csa week 3

3 inches of rain last weekend led to a week of infrastructure development extraordinaire. When the ground is so deeply soaked and garden work is out of the question, we head to the woods! Really, fencing is our number one farm priority these unfavorable days to be in the gardens. In years passed we have relied entirely on portable electric netting to keep our flock in their pastures and out of our gardens. Each year we try to construct more and more permanent paddocks. We have discovered that the electronets are wonderful if they are kept hot. If not, and there are a multitude of reasons why it is infinitely challenging to keep a charge running through these nets, the sheep get caught in them, down falls the fence and voila, the sheep are out. The week began with erecting a length of woven wire and a gate at one of the farm’s most vulnerable paddocks, the one nearest the driveway and road. With fence posts to set and wire to stretch, the large crew made easy work of that job. The sheep moved right in and given their proximity to the barn, the obvious next step was to round them up and finish the shearing. Most of you know our sheep tales by now, but for those new to the farm and CSA, we have a flock of approximately 50 Jacob’s sheep, known for their multi colored wool and tender meat. An old time breed, they were around long before sheep were bred for either wool or meat production: they are historically and naturally a dual purpose breed. Paul has been shearing our flock for years and we have been able to turn these pounds and pounds of raw wool into the most amazing roving and yarn! We have had 2 rounds of shearing to date this year, but there were still 9 ewes to be shorn and then we needed to catch all of the 2012 lambs. All before lunch, the remaining ewes had been removed of their hot wooly winter fleeces, the lambs were caught and gender ID’d (12 male, 13 female), the males were banded to ensure they do not impregnate the females, the female lambs had their tails banded,the fleeces were cleaned and hung from the barn. Not a bad morning. Next on the “to do” list was to erect a milking stanchion and hang a gate at a 10 acre paddock across the road that our neighbor is allowing us to graze. We have been aching to get Addie over there for weeks, as soon as we knew we could graze there, but a milking cow needs infrastructure. Amazingly, Paul passed the chain saw over to Nikki. She and Andrew deftly constructed a stanchion of cedar logs while the rest of the crew cleared, dug post holes, hung a gate and alas, Addie was led across just this morning, post harvest and pre lunch. All in a week on the farm my friends, all in a week. Wishing you all a great week ahead, I hope you enjoy the spinach as much as I plan to!
Week three in your basket:
spinach
carrots
arugula
garlic scapes
Tuscan Carrot Top Soup a repeat appearance but worth it with all of these carrots and tops
3 tb extra-virgin olive oil
1 md onion; minced
2 sm carrots; diced
1 stalk celery; diced
3 cloves garlic; minced
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts freshly ground black pepper
6 c vegetable broth
1/2 c short grain rice
1 1/2 c chopped carrot tops
4 tb fresh grated -parmigiano-reggiano.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-gauge soup pot. Saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes over low heat until translucent. Add the salt and pepper, pour in the broth, and bring to a boil. Add the rice to the broth and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Add the carrot tops and cook for 5 more minutes, mixing well. When the rice is done, pour the soup into four bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

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