Monthly archives "February 2014"

february

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Winter has been quite a doozey this season, huh? Everything is well here for us on the farm, but we’ve had some close calls with roofs and hoophouses nearly caving in with all the ice and snow. Restlessness and cabin-fever are hitting hard, but having all this snow to shovel helps keep us distracted. Won’t we all appreciate spring’s arrival so much more this year!

The piglets are growing very well inside their sunny and comfy side of the hoophouse, snarfing down their organic grain feed, eating bales and bales of our own organic grass hay, and the last of the 2013 garden’s daikon radish and carrots that we saved for them. We’ve already received deposits on 8 of our Pastured Pork Shares, so let us know ASAP if you’d like to reserve yours!

The lady ducks are not yet laying eggs for 2014, we joke that they are better at predicting spring than that dang woodchuck- if they aren’t laying eggs in February, we know spring will be late. They seem to really enjoy themselves on winter vacation- they trim down and run around like the crazy little sassy ladies they are, quacking in their chorus which echoes down the road. It’s quite hilarious how differently they behave when they are on break! We’ll be bringing fresh duck eggs to the co-ops as soon as they decide they are ready. We love our ducks and are very grateful to them, so they can take their time! (But we really hope they start soon, we miss our duck eggs!)

Our flock of adult geese is entering breeding season. Did you know geese only lay eggs for about 3 months of the year? Their eggs are very precious, and this is why you don’t typically see goose eggs for sale, or if you do it is only in the spring. We will be selling some goose eggs at a couple co-ops when the geese start laying. Then, as the weather warms in late spring, we’ll be encouraging the mothers to start sitting on nests in order to hatch out goslings. Check out Khaiti’s article just published in the March edition of ACRES USA Magazine, called “The Gorgeous Grass-fed Goose.”

What else is going on at LTD?

2014 CSA signups are coming from our members in the mail, we still have shares available at this point. Our first seeds have been started, these are the early crops which will transplanted for our first CSA boxes in May- Kale, Swiss Chard, Parsley, Buttercrunch lettuce, Red Giant Mustard and China Choy. We are very happy to be working with our local neighbors at Hay River Worm Castings for our early seed starting fertility- our compost pile froze up before we could get some in buckets for February seed starting. We didn’t want to buy the factory farm compost that is most commonly used for seed starting- even the certified organic “cowsmo” is coming from a massive factory dairy farm. We don’t want to eat veggies grown in that, or support factory farming in any way.P1080938

We also just brought home a “new” delivery vehicle which will hold more CSA boxes than our Subaru, and our house is being converted into a “Market on the Farm” greeting center with a walk-in cooler inside, where we’ll have seasonal foods from our farm for sale (details coming soon.) We’re planning to build a small and more energy efficient cabin/house to live in starting this fall.

Winter and cooking go hand in hand, we’re eating our way through our pantry and freezer cache. We just made a delicious batch of LTD Farm-style Tom Kha Gai Soup with poached heritage chicken and roasted winter squash.  Here’s how: A still- frozen 2.5 lb chicken was poached in a covered medium/large pot with about 1.5 quarts of water and a quart of chicken stock, at a gentle simmer for 2 hours. The bird was lifted out to cool off, then the meat was  picked off the bones, so tender and succulent and delicious! P1080932About 1/2 of the meaty bits went back to the broth, the rest was saved for sandwiches (as well as the skin and the  bones for stock- they are incredibly rich in flavor!). 1 chopped onion & several cloves of minced garlic, 2 TBL lemon grass and 1 TBL ginger all added to the pot and let simmer to merge flavors for another half hour. Right before serving, 2 cups of roasted mashed squash, a small head of shredded napa cabbage, a couple good glugs of fish sauce, and a can of coconut milk, with a little chopped cilantro and spicy sriracha swirled in too.  It was simply delicious and you could add almost any vegetable to this soup.P1080935

2014 Piglets!

We just welcomed our new tribe of piglets to the farm this week!
They’ll be living in the sunny and cozy hoophouse until the snow melts and they’ve grown a bit bigger. Basically all they do right now is eat their organic feed, drink warm water, have a little run about and exploring, and then snuggle back up to sleep in a giant cozy hay pile. Getting our piglets makes us feel like spring is definitely around the corner! Today it’s -5F, but still, we’re pretty sure it will warm up at some point, right?
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We will be setting up their 2 acre forest paddock in the early spring. For our purposes we will be using cattle and hog panels for this main paddock area. Setting it up right and tight is a priority. Another priority is to begin installing our berms and swales as well as planting the food producing trees and shrubs outlined in the our permaculture design for our farm. Andrew has an article coming out soon which goes into detail about our pig-raising plans. Suffice it to say, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but it will all be worth it when we can see our pigs living the best life we can give them, with organic fruit and nuts, clean air, fresh water, and cozy homes. And of course the all important muddy wallow in the hot days of summer. Which we think will be here soon…

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As we grow our small farm, it is clear to us that pigs will play a large role in our plans. Our permaculture design designates a large area of the farm for our pigs to roam and forage, and we are also planning on adding a couple of cows to the mix this year! Cows have been on our minds lately, but we didn’t quite understand where exactly they would fit in until we finished the first draft of our permaculture design. Now, it seems obvious that we need to include them. But raising pigs is what we know and love, and the pork that comes from our pigs is the most delicious and amazingly versatile food you could imagine!

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We will be constructing larger permanent shelters for our hogs in 2014, but meanwhile we continue to use the simple and useful DIY hog hut design that Andrew came up with in 2011 – All of ours are still kicking! For more information on building these simple shelters, go here: DIY Pig Hut!

On another note, we are glad to join the Buy High Welfare campaign -Please follow the banner to find out more about where you can buy pork from ethically raised pigs!

 

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