Thursday, November 20, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
We go to sleep night after night after a full day of milking, feeding, plowing, planting, mowing, picking, to look at the calendar and realize weeks have gone by and it is OCTOBER!!! We are busy getting the farm ready for the winter, assessing the hay and feed situation, gathering the heaters, checking the water lines for cracks or leaks and planting strawberries. The Farmers Son was booted from the nest and sent to the far end of the pasture in his own little cozy RV. His loft apartment is now vacant and will soon be a work place for the Farmers Wife to expand her projects and multiply her junk. After fall cleaning and decluttering, and countless trips to the Good Will, there is lots of room for some new junk! The market has been bustling with new patrons as well as our reliable regulars, keeping the girls busy producing milk. The pumpkin patch was reduced to several plants that were salvaged in the kitchen garden that were planted late, due to the grasshopper infestation, so we will probably have pumpkins for Christmas. The canner is still full of pickles, jams, juices. The fall produce is trickling in, some squash, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, peppers, soon to be followed by tomatoes and greens. The honey harvest was abundant. This year we filtered through a more course filter, so there may be bits of pollen, propolus, probably a bit of wax, and an occasional bee knee. So much the better! The market hours are the same FRIDAY AND SATURDAY FROM NOON UNTIL 4:00 PM. Call throughout the week for dairy pickup if needed. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Friday, August 15, 2014
Monday, July 14, 2014
Thursday, July 3, 2014
We will be open on the 4th of July, as the goats, cows, and chickens, do not care that it is a National Holiday, or that the Post office and Banks are closed, or that the nighttime skies will sparkle with unusual bursts of colored lights! We will have plenty of milk, meat, produce, honey, and if the Farmers wife gets on the ball, some blackberry, strawberry, and peach preserves. The corn is iffy due to swarm after swarm of grasshoppers, the melons are wonderful. The supply of homegrown tomatoes has been sufficient for all who stop to be able to go home and make the best BLT ever. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
And we have potatoes, lots and lots of potatoes, and onions, and garlic, and carrots, and beets, not to mention cucumbers, black eyed peas, squash, and whatever else that the grasshoppers have not annihilated. The summer harvest is in full swing. The corn, melons, and tomatoes should be in the market baskets this next week. There will be u pick on the black eyed peas, for anyone interested. Also, there should be pickling cukes available. The blackberry season is winding down. There are a few being picked for the market and some jammers have been gleaning what is available, but the season was short and just So So. As mentioned the grasshoppers are the worst we have seen in a while, due to the lack of spring rains. Hopefully we will be able to harvest some corn and melons before they completely take over. Settling in for the summer heat, preparations are being made for larger water tanks, fans, tweaking the irrigation lines, and finally turning on the air conditioners. The Farmers panting, and sweaty clothes were a sure sign that it was time. The milk production is holding steady, plenty of cow and goat milk. The canner has been drug out of seasonal retirement, and the first batch of chow chow was made this week. As the summer solstice approaches, one thing comes to mind, the days will start getting shorter, Yippee!!! MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday, from noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made throughout the week for dairy pickup. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
In Texas the words June Bug have their own distinct connotation. The bugs all decide that this is the perfect time to find a warm, dry climate, an area overflowing with an abundance of delectable fresh in the field fruits and vegetables grown without chemicals or pesticides, to set up housekeeping and invite all of their friends and relatives for a never ending buffet of all you can eat, at any time. This is when the battle of wills, farmer against insect gets competitive. Each year it seems that there are new rivals, will it be grasshoppers, Japanese Beetles, Colorado potato bugs, squash bores, aphids, spider mites, cucumber beetles..... the list is endless. Staring down a tomato horn worm and picking it off a tomato vine is a true test of stamina. We have always tried to be diplomatic with our enemies from the insect world, planting some for them and some for us, but when they get a little piggish and want it all, we draw the line. Using biologicals are our last resort, even though considered natural and organic, we hesitate. All it takes is the almost instantanious death of a beautiful zucchini plant that boasted of stately foliage and abundant blossoms, drained of life by voracious bugs, and all of the guns are drawn. Another hurdle in the continuous relay run by farmers every day. We may sail over it, we my stumble into it, we may just run around it, but we will make it to the finish line, none the worse for wear, most likely with a harvest proudly displaying a few irregularities, like beetle bites or grasshopper poo, or even rabbit nibbles, nothing a good rinse won't fix....... but it will still taste good and we will offer it proudly. And for the record June bugs should be called April bugs, as they always start gunking up our driveway and water tubs in April! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Friday, May 30, 2014
