Hey all, First, here’s a link to the Whole Living article online - more pictures and some different text from the print version: http://www.wholeliving.com/photogallery/feather-down-farms?lpgStart=1¤tslide=2¤tChapter=1#ms-global-breadcrumbs

and another link to a Whole Living blog post by the Martha Stewart editors who were here last week. They are doing a story on cooking with fire that will run next Spring. They did a crazy photo shoot for 3 full days here! http://wholelivingdaily.wholeliving.com/2010/09/cooking-with-fire-at-stony-creek-farm.html

Well, the last bits of Summer have slipped by and as is usually the case around here, Fall is just a blink. Persistent rains this week have downed most of the leaves and now we are looking forward to mid-20s night time temps next week. Sounds like Winter to me.

We will begin winterizing our water systems, getting our firewood loaded near the house (should have been done already!), putting equipment away, moving animals to their winter paddocks, and a million other things with the house, farm, and gardens.

Sure, we’ll have many more beautiful days before we’re truly socked in, but it’s quite easy to get caught off guard around here, so we try to get ready early.

There are many things to report about the second half of the Summer. Winter is a good time to do all of that as we’re just too busy to write much down these days. Luckily my camera is never far away (if you can call an iPhone a camera!) so we have many pictures to share to get everyone up to date. More full galleries coming soon, to include a stunning set of photos that our friend Rush took during his recent 2 week visit.

That’s all for now. Here are a few shots just to tide you over.

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Good things the animals know what to do in a snowstorm: they STAND there.

Mostly anyways. We just hiked over to the our small herd of Belted Galloways and Abby, a milking shorthorn. They have a good bit of protection from a small crop of Hawthorn and Maple trees. When we got there they were all standing still under the trees. Their backs had a sprinkling of snow...they must have had good cover since about five inches has fallen in the last few hours.

The sheep also look like an oil painting: still, quiet and beautiful.

We are expecting another 12-18 inches in the next 18 hours. CRAZY.

I continue to work with Sierra. Brushing her and massaging her udders. Even though she barely lets me near them. I am doing what I can. And I am realizing that much of my self confidence is tied to my relationship with her. The better we work together. The more confident I feel. Yesterday, she bopped me, accidently I know, with her knee (?) while I was brushing her. An amateur's mistake. Why was my face down near her leg? I know that they come up when they kick and I also know that she is touchy around that area. SHe also nipped my hand while Lucia and I were feeding her some old apples. Again, I know it was my mistake. And I now have full faith that she is not doing something to me on purpose.

We have had her on the farm now for a year and a half and she will finally begin to pay her rent, so to speak. She is due on March 18th. Let the milking begin!

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

ok, so it's not Christmas just yet. But if it doesn't come soon little Lucia is gonna bust a cog. We're all decked out and waiting for Santa to come. Things have been pretty snowy around here for a couple weeks now - though we didn't get a single flake from the recent craziness along the East coast. Lot's of light snow in the forecast for this week though (maybe a little rain on Christmas, ughh)

We haven't checked in for quite some time about our animals or our wonderful bounty of offerings in the farm store. Our freezers are stocked so please come on by. We can pretty much guarantee that you'll find all the pork and lamb you could want. I'll post our most current price sheet to the price-list link.

best wishes,

Dan & Kate & Lucia & Isaac

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cows on their Winter paddock

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cia's snowball

Lucia's snow chunk

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sheep in their Winter pen

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Pete taking strings off of some round bales

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Pete and Greg refurbishing an old wood stove for the pod

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Just to remind us that "Spring" is just an arbitrarily designated day on the calendar, a bit of white stuff fluttered down earlier in the week. About an inch up here in the hills and almost nothing further down the road. It's always pretty, if not always appreciated.

No snow in the forecast but June 1st is the latest official frost date around here so...ya never know.

-dan

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Here we are, Dan says it has been a month since our last entry and after looking back...He is right!! Who knew that winter could fly by so quickly!!

- some shots from today - more to read after the photos

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We still have many of the root vegetables previously mentioned. Although our squash is beginning to show signs of decay at the stem tip. We are cooking and eating them daily now.

Garlic and onions are still abundant. Potatoes in his parents cellar are terrific! We are just about clean sold out of pork. But we still have a small supply of whole chickens left. And our hens are producing eggs by the dozens!!

