Farm Foto Friday April 18th 2014

April 18, 2014

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A Friday morning ritual. A series of photographs and brief descriptions that capture the farm at that moment in time.

Predators! A guest post from Cara

April 9, 2014

sharp shinned hawk

 

It must have been a strange sight: two women sprinting across the farm, jumping fences, and yelling at the sky. This is not the first time we’ve done this, and unfortunately it will not be the last.

Our chicks are about a month old now, which means they spend their nights inside and their days in an enclosure outside. Eventually the chicks will be free range like the rest of our chickens, but for now we like to keep them safe while they are still small.

I was near the creamery and heard a scream coming from the chick enclosure. I look up and see a hawk fly right by me carrying off one of our little barred rocks (whom I am very fond of!) Talitha was down by the house and heard the same noise as the hawk flew right passed her. We both immediately took off running screaming at the hawk and following it into our neighbor’s yard. At this point, the hawk, which I found out was a sharp-shinned hawk, dropped our little chick and flew off. We were lucky this time. The chick survived without a scratch.

But we are not always that lucky. Hawks are always lurking nearby ready to pick off our dwindling chicken population. We have come to recognize the signs of a nearby hawk: our “neighborhood watch crows” alert us if there is one nearby; and our trusty roosters will alert their hens to find cover. Even with these protectors, we still lose our beloved chickens.

There are much more advantages to this one disadvantage of free-range chickens. Our chickens are healthy and happy out exploring around the farm…but this will always be something we will have to deal with as farmers.

Monday Goat Doodle

April 7, 2014

Happy Monday!

Farmer boys 4-7-14

Enjoy Cara’s goat doodles of Edgwick Farm!

The Rollercoaster Ride of Weaning Baby Goats…a guest post by Cara, herd manager

April 5, 2014

Esmeralda

As I write this I can hear the distant cry of this year’s babies. They are not in pain…they are being weaned. Two weeks ago I took them off their noon bottle and yesterday was the first day that they did not receive their 7am bottle, leaving them with only one feeding a day – in the evening at 5pm. It will take them a few days to adjust…and it is just as hard for me as it is for them. They look at me with their sweet innocent eyes and cry for the comfort of their bottle. I am not being cruel. They are strong, healthy babies who eat plenty of solid foods – hay, grain, and treats such as evergreen trees and dried leaves. It is time.

When babies are first born they need to be fed bottles 3 times a day. The first 5 days we give them their own mother’s colostrum (the first milk that comes from a lactating doe which has antibodies to protect the newborn against disease.) After that we give them goat’s milk. At about 2 weeks old we add hay and grain to the kid pen. They do not eat it right away, but they play with it, chew it, get used to having it around.

Once their digestive systems are ready for solid foods, they begin to swallow the grain. The first sign that they are digesting the grain is while they are at rest they begin to chew their cud (goats swallow food, let it ferment in their rumens, then bring it back up to chew again). Once I saw that they were doing this, it was time to think about weaning.

My issue this year was that I noticed they weren’t eating the hay or really drinking any water. When a baby is around older goats, they learn from example. Since we keep the kids separated at this point, it is harder for them to learn how to behave like a goat. When something isn’t working, you try something new. I decided to move the hay rack. Where I placed the rack the older goats were able to get their heads over the wall and eat the hay from it. The babies saw this and immediately began eating the hay. This was a huge step. No more noon bottle. This was when they were just shy of two months old.

The next step was to try to get them to drink the water. I again decided to move the water bucket. I chose a spot where they were used to getting their treats. I tied a colorful string to the bucket to keep it in place. They immediately started to play with the string…and sipping water soon after. At this point the kids have been getting supervised play time in the hoop house with the big ladies every morning. We would run back and forth and play outside on the big rocks. They loved this! It was always during the time when the goats were being milked and spending time in the holding pen so there were less ladies in the hoop house.

We kept them on 2 bottles a day for 2 and a half weeks.  Before the decision was made to wean them off their 7am bottle, they needed to spend more time in the hoop house getting comfortable with their surroundings…and hopefully learn out to drink water from the big trough and hay from the big hay racks. Once left alone, the babies spent the entire morning with the big ladies and eventually relaxed. They watched the goats drink water and eat hay…and they followed suit. Seeing them peacefully napping in the sun in the hoop house surrounded by big goats was a huge sigh of relief. It was time to wean them off their morning bottles.

