Hello beautiful peeps,
Did you miss me last week. Yes, I forgot to do a newsletter. It was late on Friday night when it struck me that I had completely forgotten. My apologies. Some of you wondered what had happened. Nothing much. Just old timers disease. I’m back this week with lots of news.
The Spring/Summer Wytheville Farmer’s Market hours are 8am to noon from now to the last Saturday of October.
The outdoor Independence Farmer’s Market is on and will continue through the 2nd Friday of October. That market runs from 9am to 1pm. See you there.
NO MASKS REQUIRED FOR THE VACCINATED. It’s a beautiful thing to see everyone’s faces.
All of the sheep are now returned to the back fields. After days of no predators showing up on the cameras, we were comfortable in sending them back out to where the best grass is currently growing. All is well so far.
We have decided that it is time for us to have a livestock guardian dog. We are currently searching for an adult dog with experience that needs a new home. After we get him or her trained, we will likely add a puppy. We can’t start with the puppy as they cannot be trusted alone with livestock until 2 years of age and sometimes older. However, adding one after we have an adult dog is a great way to mentor the pup. We are looking forward to this exciting new journey.
Still waiting on Violet to have her calf. She is so far behind the rest. Will she be able to get back in the breeding program this year? We shall see. It is important for our cheesemaking that all of the cows have their calves in a relatively small time window. Ideally, mid-March to mid-April. If Violet has her calf on the 10th of June, it will be the 3rd week of July before she can be artificially inseminated. That makes her expected delivery date around the third week of April 2022. And if she doesn’t take and we have to try again, it will be the middle of May 2022 before she has a calf. It’s probably worth a try. We really need to get her back in line with everyone else.
Virginia and the twin calves are back in the calf pasture. Again, we feel secure there will be no predation at this time. Our security is only temporary. Those coyotes will eventually return. We really need a dog. Am I repeating myself?
Since I missed publishing the newsletter last week, you don’t yet know that of the 70 eggs in the incubator, only 19 hatched. That’s a pretty bad ratio. We are not sure what happened there, but I suspect that there wasn’t enough light for male fertility. The females had enough light to lay quite a few eggs, though not up to full production. But the males evidently needed a bit more to be successful in fertilizing those eggs.
The first batch of the year in the penthouse is at 35 birds now. We lost one lady. She had some kind of neurological dysfunction. At seven weeks, they are old enough to lay eggs already. I don’t really know how many boys and girls their are at this time. However, there are at least 9 girls. Today I got 9 eggs from that group. That number will likely go up over the next few days. The averages say we will have 17 or 18 hens in that group.
The relative failure of the newest batch gives us the opportunity to build up a little bit of an egg supply. Since there are only 19 in the up and coming group, they will all go in one side of the penthouse. On the other side, we will house quite a few of the girls that are currently residing up there, maybe all of them. Likely we will keep a rooster or two as well. Normally, we would need that space for the new babies, but with only 19, those guys will easily fit on one side, leaving the other side open for keeping the current crop of girls that have reached laying age. There is always a little wrinkle in the tapestry of our homestead planning. It’s so fun.
Scott has completed the primer coat of paint on the outside of the building and is currently moving rapidly through the inside. It’s so beautiful.
The guys that will install our modified milking system will be here next week to get that going. Well, they really aren’t working on the milking system so much as the stanchions that hold the ladies quietly in place while we milk them. As soon as that part is done, we can start training the girls to walk through the new parlor area. More changes for us and for them. Will we start milking in the new parlor? We shall see.
The two long rows of green peas are still moving along nicely. No blooms yet but I expect them any day now. The onions look great. The green tops are now well above the ground cover.
I still haven’t planted the green beans. While I finally had the time, the weather was still rather cool. You all probably noticed. I keep saying this, but I’m sure this time the cool weather is done. It has to be. We are moving into late May. It has to be done this time for sure.
I can’t complain. I love the extended cool weather. The spring seems to go on and on. Spring is my favorite time of year.
I still have tomato and pepper plants ready for you. It’s time to plant. Come see me at the market.
I have garden sage, parsley, basil, and thyme for the market this time as well.
That’s it for farm news. Now on to the farmer’s market update.
Wytheville Farmer’s Market
As I noted above, I will have lots of plant starts at the market again.
We are out of quail eggs but I may have some soon. See above with our plan to keep some of the ladies for eggs. We have quail meat in 1 lb packages.
We have all of our grass-fed meats available – ground beef (approx 1 lb), ground goat (approx 1 lb), and ground lamb (approx 1 lb).
Online Farmer’s Markets – Independence and Wytheville
We are not offering products via the Independence online market at this time. Come see me in person at the market. You can still sign up for that market by clicking HERE. There are many vendors that are selling their local products there. The online market opens on Friday evening and closes on Wednesday evening for pickup two days later on Friday afternoon. Again, we will be selling all of our products at the outdoor market.
Wytheville also has an online market. For your convenience, you can set up your Wytheville online market account HERE. This market opens on Sunday at 7:00 pm and closes on Thursday at 7:00 pm. Place your order with whatever vendors you choose during that time window and pick everything up at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market between 9:00 am and noon. Anything ordered from the online market is not picked up at our booth. Your purchases are picked up on the covered side of the building. Feel free to come on in an chat with me even if you placed your order on line and picked it up outside.
Herd Share Peeps, I’ll see you in my usual location. Add on as you desire. Yogurt, milk and all cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday and/or Tuesday.
You can pickup at the Wytheville Market between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon or at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know want anything extra this time.
I still have new raw milk cheese shares and a couple of milk shares available. Contact me via email (email@example.com) or phone (276-694-4369).
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. Masks are no longer required at the Independence Market.
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, “Livestock Guardian Dogs” is the topic. It has been a long time coming, but it is finally time that we take this step. A few years ago we were traveling all the time and only on the farm on weekends. There was no way we could have a dog. Now things have changed and it’s time for us to take the next step in protecting our livestock.
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.”