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Posted 7/16/2018 11:16am by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members,

If the weather is wild tomorrow we will have the pick-up Wednesday.

Kerry

Posted 7/2/2018 2:48am by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members,

With the high temperatures predicted for tomorrow can you let me know what time you will be coming for your CSA share? Or you can choose to get a double share next week if you are going away for the the 4th of July holiday. We are excited to announce that Alexandra, our marketer from last year will be returning. She has a newborn so will not be on site tomorrow.

This will help reduce the amount of time in the hot sun tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks,

Kerry

 

Posted 6/28/2018 2:48am by Kerry Gawalt.

Good morning,

It looks like it will be very wet at the market today. Do you know when you are coming by the market? Or you can stop by the farm.

Thanks,

Kerry

Posted 6/10/2018 3:20pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members,

The DHMC pick up starts this Tuesday. Virginia, our marketer will be on site outside the Norris Cotton entrance. She will be there from 3-5:30PM. If you cannot make it just let us know before Tuesday and you can get you share at the farm. For those who signed up for the ominvore share, there will be lots of beef to choose from each week. If you want to take a double meat share one week you can skip the following week. We stock a bunch of cuts but let us know if you want to request certain cuts.

Kerry

Posted 6/10/2018 3:15pm by Kerry Gawalt.
June 10, 201 8 Dear CSA members and farm friends, The farm life continues to be very full. The garden is filling up with transplants and seeded vegetables. The month of May has been very dry. We have been using our new irrigation system to keep all the plants watered. Each crop wants about 1 inch of water each week. The irrigation can deliver that in 4 hours per section. We can run 10 water efficient sprinklers at one time. Each sprinkler covers a 90 foot circle and uses 4.89 gallons of water per minute. We figure we use 3,000 gallons per hour to water. So in a 4 hour period we can water ½ an acre. The pond has been recharging from the natural springs, the developed cow water spring and our drilled well. You can watch the plants grow overnight with enough water and the heat. The cows still have plenty of grass to eat as the deep-rooted grasses are holding up for the moment. We have had two calves born in the last 2 weeks. Lucerne gave birth to Lauren, her 4th calf and 3rd daughter. Rose our 2nd oldest cow had baby number 7 at 10:30 on Thursday night. Rose had a stalled labor and needed help to get her cervix to dilate. Cows due well most of the time but do need regular checks and intervention if needed. She delivered a healthy bull calf with some assistance. She had a special diet as a dry cow but jersey plus old cow plus high producing cow can lead to milk fever. This metabolic disease happens when a cow has a hard time managing her blood calcium. Normally cows eat then the calcium goes into the bones and is pulled out of the bones and goes into the milk. A cow with milk fever has a break in this process. The cow will not magically cure herself. Calcium control muscle movement, as the calcium level drops she stops eating, her ears get cold, she will get shaky and will eventually die of respiratory failure without intervention. The best plan is to manage her diet as a dry cow. If she still gets milk fever we give the cow an IV of a calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and dextrose. It is administered slowly so the cow does not die of a heart attack. Given too quickly the cow will drop like a stone. The is an amazing treatment, the cow usually feels better shortly. With proper follow up care, she will be on her way back to normal. The old saying is a down cow is a dead cow. Once a cow cannot get up her muscles start to break down and a downward spiral starts. All the care of healthy and sick cows are based on written protocols with we have with our vet Dr. Patch. She has been taking care our cows for 20 years. Rose we can report is doing well and on the road to recovery. Back in the garden we have repaired our high tunnel greenhouse and will be filling it up this week. The farmers markets and summer CSA shares start this week. We will be at DHMC and the Lebanon Farmers Market. As many of you may be reading in the paper or hearing on the news, dairy farms of all sizes are struggling with below cost of production milk prices. We are asked many times, “why are you doing so many things?” The answer is being diverse. We process about half of our milk into cheese, which gives us a better price for the milk. We sell composted cow manure. We grow vegetables. We sell beef. We raise and sell registered Jersey heifers and bulls. We will have registered Holstein heifers down the road. We host school kids. All these pieces support the whole and keep us busy, sometimes too busy. With 3 cows to calve on the 17th, The Billings Farm Dairy Show, hay and the last big push of vegetable transplanting, it is time to get ready for another busy week.
Posted 5/30/2018 2:52am by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members,

The first week of Summer CSA pick-ups starts in 2 weeks. For DHMC members the day is Tuesday June 12th from 3-5:30 PM. For the Hartland members the day is Wednesday June 13th from 12 to 9PM. Upper Valley Food Coop members the day is Wednesday June 13th from 3 to 8PM. The Lebanon Farmers Market is Thursday June 14th from 4-7PM. If you are away please email the farm by Monday morning. You can choose a different location for that week or get a double share the following week.

Kerry

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