Milk, a lovely burden

I gave this post it's title on March 28 of this year. Since then it has sat in my blog's draft section, a mere title with no content. Today is September 18, 2016. In the nearly 6 months between now and then that we have lived, loved, survived and thrived, I believe the title's sentiment holds true. As it has held true since the first time I milked a cow, the first time I magicked that milk into something beyond it's original state, the first time Andy and I sold yogurt under the umbrella of our own business, and the first time we milked a cow on our own farm. To see this farm begin to work, to see the systems develop and make sense, to begin drafting long term plans for the land: we intend to bring fertility and productivity to this land, to make this a true working sun & grass & food farm. All of this is beautiful, and I see that in large & small ways every day. But to achieve any of it requires the sandpapering of hands, the moments of chaos, the strain on bodies. As all work does. So milk. It is fascinating. A lovely, fascinating, burdensome substance. 

We have some exciting news about our milk! News that also happens to validate all of our efforts. In addition to making yogurt and bottling milk here on the farm and selling those products in Maine from Brewer to Kittery, we also ship milk to Horizon. We are happy & proud to work with Horizon, and it is certainly an important part of our business. Horizon picks up milk from 700+ farms throughout the country, and we found out a couple weeks ago that our milk ranked second in the nation for quality this year! Gregg, Andy, and this summer, James, do all of the milking and herd/health management, so they, along with the cows we steward, get a massive amount of credit for this wicked clean, delicious & nutritious milk that is produced on the farm. I'm so pumped & so proud. 

In other news, we have half and whole pigs available for reservation. Our pigs are pastured, rotated through land on our farm that we plan to plough & reseed to more favorable forage species. They are fed whey & milk from the dairy and organic grain from Morrison's Feeds in Vermont. Please look to our website for more information on pork and be in touch if you're interested!

We also have beef, mixed boxes of ground & stew, in whatever amounts you choose, for $6.10 per pound. Fill your freezer for the winter! Like our pork, our beef is vacuum sealed, freezer ready, packaged in meal sized portions. 

I intended only to put photos in this post, thinking I had no brain space for words, but here is what you see below:

1. The dairy herd walking in for milking. Because of the drought we have made very little of the feed we need for winter, and about a month ago ran out of pasture and have been feeding the cows hay and baleage on various fields that we can afford to sacrifice to high use because we hope to till & re seed them next year. There was quite a bit of volunteer squash that made its home here this summer due to our winter pigs.

2. The milking herd walking towards the bedded pack barn, which is where they spend their time on very hot days in the summer and most days of winter. The right side of the barn is a new addition that is about to be completed! 

3. Gratuitous sunflower selfie

4. This boy loves machinery & freshly baled millet

5. The Massey is one of our work horses, used multiple times a day for every kind of heavy lifting. 

6. Glorious millet! Our successful attempt at a planting of annuals this year. 

7. Blurry sunset lit farm

8. Linus & Andy

9. Farm store! Open 7 days per week, from day break to dark. Self serve honor system.

10. Blurry winter rye. 

11. When your milk system guru says pick a square foot and scrub

12-23. Foggy mornings these days. Highlights: cows in the mist, nice looking stand of rye for early spring grazing, coffee with the pigs

24. The milking herd is quite far from the barn lately, and walking them in for milking can take upwards of 20-30 minutes, depending on their mood. Bring a bucket of grain and they will hustle. 

25. Bliss & power tools. Working on laying hen housing for a larger flock. Organic eggs from the Milkhouse in spring 2017!