Monday, August 23, 2010

Newcomers once again

Bovine report:

This past week on the farm was an exciting one; we gained four new members and had one fabulous visitor. First, Seth and I drove to Vermont and bought a bull. We wanted a bull because we have six lady-cows and we'd like them all to calve next spring, and there are no bulls of our particular breed in the immediate vicinity. Our breed is the American Milking Devon, which is a now-rare breed of cattle that was the first type of cattle brought to North America, or at least to what is now the Northeast United States. Despite the specificity of the name, one of the best things about these cows is that they are bred to retain the tri-purpose nature with which they arrived on this continent: they can be trained as oxen, used for milk production, and also eaten for beef. In fact, there are even stories of single cows being milked and worked as oxen at the same time, and still tasting delicious at the end of their lives. So, we got us a daddy cow, and so far he seems to fit right in with our herd. His former keeper called him Billy Bob, though he doesn't have an official name. We get to choose it, and the only rule is that is has to start with Meadowbrook since that was the name of the farm where he was born. We're thinking of Meadowbrook Nebuchadnezzar, at my dad's suggestion, but we're still open to other ideas. Let us know if you have any, preferably starting with "N."

I haven't taken this guy's portrait yet, but he looks pretty much like all the others except he's got horns and they come straight out from the sides of his head.

Ovine report:

We finally have sheep! I have to say I was about ready to send them to the freezer on their first full day here, but I think we've moved past that phase (for now), and today they look and sound cute. I think they're Coopworths, which is a breed that's especially well known for their silky longwool fleeces. And my dear friend Eliza, who is not an ovine but a homo sapiens, is modeling one of the three little buggers we just acquired in the two photos below.

Eliza was a major trooper during a multi-hour sheep chasing mission over the weekend, and also a superb bundle of energy and adventuresomeness during her three-day stay here at North Branch Farm. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, August 13, 2010

August Progress

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,
Please excuse the long silence--I was away in North Carolina and my camera was dead. Both situations have been remedied, and we are back in full swing in both blog and farm worlds. Here are some images from the farm.

Veggie Art:
Many weeks ago, on July 26th, Seth used our first major cucumber harvest to do some sculpting. The main variety of cucumber used is Suhyo Long or Shantung Suhyo Cross, we're not sure, and they taste EVEN better than they look. Sweet, crispy, tangy, and delicious.

Our first and so far only eggplant harvest consisted of these four beauties and two shiny round apple-green ones.

The Pre-Slab:
And though this is more personal than farm, here are a couple photos from the Seth-Anna-young'un house building project. In the first, Seth, Tyler and I are just beginning to lay down tubing on top of sand and remesh for the radiant heat. Notice the color of the tubing? Red. This would have been about 4:30pm on Monday afternoon, the day before the slab pouring.

6:00pm: Lucretia, Oai and Minh come over to check it out. Oai tells us it looks like we have the wrong kind of tubing. Internet search confirms suspicions.
7:00pm: Tyler leaves for Bangor; last minute purchasing of correct material successfully completed at our favorite big box store, Lowes. Anna and Seth remove bad tubing.
8:30pm: Tyler returns with the goods (and our friend Destiny).
9:00pm: Anna, Seth, Gib, and friends Patrick and Abbey start to lay down correct tubing.
10:30: Tubing-laying completed amidst thunder, lightning and showers. In bed by 11pm.
5:15am, Tuesday: Anna and Seth are back out at the pre-slab again, putting the finishing touches on before the concrete arrives.

And here, Jonny and Seth are standing on the nick-of-time finished radiant system at 6:50am the following morning, minutes before the concrete truck arrived. I just can't stop feeling grateful to all the people who helped out with the pouring of the slab, photos of which are yet to come. Thank you Jonathan, Gib, Tyler, Chris, Destiny, Patrick, Lao, Danielle, Lucretia, Minh, Tom, other people I might be forgetting, and the two fine men of State Sand & Gravel. There is hope for this little house!