Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Heritage Pigs...So cute!!

We picked up a few Chester White pigs with a little Gloucestershire Old Spot in them from Dad and one looks like a Dalmatian!!  So adorable!!  This is a new breeder for us so we are feeding these out and offering the 40 lb. shares only on these just in case the weights don't come out where they should...better safe than sorry.  On the other hand this is another goal that we have met.  We promised our customers that we would eventually offer the smaller quarter shares for those not desiring as much pork, and for those who are worried about the curing process we will be offering "smoked" and "nonsmoked" shares trading the bacon and hams for boneless rolled roasts etc.  We appreciate your patience in this matter, but "floating" the feed bill for the four to five months is quite a task, and we had to wait until the bank account was ready for this endeavor.  Moonstruck runs on an all cash basis and thanks to you we are growing by leaps and bounds.  The account is always low, but that is because we are putting every penny back into the farm to increase the amount of farm fresh food we can supply and to eventually get to the point where we can hire permanent help!!  My teenagers are becoming young adults and my built in labor force will be flying the coop in just a few years and the truth is they are not able to help as much with their growing lives which include track, choir, new jobs and a full AP schedule.  Another chore was added today thanks to the heat we are experiencing, but this one is pure joy...spraying down pigs with a hose!!  The Berkshires are especially fun since they are black they enjoy it the most and they were spinning 360s, holding their mouths wide open, pointing their tail ends into the spray and rolling in the mud...it was pure happy pandemonium!!  The piglets only enjoy a little spray and so most of the water went into wetting the ground to provide a nice mud pit, which they happily rolled in again and again!!  The goats and the cows looked at me and said "Don't you dare point that thing at me!!"....definitely not of the same mindset as the pigs who need the water to cool their bodies.  I will have to get a picture of that spotted guy and post it as soon as he is a little more comfortable here and not racing 90 miles an hour around the pen when I am near!!  Hope this finds you relaxing in the shade enjoying a glass of lemonade!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Easter Lamb

The Sieberts have lamb available for Easter now. This will be the only lamb available for Easter with the next availability being this summer. They are lambing now and the 4H kids always get first pick and then it will be available for sale to the general public. Let us know by Friday if you are interested. Just drop a line moonstruckfarms@verizon.net. Here at Moonstruck the trees and grapes are all in the ground finally. I do have to finish mulching and painting the trunks and pruning and hopefully it will be on a warmer day than today. That North wind was so cold today...thank the Lord for flannel lined jeans and three layers and a flannel work jacket!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Summer Turkeys

Summer turkey season is upon us. The hatchery called to let me know there was a problem with some of the turkey egg orders so I could not get the white broad breasted and the bronze in an order so I switched it to all Bronze Broad Breasted, which I actually prefer. They seem to be sturdier. I guess it is because they are closer to the original Heirloom Standard Bronze breed. The white broad breasted is preferred in the commercial industry not only because of the breast meat, but also because of the white feathers there is no worry of quill marks. You will only see the quill marks after butcher if the quill busts in the skin. Most of the turkeys I have processed do not have the marks, but you do get some and it appears like tiny black dots. They do not affect the taste of the turkey at all, just look a little funny compared to your "store bought" or white broad breasted. I do get the additional pleasure of watching beautiful bronze turkeys raised here and so can you just come and visit any Saturday (after they arrive) from 9-12. If you would like to reserve a Summer turkey (10-14 pounds) for July 2013 just drop me an email at moonstruckfarms@verizon.net. Moonstruck signing out!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

200 plus trees planted!!



Well, this does not really show a fantastic picture, but all the little brown things on the ground are tree protectors on the trees....better pictures once they get bigger and bloom.  The trees are just  minus some mulching, tree protectors and tags.  We also put some vetch in to see if it will do well as a living mulch.  The vetch is already out in the West field and comes back for about 75% of the year to feed the chickens a high protein snack.   The grapes are taking a little bit longer because they are being put on a area that was tractored quite a bit and so Michael and the granite are having a disagreement, but if anyone knows my husband the granite will lose.  The last 40 holes along the fence line should go quickly and all grapes are on somewhat of a slope with a southern exposure for drainage and optimal light.  They are all Cabernet and Merlot grapes except for four seedless Flame I added near the end (well Dave Wilson added them and I just kept instead of calling for the millionth time!!)  We were shorted some trees and there is a little bit more room on the Southeast side so I think I will add 50 more this next year if all goes well and add in an additional apple, some pears and nectarines and maybe a couple olives.  Saturday was my favorite working day of the four so far, and that is when all three of my girls were out there along with Olivia and her daughter Addie (alias Great Customers and Friends).   It was "Girl Power" day and the energy made the day go so quickly and by far was almost the most productive....the day Michael augured almost all the tree holes takes 1st Place.   Well, I am just a little tired to say the least, but note sore??  I guess I am in better shape than I thought...well one more day of planting and then Saturday is irrigation day right after it rains hopefully.  Though I must say "Thank you Lord!!!", the rain, the snow, the weather for planting all was perfect!!  This was a huge step for us and I was more than just a little anxious about getting this done, but then everything fell into place so perfectly!!  It could not have gone any better!!   One of our major goals this year has been to become "tourable", and I believe by the end of March we will be there.   I went ahead and told a Boy Scout troop to come on out!!  Can't wait and they even asked for a project to do....I can't wait...they are 1st and 2nd graders!!   See ya all soon....Moonstruck signing out!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Berkshire Pork Last Chance

