Winter Projects

When the snow falls, it’s time to go skiing. When the snow melts in November and it’s bitter cold with nothing to play on, it’s time to get busy on indoor projects.

Steve has been the number one winter projecteer, building all kinds of awesome things. We tore down the animal stall in the barn to install a brand new design. Steve just started putting down the floor today.

He built us four gorgeous greenhouse tables for the new space along with a stand for the water tank.

I’ve been working on a new hay feeder for the goats that finally came to fruition.

This design allows for hay to be eaten up without much or any waste. The goats stick their head through the grate and munch away without pulling the material out and scattering it all over the floor (a recurring problem).
It also has an added bonus for mineral distribution. Goats need salt and trace minerals available to them at all times, but if they step on or soil any of it, the goats won’t touch ’em. This way, I could build into the feeder a small tray for salt and minerals that is available at all times and can’t be knocked over or stepped in.

So far, they haven’t destroyed the feeder and it seems sturdy enough. Win.

The other big project I’ve been working on is organizing the new tool shed. I have all the tools hung up, out of the way, and sharpened.

It feels really good to seem them all organized in the new space. The shelves need filling, but that will happen as we clean out the old greenhouse and barn loft. 

We’ve canned (preserved) as much as we had the energy for, and have all the potatoes, squash, onions, and fruit we need for the winter. 

The fire had been burning hot all last week, but with this warm streak it stays cool.

Finally, the most boring and laborious tasks need to be done too. All the information we recorded this summer (what we planted, where it went in, when we harvested, where it was sold, etc.) needs to be complied and sythesized. With all these little bits of data, we can more accurately plan for next year. Which needs to happen sooner rather than later – seed catalogues have started rolling in and the sooner we get our order in, the more likely we’ll get what we want.

…And don’t forget about winter market! Tracy’s still making brioche, sticky buns, challah, and lemon poundcake, and the farm still has potatoes, onions, squash, and hot peppers for sale. 

Winter Market!

It’s sad to see the last Farmers’ Market of the season come and go. The Clark Fork River Market has been good to us this year, and we thank you if you made it down to the Higgins bridge this summer.

When Margaret and I first moved to Missoula (not so long ago), the one thing we felt truly lacking was a winter market. A place for cheese, meats, storage produce, fruits, and baked goods after the October outdoor market deadline. And it seems that Missoula may have found that place, at least for now.

The Heirloom Project Winter Market is open every Saturday this winter from 10-12 in the Ceretana Grainery building at 801 Sherwood St. The space is very cozy, but enough for 6-10 vendors.

Market started last week, and turn out was alright. This week turn out was awesome – thanks to this article in the Independent – and we’re hoping for the same in the coming months.

We have some veggie items to sell including red onions, winter squash, pumpkins, canning tomatoes, and peppers. If you’re interested in any of the above items but can’t make it to market, let us know! They won’t be around for much longer.

As a separate venture, I’ve started selling baked goods from our stand. I learned to bake in Tivoli, NY with Mikee Gonnella at Tivoli Bread and Baking. The most rebus obsessed, incredibly talented, mentor, friend, and baker. This is the guy you want to share a kitchen with at 3am.

For all my baked goods, I use as local and organic ingredients as quality will allow (local flour, organic/unprocessed sugar, our own eggs, etc). Today I sold out of everything: challah, lemon poundcake, sticky buns, and brioche. There will be more of all of those things next week.

Also at the Winter Market you can find Old World Bakery wares, Paula Jean’s Garden, multiple veggie stands, Wustner Brothers Honey, Uncle Bill’s sausages, Charlie’s mushrooms, and of course the Heirloom Project.

So if you have a few minutes between 10 and 12 on Saturday, stop in.


We sold out of asparagus by 915 this morning. Come early if you want yours! We’re set up right next to the waffle stand (which is right next to Loose Caboose Coffee) and across from our buddies at Native Ideals. Come visit next week!

(we also have a new twitter account… just in case you want to be MORE connected to what we’re up to: @countyrailfarm)