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In a nutshell…We are two impassioned young farmers and compassionate carnivores working toward the goal of sustainable small-scale permaculture farming on our 39 acres in western Wisconsin.
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Monthly Archives: April 2011
Oh boy- what a weirdo April. We had snow YESTERDAY! Three inches on the ground, and some is still lingering today. Despite this, we tilled up our garden a few weeks ago and began seeding spring plants out there, and sowing cover crops over the rest. Today we got 150 of our 500 asparagus crowns planted into the ground. Very exciting. Except, we have to wait 2 more seasons before that will be a crop we can harvest. Have to let the roots develop and strengthen first, then these plants will produce asparagus each spring for 10-15 years. A good time and money investment.
Goat babies are all born now! We have Metalika’s triplets (now one month old!), May’s twin girls, and Desti’s twins- just born yesterday morning. Trixie who lost her kids due to premature birth, is now on the milking routine. She is new to this and hollers at me all day to come out and milk, even we only milk 2 times a day, morning and night. The herd’s been trimmed down to just mommas and babies, we sold Catalpa and Thuja, who did not have kids, to a man who raises Fainting goats just for fun and loves his goats.
The Seward CSA Fair was fun and BUSY! Very tiring… it was so lovely to come home to the farm and do chores and hang out with kids and turkeys and pigs and ducks again. We sampled out hardboiled duck eggs to everyone at the Fair, and have several new CSA customers. Thank you for coming out and saying hello, nice to meet those who follow our LTD Farm blog!
We butchered our buck goats, and have been enjoying some delicious goat dinners. On the farm, everything is put to use, even troublesome buck goats. They had peaceful endings on the farm they knew.
I can’t resist putting up more food pics. We eat well because we have to! We work really hard, and need serious fuel. Most days start with fried duck eggs sometimes with vegetables and hashbrowns, or grits and feta, and toast, and of course cowgirl coffee. We use what we have, get creative and devour it all. Today’s lunch is a baked rice dish with goatmilk ricotta and yogurt, potatoes, carrots, green onion, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Tomorrow, April 12th, we’ll be demo-ing in Stillwater, MN at The River Market Community Co-op. LTD Farm is offering a customer appreciation sale at River Market until the 14th. Come taste our ladies’ delicious DUCK EGGS if you haven’t yet!
This Saturday, April 16th, Seward Co-op’s Annual CSA Fair in Minneapolis, brings us to the big city. We’ll have a Special Seward Share offered only during the CSA Fair, come see us there for details. We’ll also be sampling out delicious duck eggs at our table. This fun event runs from 11am- 3pm, in the Seward Co-op’s parking lot, under a huge tent. Come meet the farmers who grow food for you! There are many different options and varieties of CSA shares available nowdays ( it stands for Community Supported Agriculture.) You’ll find farmers providing organic vegetables and fruit, eggs, meat, soap, honey, maple syrup, etc. We offer once a month boxes, some farms do every week, or bi-weekly. Support the kind of world you want to eat from, and live in, by supporting small local farmers.
It’s April 4th, and we still have snow all over the farm. In fact, the past two days it has been snowing! Not that it is accumulating, but how very disheartening to have more snow coming down to LTD Farm. We thought by now we’d have our field prepared and ready for sowing and planting. We pictured carrots sprouting, lettuces and cold hardy greens planted in the ground on April 1st. Alas, all our little seedlings still sit in planting flats in our grow room and hoophouse….waiting. There is a huge variety sprouting up already- curled green endive, cabbages of all sorts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, hot peppers, many kinds of tomatoes, peanuts, cucumbers, basil, parsley, lettuces, arugula, spinach, creeping thyme, mesclun salad mix, kale, collards, chard, mache, pea shoots, brussel sprouts, chinese cabbage, celeriac.
March brings us baby goats. Metallika’s sweet triplets, born mid- March, are thriving under her excellent care. Prince knows what is most important- food, so he constantly runs to Mom for nourishment. Nobella and Segway are more vivacious with spritely curiousity over everything. They clamour at our legs hoping for a chance to jump up on our backs, if we’d just kneel down for them! How fun, and what a great way to spend some breaktime between all the hard labor we are doing in preparation for gardening time. Sometimes that last wheelbarrow-full of duck bedding to the compost pile takes you to the limit of exhaustion, so babies are a lovely distraction while resting one’s muscles for a few minutes.
