Steve’s Post 9-4-13

Climatology 2013:   Its almost State Fair time, so the last burst of monsoon moisture should be right around the corner.  It IS starting to feel like fall.

Wildlife update from Mesa Top:  (more ways we can tell that it is almost fall).  I spotted a migrating tarantula the other day, crossing the driveway.  Last year we found one crossing the kitchen floor!

I am pulling bull snakes out of the nest boxes almost every day, and moving them over to the hay pile.  I think they are just heading back over to the coop.

Sunday I discovered a small rattlesnake that has found a safe place to hide in the chicken coops all during the day, and comes out at night to eat mice.  Colleen was out harvesting squash, and when she reached in to cut a yellow zucchini, a snake slithered across her hand that turned out to be a rattler.

The natural world continues get ready for fall.

This week’s Cow stories:  Mesa Top cows and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:  Last Tuesday I was up delivering water to the cows at the lease land and saw Dottie, one of our best momma cows, squirting milk from her suddenly huge milk bag as she lumbered bow leggedly along, grazing and swatting flies with her tail.  Thursday we saw her and her tiny little calf.  Dr. Callahan had come up and pregnancy checked all of the cows before we moved them to the lease and his estimate on Dot was that she as about 5 months along, but she calved about 6 weeks later.  The thing is, the calf was TINY!!!

Saturday morning we brought the trailer up to the lease land and gathered the cows and got Dot and her little gal, now called Vespa, into the trailer and brought her home.  Her milk was almost clear of collostrum already, and one of her quarters seemed damaged and produced only a small amount of bloody milk.  Two days later, with a few cycles of milking to help get her flowing, and her little calf nursing on all quarters because she has competition (us!) for the milk, that quarter is nearly cleared up and the milk is near clean.

Yesterday I was down at DeSmet creamery looking at the terrific milking facility and bottling set up that Michael has got in place.  He is ready for final inspection very soon.

We also visited his cows, and he showed me one who had just had twins.  Judging by their size, and the size of little Vespa, I am going to hazard the guess that Dot had twins out there, and lost one.  She was carrying 2 and was closer to term than Doc realized because being twins, they were going to be born smaller.  We will never know for sure, but that is my guess.

This week’s protein update:  The details for the veal package are being worked out.  Details to come soon, hopefully to be available to members on the market place for next week!

The turkeys growth spurt is insane, they are eating 2.5 times the food that they were 2 weeks ago.

This week’s cheese making update:  With 2 cows in milk, we are ready to resume herd shares and also should be making cheese again once a week starting in the next week or two.  That’s another way we can be sure that we are approaching fall.  At Mesa Top, the seasonal milking with fall/winter/spring production of dairy products and a season of rest during the peak of heat (vegetable production) seems to be the most sustainable approach for us.

This week’s Veggie/Share Update:  We have to miss out on the Colorado peaches this week due to a trucking/timing issue.  We will have them next week and the week after, for sure.

The vegetable portion of the share is an interesting mix of 9 different items, headlined with our first of the season Ojo Ajo:  specially grown and adapted easy peel garlic from Bill Page at La Madera.  We have Bill’s amazing garlic several times during fall and early winter.  We understand that Bill has found a young farmer in the area who may be able to grow out a much larger crop in future years so we have our fingers crossed.

The share also includes a parade of nightshades with eggplants from Red Mountain Farm  and Romero Farms organic shishito and bell peppers.

The share includes Salad mix and Cucumbers from Mesa Top Farm, and the ingredients for a nice fall soup:  Cabbage, turnips, and leeks all from Talon de Gato Farm.

Membership news:  Please follow us online at Facebook and Twitter. This is a great way to show your friends our weekly shares, recipes and updates.

Remember when you help us spread the word and sign up more members; we add $10 to your Farm Account for every member you refer.

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

Steve Warshawer

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