Week 6

We’re six weeks into life at Maggie’s and already we’ve established steady working relationships with the all animals on our farm.  We lead cows to fresh pasture daily and pull fresh eggs out from under broody hens.  We try to our best to keep the peace with Mr. Marbles the pushy ram and I’ve even grown accustomed to the regular mouse fiestas inside my bedroom walls.  Continue Reading…

(At right) Being a photographer on a farmers schedule is amazing.  Never before have I been awake and out in the natural splendor of the world for both sunrise and set.  So this is one of three sunrise shots you’ll get this week.  Sorry. I just can’t help myself.

 

 

We started off the week with the difficult task of loading our lambs up for “graduation”, the euphemism used around here for a trip to the slaughter house. We did leave one lamb behind, selecting for the best genetics of the bunch (biggest and best coat) to replace a ewe who had to be put down last year because of some mastitis.  Above is Anne, our only remaining vegetarian in the group. “Well, I’m feeling weird, but at least it’s honest,” Anne said after the chore was done.

 

Coincidentally, we then went straight into a cut sheet class, where we learned about the mind boggling amount different ways a butcher can divide up a pig, a cow and a sheep. Here, the crew is checking out a partial rack of ribs from a pig and the tenderloin underneath.

 

And later in the week, 5 of our lamb skins came back from the butcher. They are curing with pickling salts in our barn before being sent off to the tanner.

 

Sunrise shot 2 of 3.

 

More tractor training. Here, Sarah is shoveling last year’s composted pig doings into a manure spreader.

 

And as Tyson pointed out, this is where the sh*t hits the fan (literally). We used the manure spreader to turn and mix the lamb dropping into a new compost pile that was combined with 3 other compost piles and will now be left to bake down over winter. Fun fact: for compost to be USDA certified organic, it must remain above 136 degrees for 15 days and be turned 4 times in that period – a lot of work.

 

Our first experiment with veterinary medicine. One of our cats, Clutch, showed up at the farmhouse with 2 gaping holes on either side of her tail. The working hypothesis is that some bird of prey tried to make off with her.

 

Burn pile management in the beef cow’s winter yard.

 

Farmer doodles.

 

One afternoon’s harvest of 5.5 pounds of thyme, which we can sell for $15/lb in Boston.

 

This is Mr. Marbles the normally pushy ram being restrained by Amber while the vet checks on Patience. Sheep, rams included, become completely docile if you flip them on their butt or back keeping their shoulders off the ground.

 

Sunrise shot 3 or 3. It is late and I couldn’t whittle it down. Next week I’ll try to be more judicious.

 

 

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