Organic food. Local food. Real food. Delicious!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Equinox! It is our family's favorite time of year. Apples for the picking. The ground warm under bare feet, even when you need a jacket up top. Autumn leaves. Bringing in squash and onions to cure. Stacking wood. Fresh cider. Shorter days giving me an excuse to quit work a little early. Canning tomatoes and seems like so many jars, but I know we'll eat through every last one. Hiking. Our wedding anniversary (21 years!) My husband's birthday in Sept, mine in Oct, our children's in Nov and Dec, like dominoes. Being grateful for every sunny warm day, in case it's the last.

Next month we'll plant garlic, and bring the sheep together for breeding. That's the thing about are often months ahead in your mind. I'm imagining spring lambing when we choose who shares a paddock. I'm considering my midsummer garlic crop as I bury the little cloves.

I took a 15 minute break while moving sheep fences. The sheep had already moved...I'm setting up fence for their next piece of pasture, where they will graze in several days. My mind is not resting in the now, but fretting about the next step. Meanwhile, the sheep are contently munching, and I'm fairly certain they are not worried about much of anything. So I took my cue from the sheep, and went into our woods, to sit by the brook. A woodpecker was drumming. A spiderweb up in the trees caught the sunlight, and was every color of the rainbow.

As a farmer, I need to be ahead. Things fail and die if I don't. But this time of year, our favorite, I'll make sure to be here and now too. Apples. Firewood. Leaves. Harvest. Family.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What's next on the farm?

Thank you to those who attended Open Farm Day. It's always such a boost to meet people who share our concerns for healthy, locally grown food. If you missed our event, but would like to visit the farm, please contact us. We're happy to set up a tour time for you.

Lots going on this time of year. We are busily canning, fermenting, and drying produce: apples, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, bell pepper. We'll plant our fall pea seedlings, and seed winter greens. Orchard and gardens are being weeded & mulched in preparation for next spring's growing (I know, seems early to think about May 2018, but it's so worth it to put growing spaces to bed tidily). Our broiler flock is 6 weeks old and enjoying the abundance of crickets in the field. Today we'll start aggressively dealing with our Spotted Wing fruitfly outbreak, which has decimated our blueberry crop: cleaning spoiled fruit off bushes, hanging vinegar traps, and putting some young chickens to work cleaning up dropped fruit. We hope to complete a large arbor structure to accommodate kiwi, grapes, groundnuts, perennial climbing greens, sugarsnap peas & runner beans, and other vining-type crops.

We're also trying to be mindful of carving out time for fun and family. It's very easy to work dawn-dusk, with so many varied farm tasks vying for attention. but VT summer is short and sweet, and for the first time, both our children will be attending public school as full-time students. So we're making time for bike rides, kayaking, board games, and family dinners. Maybe we'll manage a couple more hikes before winter sets in. We'll be hitting the county fair this weekend, which is a bit more stimulation than I need, but I know the kids will have a blast.

Happy end-of-summer to you and yours!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Open Farm Day, Wednesday August 23, 3-6pm

Join us for an Open Farm day this Wednesday August 23 from 4-6pm. It's the perfect time of year to see our operation in full swing: veggie garden & greenhouse, orchard, berry patch, edible landscaping, sheep and "teen" lambs, hens, young chickens, and geese. We'll be on hand to answer questions about homesteading, small farm operation, and our products. Sample blueberries in our berry patch & fresh-picked veggies in the greenhouse, check our our cozy, naturally-tanned sheepskins, or place reservations for fall-harvested chicken, lamb, and mutton. If you'd like to walk our pastures to visit the animals, sturdy footwear and long pants are recommended.

Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday!

UPDATE: due to an outbreak of spotted-wing fruitfly in our blueberry field, the berry patch will likely be closed. Fruitflies have turned most of the berries to tasteless mush. We are treating with organically-approved spray and hand-picking spoiled fruit, in an attempt to save later-ripening varieties. Thanks for your understanding.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chickens and lamb and sheepskins, oh my!

After several years at "homestead" scale, we've expanded into a microfarm. We are now Socks Family Farm, LLC. In addition to the lovely chickens we have raised for years, we are selling lamb, and tanned shearling sheepskins. Check out the Products page for info on these items.

On the subject of "lamb":

I'd like to answer a question about lamb as a meat. I've been asked many times why I would eat baby sheep...they are so little and cute! So the answer is: I don't, because lambs aren't lamb. Confused?  "Lamb" as an animal means a baby sheep, but "lamb" as meat means a sheep in the range of 6-18 months old. At this age, the sheep is pretty much full grown, but without the stronger flavor of an older animal ("mutton").

Most meat animals are harvested full grown but young. The amount of food is maximized, while still being tender and flavorful. But we don't call the meat from an 18 month old steer "calf", we don't call the meat from an 8 month old, 300 lb pig "piglet". Why we call meat from a 100 lb year-old sheep "lamb" is a mystery to me. if you know, send me an email!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lamb Day, Sunday April 9th, 11-3

The Socks Family Farm invites you to visit this year's cute fuzzy lambs on Sun April 9 from 11-3. Learn about how our farming methods sequester carbon, improve pasture, reduce veterinary issues, and make good clean meat and lovely warm tanned sheepskins for your chairs or floor. 

Or, you can just pet the sheep!

We'll have pricing info and pre-order signups for fall 2017 harvests of chicken, lamb & mutton, and tanned sheepskins. For spinners and crafters who work "in the grease", we will also have raw wool from Saturday's shearing available.

Hope to see you Sunday. If you would like to visit but can't make it to Lamb Day, email us and we'll find a time that works.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

We have been eating delicious 100% grass fed lamb from our farm for years. We are considering selling to the public this season, if the interest is there. We may also offer wool-on tanned sheepskins (great for padding the back of your favorite chair, or sleeping on when you give your bed to a guest), raw wool, and other sheep-ish products.

Help us with our farm planning by taking this short survey:

Our little farmhouse is still not finished, but after 9 short years of renovations (!) it's looking much better. All the framing has been fixed, all the insulation and drywall is new, Michael has almost completely rewired everything, and I have nearly finished the plumbing. We still could use a garage and workshop, but that is a few years of saving away.

The outdoor part of our homestead is really coming along well. Initially, we put the most time into the plantings, knowing that you can build a shed or put up trim anytime, but productive perennials take years. Our little apple trees are taller than me, and bearing their first small crops. The blueberries bushes finally look like blueberry bushes, after looking like twiggy little nothings for years. We have pears, cherries, elderberries, aronia, currents, gooseberries, and rhubarb established and growing well. Some of our wildlife plantings are beginning to thrive: maple, oak, hemlock, bayberry, holly, dogwood, willow. We built a fence around the orchard of stout cedar poles and heavy woven wire, and replaced all the fir fence posts with cedar around the berry plantation and vegetable garden. When that cedar rots and need replacing, I'll be in my 70s. Maybe I'll hire someone to fix them. Then again, maybe I won't.