Farm Update: 1/27/2022

 Hello beautiful peeps,

I’m back, I know it has been a long time and it is high time for a farm update. Getting back on track with everything has taken more time than I thought. Along the way, I’ve made advances in getting us off of the Facebook platform and onto another social media platform that is made for the people and not for gathering the people’s information. 

My platform of choice is Locals.com. Our Locals community can be found at https://peacefulheartfarm.locals.com. This platform is designed to be a community and to be able to support itself. Not only will I post, but subscribers can post as well. You can view all of the content without becoming a subscriber, but there are significant benefits to taking the subscriber route. To get you started here is the promo code for a 30-day free trial. FREE30 is the code to enter when registering.

After 30 days, it is $5 per month to become a subscriber. Subscriber status gives you access to ALL content, including the subscriber-only content. Subscribers can post and comment on my posts or any other post in the community. Start conversations around local food, homesteading, cheese or any other topic of interest in this realm. Maybe ask a question about an issue you are having with your home and/or homestead. Get feedback from me and the entire community. Think of it like Facebook groups without the trolls. I post and we all comment. You post and we all comment.  

The pay wall does more than support your local food chain and our farm, website and podcast, it also keeps out those trolls. Anyone who wants to be part of the community pays a nominal fee. Those who only want to be angry and destructive will not usually invest any money to be able to post their tirades. There are too many free ones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and who knows how many others, where anyone can make any comment without fear of coming in contact with a real person. You know what I’m talking about. People saying things they would never say to a person in a face-to-face interaction.

In any case, check out Locals and let me know what you think. Here’s the link again: https://peacefulheartfarm.locals.com

PODCAST DETAILS

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 here and provide details in my podcasts. I only send out an email when I have an announcement. Podcasts are where to find everything you ever wanted to know about the homestead. 

General homestead updates are covered in detail on my podcasts. The last 10 episodes are now listed on our Locals page.

There has been a significant lag with the podcast publication as well. I believe the last one came out in September last year. A new episode will come out in the next few days getting you up-to-speed on the cows. Subsequent episodes will bring you up to date on the dogs and the sheep. There is just too much to get into one episode.

I’m also starting a series of podcasts that include information on growing your own food. The first in the series is a brief introduction to types of soil conditions involved in container gardening, raised-bed gardening and the conventional row-type garden. In the podcast, I only have time for a very brief description following the homestead updates. More detailed information will be forthcoming separately on the Locals platform. This will be subscriber-only content. Get started with your free trial to see if this is something you want to learn.

This newsletter is getting long. Here we go with the very briefest of updates on the homestead. 

HOMESTEAD UPDATES

Sheep, Finn and Charlotte 

Last time you heard about the addition of a new ram and three ewes, bringing our total to five breeding ewes. We can expect the first lambs in just a few weeks. They could come as early as the first week of March.

Finn and Charlotte, the two newest livestock guardian dogs are doing a great job protecting these guys. It took a while, but I think they are beginning to see these sheep as something to be protected. It’s hard to tell. New dogs are not completely settled and trusted with livestock until we’ve gone through an entire four seasons — one year. We have a plan for keeping the sheep and lambs safe during this first lambing season. We don’t want any accidents between the dogs, sheep and lambs. Once the dogs see what’s going on and learn to bond with the lambs, we will be good to go in future years. 

Mack and the Cows 

Over the past few months, the cows have all been brought together. At first Mack was with the calves and yearlings. Next, we added the three new heifers, Molly, Ginger and Wanda to Mack’s responsibilities. After a while we put all of those guys in with the rest of the herd. Mack stays with them throughout the day. He has adopted all of them as his charges.

Same as with the cows, during calving in late March, we will have to watch closely and take some precautions, too. We don’t want any slipups.

Quail

The quail are hanging in there in this cold winter weather. They seem to have no difficulty whatsoever with the cold. The biggest problem is keeping unfrozen water in their cages. 

We are still getting lots of eggs. Sometimes there are fewer when it gets really cold. But for the most part we get 25 to 30 eggs a day.  

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

The electrical installation is getting ramped up. The cut list for all the electrical parts is done (I think) and estimates are being gathered. The power guys have been out and seen what needs to be done to connect the power. We have that estimate. The propane gas folks have also been out and we have that quote.

