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Archive for the ‘Farm Happenings’ Category


Donut (6/13/2007 - 8/27/2010)

I’m sad to announce that we lost an important member of our farm family this week.  Friday evening I found Donut in the shelter, where he had passed away.

Donut, and his half-brother, Sweet Roll, were Christmas presents from my then-fiancée-now-husband in 2007.  At that point I had been wanting pet goats for at least a decade, and I was thrilled by their arrival.  Sweet Roll was instantly a friendly, affectionate goat.  Donut, more reserved, took some time before he accepted my friendship.  He was a loving, inquisitive fellow.  Together, they have supplied an endless supply of shenanigans, laughs, excitement, and yes – on occasion, frustration! – on the farm.  Last year, with the addition of our small dairy herd, Sweet Roll and Donut took on the role of the laid-back, fun-loving uncles who looked after everyone.

We had figured that Sweet Roll, with his on-going battle with pemphigus and a nasty staph infection, would be the first of our pets to leave the farm.  In the spring I asked HB if we could keep one of the new wethers as a companion for Donut.  At that point, we were certain Sweet Roll would be put down.  But Sweet Roll pulled through, and is looking pretty good.  Instead, now it is Sweet Roll who will be comforted by the presence of Bogart and Gatlin (well maybe not so much comforted by the later, our buck!).

I miss Donut very much, but it appeared that he left this world peacefully, with no signs of a struggle.  For that, I am grateful.

On a side note, we will have some exciting news soon!  Stay tuned for more information.

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Around us, schools are starting this week.  And I realize I’ve hardly blogged all summer.

I take that back.  It’s not that I haven’t blogged.  Just not here.

I’ve been riding a lot this summer.  You can follow our adventures at the blog I should call “Huckleberry is a Rock Star” or “I :heart: Huck” or something like that.  I love my pony.  And after a long year of rehabbing, he is finally, 100% “uninjured” as the vet put it.  YAY!  So while things have been quiet over here, things are not quiet at the farm.

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Never fear, we’re still alive and well over here.  The farm is drying up with a lack of significant rain fall since the end of May.  Our pastures have turned brown, and the only thing growing well are the weeds.  I’m glad we were able to cut enough hay the first go-around to get us through the year.  Second-cut hay on our farm will be hard to come by.

I had hoped to have pretty new pictures to post, but I can’t seem to find our camera.  I think it’s still in the truck.  I’ve focused a lot of my free time on my horse lately, and so some of my other past times have fallen aside.  I recently took him to his first show, which was a big deal for us.  We’re coming out of nearly a year of rehab for some old muscle injuries in his back.  He was excellent and we even brought home a few ribbons.

The goats are doing well.  They’re so much fun.  Somehow we’ve ended up with very socialized wethers, but our doe kids are still a bit … wild … when in the pasture.  You can play with them, but only if they approach you first.  In the barn though, the doe kids are a delight.

We’ve sent in a very basic plan to our contact at VDACS for our creamery with living space above it.  This is one of our very first steps towards making this happen.  We would like to eventually move out of the barn we currently live in (and give my in-laws their “guest house” back), so I had suggested to HB that we design the creamery with living space above.  Hesitant at first, he warmed to the idea quickly.  It makes doing everything slightly more economical, in that there is no way we’d be able to afford loans for a creamery AND house.

We live in less than 600 square feet, and our creamery apartment would be bigger – I think closer to 1000 square feet.  We plan to live above the creamery for at least 10 years, depending on how everything goes before building an actual house (and hopefully at that point, the creamery apartment would house interns!).  At some point during that time we would start a family.  And I know we can handle the space my effectively planning it’s organization from the start.  And getting rid of a lot of stuff we never use and/or don’t need.  Speaking of, I took 4 trash bags full of clothes to the Goodwill a month ago.  Clothes that I haven’t fit into for at least 2 years, I said good bye to them.  Now if HB would do the same, we’d have so much more room in our closet!!

Our chickens are growing up, becoming gracious feathered ladies.  I spent last Sunday afternoon clearing the “jungle” that had grown up in their run while they’ve been indoors, protected from predators.  With hawks swooping around the farm daily (and living in the surrounding woods), we’re protective of our flock.  They’re only allowed outside to free range when absolutely full-grown.  I figure hawks are less likely to take down a full grown hen, but realize the risk.  At this point, they’re confined to their run.  Eventually we’ll start to let them out in the evenings when we get home from work, so that they learn to return to the coop at night.

