Hey everybody! We are into full-on craziness here at Stony Creek!! We’re running around between the rain drops tilling and planting, moving fences and collecting eggs, harvesting our first crops and cooking delicious farm fresh meals AND...

discovering newborn animals!!

Here’s a quick look at the two new beltie calves that were born in the past 48hrs.

Also looking forward to full tents this weekend. Though we did have some great folks here last weekend, we’ll be sure to post some thoughts and pics after our first full weekend of accommodating guests in the Feather Down tents for the 2011 season.

until then..

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

April 28th began with some of the hardest rain storms since the flood of 2006. It was a reminder of just how bad it was 5 years ago. As I described it then - it was like the hardest 2 minute surge of an already intense downpour, but for 4 days straight!!As the day progressed, the sky cleared up and we continued to get more done outside.

We finally got the sheep out of their muddy interim holding pen behind the barn. It had become quite a disgusting mess even after nearly 2 weeks. We put them there after shearing and all was nice and dry and clean. Since then it’s been raining constantly and the residual hay from feeding hasn’t been enough to keep it dry. Another lamb was born that day as well, but has not survived. Another victim of bad mothering instincts. We are planning to do some MAJOR culling of these ewes within a couple of months. We will likely bring in new ewes for next year and perhaps change our flock entirely to a breed that produces much larger, faster growing lambs among other desirable traits.

Well, as it is this post was intended for the 29th, so I’ll leave it at this.

A couple of other quick updates:

  • our first batch of broilers are getting quite large in the brooder room - will get them on pasture today or tomorrow
  • we’ve separated the beltie heifers and will be moving everybody else to the upper pasture later today! hurray!!
  • our first apprentice arrives today!!!
  • peas are up!!
  • hoop house is fully planted with greens
  • first CSA shares go out 26April
  • Autumn Cafe, our favorite restaurant in Oneonta, is now serving our eggs for Sunday brunch
  • we’re also delivering over 50dozen eggs to a bar / cafe called Blue Haven in SoHo NYC every two weeks for their Sunday brunch

that’s all for now!!

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

Phew these early spring days always kick my butt.... By 9 o'clock I am physically worn, emotionally drained and totally exhausted. My muscles ache from the 5-gallon bucket lifting that I must do to fill the sheep's water -7 full ones to fill it 2 times a day. Fill them at the creek and then walk 50 paces without spilling them all over. I have gotten pretty good at it now and the 50 paces is one thousand times better than the 5 VERTICAL paces we had to do all winter. We have them temporarily behind the barn. They had to be shorn in the barn, then we moved them out once they were done. Now they are sort of in a holding pattern until some grass shows on the hills.

I worked a few hours over at a friend's farm today and will return tomorrow. He and some of his crew worked over here for a few days getting our hoop house up and covered in plastic. IT IS UP NOW!!! And I owe some time over there...dan too once he is back from the city. Worked over there watering and seeding. What an amazing thing to grow food for people to eat. Really eat and not just talk about. These guys, Lucky Dog Farm, they are doing it. Growing LOTS of food.

We have a ton of transplanting to do over the next few days. But first I have to get dan ready for a delivery to the city, then work at a friend's homestead in Oneonta with some Hartwick College students (some from the group that was here last week got a taste of something they liked and they want to come back to work more!!) and then Lucia is really psyched about easter so we'll do a bit of that on Sunday..Perhaps I can sneak in a few hours of work in the afternoon.

rest well, kate

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

I (kate) did a short interview for a local radio show while I was working a bit at Lucky Dog Farm this morning. And since I have begun milking Sierra again...(who I must say has matured quite a bit from her teenage skittering of last year.) she was very much on my mind. During the interview I spoke about how milking Sierra last year was anything BUT bucolic for the first month. Here is a small snippet...Because she is a Jersey, she is a ferocious mother. It is in her genes. And Jerseys are also notoriously jumpy.                  So for the first few weeks every time I tried to milk her she had a dance party... And usually my forearms were caught up in the mix. So how would you react to a cow kicking you (what seemed like) on purpose?!!! I yelled. I cried. I pleaded. I tried punching her back...all of this didn't go the way I wanted it to. Luckily we both were saved by an amazing invention..the 'kick stop'....no not a prescription drug, just a simple device that goes around her hip and over her back bone. It doesn't hurt..as far as I can tell. But when she goes to lift her foot to kick at me, she can't make it past a certain point. A few tries that don't work out and she stops trying. By the middle of the summer, Aaron and Greg (apprentices) didn’t even use the kick stop every time. By the end of the second month she was doing great.. even allowing visiting children to milk her!!