We have hit the ground running, as the early summer crops are starting to produce. The blackberry pickers are finding some nice ripe berries to fill their boxes. The Farmer is spending time in the hay fields, making sure the girls are all set for the winter, when the green grass is no more. The CSA will be going into its second month after this next week. We will be adding a couple of shares as the harvest looks to be good. Contact us if you are interested in participating. The milk supply has been plentiful as the girls are enjoying the green grass and mild temperatures. As the summer heat approaches, we will enjoy the abundance knowing it will change. This weekend the Self Serve Produce tables will be set up in front of the market for those that are not able to visit during market hours. As of yet, we have not been disappointed in the basic honesty and goodness of mankind. The money box is always full at the end of the day and sometimes it seems that there is more than there should be. As for our policy, if anyone is not able to afford what they need to feed themselves and their family, we do not expect payment. No one should go hungry when we have been so blessed. The Farmers Son is keeping the corn and watermelons watered. The corn is almost as high as an elephants eye, albeit an elephant with stubby legs. The melons plants are loaded with baby melons. The first of the cherry tomatoes are ripening, soon the market will have fresh, home grown tomatoes. The eggplant is just blooming, so it will be a couple of weeks. The next daunting task will be picking green beans. UGH!!! If only they grew on trees! The U-Pick blackberry season is under way. The berries are coming on gradually. The early varieties are in production, with the later varieties waiting in the wings. Appointments are requested, as we want there to be berries for those that want to come pick. Due to the heat, picking is done in the mornings. Blackberry picking information is posted in the previous blog. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Special appointments can be made for dairy pick up throughout the week. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Saturday, May 24, 2014
The blackberries are here! The first full box was picked today, hopefully many more will follow. Naturally the weather man predicts rain for opening week, but that is just par for the course. As there are early varieties and later varieties, the picking season should last for several weeks. Picking will be by appointment, as it is an established fact that visitors that come to the farm to pick berries have a tendency to be a bit disgruntled if they come all of this way, and go home with six berries in their box. Due to the very unpredictable weather, we will post each weeks picking schedule at the beginning of the week. Appointments can be made by phone or e-mail. HINT: Our farm schedule is pre dawn to post dusk. Answering e-mails after 10:00 pm are much more appreciated than returning a telephone call past most every ones bedtime. The guidelines for blackberry picking are very similar to the strawberry picking guidelines. Wear appropriate clothing, especially shoes. No sandals or thongs advised. A box of berries weighs approx. 7 lbs. the cost of the box is $20.00. Families with children are welcome, if there is one adult per each child under 8 for supervision. Yes, the electric fence will zap you, the rooster will chase you, the equipment will tempt you, as will the unripe peaches. If you bring your dog, our buck will jump the fence to chase it, as he has his territory established, and will make sure it is protected. And no matter how ridiculous it sounds, he thinks that your dog is a threat. So unless you want to spend your visit rounding up a goat on the rampage, leave your pets at home. Since the berries are not familiar with a calendar, days of the week, or times of the day, we will be flexible with picking times. We understand that when they are ready, they need to be picked. There is a jaunt to the berry patch, so plan on a little exercise. If you have small children a stroller or wagon can be used. This week there will be a few spots open on Monday morning. Picking will start at 10:00 AM until around noon. The next picking day will be Thursday, and then Friday and Saturday, starting at the same time. Contact us with the number in your group, we will reply with a confirmation of your reservation. We suggest a cooler to put your berries in after picking, we supply the box for you to pick and take home, but if it is hot, they would appreciate cool. A port a potty is available. We will post updated information as needed. If a day is scheduled and there are no berries to pick we will announce on our Facebook page, the answering machine, and the blog. We look forward to seeing everyone! From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
After the very abbreviated strawberry season, the anticipation for blackberries is mounting. The early varieties are at the red, soon to be black stage in their development. Their will be a few blackberries to pick on Memorial Day Monday, so if you have a small group that would like to come pick, let us know. All of the blackberry information will be posted on the following blog. The late spring produce is making a tentative appearance. The market will have carrots, beets, new potatoes, onions, garlic, a few straggler strawberries, some rhubarb, and making their debut soon will be green beans, summer squash, cucumbers. Lots of green tomatoes, so the tomato harvest looks promising. CSA members, remember Thurs. afternoon pickup. 3:00 - 6:00 PM. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Saturday, May 17, 2014
There are not many people in the world today that can boast of a perfect childhood. One that is full of all of the ingredients that make life full of pure Joy. Yesterday, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease, and all of its complications, one of the persons instrumental in creating that perfection, left this world and passed through the veil into the joyful arms of all of her loved ones that had passed before her. There is not a Mother on the face of this earth that was more loving, generous, patient, full of wisdom and wit, making life with her an adventure. Fond memories of days past, bring to mind, a home that was open to all who needed a safe haven..... foreign exchange students, unwed mothers, missionaries, a pit stop for weary travelers, always plenty of room, and a full refrigerator. Her relationship to the Lord was one on one, always seeking spiritual guidance in her everyday decisions. Her energy during her healthy years was endless. She raised seven children and taught them all to live righteously, and raise there own children in the ways of the Lord. As she knew that her days on this earth were coming to an end, and she made preparations for her final arrangements, she would joke about giving door prizes at her memorial service, to entice people to come. " Sis, go to Sam's and buy a bunch of smoked hams, then put stickers under some of the seats, at the end of the service have everyone check under their seat, to see if they won a ham!" Because of all of the lives that she touched, it is very doubtful that we will have to give away a ham for people to remember her. To the Wheat and Beet day Queen of Tremonton Utah, you were the best Mother a girl could ask for!
