Lucia enticing the layers to come outside on this beautiful, brisk day.
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.
Dan & Kate & Lucia & Isaac
cows on their Winter paddock
Lucia's snow chunk
sheep in their Winter pen
Pete taking strings off of some round bales
Pete and Greg refurbishing an old wood stove for the pod
Don't know where to start really. A lot has happened since our last real blog post.
Probably the most significant addition to the farm is our milking shorthorn Abby. She's a beautiful cow that came from our friends Wes and Amy in Livingston Manor, NY. And, she came with a person to milk her! Graham was their intern since back in the early spring and he decided to come be with us for the past two months.
Graham has been a pretty amazing addition to our farm. He has pretty much taken over all farm chores and he developed our fall grazing plan. He has put that plan into action and gotten us on track to grazy the sheep and Belties straight through December if weather allows. (the weather is another story...)
Alas, Graham's time with us has come to an end however. He will be moving on as of tomorrow after we finish butchering our turkeys. Hard to believe that it's time for him to go already. But our old friend Greg Allen has come back to be with us for the Winter. Greg was with us a few years ago for a summer internship position and was back again for a brief stay this summer. He returns to us poised to brave the long winter months and to help out with whatever we need. Mainly, he and I will continue with the unfinished building projects that dot the Stony Creek landscape (pod, studio, root cellars etc..) We'll be sure to post lots of pictures and descriptions as that stuff unfolds.
In other news, we got back all of our meat from the butcher 2 days ago. It is a truly incredible quantity of the most beautiful, delicious lamb and pork. Al of our work on Feather Down this year left us little time to pre-sell most of it. As a result we had to buy another freezer and even had to store some of it in a friends freezer. I'll post a revised price and available list soon.
It seems that a new photo gallery is in order since so much has happened in the past few months that we haven't written about, so look for a link to that in the galleries page.
Also, little Isaac turned 3 today!
here's graham (right) and greg hamming it up shortly after they met earlier today.
Well, the meeting went well last night, but we've still got some regulatory hoops to jump through.
But more importantly - check us out in the New York Times!!
We just wanted to check in with our dedicated readers. While we have been posting fairly often on the companion blog (www.stonycreekfarm.wordpress.com), though not in the past few weeks, we've been neglecting this page quite a bit. Sorry about that.
Tonight we have a pretty important meeting with our local zoning board. They have to determine how our new farm-stay agri-tourism offerings will change that status of our farm and homestead from a legal / tax perspective. It's out contention that nothing changes at all. We can't invite people to stay on the farm and learn about what we do without the farm and, quite frankly, without income from our overnight guests we can't keep the farm going as a source of great food and education for the general public. Can't have one with out the other.
We're hopeful that things will work out for the common good and we'll be able to keep doing what we're doing. Check back in the next couple of days for an update on that and lot's of great info on everything we're doing on the farm.
I've been putting together a slide show for the folks at the zoning meeting (though, i'm not sure I'll get a chance to show it) and i'll post it to our "Galleries" page once i get it all together.
The weather report looks fantastic so we cut our neighbors field today. Hoping for a dry Wednesday and crisp dry Thursday morning so we can get nice dry bales that afternoon. Pics on the Daily-Blog soon.
two more li'l belties born since i last blogged.
have a look.
um, sorry - it's that little guy with the white belt. closer photos next time.
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!
heading home after a hard day's work
more on these guys later...
well, maybe. we looked at some beautiful animals yesterday. might be in our future. stay tuned...
Wow! We had a great weekend learning to shear our sheep the old fashioned way!
Our good friend Amy Gillingham organized the event with the inimitable Kevin Ford!! He is, in a word, The Master (i guess that's two words) Our small group of students from all around New York came together to learn the finer points of preparing shears, assessing the animal, and of course, SHEARING!
Check out Kevin's book - http://www.amazon.com/Shearing-Day-Handling-Science-Blades/dp/0966915348/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237749884&sr=1-1
checking the blade curvature
kate and amy practicing new skills
kevin overseeing eric's handiwork
onions doing great
chickens loving their new access to the compost pile
the new generation
Well, not much else to say. They arrived this morning and didn't seem too stressed after their journey in the mail.
pictures and more details tomorrow...
