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Posted 5/22/2018 5:07pm by Kerry Gawalt.
Dear CSA members and farm friends,                 The last few weeks on the farm have been very busy. The month started out with the fjord horses being invited to the Billings Farm draft animal field day. We brought our 1913 Syracuse riding plow and the horses plowed up a section for the public to watch. The horses made it on the front page of the Vermont Standard. The Hartland Cattle Club 4H members served soup and made grilled cheese sandwiches for the visitors. They are fundraising for the fairs and other public out reach events. The cold, wet spring slowed down field work and pasture growth. The cows had their first bites of grass on May 10th. This is 2 weeks later than last year, but not the latest ever which was May 16th. The first week the cows go out by day and come to the barn for hay at night. It takes a week for their rumens to adjust to grass versus dry hay. They are now out day and night. They get a fresh paddock of grass every day. This means their fence is move each morning. The process can take 45 minutes to an hour. The grain the cows eat is matched to the grasses to give them a balanced diet. The big steers and bred heifers go out with the milking cows. The baby calves, young heifers and steers and our dry cows (very pregnant, on maternity leave mamas) stay at the barn.       The garden has been waking up. The fields have had composted cow manure spread on them. We take soil tests in the fall to determine how much compost to spread where. Different crops have different nutrient needs. Many of the beds are spread in the fall so we can get them planted early. The horses will disc in the compost, harrow the soil, roll the section and mark the rows. Each of these processes can take a couple hours. Some days one team of horses will do half the jobs and the other will finish in the afternoon. The first section we planted this year were the potatoes. We followed quickly with peas, all the greenhouse babies, lettuce, green beans, carrots, beets, and onion transplants. Our onions are started from seed in the greenhouse in early March. We transplanted 7000 onions plants over the last few weeks. In the heated greenhouse all the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, melons, summer squash, winter squash, and pumpkins are waiting to go out. The weather is looking promising for next week.                 We installed a new watering system last fall for the garden. We have a pond dug by our neighbor Matt Dow. It is a naturally lined pond made with the materials on site. It is 70 feet across and holds 150,000 gallons of water. This means we can water the entire garden each week if it does not rain. The pond is fed by a spring and has been recharging nicely. We are using a mix of aluminum pipe with sprinklers for overhead watering and drip irrigation. We the flexibility to adjust the watering methods to the crop and cultivation needs.                 Each day and week has highs and lows. Last week I heard that a cow we sold finally gave the young man a long- awaited heifer calf. This happened at the same time our of our cows aborted her heifer calf halfway to term. The calf at that stage is the size of a cat. This means the cow will have to wait another year for a calf. If the cow is a special animal, is making a decent amount of milk and has good genetics she can stay. Cows have to support themselves and their humans. So as the summer goes on we will see if Bessie the cow going to get pregnant and stay for another year or retire to the freezer this winter. Maisy the farm dog caught her first woodchuck of the year this morning. She takes her job seriously as a ratter and woodchuck hunter. She will make sure the garden stays woodchuck free this year.  
Posted 5/1/2018 3:56pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members and Farm friends,

Here is our newsletter for the first week of the new CSA season. Thank you Tracie Hoying for the farm newsletter template and brochure.

Kerry

FILE: (CedarMountain_Newsletter_5.1.1018.pdf)

FILE: (CedarMountain_TriFold.pdf)

Posted 4/9/2018 10:45am by Kerry Gawalt.

Good Morning,

We have had a busy last few weeks on the farm. Winter is still here. two of our big greenhouses were damaged by the high winds last week. We will be giving them complete overhaul this month. Our heated greenhouse with all the baby plants is fine. The whole greenhouse is covered in a single layer of 6mil greenhouse plastic. The ends and sides are secured on an aluminum track with "wiggle" wire. It is always an adventure maneuvering a 48 by 100 sheet of plastic. It generally costs about one thousand dollars to recover a greenhouse just in plastic. Labor and other materials like new wood can bring the price up closer to $1,800. The beauty of these greenhouses is that they do not require any electricity when they are used as "cold frames" for season extension. They can be heated with the installation of a furnace. We have continued our heifer run on the farm with six in a row including the Holstein baby. Stop by the barn to meet Hazel, Willow, Zeetah, Olive, Zakia and Button. The Hartland Cattle Club spent yesterday at Flavors of the Valley educating the public about 4H and cows and gave away lots of our cheese. They will be at the Townline equipment open house (Plainfield,NH) on Wednesday April 18th with a jersey cow, our Gouda and Smoked Gouda cheeses. Stop by and try a piece. Pet a cow and learn more about the cows.

 

Posted 3/14/2018 12:58pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Even though we just got buried in snow, signs of Spring are around the farm. We have a new heifer calf born this morning at 2AM. Odelia gave birth to the calf inside the warm, dry barn. Once the calf is born we give it an oral vaccine and milk the cow. The colostrum provides the calf with a good dose of immune system booster. Every hour after birth the calf's intestinal wall closes more and the calf can absorb less of the colostrum. So getting the calf feed right away is vital. All the antibodies come through the colostrum. The cow get free choice electrolytes  to drink, good hay and her dish of grain. We want to see the cow up on her feet, eating and having passed the placenta soon after calving. If these things have not happened, there usually is a problem with the cow. We bring our close to calving cows and heifers inside into individual box stalls. The box is bedded with dry pine shavings. This is our 3rd heifer calf in a row. We have 3 more heifers due to calve next week including our Holstein. In the greenhouse heated with propane and the sun it is spring like. We have seeded onions, leeks, spinach, beets, celeriac, bok choi, lettuce, chard, kale and scallions. Most of these plants are just emerging from the soil. The greens will be transplanted in our unheated high tunnels in early April. We still have a few CSA shares available for this season.

