St. Paul Farmers Market 6/22/24 7-1pm Mankato Farmers Market 6/8/24 8-12pm Sleepy Bison Grill Food Truck @ Schells Brewery, New Ulm 6/7/24 12-7 pm

Buckling Down to Bear the Cold

written by

Craig Fischer

posted on

October 22, 2020

My goodness where has the summer gone? It seems we went from a waning summer, to a short lived fall, straight into 8” of snow in October with an expected low of 9 degrees a week before Halloween. Goodness, too early for that. The family farm was working on harvesting corn until the snow chased us out of the fields. It is early, and we are confident the snow isn’t here to stay. If not, we will have 100+ acres of deer habitat standing until we can get it out of the field. We wouldn’t have minded another longer opportunity to fill the sheds with hay either, or to be done with the pigs before the white fluff comes. Feeling a bit bad for them, as they don’t have hair like the bison, but they do have plenty of dry bedding, food, and water. They will be fine for a few days, and then bye-bye piggies until next spring.

With 3 boys at home, there are likely countless toys scattered across the yard. Undoubtedly there would also be some toys and balls scattered around the porch, that were used to try and keep the chickens away from the porch. As you can imagine, a flower bed with wood chips is a losing battle with 200 curious chickens. The days are getting colder, and the tasks needing to be completed seem endless. We are looking forward to continuing to harvest the bison that are scheduled, as well as the opportunity to harvest the winter hides with their prime hair coats. These can be tanned and made into a rug, or a "hair on robe" (we would call it a tanned hide), hung on a wall, table centerpiece, lofted railing cover, etc. They are so well insulated I bring our tanned hide out to the open deer stand to help keep my feet warm. I have literally slept with the tanned hide as my blanket and woke up at midnight drenched in sweat.

This upcoming January we are also planning to retire our long time herd bull, sometimes grumpy, photogenic bison. He has been with us since 2013, when we got our first animals. It will be a sad day, but a necessary day for our family farm to move on and progress. Every harvest is a time to thank that animal for its sacrifice, so that we may live and thrive, and a time to remember a healthy, wonderful life. We take harvest seriously, whether it be animals or family grains. It is a sign of a hard production season, or 3 for the bison, coming to an end. Time to button down the hatches for winter, and plan out the next growing season and harvest.

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