But we have to honest, it isn’t all fun and sweet times- Goats are bullies and brutual to the underlings in the herd. There is always a bully in the group, the boss goat. All winter long, that was Cedar. Cedar actually was butchered a week ago, as we didn’t need to keep his excellent genetics on our farm anymore, with his daughters around. Inbreeding is not a good thing. After trying for over a year to find another goat breeder interested in giving him a new job, we decided to butcher Cedar. One too many times he was way too rough on the pregnant goats, demanding prime placement in front of the hay, and keeping the underlings away. When a goat is growing little ones, she needs to be able to eat as much as she needs. So off went Cedar, to goat heaven, in a very respectful and peaceful harvest. They say buck goats are no good to eat, but we have to tell you that his meat actually tastes delicious!
So, bully removed, and a new one steps in: May.We had a tragic incident with Metallika’s daughter who was born last spring, our little girl Trixie. She’s a robust, vigorous little bombshell of a goat, and we were so excited for her kids due in two weeks. Trixie has the best genetics, as her Mom is our best lady milker, and her Dad, Cedar, like Metallika, has been so ridiculously healthy his whole life without any chemical inputs that are the norm for goat farmers. But May hates Trixie, and cornered her while she was munching hay, her head in the hay panel. I saw this happen- May dive bombed Trixie’s belly with her massive horns, and an hour later I found two TINY kids in the straw in the barn. The tiny beautiful boy kid was dead, unreviveable despite CPR attempts. The other baby was crying out, but they were both soooo premature that the little girl did not live long. We even tube fed her colostrum, a blow dryer pointed near her belly to warm her. Their eyes weren’t even open yet, they were so premature, and probably their organs were not quite ready to handle life on earth yet either. A terribly sad and horrible loss for Trixie and us. Because of the trauma that induced this early birth, her normal placenta delivery did not happen. We watched and watched for two days, hoping she would be able to overcome this situation, but finally we had to intervene with some uterine contraction inducing drugs, to help her expel the remaining afterbirth. Then there is the worry of infection, and after much debate, we put her on the antibiotics our vet gave us. What happened to Trixie was not her fault, and she should not be put to the test of how strong she is, just so we can keep to our non-medicating philosophy. However, this really has been a hard blow for her. She’s still rather lethargic, but seems to still have that spirit we know and love and everyday is getting more active. I crawl in next to her at night, giving scratches, handfuls of grapes (her favorite snack) and lots of love. Poor girl.
Still we wait on two more girls to have their kids. Desti has been due since March 29th, and looks bigger and bigger each day. The afore-mentioned May, our bully, is also HUGELY pregnant and due any day. To feel these girls’ big bellies, and the kids swirling around inside, is purely astounding. We will announce their births as soon as they happen! May may have triplets, she’s so huge.
What else… our 10 turkey babies are still in the bathroom brooder, but they are growing so fast, it is time to upgrade to the hoophouse. We’ll put them out there in a larger brooder-type container (they still are fluffy, not feathered, so need extra heat and protection from drafts) once it stops snowing and being so windy! One thing turkey babies do well is jump up and out of their box- we’ve had many mornings where there is a turkey baby or two running around in the bathroom, or hiding and pooping in the bathtub. Oh boy. That’s when they get the nickname “turd-keys.” Never a dull day!
Our three pigs, now about 250 lbs each, are out of the hoophouse now, tilling up new gardens for us. When we moved them out last week, the ground was still all covered with snow. We’ve moved them two more times since, as they are making quick work of the the sod and turf as they discovered it under the snow.
Even though it doesn’t feel like spring, we see it’s evidence: MUD PATHS. Any trail we take frequently has turned to pure slushy, slippery mud. This is pretty different from a week or so ago when we could run out in our slippers over the frozen crust to check on the goats. Of course this would also be the time of year when your muck boots develop cracks.
We’re so grateful for all the wonderful people who have signed up to be CSA customers this season! We’re totally committed to providing as much goodness as we can from this little chunk of the earth. XOXO to our LTD Farm!