Steve’s Weekly Update 12/7/11

Climatology 2011:   After a weekend of several snows and increasingly frigid temps, we had a morning of 15 degrees below zero.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project: The cows are eating us out of house and home.  Still hoping to move many of them very soon.

After the -15F morning, Abigail’s udder ballooned up.  We knew she was about to calf.  She spent the day in the maternity room as the temps climbed to a balmy 20 degrees.   She looked ready to pop at dark, and we kept checking on her and at 9:30 she had her calf.  Temperature was 10 degrees and dropping.  This was Abigail’s first calf.  She immediately began cleaning her up.  The calf made moves toward nursing but Abigail kept backing away.  We decided to leave them alone for a while, checking on them periodically.  We never could be sure that Abigail had let the little one nurse, so at a bit before midnight I grabbed the calf and brought her in the house and put her by the wood stove to warm up and get bottle fed.  We always keep some frozen colostrum and it is imperative to get the calf’s belly full of it as soon as possible. But we also did not want to interfere with the bonding of mother and daughter (yes, this is #5 of 5 girls.  All of our milkers have had heifers).  But to be sure we do not have a frozen, chilled, dead calf in the morning, we will keep the little one in the house by the wood stove for the night.

This week’s cheese making update:   We continue to refine our feta making process.  We have made 4 batches.  This is a very salty and high acid cheese, so it is very hard to take seriously the guideline that 60 days is needed for safety of this cheese.  We will start tasting it soon.

We also have reached 60 days on our fall Salado Jack.  I had reduced the salt in the recipe on a hunch, and the resulting cheese is moist and a bit softer than the summer recipe, which had a more cheddary flavor, and behaved more like a highly aged cheese much more quickly.  This week’s CSA share includes some of our cheese from the heavily aged cheddar-like recipe.   We will offer the milder cheese in the cheese shares soon, and some time in January should have enough to use it in the shares.

This week’s cheese share includes: a variety of artisanal cheeses.

Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update:   The piggies are growing steadily, but with the increased milk production, they are not keeping up with the whey.  We need more piggies.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week’s produce share includes rutabagas and turnips from Mountain Roots Produce, farmed by Mike Nolan who spent a couple of years with Gemini Farm before resettling near Durango Colorado.  We also have 5 lb. bags of Russets, so that you all have a volume of baking potatoes for the upcoming holidays.  These roots will store well in cool place, not even needing refrigeration.

We also have cabbage from Gemini Farm and Spinach from Agricultura COOP.

The first citrus from South Texas Organics has arrived, and we offer their sweet and flavorful grapefruit, 4 to a share.

And we have a chunk of Mesa Top’s Ayrshire Salado Jack, the cheddary version.

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.

Steve Warshawer


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