Week 52, 2018 | Kristin Kimball | Dec 29, 2018

The close of the year is gray and wet. Last night, a steady freezing rain. The Swartzentrubers were on their way to work here this morning, doing OK in their buggy in the rain and ice and almost to our farm when their horse spooked at the approach of the town snow plow. The horse veered toward the ditch. Lizzie said she thinks they would have been alright and gotten control of her except the buggy fishtailed on the slippery road and that made her bolt. The buggy flipped and came apart. The three women were fine aside from a thorough scare and one big bump on the head. The sun wasn’t up yet and the horse disappeared into the dark, dragging the bottom half of the buggy, so they walked the rest of the way to the farm. It took a while to find the mare, who had ended up in the woods. She’s got a scraped knee but she is fine, too. The buggy, however, is totaled. Sam came with one of his sons in a different buggy and towed it home, in pieces.

The rams came out of the ewe flock this week, after two 17-day cycles. The bred ewes are raddled with blue, red or green from the different colors of paste we put on the rams’ chests, which makes the flock look like it is in the holiday spirit. One of the rams was here on loan, and has already gone back to his home farm. The other three are pastured in front of the house, with the pony. I like the look of the two young dorset rams and would like to use them again next year, if we can figure out an easy way to keep them away from the ladies. Flock management got so much easier this fall, after we bought a lot of used sorting equipment. It only took an hour to set up the pens and chutes and run the whole flock through for sorting, instead of a long day’s rodeo. There was one brief moment of excitement, when the long-legged loaner ram jumped out of the chute, but Jonas was thinking fast, dove into the mud, caught him by a single hind leg, and held on.

What were the farm wins for 2018? There were big ones, and little ones. Off the top of my head: We got a much-needed new well, worked with a dream team of farmers, installed 6 long miles of new high-tensile fencing, and put a new root washer in a heated space. I’m going to count sheep as a win, too, because the flock has grown so much, and is thriving. We will have lamb in the share for at least 10 weeks this year. The VAPG grant was a huge game-changing win. And on the very cool improvements list, just this week we put into service a Future Pump – a small, solar powered, portable pump, bought with a Cool Farms grant from the Adirondack Council, which will make it possible to water stock in remote locations. The biggest win of all, as always, is our members. You are the force that makes our farm world spin. Thank you so much for your support in 2018. We hope you are having a joyful and delicious Holiday week, and we can’t wait to feed you in 2019. As soon as we have a firm grasp on the membership numbers, we will make our seed and potting soil order. Seeds hit dirt in a mere 8 or 9 weeks.

And that is the news from Essex Farm for this last week of 2018. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

Good Husbandry