Saturday, December 4, 2010

beautiful people

giveaway next week!

Cold Antler Farm and Barn Light Electric are teaming up to give away this Ivanhoe™ Sinclair Industrial Porcelain Pendant. The winner gets to choose a color and hardware to match their own home. Get excited, cause I'll be announcing this event in the next few days!

a simple product

a modest saturday

I did something this morning I never do. I slept in long enough to wake up to daylight. I needed it. This past week has been an exhausting jaunt. It is a relief to meet a snow-sprinkled Saturday morning with the coffee pot and wood stove and know that for the most part: I have no where to be. I am stretching, sipping strong coffee, and enjoying that lull between feeding the animals and getting a shower. It's a wonderful place to be, that.

I toyed with the idea of packing up the truck and spending my day at a Farm Film Fest two hours south in the Hudson Valley—but last night after visiting one friend's new baby boy, and then driving to another friends place for music and drinks: I realized how extremely beat I was. A girl just can't go from 4:30 to 1 AM. Since our herding lesson was canceled, I decided to just spend the first day of my three-day weekend taking care of the farm, the house, and staring the first round of CSA packages.

There is a lot to do around here. Weekends are now the only time I get daylight outside, so I must take full advantage of it. Today I want to repair any weak spots in the fencing, defrost and replace all the water fonts, and get everything ready for the new flock being delivered Monday. The five ewes will arrive in a trailer, delivered by their breeder and a friend. Both ladies will be members of NEBCA, my border collie association and the group of trainers and mentors teaching me how to go about this new shepherding life. I want them to be happy with this place in every way. I know I don't need their permission, but I would like their approval.

I also plan on returning to work Tuesday with half of the CSA packages ready to mail. But that means I need to spend the weekend working on the welcome letters, price guide, expenses list, and projections for the fall. Each subscriber gets more than just a skein of yarn. They are part of the farm now, and in a way, investors. So to hold true to my word of 5-7 skeins a person (plus some raw wool) I want to make sure everyone has what they paid for, and understands what goes into the production of yarn at this basic a level. I figured if they saw exactly where every penny goes, an explanation of the shepherd's year, and plans for the harvest this spring: they would appreciate and understand this farm all the better. I also can not wait to see what folks create from my sheep's wool. I am fully prepared to be jealous of your knitting abilities.

P.S. I still have two spots left to fill. Waiting to hear from the people chosen (by lottery). Please let me know your decision soon as you can.

Friday, December 3, 2010

two new csa winners!

Moose Nugget (AK) and Meredith (VA)!

Two spots opened up.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

now that's a lot of yarn...

It has been a monstrous week. Trips to the doctor, foul weather, a broken furnace, and Gibson hurt his elbow and is on painkillers. He doesn't understand how to slow down and rest. I think for border collies, recovery is just Latin for "limp faster." When he started limping today I called the vet right away. I needed to know if it was anything beyond the normal wear-and-tear of an active farm dog. As my partner, and the power that will make this farm run smoothly: I need him to be healthy and able to train. Turns out it was good I took him in, because the vet said he could easily have torn something on a weekend herding lesson or jaunt with the other dogs at work. He's in elbow limbo right now, and too much of anything fun might tear what's already strained. So my very-active puppy needs to learn to heal, and is doing so. Slowly.

So the week's been hard on all of us, but it is coming to a beautiful end. Tomorrow is Friday, of course, and for those of us running farms while holding down a day job it means the holiday starts at 5pm. This weekend is a big deal, too. With the hard cider bottled and ready to drink, the wool shipped from the mill, and my fabric here from the online shop—I have a three-day vacation to farm, sew, prepare the first round of CSA packages*, and some how take the time to realize it is here. The farm is here. There are 50 bales of stacked hay, a fenced in pasture, a sheep shelter on the hill, and five new ewes coming in a trailer this Monday. There is wood stacked by the stove, and bills on the table, and I am looking forward to whittling both down to insignificance.

I'll give a proper update on the CSA soon, the wool, the whole experience of holding your sheep's fleece on a string. But tonight I am going to tend to my pup, watch a DVD, and get some rest before the weekend hits me like a ton of wool-felted bricks.