Scott is ordering construction materials to finish out the entire building all right now because the prices on materials are currently double or more. Even if it will be months before he gets to it, the floors, ceilings, electrical and plumbing parts are being purchased now. So far, we have been able to get everything we need.

There are lots of horror stories out there of having to wait months to get materials for construction. How are the supply chain issues and inflation affecting you?  

Garden

I’m still undecided about what to grow this year. I need to make up my mind soon for anything that needs to be planted indoors ahead of time. 

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) 

Herd Shares

I’ll see you in my usual location in Independence.

Add on as you desire. All cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you every other Wednesday. Next pick up date is the 2nd of February — Ground Hog Day. 

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 (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Peaceful Heart FarmCast

No new podcast yet. I’m working on it. Until then, 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.  


Free Downloads

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 HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


Half Beef Sale – 200 lbs of grass fed beef

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. 

HOMESTEAD UPDATES

Sheep 

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.

Cows 

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.   

Quail

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. 

Garden

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) 

Herd Shares

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 (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Let’s Get Together

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.  


Free Downloads

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 HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 10/14/2021

Hello beautiful peeps,

Hope you are all doing well. We are well here at the farm. I’ve canned lots of salsa. There is even a hot version. It’s made with serrano and jalapeno peppers included for lots of heat. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve included cilantro. You can’t always find that in the grocery store brands. But what is salsa without cilantro? Tomorrow I’m making another batch of spiced pear jam. I love mom’s recipe so much. A subtle blend of ginger and allspice does not overwhelm the cinnamon and nutmeg. I hope you will give it a try.  

INDEPENDENCE MARKET: We have completed this season of the outdoor market. The next outdoor market will be May 2022.

The new covered facility is coming along nicely. The timber framing is complete.

I have all of my products listed on the online market webpage. You can find it here. Sign up for an account, place your order, and pick it up on Wednesday afternoon between 4 and 6 pm. Herd share pickups have also moved to Wednesday to help with only one trip to the market per week. Herd Share pickup time is between 3 and 4 pm. 

HOMESTEAD UPDATES

Sheep and Mack — Plus Two More

The bad news first. We lost Lambert the ram. I mentioned in my last newsletter that he was having problems with his hooves and a very high worm load. Sheep are incredibly resilient creatures. Very often when you notice something is wrong, they are already on their last leg. Lambert was not able to come back from the anemia that arose from the worm load. One day Mack was barking and running to where he was laying in the woods. Lambert was too weak to get up and Mack laid down nearby while we checked on him. He was protecting his flock. That’s a good thing. In the end, we had to put Lambert down. We thanked him and bid him goodbye.

We have added two more dogs to our farm. Finnegan, alias Finn, and Charlotte. Finn is a cross between Anatolian shepherd and great Pyrenees. Charlotte is great Pyrenees. They are still being acclimated to the farm. Soon we will be introducing both of them to Mack. Right now they can see and hear each other but have not formally met. I hope they get along okay. We need to arrange a meeting on neutral ground where none of the dogs have marked the space. All of these dogs are territorial thus meeting on neutral ground is best.

Because we are now quite protected with dogs, Scott is going to look at a couple of young ewes and possibly a young ram. We are ready to build the flock back and just need to find the right animals. These particular animals are registered stock. More expensive, of course, and should ensure that we get healthy and productive breeding stock. 

Cows 

The cow girls are all nearing the end of their lactation cycles. Soon we will separate all calves and dry they all up. That ensures they will have plenty of energy for the new calves that are developing in utero.

We are back on the hunt for new Normande breeding stock. The Normande is our breed of choice. And while we love our Jerseys, they will eventually move on to another farm or homestead that can care for them and will appreciate their Jersey milk. In the end, we will be a 100% Normande farm.

Quail

Out of 40 eggs we hatched 16. That’s not a very good ratio but we will have to live with it. You never know what you are going to get when you order online. I now have a local person who breeds coturnix quail. We met at the farmers’ market. It is always nice when a plan comes together.

The current plan is to keep roosters out of this small batch. We have zero roosters right now. In the spring I will get new eggs from my new contact and we will save the hens from that batch. All together we will have replaced all of our genetics.

We are getting lots of eggs from our 29 hens. I’ll be making more pickled eggs and bringing those to the market in Wytheville and offering them in the online market for Independence.

