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Archive for October, 2009

Farm in fall_07
October 27 2009b

my favorite Sycamore tree 10/27/09

10_25_09a
10/25/09 a new sediment deposit after the storm
10_28_09b

10/28/09 It rained hard again this morning

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RR ewe lamb

RR ewe lamb

Mike and I host the Mid Atlantic Hair Sheep sale.  We do this activity on our own- not as a part of an organization- because there are no organizations in the area to do this and we feel there is a need.  It takes a tremendous amount of time and of course it takes a lot of money to do this sort of event.   I could be wrong- but I thought that having an event where hair sheep producers could come get together, talk up their breed, or talk up their farm (to buyers that is)- talk to one another about “sheep issues”- and have a single place where they could increase the genetics in their flock would be a good thing.

The sale was on Saturday.  We offered a consignors dinner Friday night.  The purpose of this is many.  1st- I knew that I would need to be at the barns to check in sheep, and I need to eat dinner- SO- why not bring a grill, chicken, salad, etc. and offer a free meal to the consignors.  That would give everyone a more relaxed opportunity to just talk.  A more social event- no stress.  

This year I had gotten PASA to host a small-ruminant workshop on Friday and Saturday morning.  This would give shepherds an educational opportunity as well.  Come, learn something, talk sheep, buy sheep.  Sounds like fun to me!

I think that shepherds that have less well known breeds should REALLY be the ones attending- and getting others with their breeds to attend!  It is a good place to let potential buyers know you are coming- and while you are there- talk up your sheep!

Although Mike and I host this sale- it is the responsibility of everyone who comes to advertise they will be selling sheep at this sale.  It is the responsibility of all consignors to promote the sale, build desire and competition and attract buyers.  Everyone wants to have the “high selling animal”- but the person who really promotes the sale and gets the buyers to come and bid against eachother for the opportunity to take home your sheep- that shepherd will do the most for the total sale.

We will do it again next year- and hope it dosen’t POUR like it did this year.  Oct. 23, 2010.  Hope to see you there

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SDC10878

We are preparing, the sheep are arriving, it is exciting.   Are you coming?

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Tonight’s CSI Miami focused on corporate agriculture’s stranglehold on the organic and  genetically engineered vegetable markets, and the resulting problems with E.coli from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and unintended consequences of genetically engineered foods.  Although fictional and sensationalized, it was well timed with pending federal legislation that impacts all of us that eat vegetables.  80% of the vegetables sold in the grocery store are grown in two agricultural areas in California and Arizona, and are run by a very few foody corporations.  The pending legislation (that is currently soliciting public comment) benefits big corporate agricultural operations at the expense of safe, healthy, sustainable, local growers- who can show you the farm and where you can meet the people that run that farm.  That is the piece of mind that I call Ag Security. 

The Pennsylvania  Association for Sustaniable Agriculture (PASA) is asking their membership to weigh-in on this issue.   Here is a link to a letter to PASA members from the Executive Director, Brian Snyder.   Brian testified on behalf of PASA members at a hearing in Ohio.  Here is one excerpt from his testimony. 

 “The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is intended to serve the marketing needs of the agricultural community in this country.  Their own administration has stated that “AMS is not a food safety agency.” But I submit that, while it might serve the immediate marketing needs of the largest producers (and most vegetables), as the hearing notice makes clear, the current proposal would in fact fail to support the majority of growers who now produce leafy greens on a variety of scales.  Of course, that majority of growers might well become the minority soon enough, because the LGMA will likely force them to comply or step aside altogether.  From a marketing point of view, the last thing most smaller-sized, independent farmers need right now, whether we’re talking about leafy greens, dairy products or any other commodity-specific group, is a government-sponsored, vertically-integrated market syndicate against which they must compete.”

To support local sustainably produced vegetables, please review the draft rule and provide comments at the email address for USDA listed in the link highlighted above.

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Phew!  I love October and I don’t want to rush through it.  One of my favorite parts of October is the contrast of the colors.  The grass seems brighter, the sky bluer, and of course the leaves.IMG_3764

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It has been snowing, raining, snowing, raining- this just sucks!  It is cold, wet and our sheep are asking, “is it time to come in to the barn yet?”  They don’t get to come back to the “barn pasture” until late November.  We use this area from about Thanksgiving to Easter.  The hay racks are in the barn, the lambs are born in the barn, and we all enjoy the “cozy” feeling of dry bedding, dry hay, and heated water!   Sorry girls, it’s not time yet.  There is still good pasture where you are and we need to keep you off the barn pasture until we truly need it.

Mike is on his way to Prestige Meats to pick up our lamb.  They are a USDA inspected butcher.  Most of the lamb Mike is picking up was pre-ordered, but not all of it.  We do ship.  The lamb is frozen and vacuum packed and we use cooler boxes and dry ice to ship.  We do sell by the cut.  See our Farm Fresh Lamb page for current prices.

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Only one more week until the event.  I have been working on getting everything together for this sale.  It is A LOT of work.  I enjoy the activity because I really get excited about bringing people together to discuss sheep and breeding stock.  I love to hear the different perspectives of the different breeds of sheep.  We may all be working towards a common goal, but we are going about it a bit differently. 

If you are interested in purchasing good quality breeding stock- this will be the place to be!   October 24, 2009  Reedsville, PA .  The sale starts at 1:00pm but people will be there all day. 

The Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture is hosting a small ruminant workshop in conjunction with this sale.  I don’t know if they are full- but if you are interested, you can check out www.pasafarming.org

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