"Vermont's Year Round Diversified CSA Farm"

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

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Snow Excavation

The Valentines Day blizzard has ramped up our chore hours! We have been hauling day old bread on a tobaggan along a snowshoe path to get back to the pigs. Prior to the storm we had been driving right up to the pig feeding area with the bread. So after a quick cost-benefit analysis we decided to hire our local excavator/snow plowing guy to come to the farm and excavate a driveable path to the chicken hoophouse and the pig feeding area. This will allow us to drive pig and chicken feed right to the animals, and reduce our chore time. Time is money goes the old adage!

The chickens haven't noticed a big change in their environment even though they went through a blizzard that dumped nearly 3 ft of snow! They are happily spending their winter in the hoophouse doing what chickens do: eat, drink, scratch through the wood chips, take dust baths, and lay eggs. They might have been in for a crushing suprise if we didn't clear off the snow from the top and sides (2x) during the storm.
You can see the snow piled up on the sides of the hoophouse in the photo. The hip board just above the snow is 4 ft from the ground. Its been melting a bit in the recent warm weather. It will have to be shoveled away if another snow storm arrives soon.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Vermont Sausage Fest!

Nothing like homemade sausage and bean soup on a snowy winter day!

We had some friends over to make some fresh sausage from our pork and beef. Everyone pitched in putting together spices, mixing the meats, adding and drinking some wine, and stuffing the meat into casings (sheep intestine). We have an old cast iron Enterprise sausage stuffer that I got from my Pa. We even smoked a few links in our poor farmers smoker that my Pa and I put together a few years ago when he came to visit us in Vermont.

Everyone had a good time. Becky read stories to the kids, Asa and Finn played a duet on the piano, the menfolk talked about the best method for cutting handmade dovetails, and Christa made the awesome bean and ham soup. All stomachs were full, warm and satisfied by the afternoon - which made for good napping conditions!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Plowingtime Day!

Christa and Asa are in front of the new (used) farm truck on Valentines Day. Our Toyota Pickup truck is on the way out so we decided to look for a used truck with a larger bed and more power to haul a livestock trailer. We lucked out and saw an ad in the paper for a truck with a plow up in Underhill. We took a look at it, drove it around a bit and decided the farm should purchase it. The timing could not have been better!

The Nor'easter arrived on Valentines Day and by the next day we had 31 inches of new snow! Fortunately the air temperature was cold (single digits) enough to produce light snow. Nevertheless, we were busy over the next two days as the snow fell and we plowed our driveways, shoveled paths to the pigs and chickens, and shoveled snow away from the greenhouse and hoophouses. Fortunately we did not have any structures collapse, though quite a few dairy barns across the state did collapse and some animals were lost.

One of our Tamworth sows chose to farrow the evening of the storm. She farrowed 8 piglets, but only 4 were alive when I fed her the next morning. She eventually lost the remaining 4, probably due to crushing. She is a large sow and the space in the hoophouse we had her in was likely not big enough. That coupled with the cold weather may have been a contributor to the deaths.

The other pigs were having fun in the snow and taking a last lap around their field before the snow really piled up. The next day I had to shovel a path from their water and feeding area up to their hoophouse. They happily took off in single file down their snow trail!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Pa!

My pa would have been 71 today. He was born in Minnesota in 1936 on the Fasching Family Farm. He was the youngest boy of 12 kids. When asked how big his family was when he was growing up, he was always fond of saying "I am one of 5 brothers and each of us has 7 sisters".

He was a good man and kind father raising 4 kids on his own. He taught me the value of hard work and schooled me in the old ways of working on a farm: making sausage, milking cows by hand, putting up hay with a pitchfork, caring for livestock, growing and making your own food, and shoveling manure. That upbringing surely shaped my life today.

I really miss him.