Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
This is Ramona, my momma sheep, with her full coat. I sheared more than 7.5 lb. of wool off of her!
I asked Gramp if I could use his old electric shears, he let me borrow them along with hand clippers. It took me about two weeks to finally say "Okay, Okay, It's time!!!" I had Andy and my very brave friend Paula help. I delegated tasks immediately and we went to work.
The first step of shearing a sheep is to flip them onto their rump so they're sitting like a teddy bear using my legs as a support for their back. In this position, they are fairly comfortable as long as my feet are in the right place. Then you clear the wool from their belly and hind legs. This wool is discarded as it is usually the dirtiest wool on the sheep.
After the belly and hind legs are cleared... well, that was as far as I could get using the conventional method that I learned at the course. There is a lot of maneuvering that needed to be done that was really easy when I had the expert to show me how to move into position, but that I couldn't get just right while on my own. So Andy (he's so good to me!) held the sheep in position while Paula kept the clean wool from falling on the ground as I sheared the rest of the body.
Once the sheep realized what we were doing, they loved it! After their new (very fashionable might I add) haircuts, they were put out on pasture. Well, they do look a little silly, but they feel much better. I now have about 20 pounds of beautiful white wool to process into yarn that will be the sweaters, socks, mittens and hats that keep us warm for years to come! I will take the course again next year and will shear these girls again, hopefully the right way! Until then, they're making a fashion statement that I'm proud of!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The first Farmington Farmers' Market was wonderful! The weather was perfect, there was no wind, and we had a lot of shoppers come through, we couldn't have asked for a better first market. Unfortunately I didn't bring the camera to the market, so I couldn't get any pictures. There should be a wide variety of vegetables, baked goods, meat, milk (a little later on in the season), eggs, seedlings, honey and other agricultural products as they come in season.
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
If you are interested in having local food all year long at a discounted price, we still have space available in our 2010 CSA. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 779-4858. We'd be happy to send you some more information.
Also, one more fun tid bit...
If you are looking for great recipes for your weekends, visit drinktdwines.wordpress.com My father (a chef that is highly regarded in the state of Maine!!) writes this blog for the wine importing business that he and my mom run (T & D Imports). Every Thursday he posts a delicious recipe and suggests a wine that would be appropriate for the meal. Last week the recipes were for Marinated Pork Tenderloin in Adobado Sauce, and Maple Glazed Roasted Chicken and Vegetables... my mouth is watering and it's only 7:00 in the morning!! Until next time, Eat Well!!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
On a happier note, the greenhouse is flourishing with greens growing above ground and earthworms thriving below. The Seedling Greenhouse has been a success. The eggplant, pepper and tomato seedlings are germinating nicely, while the chickens in the West Greenhouse are fertilizing the soil for them. Andy and I have had two meals that have included fresh greens. Hopefully they will be ready to harvest for sale next week!
The sap has stopped running! What an early spring. Notable is the fact that on this week last year we drew off our first batch of maple syrup! Today we are done collecting and have 22 gallons of finished product! Not bad for a bucket brigade operation.
Enjoy the gorgeous weather!!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
It is no secret that Andy and I would like to have the Tuesday afternoon market (for those of you who go away on the weekends and work during the day) along with a Saturday market in a location that is more visible to people who are shopping downtown on the weekends, and to tourists who are driving through on their way to Sugarloaf and Rangeley. We wanted you to take the survey to help us find out what the community wants in a Farmers Market. We believe that Farmington is a very unique town, and that it deserves a vibrant farmer's market that is family oriented with shade, music and a wide variety of healthy, local foods making it a destination location for the community. It has been a vision Andy and I have been conjuring up since we started this venture 4 years ago.
Unfortunately, we can't get many of the Sandy River Farmers Market members to agree with us. We have a lot of respect for the other vendors and believe that there are many great farmers in this area. We don't want to step on toes and we don't want to cause any hard feelings, so for now we are going to be at the Better Living Center Parking lot from May to October every Tuesday from 2-6, and Friday from 9-2.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Here are some pictures of our plants...
This is a red mizuna mustard green that is a part of our salad mix.
And this is Bok Choi. Yummy!
In about a week the greens should be big enough for us to have our first fresh salad of the year!!
We have also started 736 eggplant, pepper and tomato seedlings. We are expecting germination to occur at any time. These seedling will be put in our newly constructed seedling greenhouse that we incorporated into one of the larger greenhouses. Essentially a greenhouse within a greenhouse that allows double the protection, including a propane heater equipped with a thermostat.
Here is a picture of the seeds being planted. Yes this is my kitchen floor and yes, the seed trays are still in my house! This causes a great mess, and is very distracting for the kittens.
Andy has started 53 varieties of tomato. This is his favorite crop to grow. They are very time consuming to tend, but it is so satisfying to see the greenhouse filled with tomato plants taller then me covered in ripening red, pink, purple, green, yellow, orange and marbled tomatoes... we will have them soon enough!!!