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
In early September 2008 our family travelled to City Hall in Manhattan to attend and participate in a public hearing on this topic so critical to our future. Below you will find the testimony that I prepared. Unfortunately, I was unable to read it into the public record. I did however stay for the entire meeting and then submitted it directly to Mr. Gennaro.
I speak to you today first and foremost as a mother and my simple request is what all mothers want: a better world for my children. The act of birthing a child brings with it hope for a better tomorrow. As a mother you give the world your child and in the same instant you give your child the world. No mother wants to give her child a world filled with pollution and poison. She wants to give her child a world filled with hope, promise, and beauty.
Busy nurturing and raising our children, mother’s in our country look to lawmakers to help us protect and nurture the world our children will grow into. As a mother, I am always looking into the future. And so I ask you: Do you have children? grandchildren? What do you want for them? Do you want to leave them a landscape that has been scarred by wells, open sludge pits, with water that they cannot drink? I would like to give my children the chance to watch their children catching frogs, pulling carrots from the soil, and swimming in the creek.
Clean water is our most precious natural resource...more precious than oil or gas.
In every state that has had oil and gas drilling there have been ruptures, leaks and even explosions that have lead to contamination of water supplies and personal property. And still no solution exists to filter out the contaminants and carcinogenic chemicals that gas and oil companies pump into the ground. Already one sixth of the world’s population, 1 billion people, have no access to clean drinking water. Do we really want to endanger a pristine water supply to extract a natural resource that brings a limited amount of energy to our country? Is any amount of energy worth such horrific consequences?
At our farm in the Catskills my daughter likes to kneel down and dip her lips into the cool spring-fed creek. I have told her that not many people can do such a thing because the world’s water is mostly contaminated. We have a special gift in the Catskills. The water that runs into New York City’s watershed is not cleaned by filtration units or treated with chemicals. The water that the people of New York City drink begins as pristine spring water in the Catskills. Please do not put New York’s water, soil and air at risk by allowing drilling in or even near the watershed. Help me keep the creek where my daughter drinks clean. For her granddaughter as well as future generations in the city.
The Iroquois had a Law which said, “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” It is time, for us to put our heads together and imagine ourselves seven generations into the future. How will our great-great-great-great grandchildren heat their homes? Get to work? Obtain their food and water? ….How many of us really think that any of the answers to these questions is: oil and gas?
If we allow drilling in upstate New York, we will be signing our children’s futures away. For what? For some barrels of oil - a few lights to be turned on, a few trips into town, perhaps the manufacture of some appliance. Selling their air, their water, their food.
Do not allow the oil and gas companies, no matter how deep their pockets, to push us away from protecting our most precious resources. The natural resources that will not only sustain our lives but also provide us with the energy we require - clean air to breathe and turn wind turbines, clean water to drink and turn water turbines, and clean soil to grow local food.
If we destroy these natural resources in a last ditch hunt for oil and gas there will be no future - oil or not -for us or our children.
Please, do not choose the quick dollar over the long term health of our region - both for the city and the Catskills.
Here is a bunch of related links about oil and gas drilling in the US:
We're in the middle of quite a storm. High winds, heavy snow (7"+ so far), downed power lines, compromised fences, sledding, and of course, hot chocolate. Almost feels like Winter.
Hey everyone. Well, it's getting cold - that's for sure. We had our first really hard frost the other night. My thoroughly unscientific assessment was determined by the 1/4" of ice on the water trough. We've gotten a bit of a reprieve though the last two nights. Been hovering round 34deg.
So, enough of the weather.
I think i've got a few pictures to share...
Isaac loving a tree at the Common Ground Fair in Maine a few weeks ago. (the fair is a really amazing event sponsored by MOFGA. Check it out on the web)
The Common Ground Fair rides (BYO scrap of cardboard)
Our neighbor Craig helping out with our one of final loads of hay for the year (finally!!)
Our friend, and future authentic farm cuisine restaurant owner, Steve helping out with the harvest back in August. (i know, i should be more timely with posting pictures)
Our new driveway being graded. More on this later....
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....