Friday, May 9, 2014
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Alas, relating to the adage that you cannot get blood from a turnip, we have realized that you cannot harvest boxes and boxes of strawberries from damaged and dying strawberry plants. We give them credit for their struggle to produce what they could, and accept that sometimes you cannot beat the elements. 900 lbs. seems like a lot of strawberries, which is about what we have taken from the field in the last couple of weeks, but the number should be around 3,000. What the freezes and hail did not destroy, are now being attacked by leaf beetles and choked out by fast growing weeds, brought on by the warm weather. Since we do not use chemicals on our crops, it is difficult to treat each plant by hand. The Farmer is already planning next years planting agenda, which will include a large hoop house with grow bag rows and sterile soil. We cannot control the weather, but we may be able to protect our strawberry plants a little better. For those who have made appointments to come pick, the berry selection will be very light. There will still be berries for a few more weeks, but just a smattering here and there. There will be room for a few pickers throughout this time, but we will wait until there are sufficient berries so that those that make the trek will get enough to make it worth while. If walking through a strawberry field just for relaxation and ambiance, is your forte', this is the place to come. Turning the page to the chapter on blackberries, the prognosis is much more hopeful. The blackberries sustained very little damage during the harsh winter. The blooms are numerous on the bushes, we look forward to a great blackberry harvest this year, which should begin around the first week in June. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. The spring produce is starting to trickle in. This week we had a little spinach, lettuce, asparagus, onions, spring garlic, rhubarb. The milk and meat supply has been sufficient, as is the honey. The Farmers Wife goes on her daily hunting trip down to the potato patch, armed with a tin can and a wooden spoon, whopping the potato bugs into the can, to be given later, as a snack to the laying hens..... all the while muttering to herself, that she hopes that the people wanting pesticide free produce, understand all that it entails. The potato plants are starting to bloom, so there should be new potatoes in a couple of weeks. The cucumbers, squash, melons, corn, are all doing well, fortified by frequent watering and irrigation, due to the lack of rain. We will be glad when the drought is over, and are forever grateful that we put in the water wells. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Weekend picking went without a hitch, albeit not all were able to come and pick that were wanting to, but those that came went way with plenty of berries in their boxes. We are just getting started! Monday and Tuesday are full, and we will give the berry patch a rest on Wed. and Thurs. to recoup for Friday and Saturday. It will be apparent by Thurs. how many pickers will be able to come, so requests for reservations can be made on Thurs. for the weekend. UPDATE FOR CSA members: Our first share will be ready on Thursday May 15. Pickup will be at the farm between 3:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 in the evening. We anticipate the share basket will include, carrots, beets, spinach, mixed salad greens, kale, onions, garlic, new potatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, herbs, asparagus. More information will be posted as we near the CSA starting date. On a more tragic note, we lost a dear member of our farm family this past week. If you recall Bitty Kit, the calf snuggler, and her litter of kittens, her son Samson was the only offspring that we did not give away. Samson was at the top of his game at nighttime prowling and hunting, keeping the farm free from rats, mice, squirrels, gophers, and whatever else he could flush out in the wee hours after dark. He must have been sidetracked the other evening and had his mind on hunting something other than food. He was getting about that age when puberty was approaching, and hanging out with his mother at night was probably a drag. Most likely got the itch to do a little exploring and check out the felines in the barns across the highway. Well, needless to say Samson was found in the middle of the road, a good part of him, anyway. A wise word from a Mother who knows best. Take heed from the short life and wild times of Samson the barn cat, " When a son feels like Tom Cattin' around in the middle of the night, thinking about wild oats and not corn and potatoes, chances are he will get hit by a truck, and end up as buzzard poop, and his cattin' around days will be over!!!" From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Lots of berries picked this week, and a little rhubarb for strawberry rhubarb pie. The weather has been ideal for picking, and visitors have been very appreciative of our efforts to give them a pleasurable strawberry picking experience. We realize this is a first for many, and want all who come to the farm to have fond memories of picking strawberries. For those that were not able to come, or asked to come, and we were booked for the day, we will be picking for another three or four weeks. The production will be a little slower, as the weather warms, but there will still be berries. We will continue with appointment picking, to assure that all will go home with plenty. Today, Saturday is fully booked, as is Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, we will determine how many pickers will be able to come next weekend. As the weather is not real hot, we will continue to pick in the afternoon. Adult pickers that want to come in the morning, can contact us and we may be able to make arrangements for you to come. We are usually not available, but can give you specific instructions and information. Requests for evening picking, would be futile, as the berries are usually picked out each day. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM.. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
