Friday, March 23, 2012

Lambing Season

"If it weren't for lambing and sugaring, I'd never make it through this time of year" quoted Reeve Linbergh in Richard Brown's The View from the Kingdom.  The two have always been intertwined with each other and March in New England. We  found this newborn lamb in the field, literally minutes old.

She was the second, and much smaller, of twins.
Kingsley led the new family to the barn.

Farm animals parade of intrigue.
There, he dried her off, encouraged her to eat, and introduced her to the very inquisitive Mabel.
Water and hay while mother and lamb bond
The next morning found little Fanny doing well...  

A friend came over to get in some lamb time.
Now, all of the lambs are thriving - active and eating heartily.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Maple Syrup

New England roads now are dotted with pails, this year put out earlier because of the warm winter.
Farmers who produce hundreds or thousands of gallons of maple syrup have necessarily adopted ever more elaborate equipment. But the process to make just enough syrup for a family (and maybe a few friends) is simple, satisfying, and does not require reverse osmosis.

Make sure the hole angled downward.

For sap to flow, the temperature has to be above freezing during the day but drop below freezing during the night.
One Drip at a Time
Under a Watchful Eye

This has not been a bountiful year!

Adding to the Supply

Straining Out Some Debris
Since the stove is going anyway (or use an outdoor setup)...
....evaporate away most of the water.
Enough to Last for Some of the Year.
Here is a recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes:
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 4 Tablespoons raw wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Turbinado sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
As well as our maple syrup, we use fresh milk from a local dairy farm and our own free range eggs. Then, we just put a small amount of butter a hot pan before each scoop of pancake batter goes in.
  Coming up Next Post:

If it is maple sugaring season, it must also be lambing season!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Learning at Lumen Christi

We at Barberry Hill Farm are committed to producing the highest quality vegetables and other farm products. This means that we have to continually learn.  While we can do a lot of it through books and chat rooms, we occasionally also take field trips to neighboring (or not so neighboring) farms.

One trip that we recently took was to Lumen Christi in Benson, Vermont.  The Sisters of Mercy own Lumen Christi and run it as a spiritual retreat and organic farm.   Sister Holly for years has volunteered at Barberry Hill, and now is running Lumen Christi with Sister Leslie.  She invited us up for an information exchange on sustainability and crop optimization.

   The west pasture plans, formerly grazed by dairy calves.
Remodeling the sheep barn

A visit to the sleeping hives.

Grace, partial to the kid Alpines

Located adjacent to the property is the Christ Sun of Justice Catholic Church. 

The hand-carved door depicted scenes from the farm.

Each month was represented in carving.

Sister Holly and Sister Leslie arranged for a learning dinner with famous author John Fedor- Cunningham and naturalist David Fedor-Cunningham

John's book, Organic Gardening for the 21st Century an asset to anyone who cares even remotely how their food is grown.

Lumen Christi

 The village of Benson, Vermont has its own charm.

We also took the opportunity to visit the Book Dairy Farm in neighboring Fair Haven, Vermont.

The Book brothers milking parlor, handling 12 Holsteins at a set.


The Book brothers took time out from morning milking to pose with some future farmers.

Bruce Book proudly showing the 100% survival rate of calves using a modified hoop
house as a calf barn.

Traditional sap buckets awaiting deployment.

Even time to discuss hobbies.

We will miss all of our new friends.