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

Still no calf from our sweet Jersey cow, Sierra. I am guessing that she will calve when we least expect it. (does that count as expecting it?)  The temperatures around here refuse to go above 40 at day and drop to a mean 20 and lower at night. We have used up almost all of our wood, as has everyone else in this area who heats with wood. Dan worked on insulating the greenhouse portion of our house today...we are still covering the onion and lettuce seedlings in there with two extra layers of plastic at night!

I took my precious tomato seedlings over to my friend's heated greenhouse on Sunday and started another 20 flats of flowers, greens, beets and more FLOWERS!!

So far we have four members of our CSA and my goal this year was 5-10.......Soooooo Get out those checkbooks and pay for a subscription. Really it is dirt cheap and you get the most amazing vegetables FRESH fresh fresh!

Here are some photos of lots of dirt in trays at Mary's...Yes there are seeds in there too...Just you wait...they will sprout. I promise.

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGardens

May Day Festival was incredible.Tons of kids running around, playing in the creek, doing sack races, great food, farm tour with all of the animals munching grass, great tunes, great folks... a great day..

Thanks to everyone who came and made it a fun event. A special thanks to Laurie and Ira for filling the air with their music and Anna who helped set up the food. My mother stood by in the the kitchen cleaning up and my dad tracked Isaac for most of the day. And Karen who let Lucia and Isaac rest in her house..

Who can believe this weather? It hasn’t cooled down yet and it is almost 10PM!! What is happening in the world? But, is that rain I hear?

Lots to do this week, plant Onions, Potatoes, cole transplants, move the animals to new pastures ...the busy summer is here...

WHere are the apprentices? ;-)

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

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

ok, as promised, here is a closeup of some amazing over-Wintered carrots that will be a part of our dinner tonight. Today we got our first taste of Sierra's milk...or I should say cream. This photo should demonstrate the ratio she's putting out right now. More on the details of her first milking sessions in a follow up. All I'll say is that it's been...challenging.

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGardens

After a long Winter’s nap our last rows of carrots and parsnips have emerged (at the prodding of a garden fork) to witness the beauty of early Spring (almost). Kate lightly sauteed some parsnips for dinner. Yum. They were truly devine, having had their sugars concentrated by countless frostings throughout the Winter. Carrots tomorrow...

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGardens

Shoveled the foot of snow off of our defunct cold frame. Our lack of arable soil always leads us to a raised cold frame..which has never really worked the way good ol’ Eliot Coleman claims it will. I understand why..It doesn’t get the benefit of being in the earth and the relative warmth that comes from being in-ground. So, the soil is still pretty frozen, but some things were alive, some chard plants in the back, the claytonia and the mache. I was hoping to plant today, but after realizing that there were still ice crystals, I opted instead to clean it our of old debris and do a lot of laundry and finish our CSA flyer.

Wish me luck!

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGardens

We had Andrew Leslie Phillips here for the day. The future Freer Hollow Community Center was christened with the one day introduction to permaculture. Alice, Anya, and Terra set up some tables, we sat on a hodgepodge of chairs, coolers, and wooden chests. Each attendee brought a dish to share at our lunch potluck and we had a great walk around the farm in between rain drops!

Thanks Andrew for an inspiring day!

for more info check out: http://www.hancockpermaculture.org/

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

A great group of Hartwick, Pine Lake Campus, students generously donated their time yesterday to pick up tons of rocks, transplant blueberry bushes, and deconstruct an old shed. Our garden has never known so much clear soil!!

Thanks guys. Hope we can return the favor some day!

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heading home after a hard day's work

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

Just a quick note that our onion seedlings are showing their heads. Some green has pushed its way into our lives again.

AHHHHHHHH.......

see...?

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look closer....

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closer...

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heyyy!!!!

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

hey everybody,

Just a quick check-in to report the weather. We're still waiting for some decent haying weather!! It's been over a month since our first attempt got violently rained out. Well, at least there'll be some good 2nd growth by the time we cut.

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our friend sarah with recently harvested garlic hanging to dry in the barn

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a little carpentry project on the front porch

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

Come check us out at the Franklin Farmer's Market this SUNDAY from 10-2pm. It is located right off main street on Institute Street, in front of the literary society, across from the school. Many other vendors will be there with plants, veggies, crafts and sweets! Not to mention everything of our that you would find at the farm store!!

See you there or at the farm..

Could you ask the sun goddess to please come out from hiding!

A nice photo of Isaac in the garden...in March!!!

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

The spring feels like it is real...because of the rain, because farmer's markets are opening up this weekend, because we have lambs bouncing around, because plants are begging to be transplanted, because I finally got my screens up and hung a makeshift laundry line!!

We put our potatoes in the ground right on schedule with the blooming dandelions last Saturday. My mother, father, Mike, Daniel, Lucia, and nephew Max all had a hand in planting our almost 1500 row feet of potatoes!! The last of the blues went in on Tuesday as Mike hit the road - "I'm beat" - for his high school reunion. We also put in more carrots - we'll see if they show their head in our rocky soil. More lettuce, and some radishes. We also picked dandelions and started dandelion wine with our good friends esperanza and carmen and lucas.

Today, over at Mary's greenhouse in Otego Lucia, my dad, and I started some morning glories, early zukes, cabbage, collards, a swan gourd for near lucia's fort, tons of calendula!! We brought back broccoli, lupines, daisies, and the first tomatoes!

We'll be missing our Pakatakan friends tomorrow - the market opens up in the round barn. Hopefully most of them will find their way to us this summer. Hopefully my father will make a glorious recovery and be back to chew the fat next year. He will really miss the hubbub of selling our food there. Drop him a line if you want...njciccarello@earthlink.net..He will LOVE it!

Now to bed...

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesFamily, Gardens

As I sat at the supper table I could feel the sun still in my cheeks from our work today. I looked at Lucia curled in her grandma's lap and Isaac 'brumming' his little metal tractor along the chair rail.

This is warmth that is left in me at the end of a good work day. And even though I walk around the farm wanting to do ten more things than I am able to get to. I tell myself, "This is enough today. That will wait until tomorrow." ANd it usually does.

Mike and I uncovered the garlic from it's winter resting spot to find little yellow and green sprouts coming up. I hope thy are all okay. I think We put too much hay and straw. They were actually cold underneath!! No peas or spinach up in the garden from our April 6 planting. The Rhubarb is showing it's flourescent pink heads and bright green curled leaves. I can't wait for asparagus and fresh spinach and chard....

Did I mention that we planted some bamboo today. Started a big batch of lactofermenting sauerkraut.... Picked up rocks from a new garden area. moved a pig house and checked in on our laying chicks that have been having some trouble.

Time to rest. Tomorrwo should be a good garden day..perhaps beets and carrots will be planted!!

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio

Cold today - snow in the forecast (though no accumulation is expected)

Kate and Mike Clark (more about him later) are out pruning blueberry bushes and mulching the apple trees. (10:15am) I'm (dan) stuck inside finishing some illustrations for Field and Stream magazine (gotta "pay the bills").

It certainly feels like the cold weather should be behind us. We're ready to really get going in the gardens and nurture piglets and chicks. Last year a mid-April snowstorm resulted in the death of 11 piglets (out of a litter of 13).

We hope this new blog format works for you all. And, again, we'd love any comments you want to share.

-dan

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGardens