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Fresh Roots Farm Notes for Weeks 24-27

I don’t know how I thought I would ever consistently write weekly blog posts.

Anyways, as the last post I wrote was June 8th, there’s been lots going on here at Fresh Roots Farm. June was pretty crazy nutballs, to say the least. We got some new arrivals, that were all quite welcome. First to arrive were the lambs, which started coming into the world on June 12th. When I saw the first set of twins, I was by myself, but am pretty sure I did a lot of giggling with glee and maybe jumped up and down a bit. I’m going to doubt that those things ever stop seeming so cute, even after you’ve had loads of them. I’ll have to ask some fellow shepherd friends. But I don’t think so.

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Aw, look at the smiling face on that little guy…

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Troy holding a baby lamb while wearing a beesuit.

So, we got 36 lambs in 12 days from 20 ewes. It was a great experience, and I was really pleased that I got to play a large role in the processing of the lambs and such. They are so much more easy to handle than cattle, for a lil’ gal like myself. Here I am, getting ready to do some dockin’ and castratin’, and obviously being so cool because I am wearing headphones like a DJ:

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Lots of learning happened in that 12 days, and of course, it still continues. Shortly after lambing was done (thank goodness), we received a week-long downpour of rain, wind and all kinds of freaky weather, and the damp ground has not been ideal for the livestock, but we are keeping a close eye and they are finding all of the nice high spots in the pasture area they have access to.

The other ‘new arrivals’ that we had in June were our very first “WWOOFer” couple, Pedro and Kristyna. WWOOF Canada (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a work and culture exchange, where interested travelers can stay with folks engaged in sustainable farming practices and help out, in exchange for room and board, and some cool experience. We were a little apprehensive to have some strangers come and stay with us for a whole 3 weeks, but Kristyna (from Czech Republic) and Pedro (from Spain) were AMAZING people, and we were quite sad to see them leave, just today. They helped us here on the farm, in a time when things were busy above our capabilities to deal with it all, and jumped in with both feet, keen to learn and fun to be around. We really got a lot out of the whole cultural exchange, as well, learning more about their lives, where they are from, and freshening up our ‘espanol’, which was really fun.

This is a photo of Pedro & Kristyna today, helping me harvest and wash veggies for CSA:

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Aw, they’re so cute. I miss them already. Here’s hoping that we can have more WWOOFers and farm visitors that might live up to the standard these two have set. Muchas gracias, amigos.

The other new arrivals have been so far a little less exciting. We added 10 new Ameracauna hens to our layer flock 3 weeks ago, and excited about the prospect of 30 hens providing more eggs available for CSA members, we have been somewhat disappointed as NONE OF THEM HAVE BEEN LAYING EGGS. And we know, because their eggs are blue. Right now, we are blaming it on the “stress” that comes with moving to a new environment, and all of the weird weather fluctuations that actually really screw with a laying hen’s egg mojo. And yesterday, we added 3 new Muscovy ducklings (!) and 4 Ameracauna chicks (which hopefully will lay someday in the future) to the poultryfest happening over at Chateau Poulet. We’re accumulating quite a fun menagerie around here. Add a goat, a bunny and a miniature horse and we’d have ourselves an all-out petting zoo.

Oh, and I almost forgot! We have four new kittens, that were MIA for the last month, but recently showed up and they just can’t get enough of being cute all over the place. Like this:

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KITTEN CUDDLEFEST

Despite the lateness of the growing season this year, I am feeling pretty good about the market gardens, with no small thanks to the contributions of Pedro & Kristyna in that department, over the past few weeks. The rain didn’t devastate, rather made nice lettuce-growing conditions, and helped me postpone the inevitable final installation of my drip irrigation system.

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The South Garden on a dreary day.

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Me, being a freak with some kind of leafy thing.

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Kristyna, working hard with the 5 gallon salad spinner.

 

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Deer Tongue Lettuce, a beautiful heirloom Bibb type.

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Red Oakleaf Lettuce “Rouxai”. It’s pretty (and tasty)

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The classic lettuce rock-star, leaf lettuce “Simpson Elite”

So. Much. Lettuce. And we’re loving it, eating tons of salads! Some of the other veggies are seemingly behind ‘normal’ schedule, which is understandable as they went in late. However, with the 2 week forecast looking like straight sunshine, I wouldn’t doubt if we see some teeny tiny miracles happen yet.

Anyways, three weeks into the 14-week CSA program and all is well, at least I believe that everyone’s enjoying the copious amounts of fresh greens I’m imposing on them in their baskets every week. I am really happy so far with the Cartwright-Mather route to 17 households on Tuesdays, and 12 households in Killarney on Fridays. It helps to spread out the harvest, and also the driving time. And, I have a fantastic group of CSA members, many of them new, in both locations. I’m glad to be reminded of how fun it is to bring food to people and get them all stoked about vegetables and herbs. What an awesome job this is.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that we are not doing Farmers Markets this Summer, (for various reasons, namely for scheduling purposes) but for anyone reading this that might be near enough to us to purchase our vegetables, honey, value-added products and more, we encourage people to come visit us out here at the farm! I love it when people stop by to ask what we have available, or call/email ahead to order their veggies for the week. Please get in touch, if you are curious, interested and/or hungry. You might even get to see some baby animals! (There’s a very high probability)

I could go on and on, but frankly I’m exhausted, and that is probably why I defaulted to finally writing a blog as my body doesn’t want to physically do anything else. Feeling happy though, excited about all of our new farm arrivals, and good things to come this Summer.

Cheers, friends!

-Michelle

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Fresh Roots Farm Centerfolds

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