Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CSA SUPER SALE!

We have our CSA shares that get picked up on farm or at The Cheese Traveler (Delaware Ave, Albany) seriously dicounted until 4/25 for the April-September pick ups. Support small farming, get great meat, save $$!

Email us to sign up! 

Sale Prices:
Small Poultry Share: $175 

Large Poultry Share: $340
Small Mixed Meat Share: $280
Large Mixed Meat Share: $540


You can check out the link to the right to see the full details of what is contained in each share- but rest assured- it's delicious. 

Rainy Tuesday

After the gorgeous weather last week, the rain gods have come to turn the dry pasture soft, and bring spring's green paint. I mind a little, as I'll likely be soggy for the entireity, spring stops for no one. The farm role call is lengthy now, and Kim gets up early for chores in the morning to help me keep the pace at a steady crawl towards success. While she works in the barn feeding the noisy residents, I get our two goats milked and reunited with their kids on my finish.

At a dairy operation, the farmers usually separate out the kids at birth- but here we leave them on during the day but pen them in overnight. The mothers are then ready for milking in the morning, and the kids are still well fed. I've  never seen such vibrant little goat kids- they are solid and happy. And our fridge is stocked with milk. It's a perfect set up for us, for home use dairy. Milking has been an adjustment, it's certainly an added chore- but it's manageable at only once a day and half of the two is pleasaant enough. Noelle, being an alpine fully and generally a sweet girl, takes no time at all and hops up on the stand with little fan fare. Fiona, (always the brute) is like wrestling with a hog, still. She's obstinent and quickly showing us that she may not be cut out for this dairy life. We'll give her a few more days, but Noelle is producing well and we should still have plenty of milk with just her. Fiona will definitely be replaced for the home dairy  at least next season, and we'll use either Noelle's little doeling- called Blanche, or another kid we bought earlier this season we call Fancy. Fiona gets a pass from the butcher though too, she had sturdy twins and can stay on as a meat production mama. Plus, she provides comic relief.

Speaking of goats, the steady warm drizzle after last night's thunderstorm won't stop today's task! The kids from the winter are finally ready for the pasture! The electric netting came in yesterday's mail, so after the second cup of coffee I'll be headed out to get it set up, tested, grounded and ready. Then, I'll build a sturdy weather shelter using pallets and plywood (the most invaluable things you can have on a farm). The shelter will get a coat of paint when it dries out. Usually I'd get everyone moved down to the pasture and then build the shelter so I can monitor their fence minding and keep them calm- but goats HATE rain. If I don't have a shelter up, it'll be goat kids everywhere. Along with the kids, Kermit the buck and June the ewe will be out to the pasture too. The bucklings will all be castrated, and the one doeling (Fancy) will be pulled from that particular grazing paddock before breeding age. In the meantime, everyone can enjoy the company and spring greens, finally out of the winter barns and paddocks. Then it will be time to clean and finally set up that barn with proper stalls and turkey grow-out pens, rather than the 'we're moving into a new farm and it's winter' nonsense. The whole project may take more than just today, depending on the rain and what supplies we're out of when I get to it- but before Wednesdays done we'll have them eating fresh grass.

If all goes well, next week will be the first processing of fresh poultry on the farm for the year! The new facility is no where near done (bit of a hang up getting started, contractor is busy due to the late spring) so I'll be setting up our current equipment so we don't get behind in production. It's not ideal, but you've got to roll with the punches and keep the farm moving. We'll be doing a test batch of a small group of the heritage birds, I want to make sure my eye isn't fuzzy from winter and they are of proper size before we take the majority. Sometimes a winter off can make judging size tricky, so I'd rather take a few and see where we are. The chickens, with the new pasture paddocks are absolutely thriving! The new permanent fencing makes life significantly easier, once it's up. We are pushing so hard to get the farm into a position where it's easier to work, but we have a few seasons left of real expense and struggle. This is just the reality of moving, and of finally establishing our permanent base. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

I can now see the bottom of the coffee cup, so it's just about time to get back to it!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sizing Up

Things around here are moving fast, we're in full swing production mode already! We've got meat goat kids, chickens, turkeys (arriving by post tomorrow), hogs, and, in a few weeks- weaned lambs. We've built an insulated brooder, a mid-size chicken pen, a new field pen for grass-eaters. We had our first CSA delivery (yes if you still want in, you can) and just got back 5 pigs from the butcher. And, this week we had our two does give birth to new kids! Fiona (resident cuddler and trouble-maker) had twin bucklings, and Noelle (resident chatter box) had a sweet doeling last night at around 11pm. I didn't hit the hay until close to midnight, and was back at it around chore-time this morning and just sat down a moment ago.

There is fencing to run, pasture to plant, a processing facility to build, and a duck pen to construct. Sizing up is simultaneously the most exciting thing I've ever done and the most terrifying and exhausting. This is kind of a make or break year, we've got our opportunity and we need to keep pushing, keep working, keep growing to make sure that we are successful. We are going to have A LOT of product, so please, please come visit us at the farmer's markets! We do still have shares available, and we also are taking a few more orders for sides of pork for the end of May. 

Unfortunately, I haven't had as much time to update, but you can follow us on twitter or facebook for regular updates. We'll write as often as we can! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Phew! What a winter!