On the cheese side of the farm we have sent our first batch of Gouda to be smoked at Grafton Village Cheese. We will have aged and baby smoked Gouda available at the farm stand and in stores by the end of next week.

Kerry

Posted 3/14/2018 12:49pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Even though we just got buried in snow, signs of Spring are around the farm. We have a new heifer calf born this morning at 2AM. Odelia gave birth to the calf inside the warm, dry barn. Once the calf is born we give it an oral vaccine and milk the cow. The colostrum provides the calf with a good dose of immune system booster. Every hour after birth the calf's intestinal wall closes more and the calf can absorb less of the colostrum. So getting the calf feed right away is vital. All the antibodies come through the colostrum. The cow get free choice electrolytes  to drink, good hay and her dish of grain. We want to see the cow up on her feet, eating and having passed the placenta soon after calving. If these things have not happened, there usually is a problem with the cow. We bring our close to calving cows and heifers inside into individual box stalls. The box is bedded with dry pine shavings. This is our 3rd heifer calf in a row. We have 3 more heifers due to calve next week including our Holstein. In the greenhouse heated with propane and the sun it is spring like. We have seeded onions, leeks, spinach, beets, celeriac, bok choi, lettuce, chard, kale and scallions. Most of these plants are just emerging from the soil. The greens will be transplanted in our unheated high tunnels in early April. We still have a few CSA shares available for this season.

On the cheese side of the farm we have sent our first batch of Gouda to be smoked at Grafton Village Cheese. We will have aged and baby smoked Gouda available at the farm stand and in stores by the end of next week.

Kerry

Posted 3/14/2018 12:46pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Even though we just got buried in snow, signs of Spring are around the farm. We have a new heifer calf born this morning at 2AM. Odelia gave birth to the calf inside the warm, dry barn. Once the calf is born we give it an oral vaccine and milk the cow. The colostrum provides the calf with a good dose of immune system booster. Every hour after birth the calf's intestinal wall closes more and the calf can absorb less of the colostrum. So getting the calf feed right away is vital. All the antibodies come through the colostrum. The cow get free choice electrolytes  to drink, good hay and her dish of grain. We want to see the cow up on her feet, eating and having passed the placenta soon after calving. If these things have not happened, there usually is a problem with the cow. We bring our close to calving cows and heifers inside into individual box stalls. The box is bedded with dry pine shavings. This is our 3rd heifer calf in a row. We have 3 more heifers due to calve next week including our Holstein. In the greenhouse heated with propane and the sun it is spring like. We have seeded onions, leeks, spinach, beets, celeriac, bok choi, lettuce, chard, kale and scallions. Most of these plants are just emerging from the soil. The greens will be transplanted in our unheated high tunnels in early April. We still have a few CSA shares available for this season.

On the cheese side of the farm we have sent our first batch of Gouda to be smoked at Grafton Village Cheese. We will have aged and baby smoked Gouda available at the farm stand and in stores by the end of next week.

Kerry

Posted 2/27/2018 11:23am by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members and farm friends,

Spring is right around the corner. Please sign-up by the end of the week for the CSA this Spring and Summer. Our first seeds are going in the ground in our greenhouse. We use compost from our dairy cows along with peat moss, ground minerals, perlite and lime for the starting mix. Our heated greenhouse is near the farm entrance, a 12 by 48 foot greenhouse plastic covered tunnel. It has a double wall to add insulation value and is heated with a wall mounted propane heater. We start plants in there from March until August. We start all our transplants inside the greenhouse. Onions, leeks, parsley, celeriac and celery and some flowers require 8-10 weeks before going out into the field. Lettuce and brassicas only want to spend 4 weeks in a flat. Our tomatoes want 7 weeks from seeding to going into the fields.

Kerry

Posted 2/20/2018 3:48pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members and farm friends,

Last chance to sign-up for a CSA share for 2018. You can sign-up online or we can send you a paper form. We have vegetable or beef shares or the omnivore share which is beef and vegetables.

Kerry

Posted 2/20/2018 3:03pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members and farm friends,

Two films about New England farms have been shown over the last few months. The first one is "Vermont Farm Kids rooted in the land" and features 2 kids from our farm, my daughter and her friend Kate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB2Q5gnc94w&sns=fb

The second film is "Forgotten Farms" about New Englands struggling dairy farms. It can be watched on line from the producer. A very important look at the struggles of dairy farming.

http://forgottenfarms.org/buy-or-rent/

 

Both films are worth watching. Dairy farms are vanishing every day from our landscape. Buying US produced milk and asking your elected officials about supply management are a start in the right direction. We will have a screening for both later this Spring at the farm.

Kerry