Saturday, November 30, 2013

After Thanksgiving

Well, we made it through the official end of our busy farming season. The turkeys made it to tables, surrounded by all kinds of farm fresh goodies in the way of vegetables, gravy, cranberry sauce, pies... even stuffed to the gills it still makes my mouth water. 

It was a hell of a roller coaster ride getting those birds to the table though. We had a very elaborate and (we thought) well organized plan- but like most farm plans- it required a lot of on the spot negotiation. Early in the fall, we bartered the cost of straw bales for the greenhouse for help processing turkeys at near-by McEnroe Farms. A good deal, as the seedlings are looking fairly sturdy even in the cold weather. So the week before Thanksgiving, not only were we prepping CSA shares full of holiday cheer, and organizing our partner butchering with Mountain Brook- but I was working to get those bales paid for. 

Mountain Brook hosted the butchering this year, with our two small farms pooling together resources and materials to keep volunteers fed and get the birds done professionally. We moved our small flock of turkeys up to MB on Friday morning, though we had some hiccups moving their temporary housing down from out a field in some thick fall mud- we did manage to make it happen eventually. We split up, taking on tasks to get the whole operation in line for Saturday morning, when our birds were on the docket. 

Processing turkeys is a big job, given their size and the time constraints you face getting them all done fresh for the holiday table, and we were lucky to have an A+ crew on hand to help us on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was not at my best and while distracted I took a razor sharp knife to my finger. It's the first time I've ever injured myself that badly butchering, in over 5 years experience. I guess it was bound to happen sometime! I ended up needed to hit the ER for stitches, and was eternally grateful that the crew we had kept it moving so quickly even a man down. The turkeys weighed in nicely even given their struggles through the season and it was a great sight to see them all packaged up in our modified cooler truck. I managed to get back from the ER in time to help finish up, but really it was Kim, Hilary and our indomitable volunteers who made it happen. 

With a splinted finger, I'm a bit slow moving (still), but Sundays delivery was just Awesome. Sure, it was freezing and windy as all get out- but their are few things we love more then sharing the farm with customers. Everyone managed through the weather to pick up their turkey and array of fixings, have a cup of coffee or a brew sample. The brave even bundled up to say hello to the piglets and rabbits. 

The farm after Thanksgiving is still a busy place. With the temperatures hovering around frigid this early in the season, we've burned a fair amount of wood. My injured finger is keeping our wood cutting operation down, so we bit the bullet and ordered some to be delivered. A shot to the wallet and to my pride, but it's only a temporary injury so it's better to be grateful then bitter. Or cold. We still have the laying chickens, rabbits, quail, sheep, goats and pigs to tend to- but it seems a much more relaxed pace given the fury of summer. I've taken an off-farm part time job, the finances need an influx, and it's a good job learning the art of cheese mongering. It's always good to expand your skill set, and the farm is headed for some big changes that will require a good amount of investment. If we really want to make this farm reach it's potential, we have to make some changes, and those changes need more money. We have been so fortunate to have become successful with our growing so quickly, and so while the winter rolls in we will pad the savings account so we can hopefully keep up with the demand come spring time. It's exciting, and not all that much quieter then when the vegetables are in full bloom- just busy in a different way. But still, we're taking today to recuperate after a harried 3 week sprint, joyfully full from another wonderful farm holiday. We're awaiting firewood (still have enough to fight back the chill until it arrives) and feeling contemplative. And though busy, after Thanksgiving there IS time for a second cup of coffee. 

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