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


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    FARM STORE Hours:

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    Peaceful Heart Farm

    224 Cox Ridge Road, Claudville, VA 24076

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    FARM STORE Hours:

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