There must be a strawberry picking network, or maybe it is the aroma of fresh strawberries that wafts in the air, blanketing the surrounding area alerting strawberry buffs that it is time. We have had a good turn out of pickers this first week, and all seem to be able to find more than plenty of ripe berries to fill their boxes. We will be picking every afternoon at 1:00 and will pick until we get tired of picking. Contact us and we will put you on the list for the day that you would like to come. There have been requests to come in the mornings or in the evenings for visitors that work or have school. Just give us a shout, and if we are here we will accommodate your schedule. We anticipate the picking season to continue for at least 3 more weeks, maybe more, then the blackberries will be just about ready. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The freezes, hail, straight line winds, cloudy days, were just slight bumps in the road for the determined strawberry plants. As the first of the season berries were picked, visitors were filling their boxes with an assortment of strawberries, big, little, fat, skinny, odd shapes and sizes, but none the less, still strawberries. In seasons past, the strawberries made their debut with a big hoorah for a couple of weeks, then gradually tapered off for the next couple of weeks, the season usually lasting about a month. This year, there are nearly as many blooms on the berries right now, as there are ripening berries in the field, indicating that with each setback from the assorted weather hits, some of the strawberries have stumbled and then have picked themselves up and started over again, so there may be strawberries for several additional weeks, if the early summer heat holds off. Because of the gradual onset of the berries we will be picking most every afternoon for the next couple of weeks. To make sure there are sufficient berries for the number of visitors that want to pick, we will pick by appointment. Just let us know that you are coming, and the number. Call or e-mail your information. The guidelines are posted in a previous post. To clarify the pricing, a heaping box is $25, price includes the box. This weighs approx. 7 plus pounds. If a full box is not picked, the price is $3.50 per lb. with a one time charge of $1.00 for the box that can be used again and again . Several calls have been received asking about large groups picking. Because of the amount of berries that are ripening each day at this time, and the loss of a bulk of the berries to the elements, we are not able to accommodate but several groups, families, and individuals each day. We want to make sure that if you come, you will leave with plenty of fruit. Updates will be posted and this may all change tomorrow, but for now, from our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
We have learned lots and lots these past few years of growing berries for u- pickers. To make your visit enjoyable and safe, we have several guidelines that we ask for you and yours to follow. The hours are going to be more flexible, as the berries are very late in the season and are ripening slowly, we will pick as they are ready. Picking will be done by reservation, so call ahead and we will schedule a time for you to come. We do our milking and chores in the morning, so most of the picking will be done in the afternoons. This blog and Facebook will have updated information as the picking season starts. Guidelines are as follows:* For each child under 8 years of age, an adult is required for supervision. We know that your children are very well behaved and would never disobey you, but we are a working farm with electric fences, roaming animals, equipment, beehives, among other things so we want to avoid any incidents that would make your visit unpleasant.* Wear appropriate clothing. Closed toe shoes, jackets, caps or hats.* No pets or outside animals allowed on the farm. No exceptions.* We do have restroom facilities, but do not have a picnic area. Lake Ray Roberts has several picnic areas, just a few miles to the South.* Each family group is asked to pick at least of one box of berries. If there are not sufficient berries to pick, what you pick will be priced accordingly. We provide the picking boxes, included in the price if you pick a full box, or $1 if you pick a partial. * The price per box is $25, the box will hold approx. 7 lbs. of berries. If a full box is not picked, the price is $3.50 per lb.* We accept cash or checks in the form of payment.* We ask that you respect our farm and our efforts to provide you with a good experience of picking berries.* Do not walk on the plastic mulch beds that the berries are grown in. Underneath are the irrigation lines that are very delicate, as is the plastic. We would not come to your house and jump up and down on your bed! * Do not eat the berries that have not been washed, as you will get a mouth full of sand and grit and possibly a bug or two. Nasty! The grocery stores do not allow grazing in their produce department, and we sort of frown on it also. Our time is better much better spent socializing and schmoozing with our visitors, than picking up spit out berry bits, and half eaten strawberry stems from the ground, in an effort to deter the ants and field mice from overtaking the fields.* Pick the berries that are deep red all around. If there is green or white on them, they are not quite ripe, and the sugar has not set in them. * Be courteous to other pickers.* We do not pick in bad weather. We may pick before or after, but not during.* We do not pick on Sunday. * We are not able to give farm tours at this time, but will look forward to all coming to our Fall open house, where tours and demonstrations will be given.* There may or may not be picked strawberries in the Market for sale. This is a U-pick berry farm, not a Me-pick berry farm! Call the farm for picking reservations, 903-429-2319 or e-mail us at info@ randcdairy.com leave your name and phone number, and the number in your group, we will contact you for confirmation. Friday, picking hours 1:00 PM until pick out. More information will follow, as needed. We look forward to a great picking season! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