The farmers market at the West Farmington Grange Hall on Saturday mornings from 10-noon is going well. There are more and more vegetables every week! Andy and I had baby romaine lettuce for dinner last night that we purchased from Aloha Rainbow Farm. She sells them for another local grower. They were so crisp and sweet... I think I'm going to go make a loaded sandwich for lunch!
Monday, March 1, 2010
you can purchase a $100, $200, $300 or $400 share, we then add a certain percentage to the amount you paid. You then have a line of credit that you can use to pick up Marble Family Farms products. You can pick up what you want when you want it. You can find out more at the MOFGA website.
We are set up at the Farmer's Market at the West Farmington Grange Hall every Saturday from 10-Noon until May, when we will be with the Sandy River Farmer's Market in the BLC parking lot every Tuesday from 2pm-6pm, and Friday from 9am-2pm.
If you are interested and would like more information or to sign up, you can e-mail us at email@example.com.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Every day when I feed and water my sheep (I have three; Amelia, Ramona and Beatrix), I open the pen so they can get out and stretch their legs. All winter long, though, they have been confined to the barn because it has been to icy for them to walk around outside. This morning was particularity nice because it had a damp, early spring feel to it, so I decided to take my sheep for a short walk so that they could "pronk" as my friends like to call it. If you have never seen pronking, it is when the sheep jumps as high in the air as she can and kicks her hind legs out. Or she starts running, then jumps up straight legged and lands as hard as she can. It is quite fun to watch and I can't help but laugh out loud. I brought the grain pail out to the front yard and they followed like good sheep until they realized that they were out in the open, it didn't take them long to start running around like little lambs.
I have had my sheep for about 9 months now, and I have to say that they are the sweetest animals I have ever dealt with. Tending the sheep in the morning is the only farm chore that requires me to slow down and talk softly. Sheep are very skittish and like routine and familiarity. My girls are a family (a mother and 2 lambs) and stay together. They are Corriedales, a wool and meat breed, but I don't intend to eat their babies. I didn't have them bred this past fall because only the mother, Ramona, was old enough. This fall I am going to have them all bred, and that will probably be as big as my flock will get for a few years (no lamb chops for you!). I really think that animals want babies, it's just the way nature works. This spring I am going to have to learn to shear them. I can wash, card, spin and knit the wool. Now I just need to learn how to dye it! Maybe you'll see some of the finished product at the Farmers Market this year!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
If you live in the Farmington area please take this Farmers Market Survey. If you have already taken the survey, please ignore it.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Last night we moved the chickens from the "old" greenhouse (now called the East Greenhouse) to the "new" greenhouse (now called the West Greenhouse to avoid further confusion on our part!). The ladies did a great job of picking the greenhouse clean, and leaving a lot of fertilizer! Here is the greenhouse after 25 chickens have cleaned it up for us!
And here are the chickens at home in the East Greenhouse now! We have a lot of carbon in the soil, so the high amount of nitrogen in the chicken manure should help break it down. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants will be in this greenhouse later in the spring.
So today we are rototilling and planting a 90 foot row of Beets, a 90 foot row of Spinach, 20 feet of kale, 20 feet of Swiss Chard, and 90 feet of salad greens! We are hoping that in 70 days we will have something to harvest! I can't wait for vegetables. Okay, the carrots and potatoes that we have in storage are wonderful, but you can only cook them so many ways before they get old! I need fresh, crisp greens!
Usually we have greens all year long, but this year we decided that the East greenhouse needed fertilizer in a big way, and that we wanted the addition on the West greenhouse. So we decided to take the winter off. We also wanted to get away for a while and this gave us the opportunity. It was really great to take a break from farming for a little while. We came back to it with the enthusiasm that we needed to regain. Now we are ready for a new growing season, and I know that I will never go without having at least a small plot of winter greens again!!
Here is my favorite soup recipe (although I did have homemade Minestrone soup that was even better! You can find the recipe at 4boysonly!) I thought I should post something to do with all of those storage vegetables! I always chop up potatoes and throw them in with the tomatoes. Also, a great addition is to chop up greens (spinach, swiss chard or kale) and throw them in as soon as you turn the heat off at the end... Delicious!!
Tomato-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
2 Tbl. EV Olive Oil
½ Cup Onion, Chopped
2 Small Carrots, Chopped
1 Celery Stalk, Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
4 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Lentils, rinsed and picked over
¼ Cup Brown Rice
14 oz. Canned Whole Tomatoes, drained and chopped
½ tsp. Thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
~In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth, water, lentils, rice, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, until the lentils and rice are tender, stirring occasionally, 50 to 60 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot.
Per serving: Calories 378, Protein 28g, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 52g, Dietary Fiber 22g, Sodium 763mg.