes that I really like and seemed to have great yields for our soil, as well as identifying some which I won't bother with again. The mint was prolific so I began learning the art of herb drying and we also dried a bunch of our beans.
I put in an herb garden! She's small for now, but has room to grow.
An interesting story about the stone walkway...I discovered it on accident and then just couldn't resist an archaeological dig! A few years ago I was attempting to plant a small tree in the front corner of the property. I put the shovel to the dirt, and hit a rock. A step forward, a step back, 3 steps forward, 7 steps back - I just kept hitting rock. On hands and knees with a trowel, I slowly revealed an entire stone walkway leading all the way down the front hill and to the road! A set of stone steps juts out underneath the leaf debris, all jumbled by tree roots. It took me several days to uncover it all, but now I have a head full of dreams for this little spot. I plan to continue the herb garden, knock out the invasives on the hill, and hopefully reset the stone steps now that the electric company removed the tree that disturbed them. In this picture, the hill down to the road is overgrown and hidden by the mentioned invasives plus some helpful ground cover plants which I will work to maintain. Always looking for guidance on assisting native plants to exist on our property. Send me your suggestions for the natives that might do well here. Most of it stays in full sun to part shade. Species that help the hillside stay put and block out aggressive plants are needed. A flowering shrub for the corner would be great.
The grape vines climbing the deck are doing fantastic. We are long overdue to build a trellis. This bag is about one half of the grapes we harvested. They are mostly concords, so quite sour to eat straight. I hope to learn how to make grape vine baskets, from the trims of these vines and the wild vines by the woods.
My second bed of locally sourced daylilies took off with a bang. I buy all my daylilies from Dilly Lilly Gardens right here in town. She has an amazing setup, with color postcards on each variety. Lilies are toxic to livestock, and so my beds are far from where any of our creatures live. They aren't native, but they are a very low maintenance and slowly expanding flower that adds such beauty to any area. I am resigned to only planting non-food things which require very little upkeep from me.
The Nursery was a very critical addition, as was the MAJOR project of expanding East pen's shelter surrounded by a boardwalk!
The Nursery will help us house some of the freshly kidded mamas and their babies in a secure location with built in creep feeder. It alleviates congestion in the other pens during kidding season and can be home to the smallest babies that might otherwise escape the fencing in our older pens (fencing goats = fencing water.) The house was constructed with over 50% upcycled materials!
Housing in East pen has nearly doubled in size with a permanent 3/4 wall on the front. We can now house more goats/bigger goats in better comfort. During the project, the original floor of the shelter was replaced as part of the overall boardwalk design using Trex decking. This creates a very sturdy, long lasting structure that is very easy to clean and elevates a significant portion of their pen that was prone to flooding/mudding. The project was nearly 4 years in the making from: problem discovery, dreaming, designing, material acquisition, to finally building. It came out beautiful and we are, unashamed, proud of it. We need a healthy coat of stain to make her match the other buildings on farm.
Our awesome neighbor, thanks but no thanks due to a mishap resulting in his chicken run becoming firewood, gifted us this fantastic coop. It will become home to our duck flock, recently slimmed down in numbers. He built it himself of quality materials. We couldn't be more grateful that he chose to give it to us.
We were gifted an insulated shed for our water tank. While we didn't complete the installation in 2022, the shed is in place and should help us with watering woes very soon.
The hay house (originally intended as a green house) faced a series of calamities in 2021-22. In summary: we had to figure out entirely new coverings for the frame for the 2nd time as well as move the whole dang thing without heavy equipment or disassembly. This was another really prideful success for us, as we felt super smart and independent for coming up with the means to move it just the two of us.
Various small repairs, new fence poles, new gates, new fencing went up throughout the year. Some of these were matters of improvement and some were remedies to past errors in choice of material or design. Such is life on a farm...I think. I shall tell myself this anyway.
Some small, but still very important, infrastructure we acquired this year includes several chest freezers, multiple shelving on which to set up seed sprouting trays, a new to us family vehicle, an InstantPot (seriously, we can't live without that now), and an amazing friend gifted us her original roadside egg stand when she built a new one.
Our most unusual addition - just for funsies! - was a large screen and projector to host our own drive in movies! Watch for our announcements on Facebook for 2023 showings.
New Rabbits + Goats
Super excited to announce the addition of FOUR Silver Fox breeding rabbits. They are all pedigreed from a retiring show breeder. Expect spring 2023 Silver Fox babies!
In short-hand we welcomed home Jinx, Lulu, Karma, and Echoes this year.
For the long version, and please check their individual pages for all the lovely details on each: Casino Hill MD High Jinx, Honig Wish Upon A Star, Unspoken Rule's Karma, Patina Espejo Echoes are the pretty souls to add more breeding value to our herd.
We had a total of 10 goat kids born this year.
We Went to Show!
To keep this section short, please check out individual doe pages or our Achievements + Accolades page for details on each goat who entered showing in 2022. Our feet are now wet and thus 2023 showing plans are now in the works.
The MiniSables and Elen entered into the Spring 2022 MDGA V-Show.
Karma (we met her breeder there to acquire her), Jazz, Elen, and Lulu attended Southern Adirondack Dairy Goat Classic in upstate NY.
And Sometimes Things Go Wrong
Della vs Coyote and Mittens vs Hay Poke?
Della had quite the bites to her rump and a large open wound on her inner leg
Mittens needed almost 6 weeks of various eye drops for this injury
both ladies have recovered perfectly, thanks to our awesome vet
Mothership vs Deer
time for her permanent retirement, earlier than anticipated
this makes LA and show plans in 2023 a little harder
this guy stayed just a short while
he's found himself on a farm with other geese friends
Breeding Plans vs Reality
several of our goat does went the year dry after failing to get bred
one of the most beautiful buck kids we've produced, and intended to be retained for an F2 sire, had to be culled due to potential genetic anomaly making him unsuitable for breeding
both fails set us back multiple years in the breeding plans and may signal more future culls in order to eliminate subpar genetics
such is farming
A friend gifted us the most loveliest of trees (and boxes and boxes of decor!) We owned just 1/2 of a storage bin of decorations and a very tiny, ugly faux tree. Our house was so pretty all jazzed up for Yule.
Dream big in 2023!