HEAR YE, HEAR YE! As the winter freezes have come and gone, the pounding hail and the blustery winds have whipped across the fields, the strawberries have given it their all, trying again and again to make come back after come back. Our strawberry friends to the South, Fall Creek Farms lost all of their berry plants to the freeze and hungry deer, our other strawberry friends in Arlington, moved further south to warmer weather. We seem to be the Cheese that stands alone in the strawberry picking department in North Texas . This Friday afternoon will be the first day of strawberry picking at the farm. Reservations can be made on Thursday for any that would like to come and pick on Good Friday. There should be sufficient berries for 12 or 14 small groups. In the next post all of the guidelines will be posted, with additional information for pickers. This year will be reservation picking, as we want to make sure that their are sufficient berries for all those that come. Call the farm 903-429-2319 if you would like to make reservations for picking on Friday. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Lots of calls inquiring about strawberry picking, Are you picking? When will you start picking? Will there be plenty of berries for picking? Will you have room for lots of pickers? Will the berries be big again this year? The answer to all of these questions is quite simply..... we haven't got the foggiest idea! This is a new one for us. We are usually well under way with the picking season, at this time of the year. Our last examination of the berry patch yielded lots of bitty berries on the developing plants, as the transition is being made from bloom to berry. As it usually takes 30 days from start to finish, our guestimation puts the berry harvest to begin the last week end of April. We will monitor the progress of the strawberries closely, and as we near the projected opening weekend, more information will be posted. Why, might you ask, is everything delayed this year? Taking into account the continuous sub freezing weather, the drought, the night stalkers, (rabbits, deer, coons,) not to mention the battering wind and hail, it is next to a miracle that there will be any berries at all this year. But alas, never say none. There may be only one weekend of berry picking, and if that is the case it will be a blow out!!!!. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
The carrots and beets are planted, preparing to germinate under the gentle pulsing of the sprinklers on the newly developed watering contraption. It was suggested that maybe a couple of propellers be attached to the top, and a remote control motor, to fly it across the fields from one spot to another, but not so sure that idea will catch hold! Most of our irrigation is under ground, but the Farmer thought he needed a "floater", one that could be moved from field to field. The fruit trees continue to bloom, with close attention paid to the dusk to dawn temperatures and a nighttime ritual of an evening prayer that the frost will be held at bay. The strawberries are continuing to set blooms, as the count down to the u-pick season begins. It usually takes 30 days from bloom to berry. This week will be spent planting the transplants in the grow house. The Farmer is also preparing the soil for the corn, green beans, black eyed peas. It will still be a few days until we dare plant some of the seeds in the ground, as the Farmers Almanac predicts more cold weather. All of the CSA shares have been spoken for, thank your for the quick response. We are so excited for the new harvest season to start. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
In this case asparagus! It was thought that all was lost, and that the freeze took its toll on the newly planted asparagus patch. Shouts of jubilation were heard across the farm when this first stalk appeared. The Farmers son should have asparagus for Farmstead Market here, and the Denton Community Farmers Market coming in April. If this happens to be the only stalk that appears, we will relish it in a tasty dish, and be thankful for small blessings. The farm is bustling playing catch up on all of the Spring preparations. Feeding 21 baby goats on bottles takes a little time. The better part of them are little girls that we will use as replacement milkers in the future. The strawberries in the field are finally setting blooms, as warmer weather and sunshine give them what they need to emerge from hibernation. The u-pick season will be start later than usual, but there should be plenty of berries this year. The grow house is overflowing with transplants that will be put in the hoop house and in the fields. The tiny sprigs of grass are teasing the goats and cows with a little taste of what is to come when the rains come, hopefully in the next few weeks. The goat milk supply steadily increases, the cow milk supply has kept sufficient for the demand. Call ahead if a volume is needed. The Farmer has had his inventors cap on and has scrounged for bits of this and parts of that, and has come up with a watering contraption that can be seen in the beet, carrot, sweet pea field in the next few days . He must be a descendant of Da Vinci. MARKET HOURS: FRIDAY AND SATURDAY FROM NOON UNTIL 4:00 PM. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support !!!
