Steve’s Weekly Update 6-27-12

Climatology 2012:  Record heat continues, but believe it or not, we are cool compared to places north of us.  I hear of 100+ temperatures in Cheyenne Wyoming, last seen in the 1950s.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:   Here is another cow story from Mesa Top Farm.  We are not yet sure where it is leading us.  Our last cow to have her calf this summer was going to be Maya.  This was her third calf; she is almost 6 years old.  She looked like a whale to us, as her time approached.  She was absolutely enormous.  We thought maybe she had twins on board.  Finally her calf came and it was the biggest calf we had ever seen.  Close to 100 lbs.  And he had problems.  He could not stand up and he had some kind of neurological condition that kept him from gaining his balance, even lying on the ground.   Every time he tried to move he threw his head around like he was possessed.  We have been calling him Damian, as if he needed an exorcism.  We had to put a halter on him and tie his head off with a lead to his front legs so he did not bash his own skull open.

The first couple of days, we had to squirt the colostrum into his mouth and down his throat because he could not suck or swallow.  Suddenly one day, he learned to suck and we began bottle feeding him.  His appetite was voracious.  He slowly began to get control of his head, and to gain his balance.

By then a cloudy film had developed over his eyes leaving him blind.  It also seems like he might be deaf.

We continued feeding him and his appetite continued to increase.  He started to struggle to stand up, and every day he seemed a bit stronger.  This morning, two weeks after he was born, as he finished his bottle of milk, he stood up looking for more.  He wobbled around and fell over, but then he stood up again.

Tomorrow our vet Dr. Callahan will come have a look at his eyes.  It seems like some kind of infection.  Maybe we can treat it.

The first week, Maya was in with him at night.  One night she nearly stepped on him and we were afraid to leave her in with him after that.  So now she has been away from him for a week.  We are ready to put momma back in with him, and see if we can teach him to nurse.

So what do we do with this calf?  In most situations he never would have lived.  If we can get him healthy, we plan to raise him as a young beef.  Meanwhile we have gotten quite involved with his care and the process of helping him survive.  Would it have been more “humane” to euthanize him when he could not stand in the first 24 hours?  Or is it more ethical to give him the best life we can and turn him into food at some point?

Life is rarely clearly black and white.  It is the shades of gray that make it interesting.

This week’s cheese making update:  Soon we will be taste testing our artisan asiago!  We have been following as nearly as possible the recipe we got from Chuck at Tucumcari cheese.  He also gave us a batch of his starter culture.  We are continuing to produce the Asiago, making cheese twice a week.  We are excited to taste it!  Stay tuned..

This week’s cheese share includes:  provolone and …?

Mesa Top Meat (Protein) update:  Pork is on the market place list.  Take a look.  We have ground beef again.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  This week we have a very nicely mixed share, reflecting the wider choice of produce that is available as we get into summer. 

Mesa Top has harvested a bed of young lettuce heads, and packed them, by weight, for your share this week.  This “teen lettuce” is a bit of an experiment:  I learned last year that many larger salad mix growers in California have been letting their lettuce beds re-grow after a first cutting of lettuce.  The regrowth is a little less dense and grows up a bit taller than the original “baby lettuce”.

We have a bed that was intended to be lettuce mix that did not germinate real well, so we thought we’d let it grow out to “teen” size.  We harvested the bed for you today, and the head sizes vary greatly.  We weighed out an equal amount for each member.  The experiment does not look like a big success yet.  We spent quite a long time to harvesting and preparing the shares for you.  We recommend that you take the lettuce and clean it and soak it and cut off all of the non-edible parts (like the root/base) and put it away in a plastic bag.  You will probably not have much shelf life on these lettuces, so eat them within the next couple of days.

We have garlic from the Baja Bus, and onions from Rancho La Jolla.  These onions are fresh bunched onions so they include greens that can be used like scallions.  We have grape tomatoes from Preferred Produce.

We have the first of the season summer squash, from Salvadore Corona at Espanola Valley Farm, Swiss Chard from Synergia Ranch, and parsley from Mesa Top and Talon de Gato Farm.

For the fruit portion of your share we the last golden apricots of the season from Shiraz Vineyard.  Next week we plan to include the first of the season Saturn Peaches from Shiraz.  Because of the heat, they are coming on fast, and will be around for just two or three weeks. We are sure that you will enjoy them!

Membership news:  Help us spread the word and sign up more members!  We add $10 to your Farm Account for every member you refer.  With the great variety of summer produce, and with a terrific fruit year here in New Mexico, this is the most exciting time in the CSA season!

Thank you for your investment in and continued support of the CSA .  We appreciate your support!

Steve Warshawer

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