"Vermont's Year Round Diversified CSA Farm"

You can eat fresh vegetables, and pasture-raised & grassfed meats from our farm YEAR ROUND!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vermont Prosciutto

Hanging from the beam of our 1800s English style barn is my experiment in creating Prosciutto (aged ham). The leg is from a boar (intact male pig) that we had butchered this spring. I salted the leg for about a month, brushed all the salt off and its been sitting in our summer kitchen all summer (stays cool in there) and i finally got around to hanging it in the barn so it can continue the aging process. I still need to render some lard from the pork fat i have in the freezer. The lard is applied to the leg which helps the aging process. It takes a year or two to create prosciutto and you don't know if you have succeeded until you slice some off and taste it. So next spring or fall I will report back with the results!

Asa's Windsor High Chair

I finally made some time to get back to work on Asa's Windsor high chair that I started last winter. I have a woodshop in the attached woodshed to our old farmhouse. We have a copy of a copy of the work order for the construction of this woodshed that spells out the work to be done by whom and at what cost (part to be paid in cattle, part to be held in a note). It also includes a list of materials for the job and some math scribbled about. The date of the document is 1833.

Anyway - the legs and arm spindles on Asa's chair are from an old maple tree out back that I harvested since it was dying and crowding another nice maple. I split out firewood size sections of the maple, rounded them out with a hatchet, then chucked them in the wood lathe and turned them to shape. The seat - of poplar- is chopped, carved, drawknifed and spokeshaved to shape with old hand tools. I still have to finish the curved arm and back, back spindles and head crest. Once that is done it will be painted and waxed for Asa to put to work.

A visit to camp

We made a visit to "camp" up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The visit was partly to get off the farm for a bit (24hrs anyway) and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Christa's folks own a small camp on a lake -as you can see in the photos. We seldom get up there since we started farming, but with no broilers to raise, lambs all shipped to the slaughterhouse, and the gardening winding down, we made some time to get out with Asa and enjoy walking around and canoeing on the lake. The day we drove out was very warm for early October - in the 70s.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Planning for hot-dry-freezing weather

We made the decision that the farm needs to invest in a reliable water source for summer vegetable crop irrigation, pasture irrigation and livestock watering in summer and winter. So we made a sizeable investment by having contractors tap into an existing drilled well on the property and bury water line w/hydrants and powerline to our crop fields, and pasture. We have been tapping into the house shallow well down across the road near a stream. We were lucky it was a wet year and had no problems watering our livestock and crops. But we could see the writing on the wall for the future growth of the farm, the need for a reliable water supply on the farm, and the honest fact that I don't want to haul water in 5 gal buckets for the pigs and laying hens this winter!

The Late Blight!

Our potatoes and tomatoes got hit by a late blight. Blight is caused by a fungus that eats away at the fruit and vines. It came in on some wet, cool, windy weather in late August and within a few days the plants started to wither and die. We sent a sample to the University of Vermont Plant Sciences Dept and they confirmed that it was Late Blight. So we have to destroy the blight affected fruit and all the vines through fire or deep burial. Fire is more exciting so we went that route. But we are bummed as we planned on having hoophouse tomatoes through October and we had to destroy alot of green fruit that were on their way to ripe tomatoes! That is farming though, you roll with the punches and move on. I am glad that we are a diversified farm and can rely on other sources of income from the farm that are not affected by plant disease: The beef, pigs, lamb and chickens are all doing well and will be "harvested" this fall.