This sun was stuck behind the ridge for a few days, until we released it with large spud bars.
And in so doing, we have begun to feel the change of seasons. With the advent of spring, comes growth of grass -- our manna and yours. Migrating livestock follow soon thereafter, so we are preparing facilities to launch them and pastures to receive them.
The chicken brooder is complete enough to have received 500 chicks on Monday. Mike has several heating devices rigged up, so they may find refuge in 90 degree temperatures. They arrive through the Post Office, and we had to take one of our larger vehicles to pick them up. They grow quickly and will go out on grass in about 10 days. We have new chicken-tractors designed to handle 250 birds in each, which will be under final construction very soon. The first week of May this batch will be sent to harvest, so we will have plenty of chicken for you then. We are currently out of chicken parts and have a few whole birds left. So, timing is about right.
We are carving out of the former dairy pastures an area dedicated to broilers. It will be 1200 feet long by 100 feet wide. Long enough to reduce the number of turns with the chicken-tractors, yet wide enough to accommodate them when necessary. The area also has to be wide enough for equipment to manouver when loading birds the night before harvest.In like manner, we are reorienting fencing in the former dairy platform.
Grazing dairy cows move in a pattern similar to a wagon wheel, with the milking parlor at the center to which cows travel back and forth twice a day. This creates the need for gravel laneways with fences on both sides. Whereas beef cows move differently, in an arc, not travelling to the same central point every day. We are accordingly taking out fencing along one side of the laneways and installing gates in strategic locations, so beef cows can always move in a forward direction. This also calls for installing more watering points or activating long hoses that are heavy and difficult to move.
The hog facility is also coming along. The hard part has been accomplished, which is measuring and installing all of the posts. Oak siding goes on next. Geotextile cloth is going down and will be covered in gravel to prevent rooting and wallowing in this constricted area. The hogs will be able to express that instinct out in the woods.
At long last, we are developing a CSA option for our meats. This is an option we encourage you to consider. It entails you and we making a business commitment to each other for three to six months, with payment up front and discount received. This will help us considerably with the ever-present challenge of cash-flow. It is confronting at this time of year to absorb the reality of low spontaneous sales at farmers markets, while weekly costs march on. The relationship developed between customer and farmer through CSA's adddresses that issue and helps considerably with planning and logistics. Chris has been very helpful at thinking through the logistics of this way of doing business. We will have more specifics for you in the next newsletter.
Jacob's crew has recently been planting more black willows, silky dogwoods, arrow stems, and button bush along the shaved creek banks to stabilize them. They cut one-foot-long stakes from nearby live branches and gently pound them into the bank. The cuttings sprout roots and leaves within weeks. These species are particularly adaptable and responsive to this technique.
This is spaghetti and meatballs, sprinkled with parmeson cheese. I am always pleasantly surprised at how good the meatballs are. Susan sautees or roasts them before adding to spaghetti sauce. They are also great on their own. This meal was delicious. If interested in a very satisfying, old-fashion flavor, Roma Meatballs fill that bill perfectly. Order here.
Just to keep your mouth watering, we recently made tacos, with Aztec Taco meat or they are also great with Beef Barbacoa. On the right is Mekong Pho and Mekong Meatballs from last night's delectable fare. Plus, those eggs; look how yellow the yolks are! These are all great foods that can be prepared in half an hour or less, for your convenience.
The ordering window closes at midnight tonight, so submit orders before the witching hour.
Beth and Bob will be at the market on Sunday.
May the promise of Spring bring sun from behind the ridge, grass into our lives again, and connection between you and us evermore.
Drausin & Susan