2011 – Preparations and Planning….Done! Finally Cheesemaking in 2012!

2011 – What a year! Lots of surprises, lots of work, lots of weather hardship; here is a brief overview:

We had an amazing start with three months of kidding resulting in 16 doelings born, almost doubling our milking abilities for 2012.

With Talitha’s broken arm, we reached out to our friends to help with the kidding and the outpouring of support was amazing.  We were so glad to be able to share our farm experiences with so many families.

The hoop house provided an extremely hospitable environment (warm bright and dry!) for all the kidding and visiting and goat life despite a cold snowy winter.

Construction finally started in March and moved at an amazing rate until Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit.  Dan brought in a crew of contractors he had worked with over many years and they are now dear friends of Talitha and the farm as well.  The chickens tried to help with every stage of construction.

We purchased a batch of “Rainbow Layer” day old chicks and raised them to laying hens who only laid white eggs (!)  These hens are the wild ladies on the farm now, ranging in the far back woods and sleeping in the hoop house at night with the goats high up on the roll up doors.

Our excavator made wonderful climbing rock piles for the goats in the exercise pen off the back of the hoop house.

We bought three pigs to drink all the extra milk that we would not be able to drink ourselves, feed to the babies or experiment with cheese recipes.  Until licensing, the milk cannot be used!

Kristina Langston was a most upstanding intern on the farm.

We tested and tested and tested cheese making recipes in our kitchen.

We had fun foraging wild plants, especially nettles in the spring and mushrooms in the late summer.

We moved the garden to the hillside by the creamery.  We were successful with green beans and tomatoes.  The poor late summer weather killed it, not to mention the repeated ground hog and chicken attacks.  Oh well, next year will be better.

We hatched ducklings with the Cornwall Middle School and Cornwall Elementary.

Our dogs all worked hard at their farm jobs.

We began with bees, with Ms. Sally Benvie’s guidance.

The goats enjoyed grazing the wide variety of forage on our farm.

Several elementary classrooms sent us chicks they had hatched to join our flock.  We also hatched some fertile eggs from another farm in our incubator.  These chicks were much more calm and closer to us and ended up laying multi-colored eggs.  Go figure?

We fished in the spring and early summer.

We adopted some amazing chickens from people who had made impulse chick buys from Tractor Supply.

Our local restaurants gave us all their scraps for the piggies.

We had a friend build a gorgeous chicken tractor.  We made a major mistake in the wheel base.  The chickens now live outside our back door because the tractor can’t move.   We are still looking for a bigger 4 wheel wagon base to make it functional.  Anyone know of one?

We enjoyed Black Rock Forest with all our children and dogs in the summer evenings, picnicking, swimming, fishing.  No blueberries this year though. 😦

The male baby goats went to the meat market, the young roosters went into our freezer and so did the piggies.

The rain started in late August, the dampness rose out of the ground, we cleaned the hoop house every few days to keep the goats comfortable.

We started the breeding season in mid August and finished in mid November.  Babies in 2012 from mid January to April, between 60 and 75, we think.  Volunteers always welcome!

Elaine Tin Nyo and Joan Bankemper, two artists, brought new perspective to us.

The beautiful Alpine girls joined our herd thanks to Doni Divincent, Millie Nelson and Doe’s Leap.  They provided comic relief through the tail end of construction and the horrible weather.

Our blue egg laying hen got broody and hatched and raised a batch of seven chicks, six survived, 4 pullets and two roosters who are just now doing that scratchy young rooster crow.

We created an amazing marinated cheese recipe.

Lots of water moved through our property with Irene and we lost a number of trees.  Other than the expense of shavings and grain for the goats who couldn’t go out to pasture and our endless labor of clean-up, we did okay, better than most Orange County farmers.

Our paint in the creamery failed because of the weather.  Local painters rescued us.

We finished the creamery in October, we started milking in the parlor, storing milk in the milk room and experimented with cheese in the big vat.

Then it snowed 26 inches and we had no power for 4 days.  Tremendous damage through our the farm.  Luckily Farm Family came through with insurance coverage.

Inspection by Ag & Markets when we were up and running again.

Licensed!  We’re official.  Of course, the goats were dried off the day before the paperwork came through.

The year ended quietly.  All the ladies are resting up in the hoop house and growing beautiful babies and getting ready to make amazing milk for our farmstead goat milk cheese.

We have made a Year in Pictures Slideshow which we will paste tomorrow.  We hope you enjoy it!

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4 Responses to “2011 – Preparations and Planning….Done! Finally Cheesemaking in 2012!”

  1. Lori Dahl Says:

    Congratulations! Sounds like quite a year! My goals are very similar for 2012! So happy when I see dreams come true! Best wishes for a prosperous New year!

  2. Robin Says:

    I’m very touched by the friends who pitched in to help on your farm this year. I remember a day Amity showed up to help me pick pumpkins (a lot of pumpkins) when I wasn’t feeling well. The warm feeling that came from that day will always stay with me.

  3. dogear6 Says:

    I saw your post on White Feather Farm on January 1. I’m glad you left your blog address so I could come and visit.

    Congratulations on your many accomplishments this year! How very wonderful. You got a lot done and you should be satisfied.

    Nancy

  4. edgwickfarm Says:

    Thanks Nancy. I love reading White Feather Farm every morning. Mary is so insightful.

    http://whitefeatherfarm.wordpress.com/

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