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

Scott radiation treatments continue to go well. The side effects are accumulating. Eating has become a chore — just something that needs to be done. That’s how he handles it. Scott is the most stoic person I know. He takes one day at a time and handles the task that is in front of him.

Yesterday and today Scott is getting those washable and waterproof panels installed in the milk room. That means he won’t get his nap this afternoon. He didn’t get a nap yesterday afternoon. He seems to be doing okay. We shall see.  

Garden

I mentioned last time that the peppers were blooming again. Yesterday I filled a five-gallon bucket plus with green bell peppers. There was 1/2 a 5-gallon bucket of pepperoncini peppers and a 2-gallon bucket full of banana peppers. Looks like I will be making more salsa. I do have a lot more jalapeno peppers to use as well. I purchased a lot from some of the other vendors at the farmer’s markets. I had everything else I needed from our own garden. The frost will take them all out soon. I may get a few more — or I may not. That frost could happen any day now. 

That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

INDEPENDENCE AND WYTHEVILLE FARMER’S MARKETS

As mentioned earlier, the Independence Farmer’s Market is now online only. The Wytheville Farmer’s Market continues on Saturdays 8 – 12 through the end of this month. Then the winter market begins. That will be the 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 10 to 12. .

ITEMS OF NOTE AT THIS WEEK’S MARKETS: Mild, Medium Hot and HOT Salsa in pint jars, sweet and sour pepper relish (also in pint jars), and the spiced pear jam I mentioned above. And I have pickled quail eggs in 1/2 pint jars.

I still some have apple pie filling, peach pie filling and blueberry pie filling. A deep dish pie requires 48 oz of filling. I’ve got you covered. Two 24 oz jars or a quart and pint jar.

The pickled pepperoncinis are in pint jars. I have a variety with red pepper if you like a bit of spice. And there is one jar of pickled banana peppers. Those are great on sandwiches (think Subway).

As far as jam, I have pepper jam in 1/2 pints. I also have strawberry jam, that wonderful spiced pear jam and apple pie jam in pint jars. These make great Christmas gifts

I will have quail eggs by the dozen and quail meat in 1 lb packages.

We have ground goat (approx 1 lb), grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb). I also have a very limited amount of lamb cuts. Loin chops, rib chops, stew/kabob meat and two lovely petit legs.

Herd Shares

Herd Share Peeps, Independence market pickup is now on Wednesday 3 to 4 PM. — I’ll send out another email to you specifically as a reminder until we get into the swing of the new schedule. You will find me in the parking lot behind the new G.A.T.E center just across from the new courthouse.

I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday. 

Current pickup locations and times:

  • Independence on Wednesdays 3 to 4 pm, parking lot behind G.A.T.E. Center
  • Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturdays 8:00 am to 12:00 noon
  • Our 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 and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

    Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


    Let’s Get Together

    As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon.   

    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

    In this week’s podcast 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.  


    Free Downloads

    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 HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

    And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


    Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 9/30/2021

    Hello beautiful peeps,

    I know I missed last week. Sorry about that. Life is very hectic these days. I’m stilling canning something every week. This week it was spiced pear jam. I love this stuff. I learned it from my mother. A nice subtle blend of ginger do not overwhelm the cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s fabulous if I do say so myself.  

    INDEPENDENCE MARKET: No word yet on my place for tomorrow. No doubt I will be in a similar location. This is the second to last market. After October 8th I will be switching to Wednesday. That is to support the online market and Herd Share Pickups will also happen on Wednesdays. Also, I will be there for both Christmas Markets. I don’t have those dates right at hand but will keep you informed. 

    HOMESTEAD UPDATES

    Sheep and Mack

    The vet was out to preg check the cows and we had her look at the sheep as well. It was as good thing. That growth on the ewe was really big and gross. She fixed her right up and that ewe is nearly healed. Lambert, the ram was a different story. He was having problems with his hooves. She checked that out and recommended we give him foot baths. We did that two of three times. Actually all of the sheep got the foot baths, just in case.

    We also took time to worm them all. It has been several years since we had to use a chemical wormer. However, the stress of the coyotes and dog attacks must have weakened their systems. All had some worm load and Lambert was in really bad shape. He is still weak. Hopefully, he will turn the corner soon and be back to normal. The worms made him extremely anemic. We don’t like to use chemicals, but there are times when the life of the animal depends on it. This was one of those times. 