I have been struggling to get our newsletter out: we have some big/small developments this year. We are going to embark on starting a beef herd! We are also going to switch to heritage breed chickens and turkeys. And we will also only be growing what our customers pre-order. CSA style.

I will post the newsletter here in the next 24 hours!!

Dan just returned from the UK. We are working on a tourism part of the farm. We want to be able to host families and couples here for a few days at a time. So we had to do some research. More to come!!!

I (kate) stayed home with the kiddos and kept the house warm and the animals fed. We have just received our day old chicks for our next laying flock. Amazing that the little things won't lay until the end of Summer!

We have also started onion seedlings in the house above our stairs!! We planted sets last year and seedlings are supposed to produce much better storage onions. We'll see.

Apprenticeship positions are in high demand and it is only March. We are thinking of taking on 3 apprentices this year and one paid farm hand. Contact us now so we can talk about the details!

Warmer weather is on its way!

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Well, here we are in the midst of winter. It is hard to believe it is here. But February is right around the corner...the month in which we begin planting the very first of our seedlings: ONIONS!

I was perusing our meek root pantry. (It is not underground, but just a closet on the north side of our house.) We have stored our garlic, onions, butternut and buttercup squash, and potatoes all fall and winter. Surprisingly our late dug carrots have done very well. We eat them raw and in soups and even our chickens and dairy cow get to enjoy them!

And recently we put the rest of the apples that survived the mice under our house in the root pantry too! The cabbage that I put back there - I intended to make sauerkraut - well, I never got to it and boy were they stinky when I finally threw them out in early January.

The potatoes didn't do as well - they were on the floor and conditions were simply too cold. Many of them froze. The good news is that we have about four or more five-gallon buckets in peter and karen's basement. Along with 120 more winter squash in my parents basement!!

Oh, lest I forget to mention: We have tons of Eggs!! Come by the farm or go to my parents house in Franklin! They are $4.50 a dozen and there isn't a better egg around!

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Hey all! We need to extend a HUGE thank you to our good friend Jeff and Dan's parents who watched over our little farm and house while we were away being inspired by other incredible farmers in New York State and the northeast. We came back ready to try some new things and cut back on some others that aren't working for us.

Oh yes and a special shout out to my parents who braved the streets of Rochester with ten small children going to two museums and doing all sorts of crafts so that Dan and I might have a few moments to ponder our lives as farmers.

Check back here to see what we have in store for the new year!!

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Many people may think that not much happens on a farm in the snow and ice of January.

Those people are not accustomed to Winter with sheep, chickens, a cow, cats, and dogs. Oh yes and our two favorite farm animals: our children!!

Besides the daily care of the farm, which can be as easy as filling up waterers from the running creek or as difficult as breaking a hole in the ice and fishing around for water, there is a ton of planning that we must do in order to provide our customers with the delicious food that they count on in the warmer months.

For instance, right now we are sitting up deciding what exactly to do about the broiler debacle. A broiler is what we call a 'meat chicken' they are the cross bred birds who if they continue to grow past the 10 week mark their internal organs fail because they cannot support the immense bulk of their body. Not a pretty picture. Not to mention: they can not produce offspring (since they cannot live to the 24 week, egg laying age). This fact alone has pushed us to reconsider how we grow chickens that people want to eat. We want to support truly sustainable agriculture. It does not seem sustainable to be unable to reproduce (this is why we steer clear of GMO crops).

So stay posted to find out how we solve the Broiler issue. Other things we will be doing this week:

*submitting a lengthy seed order to FEDCO seeds (based in Maine. An AMAZING seed co op that, if you grow anything, you should order from. go to www.fedcoseeds.com),

*wrestling with our Bosch propane hot water heater(something is not working right and it has been apart more times than dan would like to count. He is considering becoming a service technician as soon as he figures out WHAT is wrong with ours!)

*picking up grain from our local farmer up in Canajoharie - thank you Peter, dan's dad does this drive for us -

*driving our sheepskins down to the only east coast tannery in Quakertown PA -

*Seeing our local bank about a business loan

*Hosting a toy and clothes swap in the community center on Tuesday!

Hey I have to get to work

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

"They" are calling for almost a foot tonight. We'll see. It's a welcome change from the warm rainy weather we had right after Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, it's been a while. Sorry about that.

EGGS!!! We finally have them again.

Happy New Year! (lots more blogging this year...promise)

-dan

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral