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It’s pigs

Picked up our first batch of feeder pigs yesterday from the Natick Community Organic Farm.  And they are very pink, and yes, I’ll admit, they’re very cute.  But, I promise they stop being cute right about the time they tip the scales at 200 lbs.  And to go from 20 lbs to 200lbs in 6 months, they need to eat.  A lot.  Help us pay the grain bill and sign up for a 2015 Pastured Pork CSA Share!

If you want to try some sausage (or restock your freezer), place an order for pickup on Monday.

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Spring

Kind of a gray and rainy day today, but even so… what a difference a week makes!

Last week, it really seemed like all hope was lost, but things are looking up.  After a number of beautiful bright sunny windy days, we’ve gone from soupy mud to just plain wet mud around the barn.  The grass is greening up, and looks like it’s just about ready to start actually growing.  The cows are intent on getting that first bite of green in their small piece of winter pasture, to the extent that they even ignored a fresh round bale for a little while yesterday.  The peepers are peeping, and there’s just a hint of a yellow haze on the forsythia.  We’re still probably a solid two weeks behind, depending what the weather brings…. but at least now it seems possible that we might get out and do some tillage before the end of April.

Grilled Bratwurst
The secret to good grilled brats is to simmer them in beer first.  Simmering helps to seal the casing so that you don’t lose all the delicious juices in the coals.

Bring a couple of cans of beer to a boil in a medium saucepan and then reduce to a simmer.  Be careful when heating up the beer – it will want to boil over, so pay attention.  Drop your brats in the beer and simmer gently for 5 – 7 minutes.  Remove brats from saucepan and finish on grill with indirect heat – this should only take a few minutes.  Serve with sauerkraut and grilled onions.  Do the onions first, they take awhile on the grill.

 

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Falling behind

Gratuitous Barley picture is from this time last year.  Note the greening grass and distinct lack of snow.

They’ve been doing a series on WGBH radio this week called “What Winter Did.”  Some intrepid local reporter has been going around talking to experts about the effects of the extremely cold and snowy winter that just passed.  (Or has almost just passed – was not thrilled to find a good coating of snow and ice up on the hill this morning.)  There were pieces on the impact of the cold and snow on wildlife, and fishermen, and farmers.  It’s official, and has now been documented on public radio – this has been a tough winter, and we are weeks behind in the growing season.

Now, you can be forgiven if you’ve tuned out my sky-is-falling attitude about the weather, and if you’ve learned to just skip over the parts of the newsletter decrying the wet, heavy soil on our north-facing slope.  Especially for spring-time newsletters.  Every year, I just about give up hope that the soil will ever dry out enough that we might get out in the field and get to work.  This year, it seems real.  It’s mid-April, and it just barely feels like mid-March.  Normally, at this time of year, I’m contemplating turning the cows out into a cover crop of 6-inch-high winter rye to give them their first taste of spring.  This year, the rye hasn’t even begun it’s spring growth spurt.  It looks like a stretch of good weather is heading our way (finally!), but it’s going to take a lot more than a few seasonable days to get things back on track.  That said, as the sun gets stronger by the day, things can change in a hurry, and so we continue to hope for the best.

While the first harvest of spring greens may be a ways off yet, you can support the farm now by signing up for a Pastured Pork CSA Share.  If you were considering signing up for a share, please send in your deposit sooner rather than later.  Your deposits will really help the farm get through this frustratingly slow-to-start growing season.

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Freeeeeeedom!

The snow finally melted enough that Paul and I could get out in the barn pasture and fix the electric fence.  So much snow had buried the line, pulled it to the ground in many places, and broken a bunch of the plastic clips that secure the fence wire to the posts.  Paul tells me that the cows were very happy to be free of their winter quarters.  He opened the gate and the whole herd did their spring ritual of galloping around the pasture, with even the old girls bucking and kicking like heifers.  Sadly I missed one of my favorite sights – as I was clearing Phragmites from one corner of the fence, a shard of reed buried itself deep in my thumb, deep enough that a trip to the ER seemed like a good idea.  Talk about an invasive species!  Yukyukyuk.

Thanks to all who came out on Monday to get sausage.  There’s plenty left, but it’s going fast.

Finally, I’m finalizing the details this week for this year’s Potter Hill Pastured Pork CSA.  Please let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll send you an order form as soon as it’s finished.