Whilst clearing the jungle in the chicken run, I found huge volunteer tomato plants!  I left them alone for the hens to enjoy their small yellow fruits.  I also left a stand of tall lambs quarter to provide some shade in the fun.

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This past Sunday we had the honor of supplying a friend’s wedding with some of our goat cheeses!  We often barter with our friends for fresh veggies and salad greens (nothing like greenhouse-grown bok choy in January!), so we were thrilled when they asked us to supply cheese for their wedding!  All the food offered at their wedding was fresh and local, what a statement!

A few months ago we sent them a sample platter with the varieties of chevre and other cheeses we’ve been playing with.  They chose four varieties of chevre: plain, herb, chipotle, and pepper.  We also supplied a few chunks of feta for inclusion in their salad.

Photo by Spring Mill Farm

HB went over Sunday afternoon to deliver the cheese and set it up on platters.  The platters were old slate roof tiles and absolutely gorgeous.  While he was working the photographer came over and took some beautiful pictures of our cheese!  The picture above was taken by HB.  You can see them on the photographer’s blog.

Our best wishes go out to Chris and Melissa!

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Sunrising Kaboom Gatlin

Gatlin has been on the farm for nearly a week now.  He has settled right in to the routine and is really a pretty nice little fellow.  He enjoys interaction and I’m glad we have the wethers for him to socialize among.  They play and jump on the toys and have a grand time together.  He’s slightly larger than Bogart, but they seem to get along well.  A good thing, since Bogey is staying on the farm.

Gatlin has our routines down pat, he’s a quick learner.  He knows when to ask for his twice-daily milk bottles.  He’s the first to dig into the feed dish when I put down fresh food.  We have had to modify our hay feeders – he manages to just barely fit his head inside the slats and then get it stuck.  But only on the corner slats, so we’ve widened them a bit and there’s no problem anymore!

I’ve been working on his leading, and his manners are really quite good.  I want to make sure that as he gets older he’s still easy to handle.  I’m trying hard not to turn him into a pet though!

We dewormed him the day after his arrival, and also gave him a CD&T shot, so that he is current.  I didn’t want to over-stress him by doing everything the very first day he arrived.  At this point, my goal is for him to stay well mannered, grow, and thrive.  Then this fall, he’ll get to show his stuff. 😉

He’s a rather good looking addition to our little herd, don’t you think?

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Kitten Yin-Yang

Meet Olive and Squeaky.

Apparently, Gatlin isn’t the only new addition to the farm this week.  These kittens belonged to my neighbors and through a series of unfortunate/fortunate events (depending on which side of the fence you’re on), they are now residing in the barn!  Destined to be barn cats, for now these little guys are living it up inside the barn apartment.  I had forgot how much FUN it is to have kittens at home!

Both females, Olive is the tortoiseshell and Squeaky is the calico manx – yes, the little calico has no tail!  I took the girls to work on Friday for their first set of shots and deworming.  All my co-workers played with them.  They were a hit!  Although the consensus at work is that Squeaky should be re-named Feta, HB is adamant that the name not change. 🙂

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I hope you enjoy the first of what I hope will become a regular series of posts.  In the words of my favorite lady, Bon Appetite! -Danielle

After a hot, busy Saturday we wanted something easy and fresh for dinner.  We pondered the contents of our fridge, reviewing the fresh fruits and veggies we picked up at the market today.  We did a few searches on the internet and came across this recipe for a crustless quiche with sausage and Swiss chard.  Perfect!

Sausage, Chard, and Chevre Crustless Quiche

Of course, we modified the recipe slightly, so here’s what we did:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork sausage, medium hot; cooked and crumbled (from Rocky Top Farm, Appomattox)
  • handful Swiss chard (from Island Creek Farm, Huddleston)
  • 1.5″ spring onion (from Three Springs Farm, Lynchburg)
  • 6 eggs (from Rocky Top Farm, Appomattox)
  • 2T evaporated milk
  • 4T herb chevre (of our own making)
  • 1/4c grated Gruyere
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease casserole dish.

Heat small amount olive oil in frying pan.  Once warmed, tear up the chard and saute with the onion until the chard is wilted and the onion is slightly brown and translucent.  Remove from heat.  Add crumbled sausage and chevre.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix with evaporated milk.  Stir in the sausage-chard mixture.  Add gruyere.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into greased casserole dish and bake in oven until the egg is cooked through.  In a glass dish, it took the original author about 20-30 minutes.  In our ceramic dish, it took 35-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

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