    Cows 

    The vet has preg checked all the girls and we had mixed results. Six were artificially inseminated and three are pregnant. A fourth, Cloud, was pregnant but miscarried. The vet said not to worry. If it was a late-term abortion there could be a problem. But early on it is common to abort if the fetus is in the least compromised.

    Buttercup got some pain meds for her injured leg. She is not pregnant and is going to need to be replaced. The vet says she is overweight and as she ages it is less and less Likely that she will conceive. At this point she is already 11. Cows begin to wind down after 10 or so years, though they can continue to have calves past 15. It depends on the cow.

    Claire, Butter and Luna were all positive for pregnancy. Everyone is healthy at the moment and we look forward to the spring births. We don’t milk through the winter. The cows need a break to make calves and we need a break from milking everyday, seven days a week. However, we are considering breeding Rosie for a fall birth next year. She did not take this time round and perhaps we will try what is called calf sharing with her next fall.

    Calf sharing is when the calf gets to drink milk all day. Then we separate them (they can still touch noses but no nursing) overnight. In the morning, we get the milk and put them back together again for the day. It’s a lot more management but we may try it as an experiment. As long as the calf is nursing, we can even take a few days off and not milk at all. The calf will get all the milk, day and night.   

    Quail

    Remember last time I was saying we had the the quail eggs. They will be hatching on Saturday. I’m excited as usual to have babies again. It is a little late in the season. The weather is much cooler. However, these birds are hardy and will be fully feathered after two weeks and completely capable of handling the cold.

    We are starting to get lots of eggs. We get the normal amount from the breeding crew but are now getting eggs from the group in the penthouses. We will be keeping as many as 20 hens from that group. So lots of eggs are coming. When the babies from the current incubator set are two weeks old, we will have to rearrange everything. I have no idea how that will look. It depends on how many chicks hatch on Saturday.

    Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

    Scott radiation treatments are going well. He is starting experience side effects. The doctors warned him about all of this and there are various treatments to assist him throughout the process. He usually takes a nap every day. We are about two and a half weeks into the process. All is going as planned.

    Scott has determined that he needs to put up some waterproof panels in the milk room. The are held in place with glue. He needs to get them installed before the weather gets too cold for the glue to hold well. Also, he noted that before putting in conduit, there are some walls that need to be painted. That also needs to happen before it gets too cold.  

    The electric plans are forming in Scott’s mind. He is watching lots of YouTube videos and making plans. Over the winter we hope to make significant progress there. We shall see. 

    Garden

    My garden is finishing up. The peppers revived with the rain we got. However, I am so done with peppers. They are actually blooming again. This is typical for peppers. They are a perennial plant in Mexico. Here they just keep going until the frost takes them. I have a 5-gallon bucket full of pepperoncini peppers. That is a task for next week. More pickled pepperoncini. Anybody need that special Christmas gift for the person who has everything? I have lots of pickled pepperoncini to help you out!!

    The basil is still waiting for me to cut it and hang it to dry. The parsley also needs to be harvested and dried. It really took off again after the rains. The oregano and thyme are in my strawberry patch. I will want to cut some of that and dry it. Herbs dried at the end of the year are wonderful for restocking my spice jars.

    That freezer full of tomatoes is still waiting on me. .

    That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

    INDEPENDENCE AND WYTHEVILLE FARMER’S MARKETS

    I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9 – 1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12.

    ITEMS OF NOTE AT THIS WEEK’S MARKETS: Mild and Medium Hot Salsa in pint jars, sweet and sour pepper relish (also in pint jars), and the spiced pear jam I mentioned above. And I have pickled quail eggs in 1/2 pint jars.

    I still some have apple pie filling, peach pie filling and blueberry pie filling. A deep dish pie requires 48 oz of filling. I’ve got you covered. Two 24 oz jars or a quart and pint jar.

    The pickled pepperoncinis are in pint jars. I have a variety with red pepper if you like a bit of spice. And there is one jar of pickled banana peppers. Those are great on sandwiches (think Subway).

