When I was teaching full time I used to long for the freedom to set my own schedule, to craft my own days as I saw fit. Appointments... no problem. Chores.... not problem. Spend time with the kids.... no problem. Part of my determination to end the madness that was my "full time teacher running a small farm business" life was focused on this nirvana of freedom.

No more schedule driving me like some incarcerated chain-ganger, no more pressure to beat the minute hand to school... to my next class...  to some pesky 10 minute appointment that takes on the magnitude of the hajj. So it has been some sort of revelation to find myself beating feet this winter to stay ahead of that minute hand.

I just don't know where the time goes. We plan, we schedule, we communicate, we parent, we cook, we clean, and then we look at the clock each and every day and go.... "How did it get to be 4:30? We JUST had lunch!" It kills me.

Here Comes 2012!!

As I write it would appear that Winter is still undecided about a long term visit this year. The last  four or five days have been almost spring like in their temperature and lack of snow cover. What it will all mean in the months to come is anyone’s guess, for now I will simply try to enjoy! Aside from periodic ruminations about the weather, we are settled into a routine of chores and planning for the year ahead. We continue to be encouraged and honored by the support and encouragement of our customers and community. Thanks to everyone for helping us make 2011 such a great year.... on now to 2012!

These Days Will Soon Return These Days Will Soon Return

As many of you know, I (Joe) am not teaching full time this year. While I miss the kids and my colleagues I do not miss the level of commotion that accompanied a full time job in the midst of running a small farm business. We are working to take full advantage of the change and do some work here at home on the vision and direction for the farm and our future. We will go into 2012 with a very similar structure as last year, however I will point out some changes and we also will be asking for some feedback on your experience with the farm and our food.

Our structure and offerings this year will be very similar to last year. Lambing season is right around the corner, our new batch of steers arrived on January 18th, and we will be placing our bird orders in the coming weeks. Our hens are enjoying a very cozy winter so far and the new group began laying right after Christmas. We are averaging about 125 eggs a day at the moment so we feel safe in declaring the egg shortage over! So, as hard as it may be to imagine at the moment, those wonderful pasture grasses will be under foot and hoof again in no time. For us that means its time to plan out the 2012 pasture season!

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a model that relies on relationship and communication. The more we know about what our customers want from us in the season ahead, the better able we are to plan and prepare to raise that food. Getting your orders and deposits lets us take advantage of the winter months as we plan our use of fields, our processing schedule, and our farm’s orders for chicken and turkey chicks.

Lone Coyote Lone Coyote

In the pages that follow you will find some news and notes about the farm and the year ahead. You will also find an explanation of some small changes we are making as we tinker with our business plan and structure. If you have been to the farm to visit or you have purchased a share from us or something from our store please take a minute to complete our survey so we can gather some data on our customer’s experiences. Finally, you will find attached the ordering info for 2012. Getting your order and deposit by April 1, 2012 would be a huge help as we gear up for another fantastic growing season.

So thanks again for your business and support in 2011. We hope you are satisfied with your food and we certainly want to continue farming for you. Believe me when I say it is NEVER a problem for you to call (especially Joe’s cell: 207-400-7999), email, or stop by the farm. Take advantage of us for your questions, concerns, ideas, or feedback. Take advantage too of the farm for walks, visits with kids or grandkids, or a place to access Casco Bay and comb the shore. We want to put the “C” in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

We hope to hear from you soon,

Joe, Laura, Yvette, Muriel, and JoePye

2012 Winter Newsletter

2012 Order Form

Share Packages 2012

April Fools

Chickens are out, lambs are everywhere, compost is getting turned, and the mud, in spots, is drying.

Chickens in the Compost

Apparently all in time for some snow to come on Friday. How do you spell "uugg", like Charlie Brown uugg? Please help us weather the storm by letting us know what you will be ordering this year. It is a huge help!

Longer posts and a Spring Newsletter in the coming days, promise.

2011 Order Form Final

Share Packages 2011

If you are "from away".... we are happy to examine options to get your food to you... maybe even delivery, just saying don't count it out. The food is worth it.

So a quick joke about "from away" which is the term in Maine for folks who are not from Maine. Full disclosure, I am from away... born in Michigan. So the big question is always... well, how long before a family can be considered native? I mean my kids are born in Maine so they are all good right? Can't say they are from away... right?  Well, one old Mainer I spoke to about this said:

"Son, just cause a cat craws into the stove to have her kittens... don't make 'em biscuits"

Any Day Now

We are in the "check every night" phase of our lambing season.  No lambs to report yet, but somebody gets up nightly at 1 or 2  and heads out to see if anyone is in labor or needing attention. Most of our ewes will need nothing but a little space to do their thing. There is something magical for the kids in these days leading up to our first lamb. Everyone wants to be the one to "find the first lamb". That honor comes with bragging AND naming rights.

When we were at The Meeting School we had quite a walk to get from our residence to the barn. We also lived on a campus with close to 50 other students and staff. I remember the walks being amazing moments of peace and quiet in an otherwise busy and often hectic space. Even the short walk to the barn here in the middle of the night has a magical quality. So rare these days that our senses take in that hour, the stillness. Our location here is elevated, the farm slopes down to the water on both sides and can have a "mountain top" quality to it on a starry night. It is awe inspiring.

Tonight Yvette has a friend over to sleep. They are going to be the ones going out to check on the sheep. They have already secured their clothing and flashlights for the mission. It is hard not to think back to the night my sister and I decided to brave the night in a tent out back of the house in Kennebunk. I don't remember how old I was, just the trail I blazed back to the house when I woke up in the middle of the night much less certain of my ability to sleep in a tent with those woods so close.  We'll see how the kids holdup to all that dark and quiet.

I asked the sheep to cooperate and produce something for them to discover tonight. The ewes are certainly close, we'll see .... any day now.

This is my choice for the "first to go". Looks like twins.