Monday, June 8, 2015

Hit the Hay!

This morning started with a visit from an old fiend, Brett McLeod. Brett's part of the story of this farm and he stopped by on his way back to the Adirondacks after a weekend with his girl in Massachutessts. He had a hell of a gift to drop off, a copy of his new book "The Woodland Homestead" and I am so proud of him! It's a gorgeous book helping folks understand how to manage their forests on their land, and even if all you have is a handful of trees you'll learn to use them better thanks to this handbook. We went out and had brunch at the Roundhouse Cafe and it was wonderful to see him. I can't recommend this book enough, his first! There will be a launch party here in Cambridge at Battenkill Books on July 9th! Come meet the lumberjack who helped this farm when it was brand new!

After Brett headed home I headed west to R'Eisen Shine Farm to meet up with Ejay. He was getting a delivery of fifteen piglets and I had reserved four. So with the dog crate in the back bed of my pickup and two border collies in the cab with me - we headed towards Greenwich to grab the bacon seeds.

It's so lush this time of year and the drive to the pickup reminded me what I love so much about the Northeast: humidity. People like to complain about it but that's because they are fighting it. I accept humidity with open arms. I accept the sweat, the heat, the thick air and the amazing things it brings in return for the free Sauna. Thanks to humidity we have gentle thunderstorms, fireflies, and a world so green it shocked me when I moved back east from Idaho. Idaho a beautiful, as most of the Rockies are, but there is something so much more vibrant to me where the earth is wet and breathing heavy.

I pulled into the farm's driveway and saw Ejay there on the bed of his pickup, looking defeated. He had lost poultry to a weasel, a lot of poultry and was behind in his work. I know that feeling and we  chatted while we waited for the delivery of the piglets. It was nice catching up. I met Ejay and his wife Kim when they attended a horse workshop at my farm a few years ago. At the time they lived an hour or so south but recently they bought a farm here in Washington County and specialize in pastured poultry - chickens and turkeys. They also have goats, rabbits, sheep, and a family of dogs - including a new border collie puppy named Ron Swanson.

The pigs arrived... they did not smell great. That's enough about that.

I got the pigs loaded into my truck's crate (thanks to the help of Ejay and the delivery guy) and then I helped Ejay move his pile-o-pigs into their pasture pen. There was a little work of moving from hog panels and unloading a multi-colored huddle of porkers off the back of an ATV and into their new digs but it was a Big Time.

I like R'Eisen Shine Farm because it's scrappy. The fields are tall and unmowed, because the fields are where the food is raised. I don't know why the mowed lawn became popular as it has. Now a mowed lawn to me is a place stripped of value, a dead place where all you can do is sit and read a book. You can't graze beasts, you can't plant vegetables, it's just taking up space? Not at this farm, no there isn't lawn there is GRASS and it is beautiful. It's a real farm dedicated to real food and doesn't try to look like a booth at the county fair. What does shine at the place is the animals, all on pasture, who were healthy and bright and enjoying this lush world as much as I was.

It looks like a storm is coming so I am going to head out for a jog, but I will leave you with this shot of the new piglets home at Cold Antler. It must have been a stressful drive because soon as they hit the hay they hit they hay. An hour after I had them set up in the barn (they will move out to the woods eventually, but are small now and bad weather was in store) they were all asleep. Not a bad day's work for a little farm on a mountainside. Now for that jog!


Blogger EZ said...


June 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Hydro Farming said...

The information in your blog is very informative. Keep up the good work.

Hydro Farming , hydroponics UK

June 9, 2015 at 2:25 AM  
Blogger Hydro Farming said...

The information in your blog is very informative. Keep up the good work.

Hydro Farming , hydroponics UK

June 9, 2015 at 2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bacon seeds" What a great turn pf phrase.

June 9, 2015 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger R'Eisen Shine Farm said...

I swear that the pasture not being mowed is a growing decision... better for the bees and natural ecology. also, the goats will eat it..... eventually.

June 9, 2015 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger sash said...

OMG I want to pet their bellies. And may I add that I love your farm friends simply because they named a dog, "ron swanson." I'd like to meet a real ron swanson!

June 9, 2015 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Sam I Am...... said...

Too cute! And they are smiling! You're a great writer and a great farmer...keep up the good work and then you have energy to jog? You ARE good!

June 9, 2015 at 2:28 PM  

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