Hello beautiful peeps,
The green beans are coming in right now. I’ll have some at the farmer’s markets. Stop by and see me.
Advanced warning, farm updates are a bit of a bummer this week.
Sheep and Goats
The goats are all gone now. We decided to go ahead and process all of them and move more swiftly toward building a new herd of Kiko goats.
The Kiko is a lovely goat were developed in New Zealand. They are very hardy, have parasite resistance (that’s a big deal for all ovine species) and require very little hoof maintenance (that’s a big deal for me.)
We made an appointment at the butcher for our last five cashmere goats but ended with only four. We really, really need a good experienced livestock guardian dog. They are really hard to find. Sometime on Saturday we lost four sheep and one goat to a dog attack. We lost a fifth sheep who was injured so badly we sent her to the processor in lieu of the goat. Please come and see me and let me know of any dogs that may be available.
I was literally stunned by this latest attack on our livestock. We have been raising these animals for 10 years and have never suffered these kinds of losses. In March of this year we had 21 sheep and lambs. Today we have four. It’s devastating for us financially. And it is devastating to my emotions. It has invoked a strong anxiety in me that we will never be able to safely keep these animals and we love them so much. Additionally, we calculated sheep and goats to be 25% of our business income. Will we have to completely rethink our business plan? NO! We need a dog or two or three.
We think it may be a neighbor’s dog that is attacking our livestock but we don’t really know. We are certain that it is a couple of dogs and not coyotes this time. We have the last four sheep in the front pasture and hope that will keep them safe until we can get a dog to protect them. Enough of that downer stuff.
The cows are all doing very well. Virginia and Perrin are completely healed from their bout with pink eye. The flies appear to be under control and we will be staying on top of that situation for the rest of the summer.
I am so excited that there are still no signs of any of the cowgirls coming into heat again after their initial AI experience. We have been watching closely and everything looks good right now. That would mean 100% success on the first try. It also means we will have six calves born within days of each other. That could be tricky.
Violet is nearing her time to come back into heat after giving birth. It should happen in the next few days. The AI tech is on standby to rush out here to administer her AI. She won’t have her calf with the rest of the girls, but we want her delivery date to be much closer next year than it was this year. Fingers crossed she takes on the first try.
The incubator is humming along. Another 10 days and the next batch will begin to hatch. It’s always an exciting time as that day approaches.
The penthouse grow-out cage is getting a little tight. There are 22 birds in there that are nearly six weeks old. Only two more weeks before they reach full maturity.
I had one cage of birds in the breeding level that was contributing to raising my level of anxiety. Two different roosters had been attacked in that cage. The second one was pecked so badly that he died. I thought there must be another rooster in there and we had misgendered one of the birds. But I checked and checked and rechecked. They all look to be hens. That’s when I tried the second rooster. In less than a week he was dead.
Scott processed the last batch and moved birds around while I was at the market a couple of weeks ago. He put a new rooster into that cage. I checked every day and it looked like all was going to be well with that group of birds. Then two days ago that third rooster was bloodied. Again, he was so bad I thought he might die. So far it looks like he will make it and come back to full health.
These birds can be so vicious. I removed him immediately and set him up in a private room to heal. When I went back to the cage to see if I could identify the culprit, I found one of the hens with blood all over her breast. She also got a private room — and an appointment for processing in the next batch. Birds are vicious creatures. The lady was lethal in her attacks and we can’t have that in our flock. We also don’t want to breed that trait into the flock. She will have to go.
Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff
The creamery is still on hold. Scott is mowing fields, clearing out and cleaning up the blackberry vines and tying up the tomato plants. He still has some other landscape clean up tasks on his agenda. At some point he will sit down and figure out the electrical wiring for the creamery. You know . . . in his spare time.
The onions are laid out and drying. They look really good. I’ve decided to leave them as they are for a while and keep using them fresh. At some point I will still need to freeze some. But for right now, they are in a cool and relatively dark location. I think they will keep just fine for two or three months.
As I mentioned above, the green beans are ready. I picked two 5-gallon buckets full over a three-day period of time. One of us will be picking green beans every few days. It is actually a fun activity. Reaping the benefits of hard work is always fun. Picking can also be hard work but so worth it.
The crowder peas continue to do well, but still no blooms. I have lots of small tomatoes. The green bell peppers are starting to get big. I can’t wait for them to be big enough to pick. I’m enjoying fresh banana peppers just about every day — Mixed in with beef or added to a salad. Tomorrow perhaps I’ll have some chopped up in scrambled eggs. I have quite a few and they are so tasty.
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’ll have GREEN BEANS and blueberry and blackberry jam at both markets. I’m out of strawberry jam.
I have quail eggs and quail meat in 1 lb packages.
We have ground goat again. And we have 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 Share Peeps, I’ve set up a delivery point at the Independence market. Let me know if you want to switch your pick up to Independence.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 Farmers Markets.
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, “A Day in the Life on Our Homestead” is the topic. Do you ever wonder what it is like to live the homestead lifestyle? I’m sure you all have your own ideas about what that must be like. In this episode I give you a peek into a day here on our homestead. This particular day is very, very busy. Every day is not this full of activity, though I do enjoy challenging myself. I always want to see just how much I can accomplish in any given day.
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.”