Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baby Update

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As I hope you all know by now, Jason and I are expecting baby #3 this August.  the 17th to be as exact as babies will be.  It's a little boy this time and yes, his big sisters are extremely excited!

Yes, I have been out working hard all season and you can all relax now as I have been banned from lifting heavy things in the last few months and having been blessed with multiple employees and interns, have been able to keep myself doing the easiest of jobs.

I try not to do too much sheep chasing anymore.  much.

And yes, you will all have the opportunity to see, meet and/or hold the little one very soon after he arrives!  Depending on when exactly he decides to make his grand entrance to the world and assuming that everything goes well of course, he'll be coming with us to the first market that I feel up to attending.

Specifically for our CSA members and definitely for all of our regular customers, there will be some things affected, depending again on when exactly munchkin decides the time is to his liking.

CSA shares will take a break for a week or we may do some sort of alternative.  Keep your eyes on your email as we'll likely be notifying you by that method as to what exactly our alternative plan of choice will be.

For our regular customers, We'll try to have our booth at all of the markets no matter what but if for some reason Omache Farm doesn't arrive to market, at least you can make a pretty good guess at what's going on!

So at just about 2 1/2 weeks to go to the due date of Aug 17th, we are excited and busy preparing, hot and of course very tired.  Keep your eye out at the markets for news and on Facebook.  All of you lovely people are at the very top of our list to hear about our new little bundle of joy's arrival!

July 23 Hail Storm

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So the newsletters simply haven't worked out as well this year as I was hoping they would.  I'm sure all of you lovely folks will understand, given the circumstances.

That all being the case, this seems the perfect time to put several updates down on paper.  Well, digital paper anyhow.

The biggest update is about the recent hail storm that passed through the area on Wednesday July 23.  Hopefully most of you have had a chance to talk with Jason about it.  He was getting our booth set up for the Wednesday market when it hit town and as our farm manager coordinated much of the acrobatics that ensued.  There were several amazing folks that, upon hearing about yet another grand sheep escape that resulted from the hail storm, raced out to our farm to help put everyone back where they belonged.

The most challenging loss resulting from this storm is likely our pumpkins and winter squash.  Being blessed with more acreage than many folks who grow veggies in the area, we were working on growing nearly an acre of pumpkins and another half acre of various winter squash varieties.  The plants were very well established and while they have been growing back amazingly well the biggest question now is if they'll produce fully ripe fruits before the first frost.  In just the last four seasons, we've seen first frosts come as early as mid September or as late as the end of October.  Cross your fingers for luck for us!

All of our CSA members came down to the market to pick up their CSA shares that day (impressive given the nasty weather) and upon hearing of the total devastation of our outdoor crops completely understood when we told them that it meant a pretty sparse CSA share for the next month or more until we could get fresh crops planted and for the survivors (kale, chard, Zucchini) to grow back and start producing once again.

A huge thank you also goes out to Deep Roots Farm and Affinity Farm, both in Moscow.  They have both donated a couple of different items to help us fill out our CSA shares this week.  We cannot thank them enough!

Keep an eye on Facebook for photo updates.  Jason is hoping to take some photos of the recovery every week (Wednesdays or so usually) so we can all be absolutely amazed at the progress and amazing resiliency of Mother Nature.  Believe me when I say I have been most impressed at how well things have been growing back.

Friday, June 13, 2014

New Photos!

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I've managed to post new photos into the Flickr album (there's a page tab, right next to the Facebook page tab) AND I've figured out how to make it so that the photos there are visible without needing to be a Flickr member or a member of that group.

Lots of new photos on Shearing!  Enjoy!

p.s.  most of those photos are taken by HannaMae and Alli.  Mostly HannaMae as I think Alli is still figuring out the whole focus thing... :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spinach: The basics

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Spinach is one of those lovely vegetables that is inexpensive, ubiquitous, really really good for you, and extremely versatile!  Shall we break it down just a bit and give that huge-looking half-pound bag you just bought some ideas that make it suddenly not very much after all?

What to look for: 

The darker, the better.  Especially within a bag or box or other group of spinach.  Those are going to be the youngest, most nutritious leaves.  If you are finding lots of yellow-green leaves, chances are the leaves were some of the older ones on the plant or that bag of spinach may have been on the shelf for a while.  Frankly, it won't taste very good.

Crispy and crunchy.  The way to test?  No, don't squish or pouf or otherwise abuse the bag of spinach.  After that the only thing I can say is that it WAS crisp.

Shearing 2014

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As always, pictures will follow!  (This year, HannaMae took most of them so be sure to check out who took them: you may be surprised!)

Shearing!  Our annual time to catch up with our favorite shearer: Martin, and let our sheep turn on the AC!  And laugh at how silly the alpacas look without any fur anymore!  I actually mistook one for a deer yesterday…
            This year presented even more challenges than usual.  First, we had no barn.  That means, I had no way to guarantee that the sheep would be dry come shearing day.  One very good reason to wait until June to shear.  The second large challenge to having no barn is that now, we had no partially set up facilities for collecting, holding and feeding sheep into the pen with Martin to be shorn: We had to build something.  Luckily, we already have a stash of cattle panels and t-posts around for building various catch pens and loading chutes for sheep and pigs.  It took us a little while to decide on a good place that was flat, close to the house for electricity and big enough to hold everyone but once we did building something proved relatively easy.
            The fun part came when it was time in the morning to collect everyone in the chute.  While the majority of the sheep have been collected and shorn before, this particular setup was new (which equals extra skittishness) and there is always at least one extra skitter individual anyhow.  Add in younger lambs who scatter when herded like an ant nest when you stab it with a large stick as well as the alpacas who simply despise shearing day and never go the way you want anyhow and you have a recipe for sheep anywhere but where you need them to be.  Mix in one panel that wasn’t tied quite tightly enough and you get escaped unshorn sheep too.

            Stir it all together and you get lots of frustration, lots of laughs, luckily a good natured shearer, a great deal of learning and about 60 new fleeces that need new homes soon!  

Keep an eye out: we’ll post pictures soon! (Photos mostly taken by HannaMae!)