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Farmers Son made a special trip to the pasture last night to announce to the cows and the milking goats that daylight savings time is approaching and we are going to set the clocks forward an hour, so would everyone take note and please come to the barn an hour earlier than they had been used to, for milking, even though it will still be dark and cold and sleep will be cut short. Needless to say, they heeded his request with sheer indifference and quiet disdain. Whoever came up with this bright idea, apparently was not a dairy farmer! When creatures of habit, that derive comfort and security from no change in their daily routine, live by the sun, moon and stars, cycles of the seasons, and signs regarding the weather, are asked to change their schedule just a tad, you might as well be asking the world to stop spinning on its axis for a short time. NO CAN DO!!! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
And there are a few signs of Spring.......finally. More baby goats are arriving, the buds on the fruit trees are opening a bit and the strawberries in the field are starting to blossom, the prequel to the u-pick strawberry season, which should begin mid April. 'The Farmer and Son are on the fast track with preparations to get the potatoes and onions planted, set out the cole crop transplants and spruce up the blackberry rows. The fruit trees weathered the freeze, with the exception of a little pluot tree that was in full bloom when the icy blast hit. Hopefully the peach trees will be able to bloom and set fruit year, as they all are full of buds. The poop pile that sits regally in the back corner of the farm boasts lots of seasoned compost for the nourishment of this years crops. With the lack of moisture this winter, the wells are going to be going full swing this Spring to keep the seedlings and transplants alive. At our new well, some vandals tore the electric meter off the pole and cut and stole all of the wire going to the well house. Thankfully we discovered the damage in between heavy freezes, or our well pump would have frozen and broke, and the damage would have been much more costly than it was. Someone's Mother would be very ashamed. The milk supply is good. If a quantity is needed, call ahead a day or two, so it can be available when you come. As the goat milk supply increases, so will the assortment of goat milk goods. Lots of soap, cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc. We have added a few more shares to the CSA. Applications are still being taken for those. The MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Available now are, honey, ground beef, baked goods, home, bath and body products, preserves, and whatever else the Farmers Wife has dabbled at this week! With the beef that are going to the processor, some soup bones and tallow will be available soon. Since the homemade marshmallows and sourdough bread sold out, promises were made for their return. Honey marshmallows are what candy made in heaven must taste like. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Saturday, March 1, 2014
It has been a busy morning down on the farm....... some us us did a bit of baking for the market and some of us gave birth to triplets! Not even a contest as to which was the easiest! The goat milk supply will start to increase, in a few days, as the Spring does start to freshen. We also had a cow freshen this past week, so the cow milk supply will increase also. The weather has us going around in circles, do we plant, or don't we plant. We have decided that all of the little starts are compfy and cozy in the grow houses over heat mats and under warm lights, so we are not going to subject them to 16 degree weather next week. The potatoes and onions are just going to be a little late in the ground. The up and down weather has caused some of the early varieties of peach trees to start to bud, hopefully we will not loose the fruit crop. The chickens are doing a splendid job of catching up on their brief respite from laying. The egg supply has been sufficient for the demand. Questions have been asked as to the u-pick strawberry season. APRIL! Getting ready to take the next "fatted calf " to the processor, so there will be plenty of ground beef this Spring. There are still a few spots for the CSA, which will also start in April. Check the website for more information. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!!!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
With the first hint of Spring, and the hopeful sign of transplant trays full of tiny plant starts emerging from the soil, it is time to invite all those interested in joining our C.S.A. program. A little bit tardy in our membership round-up, we wait until the Spring and Summer produce prospects emerge. Not unlike the birthday party where everyone is invited and no one comes, there is that niggling thought that what if thousands of seeds are planted and nothing comes out of the dirt? Always sway to the side of caution, we have learned in farming. That is the reason that the onions and potatoes are going to stay on top of the ground for a few more days. We are reminded of the frosted foliage from last year. The CSA information is on our website with a link to the application. Just fill it out and mail or bring it to the market. The payment for the first month, will not be processed until the week that we begin. The anticipated time we will begin is the middle of April. Notification will be made a week prior. All shares will be picked up at the farm this year. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be pick up days. There will be a limited number of shares, it will be on a first to join bases. If there are any questions, just contact us, we will be happy to help. If the weather cooperates, we anticipate a wonderful harvest, with a wide variety of fruits and veggies. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Friday, February 14, 2014
