News from Lewis Waite Farm
The haying is finally done! The last bale put in the barn. It is ironic that the season began quite late when the early summer rains would not quit, and now we wind up the last of the haying in a drought. The ground is very dry. The grass on the hills where the soil is rocky and thin is burnt and brown. Certain patches of the pastures seem green but re-growth after the last trimming by the cows is very slow to come back. All the seasonal streams are dry and the streams that generally run all year seem a trickle of their former selves. Luckily we have 2 ponds to use for emergency watering. Today’s forecast included rain but we have yet to see a rain cloud looming. Garden seeds planted for fall crops of carrots, beets, lettuce, kale and kohlrabi are barely germinating. Let’s hope for a couple of days of steady light rains to jump-start our transition to fall. The leaves of some of the trees in dry locations are starting to turn their fall colors and falling. This is the end of the dog days of summer. The good thing is that the tomatoes love it, our swimming in our pond and tubing on the Battenkill are extended, and there is plenty of war weather to come before the chilly winds begin.
Washington County Fair
The Washington County Fair was a lot of fun and brought a series of visitors to the farm. My sister Beverly and my niece Laura came for the week and we went to the fair 3 times! I’m the only one who will go on any rides with Laura and luckily there are some she will ride herself. We also had a visit from Jayme our coordinator from Hellgate CSA and the D’Antonio family from Roxbury Farm 86th St CSA. There are lots of farm animals; cows, steers, goats, sheep, horses, draft horses, oxen, chickens, ducks, pheasants, rabbits, reindeer, pigs and piglets lounging in their stalls. We missed the rooster crowing contest but saw some of the cows and sheep judging and Laura’s favorite – the baby chicks and ducks you can hold in your hand. There is a display that has the baby ducks swim to climb a ladder to the top where the food cup is just a little reach for them. If they reach too far, they slide down the slide back into the water. Very cute to watch. There are tractor pulls of all kinds (garden, pedal toy, working farm, souped up tractors, trucks and monster trucks), sideshows and games, demonstrations of draft horse pulling, shearing, maple syrup making, spinning, quilting, rug hooking, ventriloquists, comedy acts, firemen shows and the judging of the vegetable, jams, crafts, photos and artwork of both adults and the kids and 4 H groups.
The summer has flown by, and we’re beginning to plan for turkeys already. We found a turkey farm in Orwell VT that is called Stonewood Farm. We are working with Paul Stone to coordinate the delivery in November and working with the webmaster to get the turkey ordering pages ready sometime in September.
Hope you all are looking forward to getting back to the routine of fall.
Take care and eat well,
Nancy and Alan Brown
Argyllshire Lamb August News Letter
I have been running so fast that if I trip I will run over myself! The grandchildren have disappeared doing their own individual things so it has been a marathon race. Apparently time is faster than my pace as the last time a newsletter was sent out was two months ago.
Two mountains of sheep compost were moved (and spread on the hay fields which will improve hay yields) a triple benefit event because last winter the piles kept the water from draining away and the sheep hydrant froze. This meant water for the animals had to be carried from the house. Exercise is good but this was no fun dragging 5 gallon pails of water through the snow drifts. It is good not to see the piles of compost. The number is four!
A forest of trees was mowed down with our newly purchased John Deere brush hog and the 100 horse power tractor. Like an ever ready bunny on a 100 horse power lawn tractor with a double blade 8 foot mower deck we just kept going around the fields. It had been a few years since the fallow fields had been mowed and the scrub trees and weeds were a real threat of permanently taking the land out of production.
About 10 acres of that fallow ground was seeded to hay which will be cut in a few weeks.
Haying this year was finished in time that we expect to have a second crop. This is especially exciting because earlier cut hay has the most nutritional value and second is usually even better. This makes it much easier to get more and bigger lambs
An easier way to isolate the meat animal and ram from the flock has been built to avoid those unwanted troublesome cold weather births. This also allowed access to the automatic stock water and should eliminate the need to carry any water during the winter.
The sheep barn is in the process of being improved for better sheep control and comfort.
It appears that there will be some fall lambs. This and the above mentioned improvements are part of Argyllshire Lambs dedication to provide a steady supply of lamb to our loyal customers. We expect to have lamb for sale starting in early September.
Time was taken last month from the marathon of farm chores to make the successful first commercial offering of our trademark protected Argyll Kid’s Bobbi Dolls. Renovations are now under way to provide a display and processing area for the dolls and wool. Information is now being collected to get updates and the entire assortment of Bobbi Dolls and wood craft items on the Argyllshire web site.
The end of the race is not yet here. Summers usually are this hectic but this has been the most satisfying. This year the focus has been on Argyllshire projects rather than work for others. There is no place I’d rather be! More lambs will help me achieve that goal.
Live well. Laugh often. Love much.