The start of the 2021 season
It is a cold January morning here at Pitchfork farms. The outside temperatures are just around 0 degrees Celsius. Water to the house is frozen but we are able to skim water off of the top of our hot water heater outlet valve. Winter at our farm here on Mukaishima does not confine us to indoor activities, as the outside temperatures are bearable with a few good layers and a knit cap. My recent visit to the United States allowed me to get recharged for the 2021 season. I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do on and around the farm when I returned to Japan.
The first week back we recieved two seperate calls from neighbors, each neighbor had trapped a wild boar and asked us to pick it up. Although some hunters will process the meat themselves, others end up killing the boar and bringing the carcass to the local garbage depot to be disposed off. It seems like such a waste. Though the butchering process is time consuming, it is a good job to have in the off season. We processed both boars on the same day, one being 80kg the other around 30kg. Both of the boars were male, and if seasoned properly the gamey flavor and smell can easily be remedied.
Today we plan on smoking the meat and will freeze the meat that we don`t cosume. The bones
make an excellent soup. We keep that soup on top of our wood stove as we heat the home by wood throughout the day. We reduce the waste of the butchered animal as much as possible, the skin and guts are buried on the farm, and will break down to feed the soil throughout the year. In America I never went hunting nor processed my own meat, but since I started farming and living off the land in Japan it is a necessity. Boars are one of our biggest "pests" on the farm, they till up our soil and eat our sweet potatoes. Originally boar were not on the island of Mukaishma, and with no true predator their population has increased greatly over the course of 10 years.
Other than processing the animals we are very busy tidying up the farm. Cleaning and tidying up the farm is certainly not one of my strengths. As the spring, summer, and fall bring about long busy days focused on growing food, we often miss the mark. Winter is a great time to get organized for the coming months.
I have also put in orders for seed. I ordered seeds from Nakahara seeds, Noguchi Seeds, and Tane no-mori. Each of these seed companies has their advantage and are quite different in terms of what they offer. I really like the variety offereted at Tane-no-mori, but for commerical fariming Nakahara seeds is great for buying seeds in bulk.
Since we have extra time, getting the blog going in the off-season is a great to share and connect online with others. I have an online chat coming up on the 13th of January with JJ Walsh of Seeking Sustainability.