The Farmer worked his mojo, putting off vibes and scouring the country for that special Valentine's present, that would warm the heart of yours truly, his Funny Valentine . Priscilla and Penelope have joined the Bovine Beauties club here at the farm. After countless road trips, hot leads, phone calls, disappointments, he was inspired to take a trek to a generations old dairy farm in East Texas, lo and behold, the perfect additions to the farm were found. As the demand for raw Jersey cow milk has steadily increased, it was necessary to increase our milking candidates. The farm still has heavy production spells and light production spells, as the Farmer has not quite mastered the art of Bull Whispering to communicate with Caesar when to breed the girls and when not to.....emphasizing to him the importance of having milk on such and such day, after so and so has been turned dry. He just hopes nature does its thing, and it will all work out. It is now a well established fact the Farmers Wife is a 10 cow wife.( not counting babies and boys). Johnny Lingo has nothing on him. The Farmer told this to a life insurance salesman, trying to sell him a policy. Quote" I invest in life insurance for my family every day. My life insurance policy incudes 1 farm, equipped with all equipment, buildings, and water wells, 65 goats, 10 dairy cows, 13 calves, steers and a bull, 60 laying hens, 22 beehives, and all of the fertile land anyone needs to feed ones self, and not a penny owed. If you have a better policy than that, we will talk! If the wife had to go hunting for another man, if, God forbid, something happened to me, she would be quite a catch, even with a few extra pounds and a wrinkle here and there. Complete with a ready made farm, lock. stock, and barrel ." Unquote! What girl wouldn't be crazy for a man who thinks like that? From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Thursday, February 6, 2014
It is futile to try and dress with any hint of fashion when you are farming in the winter. Practicality is the norm as well as a necessity. As of late with the blasting ice and snow flurries and the biting temperatures, anything that is not thermal or woolen is useless. Hours spent on hair curls and a manicure are erased in minutes with a stocking cap and mittens, so scrunchies and nail clippers are the grooming tools of choice. The Farmer and Son take it all in stride. A quick trip to the barber shop, or not, a day or two without a razor, who cares? And who needs any lotion, when you can't see your skin. Neither one seems to be phased, if they are gussied up or not. Especially when they are covered from head to toe with whatever is necessary to keep the cold at bay. It does warm the heart cockles when the Farmer comments on "Sparkly Eyes" underneath two stocking caps, knitted scarf, thermal underwear, a sweat shirt, coveralls, a down jacket, woolen socks, boots and mittens, all the while having to help pick up the water buckets, because someone is unable to bend over, will all of the extra layers she is wearing. No complaints about the heat of summer ever again! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Saturday, February 1, 2014
For the last few weeks we have circled the wagons time and again, preparing our defenses against the ambush of periodic winter blasts that sneak up on us, trying to invade our territory and disrupt our well thought plans for early Spring planting. Just when we are lulled into a false sense of security with shirt sleeve weather, KAPOW!!!! Back to thermal wear and coveralls. The Farmer and Son are in idle mode, just waiting to jam it into high gear when there is a consistent break in the unseasonably cold temperatures, that will last more than two or three days. It still may be a few weeks away. Not to say that this time has not been well spent, as all of the equipment has been serviced, seeds and starts ordered and received, as well as the acquisition of some new, much needed implements, tools and gadgets that have been added to our repertoire to make our farming efforts a little easier. The Farmers Son has rigged up a new and improved system with heat mats and professional grow lights to start his seedling trays in warmth and comfort. A couple of Craigs list specials sit in the hay barn, in the form of feed buggies on wheels. Did you know that there is a special tool for cutting lettuce, and another one for asparagus? The Farmers Son was elated! The strawberries that we have been picking in the hoop house have been so valiant against the sub freezing temperatures, as they continue to produce. The milk supply is slacking a bit as some of the girls, goat and cow, have been turned dry, in preparation for the next round of babies and milking. The Farmers Wife is just biding her time, anxious to shed the winter pounds, with outside activities, which include planting and weeding. This year may be the year for the pristine kitchen garden with an arbor and a garden bench, a koi pond, manicured plant boxes, pots, and raised beds. Complete with herbs and flowers, as well as vegetables, under the nightly glow of twinkling solar lights, and singing wind chimes. The Farmer just shakes his head. If you can't plow it with a tractor, much to time consuming. A Girl can only dream. MARKET HOURS: Friday and Saturday from noon until 4:00 PM. Good idea to call ahead for milk availability. Plenty of honey, goat milk soap, ground beef. Keeping the pantry items stocked also,.....preserves, laundry soap, bee wax candles. The baked goods, breads, cookies, granola, can be found on the bakers shelf. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The Booty Hatch is finally starting to open in the Hen House! It has been a long winter without the usual abundance of farm fresh eggs. The girls have had a good rest, their new feathers all fresh and fluffy. It was an absolute travesty that the Farmer and Son had to have omelets with store bought eggs. The freezing weather has had much to do with the delay. There is little doubt that our fine feathered friends have spent their energy on keeping warm, not laying eggs for our breakfast. Just one casualty reported, and that was a hungry chicken hawk. It will take a couple of weeks for any substantial amount for the market, but the pullet eggs are an indication that the chicks from last year are contributing their part. The tell tale sound of cackling throughout the day has returned, an assurance that there will be eggs in the nesting boxes. The Farmer and Son are brainstorming about a chicken trailer. By moving the hens around the pasture, it would serve several functions........ fertilizing, aerating, insect devouring, and weed eating. How genius is that! We would also be able to increase our numbers, to accommodate the demand. As the next wave of winter weather approaches, we are secure in the knowledge that our laying Hens are healthy and fat, with warm feather coats. We will patiently wait for the early Spring laying cycle to hit us head on, anxious to fill all of the empty egg cartons we have been collecting all winter. From our farmstead to your table thank you for all of your support!!!
