Sunday, December 28, 2008
One would think with winter approaching life here on Faith Farm would slow a bit. Over the past few weeks it seems to have become all the more demanding and with the arrival of Christmas we gladly welcomed a little down time. Erin, our daughter from New Jersey, and Tristan went out for the 2nd year and tracked down a tree from one of the far pastures and brought back a rather impressive Christmas tree. Tristan had a blast lugging the tree back on the four wheeler (with his auntie for supervision, of course).
It was so nice having the family together for Christmas and celebrating the birth of our Savior without distractions. It was a delight to not only be together, but we got to enjoy our
very own Heritage raised Turkey. Tristan had his knife and fork out even before the table was set. Although we're a little biased, the truth is there is really nothing like knowing where your food is coming from. It's a good feeling and it doesn't hurt that it tastes so very good. : )
This time of year is cold and often times funky. Even though spring is not in the air we ask you to remember to support your local farmers. Business and our animals still needs to keep rolling even in the midst of a little chill and clouds. We need you to keep Faith Farm a reality and around for many more winter, spring, summer and falls to come. To our loyal customers, thank you. Have a blessed New
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We found 30 new born piglets
wandering out of the woods this
morning following their Mama's
to the feed bunk. They are a mix
of Tamworth/Duroc, Hampshire/
Duroc and straight Duroc pigs.
We let them nest in the woods
with their Mama's for a hardier animal. They are bred for this
type of environment which allows for less grain supplement
and encourages wood lot foraging on acorns, roots and other
yummy natural stuff. The result is in the taste of the meat
and nutrient value.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This weekend we opened our farm and home to 21 junior and high school students from Tabernacle, NJ. Random? Not really. Our daughter, Erin, is an addiction's counselor at the high school located in South Jersey. One of her roles is running a prevention program. Drug Squad, the only one in the nation, is designed to challenge students in how they are living their own lives, if they're making an impact within both school and community and conveying these powerful messages about substance free living to their peers. They are, in a matter of words, role models to the other 1,400 students that walk the halls of their high school each day.
These 21 kids spent 7 weeks training on social issues and substance abuse trends pertaining specifically to their school and community. From there they participate in an annual retreat and this year they headed to Faith Farm. On 95 acres they were allowed to sort of hit the pause button in their own lives and just be kids and learn about themselves and their peers. One of the issues addressed was methods of communication. Erin was able to use communication via shifting the chickens roaming grounds. Twenty one kids working together with mind and physical strength to not only lend a hand, but gain a sense of accomplishment and realize there is power in numbers when communication is effective.
It was really awesome seeing these young people discussing how they personally felt compelled to make an impact within their school and take on the responsibility of being held accountable for their own actions and the manner in which they live their own life. So often we hear of the negatives associated with teens, but this weekend totally blew those stereotypes out of the water. What a wonderful experience that these kids had and will now take the lessons learned here back home to their own community. Life is short, but if lived with open arms and heart it can be a beautiful journey.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Almost time to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey.
These birds are beautiful & ready to go. We have about
30 now @ the right weight with another 7 or so by
Christmas, so if you miss out now you may still get one
next month. This is the turkey most like those the
Pilgrims ate for the first Thanksgiving. They are a
rare breed, take 7 months to grow to finish and famous
for their great flavor.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Brenda, Paul and Julie,serving our customers
@ the South of the James Farmers Market in
Forest Hill Park yesterday.
The weather was beautiful .
Thank you , Julie and Tina (our customer volunteers) for your help and all our customers for your support.
Remember we will be delivering all winter long to South of The James on Saturday and Byrd House Market on Tuesdays.
Ask Brenda or Jess for details......
Talk about being right in the action. Yesterday another calf was born bringing us to 41 calves born this year. Wow! Paul, Tristan and Erin hopped on the tractor and made their way to one of our back fields where a cow was in the final stages of labor. The mama was a little leary of our presence, but after a few minutes of silence she seemed as much at ease with things as she could, considering the circumstances. Erin was able to get up pretty close and capture the birth of the calf as well as the moments after where the herd gathers around to help clean the calf and gain its smell. The tiny calf was surrounded by not only its herd, but a half a dozen curious piglets and chipper chickens. It was a pretty impressive welcoming committee.
