Hello beautiful peeps,
I’m back. I know it has been a while. Scott has completed all of his treatments and is doing very well. We are slowly getting back on track. The whole experience turned our lives on end in subtle ways. Getting back into a reliable routine is a blessing.
As a result of our encounter with cancer, I am rethinking my life and mission. We will no longer be vending at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market. This Saturday, December 11th, will be our last market at that location.
After re-evaluating my life, I determined it was too far to drive — especially with gas prices as they are now. I’m still delivering to the Independence On-Line Market. Independence is currently the only farmer’s market that we are serving. Farm sales and visits are still the same. Tuesday mornings 10 – 12 noon and Saturday afternoons 3 – 5 PM.
Half Beef Sale: As the title suggests we have a couple of 1/2 beef meat packages for sale. The price is still the same as last year but will go up in the coming year. As with all things in our lives, inflation is taking its toll. Hay, organic supplements and processing fees have all increased dramatically.
We have only two (2) halves available. The cost is $1,300 or buy both for $2,400. The packages are just over 200 lbs each (400 lbs for both). About 40% of it is ground beef. The rest is a variety of steaks, roasts, ribs, brisket, soup bones, and liver. Let us know ASAP if you want one or both of these packages. You can order on-line here. You can also contact us via phone or email (276-694-4369 or melanie at peacefulheartfarm dot com).
I realize it has been a long time since I updated you on goings on here at the homestead. There are lots and lots of changes. I’ll hit the highlights and provide details in later updates.
The last you heard was that the vet was out to preg check the cows and we had her look at the sheep as well. She tended a ewe with a growth and tried to help Lambert our ram. The ewe recovered, Lambert did not. We had to put him down. It was hard as he was a bottle baby.
We have now added another flock ram and three ewes. They are happily hanging out with our two veteran ewes and the one wether lamb. We got some really good stock and look forward to increasing the flock over the next couple of years.
Mack Plus Two More
We now have three livestock guardian dogs and we just love them all. You’ve heard some about Mack. He liked to chase the sheep so we put him in with the calves and yearlings instead. He has now bonded with them. Plus we added three (plus one being boarded) more heifers to our cow herd. More on those ladies a little later. Mack is taking care of all of them.
Finn and Charlotte are getting to know the sheep. Finn (Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd) also chases the sheep but we are taking lots of time and effort to break him of that habit. Charlotte either does really well with the sheep or ignores them. We can trust her not to chase them but I’m still skeptical that she feels obligated to protect them.
She is as great dog as well as a Great Pyrenees. Her problem is that she was abused at a very young age and is really skittish. I have to trap her and get a leash on her to get to pet her and give her some love. She is slowly coming around. However, the jumpiness seems to be a permanent part of her. She jumps at things I don’t even see. I’m thinking of giving her CBD oil to see if that helps her anxiety. I have a pet formula of a brand that works well for me and my exaggerated startle response. Perhaps it will work for her also. More on these wonderful dogs later.
Because of the results from the vet visit, we have two cows that will be culled from the herd soon and a third shortly thereafter. I talked a bit about that last time. We just happened to come across these three new heifers that have the exact genetics we are looking for in developing our herd. Scott had to drive all the way to Wisconsin to pick them up. We also picked up a fourth heifer for a friend and herd share member that is going to raise their own milk cow for the family. We are helping them get started with that and all the learning that it entails. Check out our Facebook page to see photos and videos of the news girls. We have Wanda, Ginger and Molly. The fourth and youngest (and smallest) is Daisy.
Just a little bit more about Molly. She is actually 75% jersey and 25% Normande. When bred to a pure bred or full blood Normande bull, her calves will be registerable with the North American Normande Association. She was just too beautiful to pass up. Check out her pictures. She has the darkest red coloring, called mulberry, made even darker with the Normande blood lines. I cannot describe to you how gorgeous she is so you must see her pictures. I’ll add more on the cows in later newsletters.
The calves are all weaned and they, along with the newbies, will be put in with the main herd for the winter very soon.
We hatched out 19 babies this last time. Not a good hatch rate but it was enough to replace all of the roosters and add a few more hens. All of these guys were in the top left penthouse, but I have since spread the roosters around to the other cages. Our current situation is one rooster and six hens in two of the three bottom breeding pens. There are two roosters and 9 hens on each side of the penthouse. The third breeding cage only has the six hens with no rooster. Unfortunately, they took him out. I don’t know which one was the culprit but they beat him up so badly over night that he died. Birds of all kinds are vicious and very territorial. It always breaks my heart, but you can’t change nature. Though we do try to cull the overly aggressive hen that does this if we can find her. We certainly don’t want to breed more of those genetics.
We are getting lots of eggs. The newest hens just started laying a few days ago. Only two are laying at the moment, but again, there are nine in that cage.
Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff
Scott finished radiation treatments on November 1st. The last week of treatment was really hard on him. He got to where he was on a liquid diet only — and that in very limited quantities. The healing afterward went very quickly. We thank you for all of your prayers. His recovery was swift.
On November 4th he had carpel tunnel and cubital tunnel surgery on wrist and elbow. That is also going well. Tomorrow he gets the carpel tunnel release on the right wrist. We expect that to go well also. It will be months before we know the full benefits but just yesterday he was saying there was as marked improvement in the feeling in his fingers.
In between all of the radiation, trips to Wisconsin, carpel tunnel surgery, Scott completed the walls in preparation for electrical installation. He painted everything else after putting up some waterproof panels in the milk room.
The electric plans are on paper. He watched tons of YouTube videos. His next step is getting quotes for all the pieces and parts he needs to make it all happen.
There is not much to say about the garden. We finally got a few good frosts and everything is now put to bed until the spring. I’ll talk about some plans in that area in a future newsletter.
That’s it for farm news.
ITEMS OF NOTE AT FOR SALE AT THE FARM AND INDEPENDENCE ONLINE MARKET:
Mild, Medium Hot and HOT Salsa in pint jars
Sweet and sour pepper relish (pint jars)
Spiced pear jam – a hint of ginger and cloves (pint jars)
Pickled quail eggs in 1/2 pint jars.
Apple and Peach pie filling (quart jars).
Pickled pepperoncini (pint jars). I have a variety with red pepper if you like a bit of spice.
Pepper jam in 1/2 pints
Quail eggs by the dozen
Quail meat in 1 lb packages
We have ground goat (approx 1 lb)
Grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb)
Grass-fed ground lamb (approx 1 lb)
I’ll see you in my usual location in Independence.
Add on as you desire. Yogurt, all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you every other Wednesday. Next pick up date is the 15th of December.
You can pickup at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know if you want anything extra this time.
I still have raw milk cheese shares available. Contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (276-694-4369).
As always, you may visit us at our dairy farm in Claudville, Virginia Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 noon and Saturday afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm. Find out how we raise our animals and why you will love the taste of tradition that is inherent in all of our products. Herd share holders will be able to see up close how their cows are cared for and the cheese operation and where it is stored.
Peaceful Heart FarmCast
No new podcast yet. I’m working on it. Until them listen to the last podcast where I’m giving you details on getting the two cows to freezer camp. It was quite the fiasco with the neighbors calling at 9:15 at night for us to come and get them out of their yard. “Homestead Update and Health Update” also has more information about Scott and I as we journey through cancer treatment.
I want to follow up on my previous FarmCast, The Taste of Cheese where I talked about developing your expertise with using descriptive words. The FREE downloads of Classifying Cheese by Type and Category and Expand Your Cheese Vocabulary are still available at our website. Please stop by and get your FREE resources.
You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE. Or, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.”