*If I don't hear from the folks listed below, I will draw more names. I only heard from half? Please email me if you want to keep your spot in this year's program?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

lottery winners are...

Trista Hill - Ohio
Bee in the Balm
Joy - California
Victoria, IL
Dk - IN
Jane - CA
Lisa

Please email me at jenna@itsafarwalk.com for details!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

6 more shares!

Well! I found out today a total of 17 pounds of yarn will be delivered to the farm this week! A total of 68, 170-yard white skeins of 3-ply yarn will be in my hands soon. Since that already covers my first few CSA members: I will be opening up the CSA to six more shares. To be fair, we'll pick via lottery. If you want to get in on the CSA leave a comment here with your name and location and we'll make a random drawing Tomorrow at 5pm. That way everyone has over 24 hours to get their one (only one please) comment in for a share. The price of a share includes your welcome packet and first skein before Christmas and then next fall (or sooner) you will receive another 4-6 additional skeins of 100% wool yarn at 170 yards. And, a pound of raw wool to process yourself (if you want it).

Comment away to enter the drawing!

Monday, November 29, 2010

hey csa members!

I got the call from the Mill today. Looks like 17 pounds of Sal, Maude, Marvin and Joseph's wool will be here soon! Everyone who subscribed will be getting a package just in time for the holidays and depending on the haul, I may open up a few more spots for new subscribers (which will be picked by a lottery if anyone is still interested). I can't wait to see what folks knit from Maude!

the town that food saved

I'm currently reading a fairly new book called The Town that Food Saved by Ben Hewitt. It is fantastic. It's about a small, rural, once-industrial town in Northern Vermont and how it totally revived itself by creating a culture and community of local food. It's the potion of the combined efforts of farmers, compost centers, restaurants, CSA, markets and Co-ops. By creating a true community based on a local system, the little town of Hardwick is creating the most necessary model for America: a local economy focused on feeding itself.

What's so great about this book is that it is a living example of what so many of us are trying to create in our own communities, and instead of just another binding preaching to the choir about the importance of local and organic foods: Ben shows us how the practical application of so many efforts are working. It's 223 pages of walking the walk so many of us are just starting to talk about. It's comforting, hell, it's inspiring to know this corner of the world might change the rest of it.

You gotta pick it up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a little cheer

kings and chandeliers

King Winthrop rules his kingdom with a steady wing. He doesn't care if it's 18 degrees outside (sunlight brought some warmth to the mountain!) or 80. He's the same kind, fat, giant boy. He's the oldest chicken on the farm now, from the very first batch of chicks I raised that first spring in the cabin. He's never once so much as lifted a claw to me, and I can scoop him up in my arms like a kitten. He never takes a bite of anything till he shouts to his hens, and only after every hen has eaten, does he take a bite of any scrap from the kitchen pail. He's such a fine bird. Brahma roosters are just too big to be surly.

I spent the morning chopping and stacking wood. I certainly am keeping warm. With the wood stove going the kitchen stays at 60 degrees. If I stay busy in there, baking and fussing and cleaning, the oven, my body heat, and the activity make it as comfortable as any kitchen. I do want to invest in a pellet stove for next winter. I hear they are easier to install than wood stoves, and that they are pretty much the same as washing machines when it comes to set up. You can vent them right out the side of your house. Pellets cost around 200 bucks a ton, but that's less than a hundred gallons of heating oil! I try to always keep my winter heating bill under 800 dollars. It's not always possible, but I think with two good stoves I could do it, easy.

Today I might meet a friend for coffee, and start decorating the farmhouse for the holidays. Nothing fancy, but I think a little cheer is needed. My mother would like to know the decorations she sent up are being put to good use. She always made our home in Palmerton into a Holiday Mansion of sorts, she even got on a ladder and tied bows to every section of light on the chandelier. That chandelier in the foyer is a houseware she adores. She she took as a going-away present when she left the Hess's Department Store's Advertising office in the late seventies. I love that light. It reminds me of ice storms, another love of my mother's. I really miss her this time of year.

god laughs

Remember that really comfortable, idealistic, post I wrote yesterday about the perfect winter farmhouse? Remember that?

The furnace broke down again. It's 9 degrees outside.