Farm Journal 8/22/21

Click here to place your order for this week (please give us 24 hours lead time before your desired pick up date/time).

** There’s no longer a limit on the number of eggs you can buy!

You can now find us at: (we will deliver to all the market locations that we attend)

Sundays – Squirrel Hill Farmers Market – 9am – 1 pm

Mondays – East Liberty 3 – 7 pm

Wednesdays – Here at The Farm – 11 – 7

Fridays – Northside Farmers Market – 3 – 7 pm

Saturdays – Mt. Lebanon, Uptown – 9 – 12

Farm Update – by Jen

We took a much-needed mini vacation last weekend. It’s easy to get to the end of our tether in August, and, having 3+ employees and 4 farmers markets (5 if you count the on farm stand too) – we were destined to snap. Just a couple of days off the farm is amazing respite, although the prep time and effort leading up to “vacation” is double the stress.

Annie took the stage when we were gone. While we were off to the “beach” (Presque Isle), a storm blew out to the power at the farm house (at least the basement didn’t leak and we have solar batteries to keep the freezers going), a pig kept getting out (luckily it was only one!), and the battery died in the van after market (there’s always AAA). If only the sows had decided to go into labor that weekend, Annie would have had the full farm experience!

I tried to spread the farm job responsibilities among several people, but Annie stepped into the job of Farm Maestro with tenacity and determination. When the power went out – she figured out why the freezers were still going. She remembered the new chicks were without their heat lamp, and that the power was now off and the pigs’ fence wasn’t hot. She was there to wrangle the loose pig (multiple times) and ask for help when needed. She helped load and unload the van for markets, she watered the greenhouse, greeted random visitors and generally kept the orchestra playing. Boy was she glad when we got home!

Now, to give credit to the whole crew. It wasn’t all Annie, doing it all as a one-person operation. Em, Lou, Charissa, Michelle, and Lindsay – all saw the various rolls that are filled and jobs that need to be done. Whether it’s selling burgers and veggies at market, closing up chickens at night, feeding the pigs, cleaning dishes for the next day’s market, or handling campfire conversations….. They all chipped in with their parts and Annie was at the front of the orchestra, watching, listening and leading as the nuisances of the farm played out.

Most of the micro and macro details of the farm; from how many paper towels are left, to the next pig feed delivery and CSA harvest lay on Greg and my shoulders. We were grateful for the couple days off. We got a break from this never ending behemoth of a job and were able to relax on a beach, go canoeing, and not worry so much about what has to ‘get done”. A great big thank you to our farm crew this year.

We are the Maestros of the farm for now. But when we have people who care, work hard and see what needs to be done and do it…. our vision for the future of this farm gets closer to being a reality. If I remember to, I’ll tell you what that vision is in next week’s newsletter.

Pig Wifery – by Greg

With three sows ready to pop, it was a good a thing as any to bet on which would go first.

Lil’black, our oldest and sweetest sow was separated from the herd about three weeks ago. It’s hard to tell how pregnant a large sow is, everything is so droopy, kinda looks like she’s always ready to start nursing.

Jen won a victory last week when she separated Lilac, who was taking the slow track to birthing. Slowly getting larger over the last month, she started walking with a swagger and was extra hungry between meals. Sure signs she was looking to start a nest. Jen saw her near the right gate at the right time and lured her into a private pen without any fuss.

Rather than walk out to the field with a bucket and try to separate the sows, the hard way, fighting off the others, we wait patiently and observe until the pig is in the right position. Then a quick open and close of a gate, or move of the fence and she’s isolated from the rest of the herd.

Biggest mystery was Wanda. Our new mama who came to us from another farm. Wanda is a red wattle crossed with a Duroc. Red wattles have a very interesting facial features, two fatty ‘tails’ that hang under each side of their chin. Super cute, even for a 600# animal. Wanda came here pregnant and we didn’t know when she was inseminated. Like Lil’black, she’s so big it looked like she’d pop anytime!

As the full moon had it (again), both Lilac and Wanda have given birth! Wanda produced 13 piglets (4 still), and is resting comfortably. Lilac finished giving birth (passed her placenta) around 2pm on Sunday. All the piglets are nursing and cavorting.

Lil’black, although not in labor, looks like she’s about ready to start any minute. Definitely check in with the barnyard on Wednesday to see how the dirty little squealers are getting along.

Pizza this week – Just a heads up!

On the Menu

Scallions, tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers, tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, squash.

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