Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I love milking on early spring mornings. Today there is a heavy dew and fog hanging in the air. It is cool, smells earthy and 'cowy'. This is a sweet smell carried on the light breeze across the barnyard, faintly of manure and hay, but mostly the damp earth.
The cows are in full shedding mode, and if you run your hand down their back, you come away with a handful of fur. Some of them look like a child's well loved teddy bear, with bare patches showing the short sleek new hair. Many of them have come in this morning with maple tree blossoms scattered across their backs. The new leaves are coming out and the woodline at the end of the field has a distinct chartruse aura to it inbetween the maroon of the maples.
Spring on a farm makes people think of babies. We had three bull calves last month. This makes 8 bull calves in a row now! Not doing much for growing the herd. Our next group of cows won't be due until June.
This is Newlook and her bull calf.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
|Cheese aging at Chapel Hill Creamery|
|Samantha, one of the cheesemakers|
|Fly Catching contraption extraordinaire|
|Ricki Carroll at the conference trade show|
|Part of the cheese counter at A Southern Season|
|The Chocolate section of the candy counter- there was much more!|
|Cabarro Farmers' Market- producer owned and operated for 37 years|
|New Member and first time attendee reception|
|My favorite cheese of the night!|
Monday, July 30, 2012
So my Mom, Dad and my sister agreed to accompany me to the American Cheeses Society conference this week. After two long days in the RV,we made it to Raleigh late this evening. It was an adventurous drive, with many twists and turns.(Some planned, and some not!) I am looking forward to exploring the area tomorrow, in advance of the scheduled events of the conference. I am going to try to write about the day's events at the end of each day. Here is a photo of the North Carolina visitors center, with beautiful shrubs in bloom.We haven't been dble to figure out what they are yet, but we will ask around.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The farm hosted a pasture walk this afternoon featuring several presentations and discussions about milk qualities, pasture management, research projects in organic dairy. We also shared our operation with a tour of the creamery, a look at the cows and discussions about licensing and creamery production.
|Andre presents findings of University studies|
Andre F Brito, DVM, PhD professor of Organic Dairy Mangement at UNH, update the group on several research projects that have concluded (including the evaluation of cornmeal or molasses as an energy source while animals are on pasture and kelp meal as a feed additive) as well upcoming projects, including the research in which our farm is participating. The research project is a four year endavour, with farms in five states participating, in which flax seed will be used as a feed additive to enrich the level of Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA in the milk. Amy Beliveu, a Graduate Student in UNH's Nutrition Program, talked about her research project that focused on measuring carotenoids in milk and milk products (mozzarella), in both the conventional (confined) and organic (pastured) dairy herds at UNH. She found that carotenoid levels were lowest in the beginning of grazing season and increased, with the highest levels during the end of the grazing season. The change in carotenoids was shown in the color index of the mozzarella cheese. The confined animals did not show the same trend of carotenoids levels, but remained as a consistent, lower level throughout the sampling time frame (May to November). We found this very interesting- measured data that proves what we see on a seasonal basis- that when the cows are on pasture, eating grasses and forage, the milk is creamier and darker in color in relation to the forages they are eating. During a delicious lunch from CrossTrax in Unity, we shared some of the mozzarella we stretched this morning.
|Rachel talking in the pasture about forage growth|
|Rick is discussing the pasture sampling equipment the universities are using in the study|
|Heading out to the pasture|
|Pasture walk participants discussions on the pasture|
|some of the cows, grazing earlier in the season|
Monday, June 18, 2012
After a year of not posting, I have decided to begin using the blog more frequently to keep you informed about farm happenings. The big event this week is that we have begun haying the fields. There is currently about 9 acres down and drying and Doug will be raking and baling it today.
Today is also the Maine Cheese Guild Meeting at the Koons farm in Sidney, ME. This is a goat dairy that makes a variety of cheeses.
The photo above features (LtoR) Jamela, Grace, Genesis and Allison. Grace and Allison are both due within the month, so they are starting to 'bag up' as we dairy people say. Allison is a heifer- this will be her first calf and Grace is a proven milker, this will be her fourth lactation. She adds a lot of milk to the tank so I am really looking forward to having her freshen!