Recently, I dreamt I was in a busy restaurant, with high glass windows and waiters wearing white gloves. But in this dream, I couldn’t order anything on the menu because, ironically, I was a farmer and couldn’t afford it. To make matters worse, I was seated with another farmer in the same situation, except he was clearly not sane and when he spoke I wanted to get as far away as possible. Continue Reading…
(At right, Sarah, Eliza and Nora, putting up the walls for the new spot where are chickens will over-winter. It is already being called, not so affectionately, Chicken Swamp Part Deux. We have pretty high water tables and wet soils around the farm and once the chickens have their way with the vegetation, it becomes another muddy swamp)
Preparations being made for the installation of a permanent high-tensil electric fence to enclose the pasture at the Waslowski barn. The job of clearing this overgrown hedge row one bite of a lopper at a time and dragging it into burn piles quickly became an overwhelming and bloody job.
This is Sarah, being overwhelmed. Notice the now clean hedge row in the background.
Now that it is colder and the pastures aren’t growing grass fast enough to support the herd, chores now include moving them from one round bay of hay to the next. These are the large round bails you see in the fields, wrapped in white plastic. This makes the bails air tight and when they’re wrapped wet, the anaerobic conditions allow them to ferment. The cows apparently love this.
We paid a visit to a local dairy this week called Chase Hill Farm in Warwick. The farmer, Mark uses horse power to rake hay and spread manure. Other times on the farm, he doesn’t have enough work to keep the horses in shape, so believe it or not he recently purchased a horse-powered treadmill to power his milking machines. This is Kate (left) meeting one of the Belgians named May.
And here is Mark demonstrating how the treadmill works. It is hard to see in the picture, but it is set at an incline and when the horses are on it (which takes a lot of training to begin with) the incline causes them to slide toward the back. Their walking action turn a shaft which goes into a gear box and then powers the pumps.
Nora, being attacked by the nicest cat on earth. I have an amazing cat, but this one is in a class of its own.
We have bi-weekly community meetings and since our next meeting falls on a day when we’re away for Thanksgiving, this weeks meal served as the opportunity to celebrate “Farmsgiving”. The feast included mashed potatoes and turnips infused with garlic butter, bread stuffing with dried cranberries, roasted delicata squash with a maple syrup reduction, salad, and a pumpkin spice cake with toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. Oh, and there was the turkey Josh B. cooked in an outdoor bread wood-fired bread oven. It was 20 degrees outside with 30 mile an hour winds and it was done to perfection in 2 hours (and ONLY took half a cord of wood to do it.)
And here is the happy Farmsgiving family.
An election also came and went this week although none of us farmers were able to stay awake long enough on the night of the election to get the final results. But we celebrated the peaceful democratic transition of power with “Patriotic Post-Election” banana pumpkin bread and “No Recount” carrot cake.
We had a few 18 degree mornings this week and a dusting of snow. It was good to be on milking chores and have a set of warm teats to hold on to. I’m thinking beard season is not far off.
We also cut into the Guanciale we made our first week here. It is an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowl and rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices and cured for four weeks. It is basically fatty awesome bacon.
The daily transition from dark to light moved up on the clock this week. But turns out, animals don’t observe daylight saving time. So we just adjusted our schedule to fit their natural schedule. Our farmer schedules mean that we are awake for sunrise and sunset, so we don’t suffer as much from what normally feels like a shortened day.
And here is the infamous and completely functionless scarf joint in the making.