Monday, September 21, 2009


The newest member of our farm family arrived Monday evening around 11 pm, via the hitchhiker express. His name is Tylerfarm's Otis the Red. Otis, as he is called is a fun loving, sharpwitted English Shepherd pup that we purchased from Black Sheep Farm in Western NY state. This is also the breeder where Danny, our adult ES was purchased two years ago. Otis is Dan's half brother.
These two became fast friends and Otis follows Dan everywhere. He learns quickly and is eager to please. He has been to the barn to do chores with us since he arrived and has great instincts regarding his place and what is expected of him. He already loves to herd the two housecats :)

We are really enjoying having a pup around the farm again. I'll post more photos soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Raising hogs & happy customers..........

Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Roast & Chop are just about ready to head for the freezer. These pigs were as good as last years. We've had them just 4 months and they have grown at a steady rate with little fat on them. Each year it gets a little easier as we refine our pig house and feeding system. They get all the surplus milk and vegetables and scraps from the kitchen other than meat in addition to specific pig ration. They are now getting meals three time per day. This has worked very well for us. They should all weigh between 225 and 250 at butchering time.
They leave 10/11 and my customers are chomping at the bit. Each year everyone is very satisfied and that makes me happy. I know I've done a good job. A local bistro has asked for a weekly delivery of meat, eggs and vegetables while we have them. This is a weekly income and is a welcome addition to the farm stand.

This is Miss Charlotte. She will be staying at the farm. We have raised her for breeding and she is a sweet, pet pig :) She loves attention and to have her back scratched. I've always had a natural fear of pigs but she has really changed my thinking. Not that I'm not still wary and very respectful of their ability, but she is a big love. Her new "man" will be here in December and hopefully we will have babies in March. Our friend and mentor that has raised pigs for 40 + years has visited and given us instructions on what to build and how to take care of her and her piglets. We are very excited about the prospect of raising our own piglets instead of having to purchase them.

A new farm hand will be arriving at the farm in the next day or two. Photos soon :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hard days on the farm...........

Some days on the farm are just harder than others. I do fairly well dealing with my emotional connection with my animals. I know who is here to stay, who is here for awhile, and who is here just temporarily. I try very hard NOT to get attached to the ones I know won't being staying forever and also know that things do not always go as planned.

This big Hereford heifer, fondly knows as Missy has been one of my favorites from the time I brought her home as a calf over three years ago. I have a special affection for red cattle and she is the type who just grows on you. She gets along with everyone in the pasture and seemed to be the particular favorite of the donkey. They always buddied up together.

My plans for her was to grow up and become a "Mother" cow. To raise a calf every year for either meat for my table or for sale in our farm shop if we didn't need it. It wasn't meant to be. Time and time again we tried to breed her. She just would not settle. The only issue the vet could find was the her cervix was unusually small. He didn't like that. She was 3 in April and I knew that I needed to make a decision.

With the scarcity of hay and the price of what is available, I've been cutting back on animals that I didn't absolutely need to fit our farm business plan. Yesterday I delivered Missy to the Butcher shop. I did not cry. I wasn't heartbroken but it was the first time that I was honestly sad. I missed her this morning at chore time. When the steers went to the butcher I was ok - that's what we raised them for but I didn't want that for her.

Life goes on and it's another busy day here - we are off to fetch more hay to ensure the animals eat well this winter.

It really does pay to have a plan B in the farm business. We will eat very well this winter as well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New addition to the flock ~

Meet our latest farm addition. This is Cobblerock Sugar. She is a Shetland ewe lamb that came to us from Cobblerock Farm in CT. She is just the sweetest thing and has stolen our hearts already. We have been calling her Sugar Plum Sara and it seems to fit her :)

Hubby & I headed for Massachusetts early Friday morning to meet up with Penny, owner of Cobblerock Farm. We delivered to her one of our yearling Shetland ram lambs. We made the swap quickly and all worked out just fine. It was a lovely ride down and back with great weather and good company :)

Sugar is settling in quickly and will soon be added to the lamb population on the farm. She is timid but is eager to warm up to us and will eat grain from my hand. Her fleece looks black but underneath the black is a beautiful silvery gray. She will have gorgeous adult fiber.

Thank you Penny - hope Towhee is settling in and behaving himself :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gone fishin'

We made plans to take Tyler fishing Sunday evening. Luckily we were able to pull it off and we had a great time. We picked up subs at Subway to take with us to eat at the pond. The evening was crisp and clear and very few people around which is always nice to have the pond to yourself :)
Steve helped Tyler get his pole all rigged up and Ty was ready to catch the big one!

Tyler is being very patient in this photo, just waiting for the fish to take his bait. He tried very hard not to get frustrated. The big fish just didn't seem to be biting last night. Lots of small fish around messing with his bobber but nothing he could really hook on his line. I had a line in as well. Nothing seemed to be near my pole at all until I picked up my camera and was looking away. Steve would speak to me and tell my bobber was underwater. I couldn't see it, my back was to the pole and I was looking at something through the view finder :) I was lucky enough to land a huge perch, much to my surprise!

Now that's a prize if I have ever seen one! Just kidding.....I'm an easy to please fisher woman- I'm just happy to catch something :)

We had a great time fishing and also saw some beautiful bird life. In the tree in the middle of the photo are three herons that decided to rest there for the night. We also saw two kingfishers. No photos - they were beautiful. We all enjoyed great family time. Hopefully we can do this again soon!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Canning continues...........

I love sliced, pickled banana peppers on sandwiches that we occasionally get from Subway. We decided to try them in the garden this year. Considering all the rain we had and very little summer, they did pretty good. We picked a small basket full and processed them in a brine with a little olive oil and a big garlic clove. We have three pints so far. I'll let them set for a month or two and see how they taste. It's fun trying new recipes :)
Next was a family favorite, Bread & Butter pickles. After washing and cutting the ends off we sliced up the cukes and Tom bravely sliced the onions.

He wasn't crying but he was close to it!

The pantry is slowly filling up. We have plenty of zucchini relish from last years harvest and a few jars of peaches. Current jelly and raspberry jam should last as well. Next we will put up Christmas pickles and dill pickles.

Happy harvesting :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stocking up...........

Our harvesting continues and today we canned tomatoes. Aren't they pretty? :) The tomato harvest hasn't been huge due to blight, rain, etc. I'm very happy to have 5 quarts of canned tomatoes cooling on the cook stove. We have had plenty to sell in the farm stand on Saturdays as well. As long as we do not get a frost, we should have tomatoes for quite some time. Lots of green ones still on the plants. Tomorrow I'm going to try canning banana peppers. I have never raised them before but they grew well and I love them on sandwiches and with baked beans.

Many of the fall flowers are in bloom. Seems to be the year of yellow around the farm this year.

I love the yellow, these flowers are sunny and bright even on a cloudy day. The sunflowers have enormous heads this year and the little yellow goldfinches are helping themselves to the seeds already :) I have several different colored sunflowers and will have blossoms for sale in the farm stand this coming weekend.
A farm meal for dinner tonight; fresh burger, corn, cukes and tomatoes. Yummmmmmmm :)