Climatology 2011: Fall weather continues with an occasional hint of winter.
Are you interested in sourcing firewood from Mesa Top Farm? Apologies that we are slow in getting the firewood harvest going. We will keep all of you who inquired informed of our progress.
This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: Cassie, the earth momma of cows, Mesa Top’s first cow, aged 14, who came here in summer 2001, had her calf. I was like a worried father-to-be for the last week. Several years ago she was the first of our cows to get “off cycle” and produce a winter calf. Our experience with her is what showed us that winter calving and milking were a difficult but good opportunity for this farm. Last year she calfed in December, the day after an 18 inch snowfall. I thought nothing of it as she had gotten her calfs through the critical first days in 3 successive winters before with no help from us, but we lost last year’s calf. And Cassie’s life was miserable for a month after that, as she ended up with mastitis. When her udder is painful she becomes a psycho cow. We had to tie her legs to milk her out so we could treat the mastitis. But we got through that and she bred back quickly.
She comes from a line of heavy milking Tarentaise. Her mother was culled from the ranch that we bought her from for overproducing milk. This is not a good thing in a range cow, because of the threat of mastitis, a potentially life threatening sickness if undiscovered and untreated In a properly managed dairy setting, there is really no such thing as too much milk.
Anyway, this time I made sure that we kept her close to home and that she spent her nights in our momma cow maternity ward and yesterday morning she had a gorgeous heifer calf. Cassie’s colostrum was spoiled and we bottle fed the calf colostrum we had frozen from previous cows. We are giving Cassie the royal treatment and everything looks good for momma and baby.
One more winter calf to go, Abigail, a first calf heifer from Dottie’s line.
This week’s cheese making update: We have ordered the supplies to begin making an aged feta cheese. Hopefully we will start next week. Some changes we have introduced in how we make the Salado jack are giving us a softer cheese. Progress in the cheese room has created the space for us to set up our stove top arrangement so that we can make ricotta. We are working out a new process for ricotta making and hope that this can be done in a labor and time efficient fashion so that ricotta makes sense for the farm. We are rearranging freezers, creating more space in the cheese room. Step by step the cheese room process keeps moving forward.
This week’s cheese share includes: A piece of Mesa Top Salado Jack and another artisanal cheese.
Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update: We had to turn on a propane heater for the piggies. They were just too cold. They cannot thrive at this time of year on their own. So now they live in the chick brooder. A bit stinky, but we do not see any other options right away.
This week’s Veggie/Share Update: The pre-thanksgiving week’s share always seems odd to me. We give members some of Sally Harper’s organic pecans, and they are always expensive. This year they are more expensive than ever due to the effects of last winter’s big freeze. But we are sticking to our regular plan of providing this superb New Mexico product so that you can use it in your holiday preparation.
But almost 40% of your share value is in the pecans! This does not leave room for as many other items as we usually like to include in the share.
Along with the pecans we have beautiful squash and sunchokes for you from Gemini Farm, and for your fresh salad we have lettuce mix and radishes from Agricultura COOP.
Enjoy your thanksgiving and we will see you all in December!!
Membership news: Thank you for your investment in the CSA . We appreciate your continued support! We are offering bonuses for adding to your Farm Account through the end of the year. See Dena’s emails for details.