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Archive for November, 2009

Wednesday Nov. 25, 2009

November 25th, 2009 Comments off

The 2009 Thanksgiving sale has ended.  This morning we sold COLD turkeys from our new, working cooler, loaded a bunch into the truck for the final drop-off, and wrapped it  up.  Nancy has been working non-stop since last Friday, I think, and will hopefully get a well-earned rest over the next few days. On the Woodcrest side, we sold quite a few hams, a fair amount of beef, and some sausage. Every little bit helps.
The rest of the afternoon I fooled around in the forge trying to get a good horseshoe hoof-pick process. I think I have the head figured out, but I burned up two in the process of making the other end.
Erin made us smoked turkey legs which were absolutely delicious. I am revising my opinion of smoking.
Dan and Liza arrived with Amy around 7:00, and surprise! Carlisle showed up! That means we will see Jen, Amy, David, Tim, Ben, Carlisle and Dan this weekend – a pretty nice group, if I do say so myself.

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Tuesday Nov. 24, 2009

November 24th, 2009 Comments off

This is a two-day post covering the last 48 hours at the farm.  Our saga begins Monday morning with Nancy arriving around 9:00 to load her trailer with the plastic tubs we washed on Saturday.   In the middle of that, Katherine asked if she could borrow the truck to get a load of shavings because Elderberry apparently has mastitis (an udder infection).   We decided to call  Kenny Kirk for some expert advice, and Katherine went off to implement that plan.  Chores done,  I worked on various projects (like fixing water pressure) while Nancy took off to Penske truck rental to  get the refrigerated truck she had reserved and then to pick up the turkeys.   Early in the afternoon she called to say that the reservation had been ignored and the truck had been rented.  The best that Penske could do was to provide a standard truck – no refrigeration.   My mission became to come up with some alternative to keep turkeys refrigerated through Wed. afternoon.

I called a rental company to see if they had any portable refrigeration units. I called all the truck rental companies, all the beer distributors, several refrigeration companies, and Pete. No solutions. I called a dry ice dealer, who would have been glad to sell me the dry ice, but warned me that enough dry ice to refrigerate our truck would present a safety hazard. Finally, I called Scott Hicks, the person whose walk-in cooler we were considering buying a few months ago. Yes, it was still available, still on its trailer, and Scott would deliver it Monday evening. The cooler arrived at about the same time as the Oller family last evening. So we now own a cooler.

But, the Troubler wasn’t finished with us yet. The cooler didn’t seem to be cooling very well last night, so we didn’t put any turkeys in it. That was a good thing because this morning it was still wasn’t working. In a panic, I called Scott Hicks, and when he didn’t answer after 4 or 5 calls, I stopped payment on the check and went back to the drawing boards. I was still trying to decide about a dry-ice solution when Scott called me back and said he would be here to fix it this evening. With that faint hope, we sold turkeys here at the farm all morning. Around 11:00 AM our peripatetic sausage arrived as promised via UPS ground, and we packed up everything and took it to Duke and sold turkeys all afternoon. By the time I got home, Scott had fixed the cooler and was waiting for his money. So, all is well and hopefully, that chapter is closed.
Meanwhile, we are enjoying grandchildren and trying to get back to normal, or as normal as things can be at Woodcrest Farm on Thanksgiving.

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Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009

November 21st, 2009 Comments off

It was a busy day here at the farm.   Chris and I were up earlier than we wanted to be to set up for pressure washing turkey containers and get ready for her canning class at 12:00.  A bunch of Duke Farmhands showed up to help at 9:00, and after some anxious moments with the pressure washer, got that job underway.  I had to excuse myself from all the fun and head out for choir rehearsal at 10:00 and by the time I got back, the canning class was in full swing.  I spent the afternoon in preparation for my brother’s visit, and when he and Diane arrived at 5:00 we were pretty much ready. 
I did get some good news from Richard at Acre Station. Our sausage has been found safe and sound in Virginia at another small farm. They are willing to overnight them to us on Monday. With luck, we will have sausage to sell Tuesday afternoon at the LSRC along with hams, turkeys, etc. I know Richard is relieved.
Not much else to report, except that it was a confirmation of our feeling that it is time for Woodcrest Farm School to get rolling.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20th, 2009 Comments off

Sometimes its just not your day.   Today’s agenda was a trip to Pinetown, NC to pick up our pork order from Acre Station Meats – the only meat processor we know of who smokes and cures bacon and hams with an entirely natural process – salt and hickory smoke.  Its a 3 hour trip one-way, but so far the quality has justified it.  It took a few minutes to get the truck loaded with coolers and I was on my way.  I arrived around 1:00 and the fun began.  First, the amendment I had made to our order asking for the knuckles hadn’t made it, so I had to get a side order of those for Erin which Richard threw in gratis.  But worse was to come – in the inventory of our order, we were missing 50 lbs of sausage.  The folks at Acre Station looked high and low, but it is either very well hidden, or it walked out the door.  But the major disaster was that none of our hams had been smoked. Nada.  Richard and I were each shell-shocked at the magnitude of the communications breakdown and what I was supposed to do with 8 or 10 Thanksgiving hams ordered.  Richard solved the dilemma by offering to trade 6 of his meat farm hams for my 6, and package them on the spot.  Since he buys his hogs from a grower with similar practices to ours I decided it was the best we could do, and that is what I came home with.   It was a long trip home, but by 7:00 PM everything was in a freezer.   So, for the moment we are not in too bad shape.  I do not know what we will do with all the fresh picnic hams, but that is in the future.

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Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009

November 20th, 2009 Comments off

Finished up chores early, unloaded tractor, trailer, and hooked up the small trailer.  Rounded up Annie and Truffle and took them up to Matkins.  So, that unhappy job is done.

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Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

November 20th, 2009 Comments off

Today I spend most of the day preparing for my presentation to the OC Animal Services board concerning my citation for having an cow at large last March 3d.  Not much else got done.  Then I went to the APB board meeting where we discussed the fine points of the VAD-EVAD program qualifications, which I liken to arguing about whether those applying for ticket to Hoboken need to wear their watch face up or face down.  Very few people want to go to Hoboken, so what difference does it make?  My position is that we need to make the program a lot more attractive, and then it might make a difference.

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Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009

November 17th, 2009 Comments off

It was sweet potato day today.  After chores and admin work, I loaded up the tractor and Chris and I set out for  Breeze (our market garden).   The point of bringing the tractor was to use the scraper teeth to dig up the potatoes and use the bucket to load and carry potatoes, plastic, and anything else that needed carrying.  Well, the sweet potato digging was a mixed success.  We ended up digging most with a potato fork since the scraper probably broke more in the process of unearthing them than it saved.  I need to invent an implement for next year’s crop.   Carrying plastic worked out well.

For the record, I ended the mite treatment today.  Of the 3 hives left, none seemed too active.  I hope they survive the winter.

Chris made mozzarella cheese out of our own milk.  It was delicious.

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Monday, Nov. 16 2009

November 16th, 2009 Comments off

Chris and I returned from a “Farm Retreat” at Myrtle Beach.  We really did spend a lot of time reassessing priorities, clarifying our understanding of where God wants us to spend our time, and talking about plans for the rest of the year and 2010.  Oh yeah, we ate a lot and saw a wonderful show.

Today – in line with the priorities we discussed over the weekend – I started working on the milkhouse and the website.  This, for example.  If you have comments on what needs to be done, please tell us!

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