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

Well, the snow is falling from the sky again. 6-10 inches predicted for tomorrow.It is quiet and soft and lovely. My dad said perhaps we will ski tomorrow. He is finally feeling better after a visit to North Carolina to see my brother's family. Too many kid germs. He got back and became violently ill. Poor guy.

The snow sprinkles down and all is still. For now. We have begun planning in earnest and taking a look at what we can actually afford to grow/do this year. The garden is taking shape on paper. I love the straight lines of the ruler and the grid paper. And I equally love the little curves and wobbles that the garden takes once it is carved into the soil.

I worked with Sierra today: tying her to the railing of her pen, brushing her, touching her bulging udder, and then finally giving her a treat of grains and minerals. She is due in the middle of March and it is going to take every bit of training that I can do between now and then to get her used to all of the attention that she is going to be getting.

We are getting over 3 dozen eggs a day from our chickens, and are in need of a sales outlet. This glut of eggs is so common at this time of year. No farmers markets and the few natural food stores in this area are swamped!!

Come buy eggs!! We have to keep them up at our house since the fridge in the store had to be turned off.

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

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.

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

first, a quick reminder to our readership that I post daily updates - sometimes multiple each day - to our companion blog at www.stonycreekfarm.wordpress.com. it's easier for me to post there because I can do it right from my mobile phone.

so, can't get a break in the weather to cut some hay. it takes 3 days of nice dry weather to do it right and not have to worry about dampness in the bales spontaneously combusting while they're stacked in the barn - bad

also can't seem to get a break with our turkeys - we've been losing a few each week. we think they've been dying of a chicken-born illness that isn't very serious in chickens but that turkeys just can't handle. we're almost at the 6 week mark which is supposedly when they toughen up a bit and can fight off the cold. we'll see...

there a few other things we can't get a break on, but i'll hold them for another post

-dan

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

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

Not much to say. We like it extreme around here. (in case you can't see it those are snowflakes on thursday!)

ok, kate's reprimanding me for being inside. gotta go!!

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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

Our egg count has been way down the last couple of days despite the relatively warmer weather. strange. maybe the wetness has something to do with it.

also, our new chicks seem to have stabilized. we lost quite a few as a result of a prolonged shipping time. unfortunately, it's the position of the hatchery to politely offer a credit for them with little mention of the loss of life. this is one of the many reasons that we are working toward true sustainability. (eg having our own hatchery - old school style where our layers get to just hang out and do it themselves)

-dan

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

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

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.

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Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

Kate's sister Alyssa checking in with the most recent farm happenings.

It was a stunning weekend, the sun lighting up the reds, golds and oranges of the trees and shining all through the last Franklin market this season. There was a fair turnout at the market where some folks had brought an old apple cider maker and were churning out gallons of the good stuff.

Yesterday while Kate and Sara, up from NYC, were at the market, Dan and Jeff went to work building a "hoop house" (Dan has promised pictures when it's completed) and got some stone piers and timbers laid for the foundation. It's near the house and will be one of two planned greenhouses, the other nearly finished and waiting for some shower doors to be its ceiling.

Today Kate, Sergi, a very helpful Isaac and I managed to get 15 pounds of garlic planted - six different varieties, 5 from this season's crop and one from a neighboring farm.

Also recently finished is the root cellar in the big house, all that's missing is a final sealing around the outside wall and a couple of cracks and it gets loaded up with all of our humidity loving storage crops - potatoes, carrots, onions, some tolerant winter squash and maybe some cabbage.

Predators came from the west a few nights ago and flushed our youngest chicks at dusk and came back after dark to finish the job. All told they made off with twelve of seventeen. Subsequent attempts at a stakeout (Dan hiding with a shotgun in the brush) proved unsuccessful, so now we're just taking as many precautions as possible when we shut the various birds in every evening.

The temperature is sure to drop again soon, high in the 40s predicted for this next weekend, and the city visitors consider themselves pretty lucky to have enjoyed the indian summer the last few days.

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AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

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

Finally - some more hay in the barn after months of waiting for more than 1 day straight without a thunder-shower or two.We had several bailer breakdowns (again) but also some great extra help getting it all into the barn. Can't complain.

So, check back for some pictures of the grass party and a few more details about our haying efforts this year and maybe a few deeper words about haying philosophy and winter grazing.

-dan

Posted
AuthorDaniel Marsiglio
CategoriesGeneral

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