It's December, the stand is closed for the year. The farm lies blanketed in a dusting of snow. It's easy to imagine that the farm has been put to bed for the year, as there is little to no activity to be seen outdoors except for the animals grazing on the last of the pasture grass for the year.
But winter brings a different set of activities for us here at the farm, ones that are less likely to be noticed as someone drives by the farm. It's getting cold enough that we're bringing in the horses at night, and the cows will follow soon as well. That means lots more stall cleaning! We also set winter aside as a time to focus on projects, some for ourselves and some for the farm. I'm excited to get around to painting the bedroom upstairs, as we're working on turning it into a library, a project that I think will be very cool once it is done. It's a much better time of year to be standing next to a hot coal fire, so it is when Dan does the majority of his blacksmith work. And of course, we're busy with holiday activities too, with the added fun of making sure all the critters have fresh water to drink on mornings like today when it is 11 degrees out.
For all the idyllic scenery around a farm in the winter- snow-blanketed fields, crisp sunrises over sparkling snow- it can be a stressful time, too. The stand is closed for the year, but the animals require more feed than they do in the summer. It's easy to look at the farm's bank balance and worry about how far through winter it will last, when you have feed and other livestock expenses and all the seed for the upcoming farm year coming out of that total.
We look for ways to up our income over this lean time. Purchasing an incubator was a great investment that allows us to do something wonderful, like raising heritage breeds of poultry, while supplementing our spring income. Dan and I have been thinking about what we could do over the winter months (besides having me look for an off-the-farm job). I have had many, many people ask me over the years if we would consider shipping our products. Up until now the answer was always no. I Know it was disappointing to folks who read about us online, either here or on the webpage, who couldn't get a sample of our stuff. We also have a lot of customers who stop by when they are on vacation, and can't get to the farm stand more than once or twice per year.
So, we've made the leap. We're now open for business on the world wide web! We've set up shop on etsy.com. We liked the reasonable fees they charge, and the fact that the entire site sells only handmade & vintage items. You can visit us at www.etsy.com/shop/pleasantvalleyfarmpa. While we won't be shipping any meats or produce, I am offering a selection of some of our most popular canned products- jams, mustards, vinegars, and other fun edibles like apple butter and homemade egg noodles. We've also got some new, never before seen items! Winter gives me time to do indoor things, and I've been busy teaching myself how to make jewelry. Our store now features necklaces, earrings and hair extensions made from the feathers from our very own birds. We hope you'll take a minute to check us out in our new, 24/7 online digs, and hope you'll keep us in mind for any last-minute holiday shopping you may still have left!