        The last two days, now that she has freshened again..I have been revisiting that time in my heart and soul...I am realizing how much I have grown from that experience and even how much she has grown. It is sort of odd and beautiful to know an animal as well as that. But there it is. I guess I am honored to be able to have such a relationship with her, as I feel honored to be able to dig my hands into the dirt every growing season. Thank goodness the ground doesn't spit dirt back at you when you try to plant carrots! (or maybe it does?) Now the part I need to figure out is how to make some money while doing these things that I cherish. Stay tuned to see how it turns out...

In other news: more lambs, and our first batch of broiler chicks arrived today!

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

Spring seems like it might be creeping in...The kids and I started more seeds in our greenhouse today and we actually sweated while we did it!

This morning while I Isaac and I were doing chores we had a few surprises:

1) When looking in on Sierra, our very pregnant Jersey cow, we noticed a new member of the family: a new calf!! He was just laying there looking like he has been here for years. Mama had licked him clean, he had already nursed a bit and he looked like he owned the place!!

2) Then as we brought hay over to the sheep, Isaac pointed out that there were FOUR new lambs in the mix. By the end of chores, the four turned into six and by the end of the day it was seven. We just sent the 7th one home with a friend b'c his mama was not helping him find the teat...he was pretty hungry.

Don't worry...lots of entertainment to come...Sierra the dancing cow for example..

here are some blurry initial photos of our newest critters

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

Here's Jack having a good scratch in the Winter sunshine. His mother, Sierra is in the background. We're headed to NYC today for our monthly home deliveries. If you'd like to be included, get in touch with kate@stonycreekfarm.org wpid-p_2592_1936_69493A62-5E20-4E82-9CF3-980BCAC8E8ED-2011-02-25-13-03.jpeg

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

Here’s another addition to the growing family of cows living at Stony Creek Farm.This little unnamed bull calf found his way into the world at about 4pm yesterday. He appears to be doing well after about 30hours on the outside. Hard to tell if he’s had a good healthy belly full of Abby’s colostrum yet though. We’ll keep you posted...

-dan

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

After losing a handful of chicks to a hungry rat in the barn, Dan and the interns moved a hundred of the chicks out to their pasture pen late last night. The chicks are much more calm at night, so we always try to do any big moves then. Early this morning, Katie woke up to find ten or so of the chicks had escaped and were circling the pen trying to get back in - turns out this was a sign of things to come! While Kate and Dan headed off to the chiropractor, the interns had the morning to relax and get settled in. Only a couple minutes into this much needed rest time, Katie looked up from the intern house (known as "the pod") to see the entire flock of sheep barreling down the hill!

Katie was momentarily confused as to where these sheep came from, but quickly realized they were our sheep! Her confusion immediately turned to panic and she started screaming, " Aaron! Holly! The sheep! The sheep got out! 

The three heroic interns took matters into their own hands. Grabbing a crook, a hoe, and a rope, they spent the better part of an hour chasing the sheep back up the hill. The first four attempts failed miserably, but after Katie's idea of using a roll of remay (a permeable row cover used to protect vegetables) they started making progress. The three screamed and sprinted and slapped at the sheep and finally coaxed them back into the fence. It was an unforgettable experience--at once a bonding moment for the three of them and a mark of how far they had come in the short time they had been at Stony Creek. The whole team celebrated the success at lunch with chard, spinach, and lettuce from the garden, homemade hummus, smoked fish, and fresh goat cheese.

And its only Tuesday...

Aaron, Katie and Holly

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

Hard to say for sure since I don't eat all that much grass, but these guys seem quite content on there new paddock. It really is amazing how the grass sneaks up on us here in Walton. One minute there's nothing (let's say about April 20th) and the next minute - well, see for yourself. (sorry for the poor picture quality - i’ll shoot some new ones tomorrow)

Also moved the layers today to follow these guys and break up the cow patties (aka poop). One little mistake had us scampering around in the heat today trying to catch layers that had hopped out of the moving chicken house. So much for the "good enough is perfect" latch on the back door!

Next time it will be screwed shut before I pull it down the road.

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

The KICK STOP - Well, it has been two milkings now, last evening and this morning that I have not been smeared with cow poop from Sierra’s over active leg!! How exciting. I thought that things were beyond hope yesterday morning. Disappointed that the families coming this summer wouldn’t be able to witness the magic of real milk from a real cow. Then Peter, dan’s dad, picked up the ‘kick stop’ - a small metal bar that hooks on her back leg and over her back - that I ordered two weeks ago. She literally cannot kick her leg. She can still shift around. But it seems like things will be okay. She is still a little sensitive to changes and people around, but I have a feeling that in time she will get used to those things too.

We are even beginning to have a little bit of a routine. She gave 2 1/4 gallons this morning! For the last week we have been able to put her out in the pasture next to the barn. It is a bit of dance getting her out to her area, but we are working on that too.