Well, it's daylight savings time, which signals to us that it's time to kick the season into high gear. Unfortunately, the piles of snow and continuing cold have other ideas about when we should start the bulk of the work. Still there is a notable change in the weather, and we're seeing the promise of relief from winter soon.

Our first cold season on the farm has been challenging. The house needed some major overalls and routine maintenance, every time we turned around something else was broken. From blown thermostats, to pipes, to the oil burner, to wall leaks from water lines, to a busted wax seal on a toilet- it was a whirlwind. You kind of expect those things in your first year of an old home, a barrage of repairs- especially with the cold we have had.

The livestock have fared as well as can be expected, we spent long hours trying to keep bedding dry and feeding extra to soothe their weariness of the weather. Now that we've seen some sun they are noticeably perking up, and we're mindful of the fact that there will be much work on fencing to do as soon as possible so they can enjoy more of the pasture- finally!

Our new chicken brooder, which is insulated and has a thermostat has already proven to be invaluable! We had several snaps below zero, and the chicks came through just fine. We still have some improvements we'd like to make (like an automatic watering system), but it's light years away from what we have had before!

We can't thank those of you who contributed and promoted our Kiva loan enough, last week the plumber installed our well pump, freeing up the secondary well for livestock chores and saving all of our household fixtures from the mineral deposits (we were in danger of some major damage if we used the sulfur well long term). We are still working out the details of the processing facility with our contractor, but are hopeful that as soon as the ground thaws, we can begin that much needed work. We are looking forward to the increased production that the facility will allow, and to paying back all of the generous folks to helped make these improvements possible!

This Sunday, March 15th- we're partnering with The Flammerie- a fantastic bistro in Kinderhook to put on a prix-fixe menu featuring some of our products! It will be a 4 course dinner allow folks to taste our turkey, rabbit and liver- cooked by one of the best local chefs. It's not something to be missed! We'll be there and hope you will too!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Gobble

We mentioned previously that we were fortunate enough to have Rebecca Busselle filming our Thanksgiving turkey processing this year. Rebecca and I met over the summer, at the farmers market in Millerton. When she proposed the idea of making this short film, we agreed without reservation because we trusted Rebecca to show the honest and visceral nature of our work, in a way we could share. She has certainly gone far beyond our expectations.

We are excited to share the film Rebecca made (The Gobble) but it's also a little nerve wracking. We know that as a livestock farm, people know we grow meat. But our culture is radically removed from the harvest of livestock for food. So to open up that process for our farm through visual media leaves us vulnerable in a new way. We are honest about farm life on the blog, but this is a visual honesty beyond that. We are sharing it because we believe in the work, and because we want people to be closer to their food- to understand the breadth of the tasks. 

The film is not overly graphic but it does portray the processing of turkeys, each step. So please be aware of that before you watch it. But if you eat meat, do consider watching it. The way we do things here is drastically different then a commercial slaughterhouse. And it is work we stand behind. 

It's also timely, we are only $1700 shy of fully funding our Kiva loan- which will allow us to take our ethical practices to the next level with a more efficient facility. You will see in the video how much that will impact us! (You can check out and share our Kiva loan at http://zip.kiva.org/loans/11016/i/wkg)

Thank you Rebecca, for this. We are honored to share it.

Now, without further ado...


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Winter WOD

The winter WOD (workout of the day)!

Agility: 

Hopscotch through bottle feeding goat kids who have taken up residence in your mudroom. 
Do this while avoiding poop hooves bc you are still in pjs Bc it's 7am and they won't stop screaming while you have coffee. Repeat 3x daily. 

Strength training:
Shoulder carry 30lb shavings bale from the back of van to the barn, up a 45 degree hill of about 200ft, in knee high snow drifts where your snowblower path used to be. Repeat with 100lb feed bag. 

Haul hay bales through the barn, pop open. Shoulder push through the back door barricaded by snow (again). Fill 2 five gallon buckets with hog grain, balance the hay under your arm and take a flying leap off the loading dock to back paddocks. 

Dodge 8 giant pigs after high stepping over the electric fence, with buckets above hog head height in your race to the troughs. Sprint! 

Feed 2 smaller pigs in their own pen while restraining pregnant goats by simultaneously flinging hay in their general direction.  Repeat 2x daily. 

Endurance:
 Fill 6-8 five gallon buckets with water down at the house and load up plastic sleds with three buckets each. Pull each of the sleds up the hill to the barn like a pack mule, and attemp to fill watering buckets without drenching livestock. Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Shuffle slowly through the ice skating rink where your farm road use to be, to the hen house to collect eggs and feed hens. 

Cool down:
Feed all rabbits and carry a crate with their frozen water bottles down to the wood stove to defrost. Return defrosted bottles promptly. Repeat 2x daily. 



Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter Spell

A note on our blog posts copy editing... Our beloved dogs ruined our computer, and so we are using our kindle or phones to update the blog. So the editing will be worse than usual, but hopefully not too eregious. 

We are in the midst of quite the storm at the moment, and have spent several hours digging out already. We thought we would just share a few winters photos today, but there are some big updates to come! Also, we are offering $10 off all of our shares JUST for today if you pay by our online invoice. It's likely the last discount we will offer off of these shares!