What a strange January! If your commute includes paved roads and sidewalks, you may be fortunate enough to have missed out on most of the mud. My daily commute only involves about 30 feet of concrete sidewalk, and that, too has mud on it, as “someone” has driven tractors over it until it sunk below grade…
It is a struggle to keep the hogs moving to new pasture and out of the mud, as they are very adept at making it! At first, they have a great time, snouts down, hooves churning. Then the mud gets real. If they could just have a little dignity, hold their heads a little higher when walking to the feeder, and maybe using those hooves a little more gingerly… But, no! They have to act like pigs! Luck for them, they have a farmer who cares, and keeps them in either new pasture or woodchips, depending on the day.
Cows also excel at making their world into a mud-pie. We have an area behind the barn that is very muddy. While I keep the feeding area high and dry, the entry into the barn is a quagmire. I am hoping to have another cattle shed built next year to minimize the impact, but for now we’ll just deal with the mud.
Sometimes I feed hay out on the pasture, but that has problems too. Unless you unroll the hay, the cows ruin the grass, and the tractor that hauls it out there makes ruts that hold water and stay behind long into the summer. It is a great way to spread nutrients (manure) around in drier weather, though. Also, tractors like to slide down hillsides when it is this muddy. This happened two years ago to me, and, while I was able to keep all 4 wheels on the ground, er.. mud, it hit some trees a good lick and broke off the manifold and muffler. On the cold, muck-boot sucking walk back through the mud to the house that starless evening, there were some varied and colorful phrases applied to the relentless terra un-firma.
The sheep are the best animals for not making mud. The can be an aggravation in the summer, with frequent pasture moves, and occasional escapes from the pasture, but in this kind of weather, they are my favorites. I don’t know if they are full of helium, or what, but they seem to just float along and never turn the sod into mud, even while being fed in one spot (so as to collect and compost the wasted hay and manure). The four little lambs that are jumping around right now don’t hurt their standing either!
We truly appreciate all of our customers, especially when they come out to market in a cold rain! I think people forget how an act as simple as good eating can change the world. If more families were committed to good food, farms like ours would be more profitable, more prevalent, and more accessible. A fork is a tool for change! We can heal the land, breathe life into rural communities all by eating nourishing, wholesome food. Pretty awesome when you think about it.
Now where did I put those muck-boots…
Jerry and Liz
The Eaton Farm
Market Update for 1/22/17:
We still have some crops in the field under row cover, and we have been able to harvest some greens in this mild weather. At the Winter Market in Hyde Park tomorrow from 10am to 1pm, we’ll have baby kale, which is now a beautiful shade of dark purple and very sweet thanks to the cold temps a few weeks back. Other fresh greens include young, tender tatsoi, and our winter salad mix, composed of Winter Density & Red Sails lettuces and Abundant Bloomsdale spinach, all freshly harvested today.
Our storage crops are still faring well, and we’ll have winter squash, onions and sweet potatoes tomorrow. Also of note, we have some turkey breast on the truck, boneless, skin on, in 2 lb packages. Lamb is also back in stock and of course, pork, chicken and beef. We will again be offering 10% off of $100 or greater pork purchases on 1/22. We will not have any eggs tomorrow, as they are all currently being saved for our buying club, Good Eaton Club. We are hopeful for next week, as the hens have been laying a few more each day. So, unless you are on the Ova-Only Diet, we should have a little something for everyone at market tomorrow. For our Madison customers, stay tuned for an update about our next delivery–we hope to make one very soon!