Week 12, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Mar 22, 2019

Super-fast note this week, sandwiched between sending a revised draft of my new book, Good Husbandry, to my editor, and racing to the bus stop to pick up the kids. There’s a snow-rain mix coming down as I type, which makes it seem like the weather forgot to check the calendar and realize it’s officially spring.

Mark left this morning for ten days of hiking with old friends of his, in Yosemite. They have gotten something like ten feet of snow in Yosemite in the last weeks, which means Mark and co. will be snowshoeing, and camping in snow caves. The idea of exerting huge amounts of physical energy and sleeping with a bunch of sweaty people in drippy snow caves for a week fits Mark’s idea of a vacation quite perfectly; I am very content to stay here and keep an eye on the place. Not that my eye is really necessary these days. Chris returned to full time work this week, after a winter hiatus to renovate his house, and Ann, Jori, Anh Thu and Jonas have management well under control. We’re grateful to them, and to everyone else on the team, for allowing Mark to get off the farm. He always comes back with fresh perspective and new ideas, so brace yourselves.

I made a huge error in the last note about the date of shearing. It’s happening this Tuesday the 26th, not Monday the 25th. We have two volunteers signed up already, and we could really use some more. Shearing starts at 9, and will go all day. We especially need help skirting, sorting and packing fleeces. With the wool price as low as it is (we just got our check from last fall’s wool pool, and got a whopping .30 per pound!) we really need to rely on volunteer help for this job, or just resign ourselves to composting it, which makes me sad, because it is good quality white wool. We can show you how to skirt, and – bonus! – we have a beautiful new skirting table all ready to go. We may also save some of the best fleeces for processing into yarn. Last time we did this the yarn turned out very well – creamy white, medium-textured, worsted weight, great for mittens, hats, and sweaters, and for dying projects. If we have enough people skirting, we could offer the opportunity to learn how to handle sheep, vaccinate, and trim hooves. These jobs require more muscle and stamina plus a little bit of training, but are absolutely teachable. If you think you can join us, please email or call the office as soon as possible so we can get you on the schedule.

What else? It’s mud season, for real. The farmyard nearly swallowed a truck this week, and we don’t expect improvement any time soon. But the sun is coming, and getting stronger. I hear the sap is running like crazy this week. The greenhouses are looking quite full of flats. The kale that is direct-planted in the South Greenhouse is beginning to actually grow. The sows have had two cycles with Ham Solo, and hopefully most of them are bred. The wild geese are coming back from their winter in the south and their noise has the farm geese all agitated; they are honking even more madly than usual, and molting, and maybe thinking of making some nests for setting eggs. The ewes are beginning to bag up now, so right after shearing, we’ll start to get ready for lambing. And that is the lightning-fast news from Essex Farm for this snain-falling 12th week of 2019. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on insta and the web at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

Good Husbandry