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Week 16 CSA – 4th September 2017

The week finished with some great sheep weather, with rain, cold temperatures, and wind. It will be several weeks before we shear the sheep, so this weather is a welcome break for them as their fleece gets really long. We’ll send the wool to Morning Stair Fiber in Andrews, NC for processing, and it will come back to us spun into beautiful skeins of Lopi yarn. We’ll start taking orders once we know how much we have, probably in late winter or early spring.

Unfortunately, our older hound Kephart is not as into rain and wind, and above you can see him hiding in the hoophouse, waiting and feeling that life is a problem.

Ezra built a rabbit tractor for the rabbits so they can start enjoying the pasture at their leisure. We’ll start breeding once our buck is old enough in November.

– Ezra, Michelle Stacy and Greg

(p.s. Please “like” and share our Facebook and Instagram pages with your friends and family, and remember to tag us in your posts @WindingStairFarm!)

Farm Perspectives

Michelle

The photographs above show Josephine (the little white lamb) and Nubbins (the cream colored, badger-faced ram lamb with nubby horns) grazing. Nubbins is only six weeks older, but notice the difference in their size. Josephine should be much bigger than she is, but her growth – and that of her brother’s – has been stunted (at least for the time being) by intestinal parasites.

Our Icelandic sheep have very few health issues; that’s one of the reasons we selected the breed. They are hardy. Still, every summer we wage war against parasites that live in the pasture and whose life cycle is complete at the expense of our flock. The sheep eat the grass, ingesting parasitic larvae like barber pole worms that latch onto the intestinal lining to feed (leave scar tissue in their wake). Most sheep carry a low load of parasites during the summer, but a high load can lead to red blood cell defeciency so we check eyelids every week for paleness that might indicate anemia. Resistance to intestinal parasites is both genetic and environmental; we do the best we can with the environment, and try to breed those sheep who seem to have genetic resistance.

The mother of Josephine and her brother Bear doesn’t seem to pass on resistance, even though she herself rarely has any problems. As such, Bear and Josephine both suffered from a high intestinal parasite load at a very young age which has slowed their growth.

I am excited to report that this week both of them finally had lovely pink eyes lids! They are fighters and voracious grazers. There’s even a bit of sassiness to Josephine’s gait, a confidence in her walk that says there’s more to her than her size lets on. She even holds her own against Hamish, our big ram, when we feed the sheep treats.

So here’s to Bear and Josephine … may this week’s good news mean that we can stop monitoring them as closely as we have been for the past three months, because that’s getting tiring. 🙂

This Week’s Harvest

‘Collective Farm Woman’ and ‘Kazakh’ Melons (Cucumis melo)
Sweet and juicy! Summer eating, raw with breakfast, pickled, or make cold melon soup. To make the refreshing soup, cut the melon in half, deseed it and peel the skin off. Put the melon, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and a heavy tablespoon of sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the melon is tender. Take it off of heat and add 1/4 cup white wine and 1 tablespoon fresh ginger. Puree all of that, then chill it and serve.

‘Kazakh’ is a hard-to-find mini-melon that has a high sugar content and is finely flavored. An ancient type of melon from central Asia, collected in Kazakhstan, and once offered by by the Gurney Seed Company, of Yankton, South Dakota.

‘Collective Farm Woman’ is an heirloom from the Ukraine, and was collected in 1993 by Seed Savers Exchange. Very popular on the Island of Krim in the Black Sea. Melons ripen to a yellowish-gold and the white flesh has a very high sugar content.

Mixed Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)
Daikon Radish (Raphanus sativus)
‘Marveille de Quatre Saison’ or ‘Speckled Trout’ Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
Cutting Celery (Apium graveolens)
‘Brunswick’ Cabbage (Brassica olaracea)
‘Chiogga’ and ‘Detroit Red’ Beets (Beta vulgaris)

This is an angry chicken. Chickens always look angry, but this Pluton chicken (our own breed – part Egyptian Fayoumis, part Arecauna – Barnvelder) is truly angry. She didn’t want me to take any eggs, and she stopped me in my tracks with this death glare on Friday. – Michelle
Remember when the sheep broke into the garden and tried to destroy our cabbage crop? They chomped down on this cabbage photographed here, and it has recovered. Early cabbages will send out new stalks with small, tennis ball sized heads after you cut the first one, but this one sent a new stalk out of the eaten stalk before the old one was even gone… we’ll have to wait and see if two heads are better than one 😀
David helps care for the vegetables at Winding Stair Farm by boosting them with things like “BAM” and “Organa” and “Super Volcanic Growth”, all derived from beneficial bacteria and other goodies using formulas that he and a friend in Hawaii developed. For seedlings, the result is healthy and strong root systems covered in fuzzy mychorrizae that give the plants like this cabbage a head start when we transplant into the raised beds.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

May 23 – October 9

Franklin Pick-Up: Saturday mornings at the Franklin Farmer’s Market
Highlands Pick-Up: Monday between 12pm and 1pm at Founder’s Park
Keep it out of the landfill
We strive to keep our footprint as small as possible, and we’d love your help:
  • Bring a bag with you each week
  • Save egg cartons and zip loc bags (we’ll even take egg cartons from your friends)
  • If you don’t compost then you can help us feed our chickens. Keep in your fridge until the next CSA pick up: kale/collard ribs, lettuce hearts, herb stems, egg shells (but please, no onions or garlic)
Sharing recipes
Did you use ingredients from your CSA to make a particularly delicious meal? Send us a photograph and the recipe, and we’ll share it with other CSA members.

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