    As far as jam, I have pepper jam in 1/2 pints. I also have strawberry jam and apple pie jam in pint jars. Again, these are great Christmas gifts

    I will have quail eggs by the dozen and quail meat in 1 lb packages.

    We have ground goat (approx 1 lb), grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb). I also have a very limited amount of lamb cuts. Loin chops, rib chops, stew/kabob meat and two lovely petit legs.

    Herd Shares

    Herd Share Peeps, no word yet on my location at the Independence market. I shouldn’t be too hard to find 🙂 — look for me in any of my previous places.

    I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

    Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

    You can pickup at the Independence Market on Fridays between 9 am and 1pm, the Wytheville Market on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, 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 and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

    Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


    Let’s Get Together

    As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm.  

    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

    In this week’s podcast 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.  


    Free Downloads

    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 HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

    And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


    Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 9/16/2021

    Hello beautiful peeps,

    We are doing well and hope you are as well. I’m getting lots of things done these days. I still have a long way to go but this week I canned pepper relish, salsa, and cream. It seems like there was something else I canned this week but I am not recalling at the moment. I still have a freezer full of tomatoes. I’ll be canning lots of salsa in the coming weeks. I’m also looking to make some spiced pear jam. It was a favorite recipe of my mother and we loved it as kids. I can’t wait to pass it on to all of you.  

    INDEPENDENCE MARKET CHANGES: I’m still waiting to find out my place for tomorrow. Perhaps I will be in the same place three weeks in a row. We shall see. On another note, we have just 4 more markets including tomorrow before closing for the season. The last outdoor market will be October 8th. I will be moving my products to the online market just ahead of that. Herd share folks, I will continue to meet you in the same general area even though there will be no other vendors. 

    Sheep and Mack

    I was wrong about the sheep with a growth. It is not really a growth. It looks more like a bag of accumulated fluid. The vet should be here tomorrow to drain it and give us her opinion on what is going on there. Everyone is still hanging in there. Coyotes just showed up on the game cameras — again. I’m sure Mack has this under control.

    Cows 

    When the vet comes tomorrow another of her tasks will be preg checks on all the girls. I’m so excited to find out who is and is not pregnant this go round.

    Buttercup has injured one of her back legs. Likely she got it stuck in the mud by the pond and sprained it while pulling it out. Goodness knows I have trouble keeping my boots on when I walk back there. The mud sucks onto the boot and out comes my foot while the boot stays firmly stuck in the mud. I carry a walking stick to lean on to keep from falling face first into the mud. Anyway, the vet will take a look at Buttercup’s leg as well.

    The rest of the crowd are doing very well. The steers are really growing. I’m amazed at how much they’ve grown. Princess was born first but is smaller. She is a Jersey and the others are Normande. The size difference is to be expected. Still Princess is nearly as tall as her mom, Rosie. Remember Rosie was very young when she had Princess and therefore quite small. She still hasn’t grown much. She may always be small. The early pregnancy may have stunted her growth. We shall see. Violet had a calf nearly as young as Rosie and she turned out to be quite large. She is so large that I call her fatso. Being a cow she doesn’t take offense. She likes being big and round.   

    Quail

    Last time I was Debbie Downer about not getting the new genetic stock for raising quail. Just goes to show you, patience is a virtue. I got a notification on Monday that the eggs were on the way. We got them yesterday and I immediately put them into the incubator. That thing is humming along nicely right now. A little over two weeks from now we will once again begin hearing the cute peeping sound.

    I’m looking for the first eggs from the youngest group currently hanging out up there in the penthouse. Over the next few weeks we will be inundated with eggs. I’ll be making lots of pickled eggs. Look for them at the market. I’ll be bringing some pickled eggs to the market from earlier in the year.

    Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

    Scott has started his daily radiation treatments. All is going well. He is getting into the routine. It is an hour each way to drive into Winston Salem. Besides the time cost there is the cost of gasoline. We never paid much attention to our personal use of gas, only the business side. It was eye opening. We are estimating this additional cost to be about $100 per week. In the old days — the days before we stopped working for someone else — we never gave a second thought to the amount of gas we went through driving back and forth to coastal South Carolina. These are the seasons of our lives.

