Essex Farm Note week 7

I was away, so this week’s note is from Mark…

Essex Farm Note

Week 7, 2012

If Kristin were writing this note this week all we would hear about would be sheep and sheep dogs. Since we first started farming here eight and a half years ago she has constantly entreated me to bring on the sheep. My response has almost always been snarky “…so that we can feed the coyotes?” “…because growing up lambs for meat is much cheaper than raising beef?” or more of a knife to her heart, “…so you can justify a livestock guardian dog?” Other farmers have given us their input, such as the 4S: sick sheep seldom survive, and the frequent stories of parasite problems.  It just doesn’t make sense for the farm to offer lamb or mutton in the share.  Therefore when Kristin first realized that her birthday present last week was 6 ewes and 4 lambs she almost squealed with joy.  “Really?”  “Really, Mark?”  “SHEEP?”  “Really?”  And here they are.

If you go to the house to pick up your milk you can’t miss the newest addition to our menagerie.  Spend a minute by the cobbed together fence next to the garage and you’ll likely see the biggest lamb standing on top of his mother, like a helicopter poised to lift off of a carrier.  Wait a bit longer and the other sheep might line up alongside the first ewe in a weak defensive huddle.  The lamb might hop from one back to the next, unmoved by strange visitors from outside the fence.  If you wait a bit more you’ll notice that one of the bred ewes has a very different type of udder.   Could it be?  Of course, testicles.  So we may have some gamey ram snack in the warming hut in the next few weeks.

And that is the news from Essex Farm for this home-alone 7th week of 2012.                                               –Kristin & Mark Kimball


5 thoughts on “Essex Farm Note week 7

  1. Pingback: Sheep Invade Essex Farm | Essex on Lake Champlain

  2. Kristin,
    I didn’t get to personally thank you, but wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your stories and the knowledge you shared at the Oregon Small Farms Conference. What you and Mark are doing is remarkable. My hope for us all is, that by the time you two are “old hippies”, it won’t be remarkable in the least.
    All the best-
    Dave Morgan
    Beavercreek, Oregon

    • I dream of offering a cotmlepe diet CSA to our customers, but with three children under the age of three well, we’re doing what we can right now. My husband is my voice of reason and tones down my “let’s do it all right now” approach. I love the fully invested nature of the cotmlepe CSA, for both the farmer and the member. That was what surprised me when we started our CSA. The philosophy is to put the farmer’s face on the food, but for us, it put the customer’s face on what we were raising. We knew who was waiting for which items, which kids would be eating the cherry tomatoes, for example. I love that!!I grew up on a farm and I guess I learned at an early age that things never turn out the way you think they will. The cows will get out, you’ll drop the egg bucket, the pittman will break on the mower, etc. But along with that are the “happy accidents” where it works out better than you thought it would. Kristin talks often about how hard they worked, that drive to get everything done but not getting it done. I felt her despair when they had to plow down the weedy crops. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and start over and that is so difficult when you’ve worked so hard!!

  3. Question 3: I love the concept of a year round, whole diet CSA. Our local CSA runs mid April tgoruhh first heavy freeze, which was the first week of December in 2010.I know I have changed the way I cook since we joined our local CSA. The afternoon of the delivery is like Christmas we never know what will arrive in our bag, other than fresh eggs. Organic home-baked goods are available for purchase, as well as CSA honey, jellies, beef, and chicken. I only cook in season produce now. And plan my dishes around what is available from the CSA or our own small garden.