Hi guys! So- I’m going to be experimenting with returning back to my roots of this being a bit more of a personal blog again, now that I am running the farm on my own. Let me know what you think.
Here’s to you and yours having an awesome holiday season. I hope you are able to focus on spending quality time with those you cherish and not get stressed over figuring out gifts! I can HIGHLY recommend the “Extreme Alpaca” boot socks as a special gift that will actually get used, you can get them from my neighbors down the road with the beautiful Suri alpacas, Chris and Jess of Whistling Pines Ranch. And if you know someone who adores Duck Eggs, I have some cute custom LTD Duck Egg themed mugs coming, I’ll update this post when I have pictures. Let me know if you are interested!
It’s been a heck of year here on the farm, and the past month in particular has been bazonkers.
The lady ducks are all on vacation from laying eggs, I have eggs for a couple more deliveries then the 2015 duck egg season is over. This means I get a break from cleaning eggs each and every day, do you know I personally collected and cleaned and candled over 80,000 eggs this year? My wrists are ready for a rest! During my egg time this year I listened to some phenomenal books on tape, which as a busy farmer, I never had the patience or free time to sit down and read.
Last week, I was finally able to get the ducks’ barn completely cleared out after 4 YEARS of deep bedding, with the aide of a rented HARDCORE Bobcat, with a special grappler attachment. My friend Klaus operated it, and me and my team of friends worked feverishly to fork all the bedding off the sides and into the middle rows to get it all accessible for the machine, which just barely fit in the barn. We also ended up needing to take the entire east side of the barn off so the Bobcat could get in, it was an insane and exhilarating and exhausting day! Now I have the world’s most lovely (and enormous) compost piles ready to have the most kick-butt garden next year. YAY!!!
I was able to get the cows’ more permanent fencing set up before the ground froze solid, now the girls have a channel that leads them from their water source, up to the hayfield, where there are plenty of round bales of hay to keep them occupied through winter. They will add their fertility up there as they eat, which will increase the hay yield next summer. Ruby still has not had a calf, and I don’t know if she will, only time will tell. Lola is doing wonderfully and is so sweet and beautiful! She possibly is going to have a calf next summer, but again, only time will tell. Overall, the Highlands have been an amazing and fulfilling experience for me this year, I just love them!
Turkey, goose and chicken harvesting happened right before the barn clear-out. Every year when I begin in on this difficult job I think, maybe not again next year, this is so much work to hand harvest my birds, and after tending them for months and months it’s hard to not get a little attached. But when I see my customers faces light up when they pick up their beautiful birds, it brings it all together for me. I absolutely love to be able to provide “my people” with humanely raised and harvested pastured meat, that also happens to be supremely delicious meat as well! I’m formulating the offerings for 2016 and will post the CSA sign up soon.
This ethical-meat-raising farmer had an awkward Thanksgiving. I’m the oldest of four sisters and one of them is an extreme vegan. She’s so hardcore about it that she didn’t speak with me for nearly 5 years because of my choice to “be the change I want to see in the world” by raising animal products how I believe they should be raised. She thought/thinks what I do is horrible, even worse than factory farming, because I know and love and care for my animals, and then harvest some of them. I don’t think that’s worse, I think that’s respectful of the beings, to acknowledge their life and contribution, and make sure they live a wonderful life while they grow. Anyways, this spring, this vegan sister finally opened herself up to having a relationship again, which meant the WORLD to me! I love her and think she is amazing, hilarious, talented, and just wonderful. She has a daughter who I adore and I was so glad to have them both out to the farm twice this summer.
Thanksgiving and Turkey Time brought the old conflict to the surface though. She assumed I would be bringing turkey I had raised to the dinner, and last minute said she was not going to be attending for “personal reasons.” Immediately I read between the lines and I assured her I can do an all vegan Thanksgiving, if that’s what it is, no problem! Turns out she didn’t even want to talk to me about whether I was even planning to bring meat, so she just had decided to not come. What? Just communicate, people! Things are still a bit raw between us, but I also know that the holidays can be a trigger of intense emotions and memories. When my family lost our dear Mom 8 years ago, we lost the family organizer and planner, strategist and coach, tradition keeper and referee. We all feel her loss especially during this time of year. So my lesson is to be kind, be patient, and be good to each other.
And if you are one of my beef people, here’s the link to the summer sausage I made in the pictures. It is outstanding!!!