    The electric plans are about to be put down on paper. Scott was talking about it just this morning. He is ready to make those drawings. I can’t wait to see his artistry with this task. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the beautiful structural drawings he created. Over and over again he drew out on paper the plans for the barn, milking parlor, creamery and commercial kitchen. He’s really very good at it. The detail is exquisite. 

    Garden

    My poor garden is drying up. We haven’t had any rain for weeks. The pepper plants are starting to droop. I’m not too concerned with because I’m so done with peppers.

    The basil has gone to seed. It is past time to cut those down and hang them up to dry. I’ve also got some parsley that needs to be cut and dried.

    That freezer full of tomatoes is still waiting on me. I cleaned out a lot of the onions and green peppers to make the salsa and pepper relish. But those tomatoes are still sitting there. Currently I’m using fresh tomatoes from the stash I still have on the ripening shelves in front of the windows next to the wood stove. I’ll need to make another batch of salsa with those before getting into the freezer.

    Scott cleaned the tomato plants though they haven’t made it to the compost pile. There are piles of tomato plants in between the raised beds. The only other thing to be left growing in the garden is the crowder peas. They put on a bumper crop and it will be a couple of weeks for all of those pods to mature.

    That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

    Independence and Wytheville Farmer’s Markets

    I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9 – 1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12.

    NEW ADDITIONS TO THIS WEEK’S MARKETS: Medium Hot Salsa in pint jars and sweet and sour pepper relish, also in pint jars. And finally, I have pickled quail eggs in 1/2 pint jars. There are three flavors; curry, sweet & sour and pickling spice blend.

    I have apple pie filling, peach pie filling and blueberry pie filling. A deep dish pie requires 48 oz of filling. I’ve got you covered. Two 24 oz jars or a quart and pint jar.

    I’ll have the pickled pepperoncinis in pint jars and a couple of jars of pickled banana peppers.

    As far as jam, I have pepper jam in 1/2 pints. I also have strawberry jam and apple pie jam in pint jars

    I will have a couple of dozen quail eggs and definitely will have quail meat in 1 lb packages.

    We have ground goat (approx 1 lb), grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb). I also have a very limited amount of lamb cuts. Loin chops, rib chops, stew/kabob meat and two lovely petit legs.

    Herd Shares

    Herd Share Peeps, my location at the Independence market is still unknown, but I will be there — somewhere close by some of my previous places I’m sure.

    I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

    Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

    You can pickup at the Independence Market on Fridays between 9 am and 1pm, the Wytheville Market on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, 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 new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

    Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


    Let’s Get Together

    As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm.  

    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

    In this week’s podcast I’m re-running a previous podcast I did a couple of years ago. “Cheese Makes You Happy” is all about the brain science surrounding cheese. And yes, it can affect your mood. It is a fascinating look at how this age-old food helps maintain the brain.  


    Free Downloads

    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 HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

    And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


    Farm News, Herd Share Pickups, Market Info: 9/9/2021

    Hello beautiful peeps,

    We are doing well and hope you are as well. I’m still lost when it comes to time. I’m trying to review my week and determine what I have and have not experienced in the last 7 days. There have been more doctor’s appointments. All of that went well. Tasks on the farm keep getting done. I spent most of the day canning peppers and getting ready to can salsa. Scott has been out and about around the farm, still bush hogging the fields. We have 14 paddocks that need to be maintained. He spends a lot of time in the summer bouncing around on the tractor. 

    INDEPENDENCE MARKET CHANGES: I’m not sure where I will be in the market arrangement tomorrow. My thought is that I will be in the same place as last week. We shall see. 

    Sheep

    Scott talked to the vet today. One of the sheep has a very large growth of some kind protruding out from the brisket area and upward. The vet will be here next week for lots of animal care. She was not too concerned about it. Per her experience, she indicated that most of the time it doesn’t bother the animal and is not usually dangerous. It may drain on its own or we may lance it and drain it manually. In any case, I’m glad she will be here soon to take a look at it. 

    Another of several tasks she will be doing for us is getting Mack up-to-date on his heartworm meds and a booster shot for something I’m not recalling right now. Maybe rabies? Scott knows what it is but he is not here at the moment.

    Cows 

    Scott is introducing Mack to the milking girls. Butter does not like or trust him. Whenever she sees him, she lowers her head and acts like she is going to charge. Scott stays between the two of them. Mack does not seem too concerned. He is often distracted by various sounds and smells. Violet just stands there looking at him, completely unconcerned.   

