News from Lewis Waite Farm
Nancy and Runty
Well, the inevitable happened today (Tuesday June 5). I finally did a full back flop in the muddiest part of the pig pen! I have skidded down muddy slopes. I have tripped and fallen to my knees. I have gone sliding and arms flailing down a slippery clay slope. As a skier for many years, I am pretty good at keeping my balance. But never until today did I have to undress from my muddy slimy jeans and jacket in the porch before I came inside. Luckily we live on a dead end road. Luckily it was raining and cold all day so I had long pants and a waterproof jacket. And luckily I was all done with my chores and I just had to put away the wheelbarrow and come inside.
Yesterday Runty, who is all grown up now, hurt his leg and is having some trouble hobbling along on one rear leg as he will not put any weight on his injury. In the muddiness of today, it seemed extra hard for him to hop. He is pretty big and would be difficult to move to a “hospital pen”. I have been feeding him right where I find him each am and pm since his accident (we didn’t see it) so this afternoon he was halfway back to the shed from his trip to the water from the spring laying in a muddy puddle in the rain. He looked a bit miserable but he was resting. He puts his head right into a feed bucket lying on its side that has his portion of corn and soybeans inside and I had a bucket of water ready for him too. He ate without stopping and a few youngster pigs came to see what was going on. I drained the puddle with a rock and the slope of the hill was a big help. Once he was done and had a drink, he started looking and moving like he wanted to get up and finish his journey back to the shed to go to bed. I hurried off to get some more feed and water for him when he got there. My shoes were covered in mud and one step completely submerged them as it had been raining all day. Parts of the pasture are grassy and parts where they travel each day, like the area from the shed to the water, are trampled bare. Their little cloven pair of toes can really pock up the turf and there are 21 of them in this pasture.
Anyway, I get back and he is right near the shed and I throw down some hay outside to make him a bed along the foundation. It is a big step up to the shed floor and their hay bed and he is determined to get there. He hops along the wall until he gets to the smallest jump up and gets his head and neck on the floor he gives a heave and doesn’t quite make it. So I reached down and grabbed his good leg (all muddy too) and gave a big shove when he did and up he went! He hobbled in and started making his bed! What a guy! The pigs stick their nose in the hay and fluff it and make windrows and then settle in nose first. Before he lay down I gave him some feed and water. In the shed the pigs are milling all around eating since we feed in the shed in the rain, and looking for something to investigate. So everyone wanted to see what was in the buckets. So I was slowly making my way to the outside, letting a few of them have a drink too when I reached the edge of the step! Four or five pigs crowding in on you can be intimidating, but they are friendly and I have never been bitten or treated badly by them, so I do not mind them being close around me – I just don’t like being pushed. Suddenly the crowd moved all at once with me in the middle of the pack on the edge of the shed and hollering on the way down, I plopped right in the mud, right on my butt, right side up! The pigs did all look a bit astonished at me laying there yelling at them “why did you push me so hard!” and I’m thinking ugh! What a mess – and then I start chuckling and yelling and then I got up out of there, pushed the wheelbarrow and my empty buckets to the barn and headed straight for the porch and then the shower! While I’m in the shower, Alan comes home yelling through the house – What happened? And we both had a good laugh! Doesn’t every movie with pigs in it have one of these scenes? That’s it for this month!
New Poultry Provider!
Our new poultry provider is Kevin Clark of KNK Poultry in Edmeston, NY. Kevin has raised many birds over the years, and after him, his brother and his family built and began operating a state certified poultry processing facility he realized he could not do everything himself. Three of Kevin’s children still work on the farm (of 11 in all!) with Kevin and his brother. He began cooperating with natural poultry producers and provides the processing for these farms. He offers all natural chickens fed with no antibiotics or growth hormones. The birds are free from cages living in converted dairy barns. He can keep up with our volume as he has multiple producers to call on. So give these items a try and let us know how you like them and we’ll try them too; whole chickens, chicken breast 1 per package, legs and thighs 2 per package, whole Pekin duck, and ground dark meat turkey. Some of his prices are a bit more than Cloonshee Farm but the price of corn, soybeans (which are the basis for most ground chicken feeds) have doubled in the last year (oh, ethanol !) and gasoline prices too are skyrocketing. You will find that many food item prices on our farms and in the stores will be affected in the very near future by this rise in costs.
Bardwell Farm's New Goat Milk Cheese Maker, Peter Dixon
Our new goat’s milk cheese maker at Consider Bardwell Farm, Peter Dixon, is working with Angela Miller to produce some new flavors in their cheeses. They are milking the goats again and have fresh ~ 7 oz mini wheels of their delicious Mettowee cheese available now. The Dorset cheese is still available too. Their aged Manchester cheese stock is running out and with the new fresh milk they are making more but it has to age for at least 5 months so we’ll be waiting until it is properly aged. The feta is out of stock too and a fresh batch is aging to be available later. They are also aging a new cow’s milk cheese which will be ready soon – it has not been named yet and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.
Lewis Waite Grass-Finished Beef
Our first batch of grass-finished beef comes back to the farm just before the next delivery. I do not like to anticipate the number of cuts we will get so if you’d like to order beef, you may wish to delay placing your order or you can edit your order a few days prior to the order deadline with the new items in inventory. We hope to get back our first new cuts Thursday (today) and will inventory them as soon as possible. Then we hope to get more by mid to late next week. The beef is low in stock now as we do not send any animals during winter and we wait until they've had 2 months grazing in spring. So hopefully by Friday we'll have the first batch of fresh steaks inventoried and on the website by Friday. Then you can all edit your order using the “See my Existing Orders” menu item. Any question regarding this procedure, please feel free to contact us.
Rudi's Lakeside Garden
Charles Jacien at Rudi’s Lakeside Garden has a number of interesting new additions to his jams and sauces. He actually went to Florida to pick grapefruit for his new Drunken Grapefruit Jelly and grew his own Greek Oregano for his True Greek Oregano and Saffron Glaze. His Dandelion Jelly should be delightful as well.
We are hoping to have enough fresh farm eggs for everyone to enjoy. Cornell Farm, Laughing Pig Farm and The Brownells of Greenwich will all be supplying us eggs this summer. Since we do not know how many eggs to “have ready”, it is possible we may have to limit members to a certain number of dozen, but we are hoping to be able to supply the eggs so we will just wait and see. Susan of Rainbow Ridge Farm in Stephentown has also offered her eggs to us, in case we need them.
We wish you all a wonderful spring, great last month at school, and great foods at your first veggie distributions for the year,
Nancy and Alan Brown