Pumpkin . . . Fall 2011

Pumpkin . . . Fall 2011

Monday, June 28, 2010

Farm Store and Barberpole Worm Update

The Farm Store will open on July 9th. We pushed it back one more week to make sure everything is done right and the kitchen garden looks good (with all the rain over the past week - weeds are taking over).

Still no barberpole worm. Hunnie and Manon (my canaries:) are still bright red and everyone else has bright pink skin and are still very, very active. There are no laggards to the barn when called (they all come at my call - full speed).

Our vet is coming out this week and will confirm that there are no worms infecting my girls and boys this summer. If this is so then I think I have done what everyone said could not be done - eliminated this horrid parasite from our farm. If this can be replicated on other farms - then so many, many animals can be saved from anemic death.

Gardens are all in and I am starting in on second plantings of lettuce, radish, etc. Wonderful weather this summer. Yesterday we spent the afternoon on the ocean with friends and their beautiful boat. Mark, Declan and I had a wonderful time.

The harvest is just beginning . . . .

Buy local . . . . eat well:)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Barberpole Update: Still No Worms

As of June 15th . . . . Still no barberpole eggs in our fecal counts and also all of our ewes are showing very "red" eye membranes.

This is the first year that I have seen our sheep act so very happy and crazy midway through our worm season. Last night they were running circles around the pastures and leaping into the air with joy. Bunny hops to the barn were not uncommon:)

Our lambs are growing so huge this year!!!!!

The Waller study from Sweden is working here on our farm - we are also adding some supplemental copper this spring.

I will keep all of you informed with regular updates . . . . Please e-mail if your have any questions.


Shearing Sheep - Mark Shears a 20 year old Ewe

Our neighbor - Bob McCallister, has a ewe that Mark has shorn for the last four years now. She was over fifteen when Mark first sheared her and she is close to twenty this past weekend. As a shearer to our local "small" flocks in Washington county, Maine - this is his favorite shearing job. This old girl is probably on her last Maine summer as she is suffering from severe arthritis - but otherwise she is in quite good health.

Here is a photo of Mark and the ewe nearly shorn:

I am so proud of Mark. When shearing a very elderly sheep - the skin is so very, very thin. Mark sheared her with just a few very superficial nicks. Bob's old girl will now have a very comfortable summer:)

Monday, June 7, 2010

How I Got Rid of Barberpole Worm . . . .

I think I have finally done it . . . . Eliminated this pest on our farm.

We finally sheared the last 16 ewes over this past weekend and every single ewe had membranes that were very, very red. The only ewes that were even slightly off this color are my milky girls who send everthing to the lambs (boy the lambs are sure getting big this year too).

The secret is this . . . . This past winter I wormed with Ivermectin - three different times. I sent some fecals during spring lambing season in to my vet - no barberpole eggs found. First membrane check with shearing - well you know what I have found:)

I think I have done it. The only problem is - you need pastures that are exposed to temps close to 0 degrees farenheight in the winter. Any state south of Pennsylvania probably cannot replicate this study "Towards the Eradication of Haemonchus Contortus From Sheep Flocks in Sweden, P.J. Waller et a., Veterinary Parasitology, 2006".

I will be doing this once again this winter as we are adding another ram to our farm and I just want to "be sure" .

We will be offering our first "Shepherding Workshop" this fall where I will go over my study and results regarding Barberpole in great detail. I will also give my own perspective on minerals and Icelandics - they need so much more than the average sheep:)

I have one Great ram lamb left for sale as breeding stock - he is the grandson of Pumpkin and Noison. Very, very healthy like mom (who is 1/2 leader sheep) and very, very fine fleece like Noison. So far he has an easy going temperament too. His color is solid Moorit. All the rest I am going to keep (the ewe lambs) and the rams will be sold as meat.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our Heritage Meat Chickens - Silver Laced Wyandottes and Farm Store Update

Our first batch of around 50 wyandotte chicks were just put out on pasture last weekend. They are beginning to grow very well. The above photo is what our Wyandotte newborns look like.

We started collecting eggs from our breeding flock in March and set the eggs in both of our incubators on April 1st. I have two Brinsea digital incubators that work extremely well. The incubation period for chicks is around 21 days. Wyandottes are ready for processing at about 12 weeks of age. They will weigh in around 3-4 pounds dressed out.

The flavor of the meat is more complex that the standard meat bird (Cornish X's) used in pasture flocks as well as the factory farm setting. My foodie friends describe the flavor as reminiscent of a game bird in both texture and taste. The fat on our birds is pretty much non-existent. If there is any under the skin - it is a very dark yellow/orange color. This reflects not only the bird's food conversion genetics but the bird's diet rich in greens and insects.

Here is a Wiki link that describes the chicken breed:


This bird is a heritage breed and is listed in the "Ark of Taste":


Now for an update on our Farm Store: We will be opening on Friday, July 2nd. Our first pick up for the buying club will be on that day too. Participating farms include: Tide Mill Organic Farm, Olde Sow Farm, and Udderview farm. I will not be assessing a percentage fee for each member order per week - only a $25.00 yearly membership fee is required.

(All availabilities will be posted on this blog and orders can then be e-mailed to me by Tuesday of each week.)

Our carpenter, Lester, finished the restoration of our Ell just yesterday. He did a great job. It was a difficult job to piece Sheetrock around the exposed beams - because of our home's age none of our walls are square. I really wanted the post and beam structure to show - esp. since it dates to 1767. Lester did a beautiful job.

Now Mark and I will be busy cleaning, painting and finishing floors over the next few weeks. Then we can have our store inspected for our food license (whew). Since it is raining today I will be working on both the membership form and my press release. I also have a few items I need to send our artist who is drawing up our farm logo.

We are very, very excited about the store. . . It has taken us four years to get to this point and we are so happy to be offering healthy, nutrient dense food to our local community - year round, with the addition of our hoop house this fall.

Buy local . . . . eat well,