Moonstruck Farms has one side of Berkshire pork left available and that will harvested in June 2013, and the next available batch will not be until August 2013. We are maxed out!! The winter batch of chicken is going okay though costs are high due to this chilly winter and the lights have been on almost 24/7. Today was the first time they really ventured outside much, and even then they were cuddling by 2:30 in the afternoon and so I carried everyone back inside this evening to make sure they stay warm with the new storm blowing in. We have decided to do two batches of turkeys this year. One will be available in June/July harvesting at approximately 12 pounds and the second batch being the holiday batch and will be ready by November 1st at latest and will be brought to the 15-25 pound range for the holidays. Turkeys will be only be available in these two batches and will have to be picked up once available. Any that do not sell will be ground up right away...sorry our electric bill is already too high!! The current batch of chicken is sold out, but we are taking deposits due by January 20th for the late March harvest. The deposits enable us to grow by providing us the capital to buy large amounts of chicks and feed and we truly appreciate it. We would not be where we are now if it were not for all our customers support. In the produce division about 60% of the new greenhouse is planted in snow peas, spinach, broccoli and lettuce and the old greenhouse is slowly being retrofitted for hydroponic lettuce, strawberries and in the ground (below the hydroponic lettuce) asparagus!! The pomegranate jelly was a great success so we added a few pomegranate trees to our planting and the English Morello cherries arrived today (these will be reserved for future speciality products!!). Thanks again for all your support. Moonstruck signing out!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Powerful pretty piglets!!

I can't figure out how to rotate this picture, but this is a shot of the largest piglet we brought home today.  He is a big guy!!  My favorite part of picking up piglets is watching the drivers behind us.  They lean forward, squint and then start laughing as they realize it is a bunch of piglets they are looking at!!  They are so cute, but so strong!!  This bunch weighed too much for us to slide out of the truck so Mike had to grab one by one and put in the pen, and they are so powerful it really gave Mike a run for his money!!!  Meanwhile Molly is running in circles trying to do her part, and Mike is doing his best not to trip over her!  Of course she is hoping he will trip and drop one so she can put it away.  She went nuts as soon as she "smelled" us coming and went right to work barking and running in circles.  You could just hear her saying "okay, let me do my job, just let them out, I'll put them away....awwww...come on guys!!!".  It was nice to have her there after watching Mike struggle with the piglets.  Just in case one did get away, I knew Molly would have it back in no time flat.  It is nice to know I don't have to run around like a chicken with it's head cut off anymore chasing escapee animals!!!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Our was absolutely stupendous!!!  See ya all soon!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Box of chocolates

This week I was fortunate enough to have the company of a wonderful woman by the name of Andrea.  She honestly worked harder than me, and was a joy to work with.  At one point the tiller would not start, and I was determined to get it start so I think I tried for 45 minutes!  Andrea had cleared a row and I wanted her to be able to see it through, tilled and planted.  Meanwhile being the worker bee that she is she was pulling the dried weeds in the next row.  This row and the one next to it were the most damaged rows from the pool collapse.  The thousands of gallons of water had spurred a huge weed growth, and there parts of the greenhouse and the pool strewn throughout it.  To be honest I had turned off the irrigation and was trying hard to not look at it until Mike had the time to help me build the hydroponics over it.  The truth is with the holidays coming it was not going to happen until after the first of the year.  Today as I left the new greenhouse because I was dripping more sweat than the ceiling with all its condensation I proceeded to the old greenhouse where Andrea had been working.  There I saw the cleared row, and to be honest it was the first real look I had given it in a while, and there I saw what I had been looking for.  I had just posted a question on building a better carrot bed on a listserv of market gardeners across the country I belong to.  My carrots are too hairy and the quality is not there, but I knew part of this was the summer season, which is not conducive to sweet carrots.  I already knew I had to watch my nitrogen levels, but the market gardeners also told me to watch my organic matter, which will cause the hairiness and of course in addition I needed a well drained porous soil that would allow the carrots to grow at ease, and there it was in front of me.  I started the tiller, which started easily thank the Lord, and tilled about 10 feet.  The bed had been amended at the beginning of the summer and all the mulch had been washed away or had broken down within the soil and now there was a healthy amount of sand in it creating a beautiful porous soil.  I widened the walkway to create an easier working area and thus built the bed up creating plenty of room for the carrots to grow.  So I owe Andrea a lot more than I thought.  Just like the tiller needed a good jump start...so did I and Andrea was my "jump start" that day.  You never know why people walk into your life or for that matter why things happen to you and what gift you have provided to another, but in this case Andrea was my gift.  She has a fantastic appetite for life, and understood all my goofy analogies.  When I was showing her the new greenhouse she came up with one of her own that I loved.  I showed her how the Swiss chard had grown beautifully hidden behind some old celery plants and then a new growth of basil that had come up unexpectedly, and she said "It's like a box of chocolates, you never quite know what you will find".   Thank you Andrea.