Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chicken Processing Dilemma

SO the trick is in the timing. Broilers are supposed to be butchered at 8-10 weeks. However, with the snow, I figured it would put us back a week. Now I am not sure. There is a trade off, they eat a LOT of feed. And is one more week of growth going to pay that back to us?  Besides, we need room for the next batch as well. I feel TERRIBLE that those poor birds had to suffer in all that snow, but there was no way to predict it. The likely outcome here is that we will push back our spring bird deliveries until April of next year, so that we don't have the same problem. That also means we will raise MORE birds this fall to ensure we stock our freezer to provide chicken to our customers past January.

We make adjustments every year, and we can never predict the weather to get it just right. We do get better every year, so we'll see.

It looks like we are likely going to process on May 4th. I've been telling people all sorts of dates because the truth is, we don't 100% know until the day arrives that we need to butcher.

Also being butchered that weekend - roosters for stew meat, a few tom turkeys and all the guineas we can catch!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Raw Milk!

OK, we have some news about some fellow farmers and friends of ours.  They have officially launched their raw milk shares business!   These folks are neighbors of ours in Berthoud. They raise ducks, chickens and turkeys, too, but they just started a raw milk share operation and have lots of yummy raw milk to sell.

You can find out more about our friends Will and Mo at WiMo Farms and their raw milk shares by clicking the link.

What does this have to do with Long Shadow Farm?  Simple! These guys are our neighbors and friends and we are sharing the love.  And secondly - all my ice creams will be made from fresh, raw cows milk (and occasionally raw goat milk, from another neighbor). 

If you are concerned about raw milk and it's safety, I urge you to do more research, but also know that ice cream, in case you didn't know, is actually cooked before it is frozen, so even unpasteurized milk for ice cream use will be processed in a way to eliminate bacteria that is present. But raw milk can be safe, especially is a small, family farm environment. These guys are not confined in tight spaces, are given lots of love, and the milk is checked periodically. It's not handled much, from the cow to the jug to you. We've chosen to support our local, natural farmers by using raw milk for our ice creams! It's super creamy and makes even tastier ice cream!

OH, and by the way, we have a fresh batch of vanilla in the freezer, and I'll be working on a batch of cinnamon this weekend!  Got a favorite flavor?  Let me know, I'll make it for you! $5.00/pint, and our ice cream containers are now compostable!

Hey, a quick addition here... I, personally, never really liked milk. I stopped drinking it in high school and never drank it again until I got pregnant with our daughter. Then I drank a lot, but only skim milk from a local dairy. I continued to drink skim from the local dairy even after she was born, because it actually tasted good compared to the store-bought stuff.  I don't drink a lot of milk, but sometimes really like a big tall glass. The other night was one of those nights, and I was all out of skim. I really wanted milk - so I cracked open the raw milk jug that my daughter drinks, and poured myself a big glass. I am a convert! Holy moly that stuff is amazing!  Don't forget to contact WiMo Farms for your share of raw milk!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Such a busy weekend

I am sorry I didn't get any pictures, but I'll try to rectify that this weekend. We got so much done, my back is still sore.

  • I received my trees and bushes from the conservation district and got all 60 or 70 of them planted over the course of the weekend
  • We cleaned off the back porch and put a roof over the pergola, so we have a safe place to enter and exit the back of the house, that will be free of turkey poo!
  • We fixed some of the broken irrigation in the greenhouse, and got the last 3 beds planted in there
  • We planted a ton of cold-weather plants outside, finally, lettuces, radishes, carrots, turnips, beets, etc.
  • I planted some more strawberries, and got the irrigation running on the existing strawberries, which are coming up beautifully
  • We built 2 mini-greenhouses on raised beds, and planted rhubarb under one of them. My mint should be coming soon to plant under the other. We can make a total of 6 of them with the materials I have. I'll take photos as we build the next ones so you can see the construction.
We fixed and set up a lot of irrigation, just in time for a big snow storm, so we have to disconnect or unplug it all in the hopes it wouldn't freeze and fracture. Yay, weather!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Introducing Jason StathRAM

We got a new ram over the weekend. He previous owner didn't have a name for him (they raise a lot more sheep than we do, so I can understand).  In light of our last ram that I named Jean Claude Van Ramme, I was trying to think of the big silver screen tough guy names, and was considering Dolph LundgRAM for this guy, until we met him.  He's not quite a year, and doesn't have his horns in yet. But he is 100% Dorper, so we can start breeding in more hair and start eliminating the wool from our sheep. So, since he is a little bit smaller and a little bit younger, I picked a more recent action star, one of my favorites, meet Jason StathRAM.
Here he is being introduced to all of his new ladies.

You've got a big job to do, little man! They all wanted to meet him!

We had a long talk with his owner about tail docking, and decided we won't do it again. He said for hair sheep, they don't need their tails docked. HOORAY! Sheepies with tails again!

When we let the ladies in to meet him, they MOBBED him. Looks like the girls are ready for him, I hope he's ready for them!