PEAS PLEASE - Dan helped me get the pea trellis up yesterday. It took about two hours, and dan wants to know how much money we will be making on peas this year. To be honest, I am not sure. Not sure how to track everything diligently AND get all of the farm work done. But does this mean I stop everything I am doing and only do the one thing that I am SURE we make a little bit of money on? Our pasture raised uber organic chickens, for example. I don’t feel like this is the answer simply because as sustainable organic farmers we know that raising a lot of one thing, denudes the land, inputs too much of a single type of manure (with animals) or encourages a single pest (like Potato bugs). There is an amazing system at work when you combine all of the little parts of our farm - I just can’t place a dollar value on that.

I have a lot of big questions about how we as a people expect small farms to do all of the amazing things that they do, but still pay the price we see at the grocery stores. Interested to hear what others think about this. I was talking to a dairy farmer about price increases not following the cost of living increase since the 70’s - if milk prices had been left to the market forces, like real estate for example, a gallon of milk (not organic) should really cost about $16!!

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

Well, I woke up this morning to a white frosting of hard snow on the ground. My fingers froze on the hand that holds the bucket while I milked with the other one.Most people just put the bucket on the ground. But Sierra won’t have it. She kicks like the devil. And I think I have determined that it isn’t my milking technique. It is just, pardon the expression, but as a friend said...she’s a bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. I talk sweetly to her...she shoves me to the side. She has even learned to side swipe a little out towards me. Mostly it doesn’t hurt. Although my shoulder has become strained from me trying to reach her back teats from her side. I have resorted to having to go from the back. But all is not lost. She gave a little more than a gallon this morning. And we will start getting into a routine. I just keep trying to picture me sitting on a milk stool and easily milking with two hands...if only in a dream for now. hah! And some people dream of the beach...

Also, our first batch of broiler chicks arrived today. The post office called at about 1pm and said that they had actually arrived YESTERDAY!! That has never happened. our post office has always been very good about calling. Someone said they called and left a message, but no message was ever received on our end. So far everyone is looking okay..if only a little worse for the wear. Dan retrofitted the brooder to accommodate a rat trap box...the rats finally found us this winter. Hopefully the army has not gotten too huge. Dan will put up pictures soon.

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

Sierra's little bull calf is growing up fast. Here he is zooming around the barn while mamma gets milked. Kate owes us all a writeup of her experiences milking "the dancing cow". wpid-l_2048_1536_6D53FC9C-04F8-42CE-BAAC-947E575B9E64.AKmQvJOlfixn.jpg

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals
Tagscalf

We were awakened by the sounds of 60 hungry sheep this morning taking a stroll dangerously close to pod garden. El lead the charge to greener pastures. Looks like a neighbor's dog precipitated the event with an early morning visit to the fence line. After Alice, Anya and Greg made it to the scene we managed to wrangle them into a new fence line above our house. Terra shepherded the 3 lambs that stayed in the old pasture and we gathered them up.

Fun stuff at 5:45am on a monday morning!!

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals
Tagssheep

Got our piglets from Kingbird Farm near Ithaca, NY yesterday. Very cute and very healthy looking. They are on rooting duty in the sheep's Winter paddock. Pictures in the next post!

-dan

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

With a strict diet of hard-core GMO grain you too can have chickens that cling sideways to the walls of the coop.

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Just kidding.

Some serious wind blew the chicken coop over today. Fun stuff. Exhilarating up there on the hill. I guess we should have moved the chicken wagon a month ago like we'd planned. Tomorrow's soon enough. Check back to see the chickens nestled in their new solar-heated winter housing.

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

Hey everyone, just checking in about todays turkey butchering. We also butchered some roosters and geese that a friend brought over. Good time had by all.

If you've pre-ordered a turkey and didn't pick it up today come on by tomorrow or tuesday and we'll have it fresh and ready to go. Sorry, but we don't have any others to sell.

See you soon.

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nick and steve bagging a bird

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our farm store

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals

hey everybody.

Well, we did a "silent" butchering this past Saturday. We never got around to advertising but we butchered the rest of our 60 broilers and they are available fresh until thursday. Then we'll put them in the freezer. We have lots of chicken beyond the 60 that are already frozen so come on by and stock up.

Hard rains this morning. We really need it, but it would be nice if it didn't come down too hard for too long because of our recent MAJOR excavation that was done to add an upper farm road and more garden flat. We put down all the wire mesh we could find on the farm to stabilize one bare hill. So far so good. No major landslides. And there is some grass starting to poke up.

Also, we got a new ram last night. A nice little Romney fellow who is yet to be named. We're in need of some new genetics to breed this years ewe lambs. Bruce is going to take a year off. (and maybe go away..boohooo!!)

pictures pictures pictures....

soon.

take care

-dan

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesAnimals