Haying with Draft Horses at Full and By Farm

Another spectacular day in Essex! Perfect summer days mean great gardens, and soon enough I’ll be posting a garden update to show you how well the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and Brussels sprouts are doing. But first I’d like to introduce you to one of the lifestyle luxuries we’re able to enjoy as Essex residents. Please meet Full and By Farm.

We pick up our farm share every Thursday evening, and Sara emails the farm members in the morning to let us know what to expect. I’m including last week’s note in its earthy entirety below, and the video tells a little piece of the haying story described in in her note. I hope you enjoy both! Here’s the Full and By Farm note for June 17, 2011.

We are trucking right along this week—moving animals, planting crops, harvesting, weeding, cutting hay, cutting soap, building wagons, enjoying the moderately warm sunshine. This is our first year cutting our own hay and the learning and preparation curves have been steep. Given the uncertain weather predictions for the week and all of our new-to-us equipment we decided to cut one small field on Tuesday and get the process down before going for it whole hog. We took Abby and Lightning out on the horse-drawn mower, selecting the smallest field, but coincidentally the steepest and least rectangular. They took it on like champs, despite several problems with the mower, and the sneaking suspicion that lots of sharp scissors are following right at one’s heels. James is out now tedding the field, we plan to rake, bale, pick-up and unload all TODAY. Hay wagon building has largely been a late night activity. If we seem a little shell-shocked at pick-up tonight, please be nice, it’s been a long day and week.

The vegetables are perking up and getting green out in the fields. Our current harvests however are still being hampered by the earlier mud season issues of poor germination and cloudy skies, followed by the really hot week which caused the soggy, stressed out plants to bolt. All this to say that we are starting to harvest a little bit of a lot of things. Great news on the variety front, but hard to divide up 40 ways. We’re getting creative though and offering up some fun stuff at the share tonight and as well as sweet things to nibble on while picking them up.

Three important things to know today:

1) We are having our spring farm tour and member dinner two weeks from tonight, on Thursday June 30th at 6pm. We’ll provide a farm-fresh dinner and solid wagon ride. You all bring the desserts, a place setting and drinks to share. Please rsvp by email or the list in the csa room. I’ve put in the rainbow request already, but they won’t guarantee a thing this far out.

2) We are officially rolling out the Full and By Farm “Go Whole Hog” challenge tonight!!! The rules are simple: fill out a card for your household, this will live at the farm. Check off the boxes after you’ve used each of the cuts on the list**. When your card is completed you will get a hand printed “Go Whole Hog” shirt or grocery bag. **And don’t worry, we’ll help you out with some of the more challenging ones.

3) Our last spring calf was born on Monday into a muddy puddle. It was a rough entry, but his long legs helped him out. We had originally named him Gus after the legendary Texas Ranger Augustus McCrae. But after getting to know him a little the name just doesn’t seem right, mostly due to his challenge with direction (i.e. his tendency to walk the opposite way when we move the cow herd). We’re considering Gonzo and Gulliver. Bring your vote tonight, write in’s are welcome.

In the veggie share: lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, spicy lettuce mix, braising mix, stir-fry add-ins, spring onions, spinach, nettles (by popular demand) potatoes, celeriac, black and white beans. coming soon: garlic scapes, baby turnips and radishes.

In the meat share: pork, chicken and ground beef, lard and leaf lard, lavender soap.

See you all tonight between 4 and 6,

About virtualDavis

A writer, storyteller and unabashed flâneur, George Davis (aka virtualDavis or G.G. Davis, Jr.) is the author of Rosslyn Redux: Reawakening a home, a dream and ourselves, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks with his bride. He blogs about storytelling, poetry, doodling, marginalia, flânerie, publishing, and other creativity-inspired esoterica at virtualDavis.com; posts sometimes exhilarating, often unnerving, occasionally euphoric, and always pollyanna "midlife mashups" at 40x41.com; chronicles his sailing adventures (and misadventures) at Sailing Errant; and delves into matters of parenting, babylandia, and childfreedom at Why No Kids? George formerly taught and coached at Santa Fe Preparatory School and The American School of Paris, and he co-founded and launched Maison Margaux: "Paris à la parisienne" in Faubourg Saint-Germain. He currently owns and operates Adobe Oasis in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his bride. George meanders on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr.
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