    Quail

    Well it looks like we are not going to get our new genetic stock. I put in an order, but have not heard anything about when these eggs will be shipped. It is late in the season to get fertile eggs. As the amount of sunlight decreases, the fertility of the quail also decreases. Likely when we do hear from the shipper it will be to say that they do not have any fertile quail eggs available for shipping. Well, there is always next year.

    In the next couple of weeks, the newest crop of birds will begin laying eggs. In the end, we may have as many as 35 quail eggs daily. I will begin to make pickled quail eggs again. That is always fun and they look so cute in the jars. Scott loves them.

    Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

    Scott mentioned today that he want to complete all of the bush hogging so he can get back on track with the electrical plans for the creamery. When I look at his computer screen, there is always one video or another on something electrical that is queued up and waiting for him. 

    Garden

    We are winding down the garden. There will be no fall garden. We didn’t have one last year either. There is just too much to do with harvesting and preserving what we already have stored all over the place.

    I have an entire freezer full of tomatoes. If you have visited me at the Wytheville market, it is a freezer the size of the one I have there. I think it is nine cubic feet. There are some frozen peppers and onions in there as well. All of that is going to come together into salsa. I’ll be canning and canning and canning until I run out of tomatoes.

    Scott and I will be cleaning up the remains of the tomato plants and adding them to the compost pile. A few days ago, we picked all of the green tomatoes. We are done with growing tomatoes for this year. 

    I still need to cut the basil and hang it up to dry. I also have some parsley out there that will need to be cut and dried. I love my fresh herbs. In addition to those herbs, I will also cut some oregano and thyme. There is so much available  I don’t have to worry about running out. I will toss last year’s dried herbs onto the compost pile and replace them with fresh stuff. The smell is always so amazing. These days, I always have robust dried herbs. Let me know if you are interested in having some wonderful freshly dried culinary herbs. I’m hoping to package some up for the market as well. It’s hard to say when I can fit that into my preserving schedule.

    That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update. 

    Independence and Wytheville Farmer’s Markets

    I will be at the Independence Farmer’s Market on Friday 9 – 1 and at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market on Saturday 8 – 12.

    I have apple pie filling, peach pie filling and blueberry pie filling. A deep dish pie requires 48 oz of filling. I’ve got you covered. Two 24 oz jars or a quart and pint jar.

    I’ll have the pickled pepperoncinis in pint jars and a few jars of pickled banana peppers.

    I’m out of blueberry and blackberry jam but have lots of really fine pepper jam. I also have strawberry jam in pint jars

    I will have a couple of dozen quail eggs and definitely will have quail meat in 1 lb packages.

    We have ground goat (approx 1 lb), grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb) and ground lamb (approx 1 lb). I also have a very limited amount of lamb cuts. Loin chops, rib chops, stew/kabob meat and two lovely petit legs.

    Herd Shares

    Herd Share Peeps, my location at the Independence market is still unknown, but I will be there — somewhere close by some of my previous places I’m sure.

    I’ll see you in my usual location at the Wytheville Farmers’ Market.

    Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Saturday and/or Tuesday. 

    You can pickup at the Independence Market on Fridays between 9 am and 1pm, the Wytheville Market on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon, 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 new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

    Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


    Let’s Get Together

    As always, we love meeting you in person.  You can find us at the Wytheville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:00 am to Noon. We are at Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 9:00 am to 1 pm.  

    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

    In this week’s podcast I’m re-running a previous podcast I did a couple of years ago. “Cheese Makes You Happy” is all about the brain science surrounding cheese. And yes, it can affect your mood. It is a fascinating look at how this age-old food helps maintain the brain.  


    Free Downloads

    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 HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

    And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


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    FARM STORE Hours:

    Tuesday:  10am – 12pm
    Saturdays:  3 – 5pm

    Peaceful Heart Farm

    224 Cox Ridge Road, Claudville, VA 24076

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    We'd like to make sure we have cheese available where you can get it. Whether it be at the Farmers Market or a specialty food store.

    Let us know where you'd like to see us and we'll try to make it happen. We'll notify you via email when we get our products to your favorite shopping destination.

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    FARM STORE Hours:

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    Fridays:  9am – 1pm (May thru October)

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