So now we are down to one. Just one bottle a day. And in just a couple weeks – weaned completely off their bottles. In no time they will be living full time in the hoop house as part of the larger herd completely forgetting their days spent crying for bottles. Goats grow up so fast. Just a little over 2 months ago I was watching them take their first steps. Weaning is bittersweet. It gets exhausting and repetitious feeding the babies 3 times a day…but once it’s over, you miss that special time you had bonding with them. I had a wonderful team of volunteers that helped me get through it all with big smiles on their faces…and I know that they miss feeding times as much as the babies do.

Every year will be different. Every goat will be different. The most important part of raising baby goats is to watch for every little detail. Are they eating? Are they drinking? Even – are they pooping and peeing? How do they interact with others? Are they acting normal? If not, what could be wrong? There are so many factors that can affect a baby goat’s life. Observation is everything.

So I write this to look back on in the future, to remind me that although it will be tough…and the babies will look at me with their sweet, innocent eyes as if I have bestowed upon them the ultimate betrayal, weaning is just a small part of a goat’s life. I will get to watch each of them grow, go out to pasture for the first time, have their first babies, get milked for the first time, and live a long happy life here at the farm. And in just 10 short months, I will be doing it all over again with a new set of babies!

Where to Find Us April 5th and 6th 2014

April 4, 2014

We finally have another weekend of indoor winter farmer’s markets. We have missed seeing all of our regular customers! Cornwall’s is Saturday 11 am to 3 pm indoor at St. John’s Church, 66 Clinton Street. Beacon’s is Sunday 11 am to 3 pm indoors at Scenic Hudson’s River House, 8 Red Flynn Road. Talitha will be at both markets while Dan, Aidan and Cara handle the weekend farm tours and make cheese at the farm.

To both markets, we will be bringing fresh Canterbury goat cheese, Marinated Canterbury, Rosemary Fig Canterbury, Moodna feta and Sackett Ridge hard cheese. (Sadly, the 2013 Funny Child has sold out and the 2014 batches won’t be ready until the summer markets start.)

As a treat and something to spice up your early spring meals, we have made horseradish Canterbury. We have mixed horseradish in with our fresh soft goat cheese, making a spread that has a tasty kick! Pick up a 4 ounce log of this goody for $7, quantities are limited but if you like it, we will make more for the April 13th Beacon and the April 19th Cornwall markets. Let us know!

E-mail us at edgwickfarm@gmail.com for any special orders or if you would like your raw milk order filled (this is only for existing customers who have been to the farm for milk pick up and will be trading in milk jars.)

Our upcoming tours this weekend and for all of the coming week are fully booked. Check our Facebook page or e-mail us for availability. Families coming on these tours will get to meet all the growing babies born in January and February as well as the new chicks and any babies that are born this month! Cara, our herd manager gives the guided tours and Big Dan will be doing the cheese tastings and milk tastings. Don’t miss out – the tours end April 30th. Book yours today!

Before you know it, Easter will be here on the 20th. We are thinking of making chocolate chevre truffles for pick up at the farm on the 16th -19th and available at the Cornwall and Ringwood markets on the 19th. Let us know if you would be interested.

Farm Foto Friday April 4, 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

027

 

A Friday morning ritual. A series of photographs and brief descriptions that capture the farm at that moment in time.

Monday Goat Doodle

March 31, 2014

Happy Monday!

Mud Season 3-31-14

Enjoy Cara’s Goat Doodles of Edgwick Farm!

Bee facts from Cara

March 29, 2014

Appreciate your honey!  A worker bee only gathers 1/10 tsp of honey in her whole life. It requires 10,000 worker bees to gather a pound of honey. Bees fly the equivalent of more than twice around the world to gather that pound of honey…and 2 MILLION flowers need to be visited for that pound.

bee-animal-wallpapers35

A little poetry for your Saturday

March 29, 2014

To Be of Use

By Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

From Circles on the Water (1982), by Alfred A. Knopf

Monday Goat Doodle

March 24, 2014

Happy Monday!

Happy Spring 3-25-14

 

Goat doodles of Edgwick Farm by Cara.


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