With our herd beginning to burst at the seams it keeps us plenty busy. But let us not forget about the other few hundred animals that walk the pastures of Faith Farm. The past few days have been truly gorgeous and it seems our animals, big and small, are soaking in the warm sun and pleasant breeze as long as they are able. Good stuff.
Monday, November 3, 2008
With Jess & Tristan up in Jersey visiting Erin in New Jersey the farm is a little quieter, but we definitely miss our little farmer in training. We added a few pictures of him as 'Super Farmer' for Halloween. His John Deere cape, mask & overalls were the talk of the town as he joined over 400 kids at Seneca High School (where Erin works) for an evening of safe trick or
treating. He definitely won't be forgetting that experience any time soon.
Jess, Erin & Tristan have been enjoying spending time together. From Halloween, to taking in a high school football game, eating pizza constantly (its a Jersey thing) and playing the guitar to Tristan's 'oh baby cow..." it has been anything but boring. They will be returning to life on the farm Thursday morning. Tristan keeps asking about his baby cow, how his Pop is doing and making constant farm animal sounds in the grocery store and out on the playground. That boy is farmer through and through!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
On Wednesday morning a group of students from Randolph College located in Lynchburg made a special trip to Faith Farm. One of the objectives of their visit was to gain perspective into the process of how to integrate locally grown produce into their campus cafeteria and food vendors. Those in attendance realized the value of eating foods from local farms that provide foods that are pesticide and hormone free. Their task was in how to make this a reality on their own campus. They are in the initial stages of having this transition from talk to a reality of plates on campus being filled with fresh, locally grown and raised fruits, vegetables and meats. What an awesome concept and how it would revolutionize our campuses if this became implemented on a national level!
We're always excited when others have the same vision in supporting local farmers as well as valuing organic, farm fresh produce and meats. It was a wonderful experience hosting these young people who will be returning to their campus and will hopefully pass on this knowledge to friends and family. Always remember, knowledge is power! Have a great week.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Here is a clip of our little Farmer in training. He is feeding our baby calf, whose mama had abandoned her. We got back from the market yesterday, ( Saturday), and as dad and I were unloading the truck , Tristan runs out of the house screaming, " mama the baby calf is starving! We need to go feed her!" He keeps us laughing and smiling... ~
One of our two week old calves has turned out to be a tad higher maintenance than our other newborns. We've found out he enjoys spending time hanging out near the chickens, enjoys a little high jump practice over certain fences and loves being coddled by Tristan. The rest of the herd doesn't seem to be bothered by any of his finicky ways, at least not yet. And it has been a joy watching Tristan take his new chores so seriously and with such excitement.
Feedings for our little guy are throughout the day and the milk has to be at a certain temperature. Otherwise, the calf will refuse to take from the bottle. It is also important to make sure he is getting out and about with his fellow herd. For the most part, that hasn't been an issue. Tristan is always very excited to help out, carry the bottle (which is pretty heavy when full) and take time to ask how our little cow's day is going and if the milk is yummy. We've yet to hear him answer, but we'll let you know if that changes!
Monday, October 13, 2008
With our many new additions to our herd there is a greater demand for grass. Obviously, more cows = more grass. So with that comes the tedious task of rotating pastures. Leave it to Paul and Jess to do the herding & Erin and Tristan to provide video footage with a few memorable commentaries. I have to say in all our years of Jersey, North Carolina & now Virginia... farm life is truly the most unpredictable. From herding cattle, chasing renegade piglets and keeping up with the eggs our chickens turn out .... it is never a dull moment. And maybe that's why we love it so much!
