Week 46, 2022|Kristin Kimball|November 18, 2022

Mark took Miranda to Mexico for his cousin’s wedding in Oaxaca City last week, a big family event and Miranda’s first international trip. Mark has had a pretty intense year leading the farm – an intense 19 years, actually – and it seemed like a good opportunity for him to take a breath and show Miranda a wonderful part of the world. So they decided to extend their stay and adventure to the Oaxacan coast. I wrote for travel guides in my youth, and lived in Mexico in my late 20s, so I used those dusty skills to put together an itinerary for them. Car rental, hostels, and a curvy scenic route from city to ocean through the Oaxacan mountains. I booked them two nights in a little hut high up in the sierras, to break up the arduous drive. Little did I know that put them at the epicenter of the international magic mushroom scene (those skills were dusty indeed) which explains why they encountered so many young gringos wandering through the town and forest. Now they’ve arrived at a remote stretch of beach, in a little off-the-grid palapa, and are exploring the tide pools and making friends with sea turtles. I’m enjoying it vicariously and also having fun with the farmers here, as winter descends on us for real.

The animals had their own adventures this week. On Saturday night, Donna Sonnet came by to say our heifer herd was out on Middle Road, running north toward Willsboro. There are few worse feelings in the whole deck of farmer emotions than the ones that come from hearing you have two dozen large animals out on the road in the dark. Thank goodness for good neighbors. Fletch, Jim, and an anonymous good samaritan got them turned around, and controlled the traffic. Then Nick, Anne, and I managed to run them back to our field in the dark. Jake Armerding was visiting, and got roped in to help too. Where the heck did those heifers think they were going? Young girls that they are, I guess they were in the mood for a big Saturday night at the North End. 

On Wednesday, it was the ram flock’s turn. The heavy wet snow on Tuesday night weighed down their electric net, and when Nick went to feed them in the morning they were gone. Tracks led to Blockhouse road, and then, nothing. The team searched all day, through our woods and fields, the last of the standing corn, the neighbor’s fields and woods, and the roadsides. Darkness began to fall early, as it does these days. I jumped in the four wheeler for one last look and as I pulled out of the farm road onto Blockhouse, they were there in the road, all 10 of them, bunched into a triangle and staring at me like an a capella group posing for their album cover. As I fumbled with my phone to call for backup, they turned and sprinted west along Blockhouse, toward Middle Road. Not again! I couldn’t get around them, and coming up behind them just made them run faster. Anne and Nick joined me, but we were all in the same predicament. Just then I saw our neighbor Louie crest the hill, walking toward us with his small dog on a leash. The lead ram stopped and stood stiff, eyeing the dog. Oh dear. Rams can be aggressive, and at 200lbs, could easily flatten the little dog, or Louie. Then, in a scene that ought to have had a heroic soundtrack playing behind it, Tully drove over the hill. Tully wasn’t even working at the farm on Wednesday, but he’d seen my frantic message, and the ram flock is his favorite group of animals, so he drove over to help out at exactly the right moment. He calmly turned them, and walked them toward us. Anne and I set a net across the road and funneled them into our field for a happy ending. 

Members, we are a bit tight on supply of eggs and dairy right now. The hens moved to their winter quarters in the greenhouse this week, and hens don’t like change. We expect production to come up as soon as they feel settled. Our milk supply took a hit when we brought the cows off pasture, which was expected. But then a heifer due to freshen last week turned out to have slipped her calf, or perhaps, according to our vet, had a pseudopregnancy. In any case, no calf, and no milk from her. We have another cow due to freshen at the end of the month, and three more in December. Please feel free to get in touch if you have questions about this.  

Finally, we are hatching a plan for a Thanksgiving morning carrot harvest party, to get the rest of the carrots into storage. I know that might be a hard sell with your guests, members, but hear me out. The only thing the cook really wants on Thanksgiving morning is a peaceful empty kitchen to work in. And everyone else needs to do something physical in the fresh air to work up an appetite for the big meal. Moreover, what better way to celebrate this harvest home holiday than by actually bringing the harvest home? It’s a win win win. Stay only as long as you want, and all are welcome – young, old, skilled, beginners, members, non-members, friends and visitors from all quarters. (Mom, if you are reading this, don’t worry, no pressure.) If you want to join us, please text me beforehand at 518-645-4658 to confirm that we are on and I will let you know when and where to meet. 

Remember, we will have delivery and distribution on our usual days next week, and are sending everyone wishes for delicious meals and good times with loved ones and friends. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this snowy 46th week of 2022. Find us at essexfarm@gmail.com, on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or at the farm, any day but Sunday. 

-Kristin & Mark Kimball