State of the Farm

Week 50, 2012

I just came inside from a glorious morning walk around the farm. Here is today’s state-of-the-farm report. It has been a mild, dry first half of the last month of the year, and the animals are still out grazing. This is good – more time on pasture equals less expensive stored feed. The milking cows are way up the hill by middle road; just Alma, Clara and Juniper left to calve. The draft horses are in the same area, grazing a mix of pasture and corn stover. They are largely idle now except for a bit of plowing; I’m looking forward to doing some logging with them next month. The dairy heifers and dry cows are on Long Pasture where the coarse grass has turned palatable. Jenny and Liam took a roadtrip this week to pick up a new Jersey bull. He’s in the bullpen now, ready to join the cows. The sheep are cleaning up the ditch and laneway between Superjoy and Monument fields. The flock of 17 has been enormously useful against weeds. The ram, Rambo, returned today from breeding duty on another farm. The dairy calves are under the protection of the east barn’s shed roof. We have increased the milk ration for the calves this year and oh how they have grown. The fall-born heifers are already big, robust girls. The boar and his ladies are next to the calves, under the same roof. Black Diamond’s romantic moves are a great source of entertainment during calf chores, as pig love is just as awkward as you might imagine. It also appears to be totally exhausting, for the boar at least. He looks about as done in as a Chippendale at a Tupperware convention. The non-breeding pigs are still in the woods just north of the cabins, but their numbers are decreasing quickly. They are perfect slaughter weight now, so pork is going into the walk-in freezer just as fast as possible. Hens are stationed in the barnyard for the winter, in both greenhouses, with a run to the outside. Sorry egg production was so poor last week, members. The older flock is molting (which means their energy is going toward making new feathers and not eggs) and production for the younger flock was disrupted by the move; we made some adjustments to the feed ration, and gave them additional light in the greenhouse, and production should bounce back quickly. Last but not least, the beef herd is still happily grazing the fields near the lake. When they are finished or when the weather turns, they will go to the new covered barnyard. Meanwhile, Mark is acting as mission control today for a project of NASA-level complexity, moving 210 bales of haylage to the barnyard from the leased acres on Middle Road. The bales are wrapped in plastic that must not be punctured, or the feed will go bad. The tractor and truck traffic along the driveway is insane! Inside, Steve Blood’s fingers are flying through thousands of financial transactions, getting all of the farm’s financial transactions into QuickBooks. Soon the computer will spit out the answers to my money-related questions. And in the kitchen, I’m still in love with corn. I got my corn grinder this week (Victoria brand, $60 delivered) so la cucina is fully outfitted, and Jane, 5, is now competent on the tortilla press. We had extremely authentic tacos, and made tortilla chips with the leftovers. I promise a tortilla workshop during distro early in the new year. And that is the fast and poorly punctuated news for this short, bright 50th week of 2012.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

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