Thursday, January 16, 2014
The stork is coming! This year will bring at least 6 baby calves to our dairy herd. Only two cows were in question. This means plenty of cow milk during the peak summer season. The Farmer is breathing a sigh of relief, as it has become apparent that recently acquired Caesar the Bull is very low key in his lovemaking prowess. Not once did we notice any interest or inclination when it was obvious that the girls were in the mood, being flirty and shamelessly flaunting themselves. His gender preference was coming into question, noting his apathy and indifference towards the bold advances of the saucy hussies. Playing hard to get must have been part of his modus operandi. Apparently when the sun went down and under the cover of darkness, the moon and the stars, he really strutted his stuff.......secret, silent, and successful. HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY ! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
There is nothing more satisfying than pouring a glass of ice cold raw cow milk, or drenching your morning cereal with the smooth, rich cream that is found on top of unhomogenized milk. So it would be a complete shock to the system when your taste buds are attacked with a taste of metal chalk, which is how it could be described .....slightly mineraly, with a faint bitter aftertaste.....similar to lettuce after it has bolted in the summer heat. It was brought to our attention that this was the case with some of our ardent milk drinkers. Goat milk is the Farmers milk of choice and the Farmers Son likes his milk in the form of ice cream, and the tests by the health department have nothing to do with the taste, so the taste testing department in the dairy barn was a little lax. Here we go, the hunt was on. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson did not have a thing on the detectives living under the guise of Farmers here at R & C Dairy. Why would the milk be as sweet as could be for a couple of days and be so off tasting the next? The Farmer and Son started tracing back the everyday goings on of a herd of pampered dairy cows that seemed to do nothing but hover around the hay rings day in and day out. Since it is winter, and there is no grass for grazing their diet depends solely on what is put in front of them each day. Dry hay, harvested during the summer and fall, mineral tubs for added protein, and their custom blended dairy ration, fed in the milking parlor for an extra treat. Falling back on the old adage, You are what you eat, and the fact that the cows were healthy and fat it was decided that something in their everyday consumption was causing the fluctuation in the milk taste. It is a well known fact among raw milk drinkers that milk from pastured cows, will change with the seasons. The taste and color are effected by fresh green grasses and foliage. First thing to go were the mineral tubs, maybe they were the culprits. That and the fact that the cows do not know the term moderation. Tubs that should last several weeks would be consumed in several days. That seemed to solve the situation. Several weeks later another report, back to the sleuthing. The only logical answer would be the only other factor in their diet that was not a constant from the same source. Seems that the adage there is nothing free in this life is true. When last summer the Farmer agreed to do several of our farm neighbors a favor by cutting their hay on the halves, he did not do a thorough enough inspection of just what he was cutting and baling and bringing home to the girls. Apparently bitterweed is such a nondescript little weed that grows here and there in our area in the latter part of the summer. It is not toxic, just a little bitter, thus the name bitterweed. Some of the hay that we acquired had these little weeds rolled in with the grasses as it was baled. When the cows are tearing into a newly placed roll of hay in the hay ring, they dive in head first chomping a mouthful, regardless of what is in it. They eat several bales a week relying on us to make sure what is in them is healthy, nutritious, and will not adversely affect their milk. LIVE AND LEARN!!!! We think that we have removed all of the "contaminated" hay. Lulu will be glad to get her mineral tubs back, as she has a penchant for molasses. If you happen to have acquired some of the blinky milk, and you will certainly know, we will gladly replace it for you, just let us know. It is not harmful, just tastes yuk! We apologize that you have to get the brunt of our learning process. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!!