The weather couldn't be more perfect. In the mornings we try to start the day off having a cup of tea and oatmeal on the porch. As the cool of fall transitions in, there are still traces of summer lingering around. We have humming bird feeders on both sides of the porch. There is nothing like tea, oatmeal and the flickering of wings from our neighborly humming birds. They are amazing to watch in action. So, another day and savoring of the beautiful weather and the blessings we have before us.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I know you were on the edge of your seat thinking, I'm so happy there is a new male calf among the Faith Farm Herd! We love our new additions. Our little calf, who has yet to receive a name didn't take to his mama so requires bottle feeding by hand. Not an easy task. The milk temperature has to be just right and at specific times of the day to ensure that he's receiving the appropriate nutrients for growth. Milk does a body good!
Tristan and Paul head out to the overhang where the calf has been spending part of its days and have some male bonding time feeding our newest arrival. The bottle itself is bigger than Tristan's head, but boy does he get a kick out of being part of this. He uses all of his strength to lift the bottle to the calf's mouth and say, "time to eat baby cow" with a big grin across his face.
The calf is taking well to the bottle feeding and the weather has been perfect for its adjustment to its new surroundings.**There were some technical difficulties down loading a clip of our little calf. As soon as we get all the glitches out, we'll have it up & running** Thanks!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
It's hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago the grass was brown, the sun was hot and the days seemed to last just a little bit longer. We have a few beautiful fruit trees this year & as summer came to a close so did the abundance of apples & pears. We learned very quickly how much our cows loved fruit. They managed to figure out how to shake the tree and then go to town on a buffet of apples and pears. That didn't last long as Paul hopped on the tractor & Erin, Jess & Tristan became quickly skilled in fruit picking. We're a family of many trades!
But we're excited to have a few batches of apple and pear butter coming your way soon! Erin & Tristan picked the very last apple on our tree just last weekend. We all took a big bite as a way of savoring the season's end. It was a wonderful summer!
As fall slowly creeps forward there is still plenty of work to be had on the farm. Tristan had a blast celebrating his 3rd Birthday (there is a shot with him, pop & his GG below), but was soon back to work collecting eggs and keeping an eye on Jess & Paul as they transported a few heads of cattle from one field to another. Always keeping busy, but we are grateful for the rain and the cool days we've had recently.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The recent surge in rain has transformed our once crunchy fields into a blanket of brilliant shades of green. We have some seriously happy cows! Paul was assisted by Erin (our oldest daughter visiting from Jersey) and Tristan in his little four wheel drive jeep moving our 95 cows to the back fields. Our recent addition to the herd has a renegade streak hopping the fence and joining the chickens and having some large patches of grass all to himself.
Tristan turns 3 tomorrow! It is wonderful watching our little guy grow up before our eyes and truly be a part of the Faith Farm experience. From helping his Pop on the tractor feeding the cows, sticking those tiny hands in to retrieve freshly laid eggs and doing little tasks at the market he's learning early what family is really about. A three year old who so often chides, "Pop, we're working" or "let's get eggs!" is quite an amazing thing. What a wonderful place for our little dude to grow up.
Even with a touch of fall in the air, Saturday's market had a great turn out. It's encouraging seeing so many in the community supporting their local farmers.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
We have finally been connected to the world wide web officially entering the blog-o-sphere. For those of you who have been a part of our customer 'family,' this is our way of providing you with a first hand view into our farm, what we do and the true beauty of the 95 acres of land so aptly named, 'Faith Farm.' Paul, Jess, Tristan & I invite you to join us for a little taste of our own piece of paradise and to gain insight into our every day life on the farm. Our intention is to use this as a type of journal and means of communicating with the many of you out there who believe in what we're doing and now you can see the in's and outs of what we do. Please don't hesitate to ask questions (post your comments or email us), share your experiences with us & check in to read the inevitable stories (and there are many : ) that go along the life on the farm.
I've included a short video of some new arrivals on the farm. The first two pictures are of our new addition of baby chicks and a calf hanging out with her mama at the baby pool cooling off from the summer's heat. The video is of Erin, Jess & Tristan getting our new batch of baby chicks acclimated to the farm. What fun!