Heart and Harvest of the Adirondacks

Heart and Harvest of the Adirondacks
"A kaleidoscope of colors at the farmhouse"

Welcome to the farm!

BEN WEVER FARM is a multi- generation family farm in the Adirondacks. We raise and sell grassfed beef, pork, and poultry as well as rainbow eggs, seasonal vegetables, honey, and other products. Come visit our 24/7 farmstand, The Farmers' Daughter, for some of our delicious produce and to see what's happening down on the farm!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Calving has begun

As Big Daddy was leaving for Big D, little a, Double l ,little a, s (Dallas, TX) he mentioned I might want to keep an eye on his Highlands. He for got to mention that the Bonnie Lasses had been out with Pico a month ahead of the English Roses (Angus) and the new boy,Front Page, the Angus bull. Sure enough, before he even left Regina dropped her calf and the game was on. I don't make the best maternity nurse and I try to space out out the blessed events and May was reserved for calves -not April. April is lambs (see prior post- LOL) So we are having calves everyday it seems like.

And not to be outdone. It looks like the Angus first calf heifers and Front Page are ahead of expectations as well. We have angus calves being born as well. So far so good.

I had the nicest note from reader, Faith, about Lily. At the time I was writing her Obit, I couldn't bear to put a photo of her up. But I think it is important to see what beauty she was. This was her about 2 years ago with Peacefield Pico up in the old Apple Orchard. Her last calf was a Highland X Jersey and is very blond almost silver and a very quiet disposition. Pico's Daddy was silver. My other jersey's are Jasmine & Hyacinthe - I like flower names for the dairy girls - the beef cattle have numbers except Shaun' angus Twosday and his Highland, Regina (another old cow).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March In Like a Lion and Out Like a Lamb

Yesterday at our 4H Ag Literacy Event, Tiffany asked when I would be shearing the sheep. Last year I did it the end of April because of a freak heat wave, of course this set the ewes into labor. I was expecting late May lambs and of course got late April lambs.

Early this morning Big Daddy asked when I was expecting the first lambs and of course my answer is Late April. I forgot to ask the ewes! So this frosty morning we have our first lamb on the ground from one of the French Girls. Late March - go figure. And its cold outside. No one seems to be bothered by it. Last night I was looking at Contessa the beautiful Shetland who was off by herself and not that interested in joining the feeding frenzy. I kept trying to look at her tail head but all she wanted was for her chest to be scratched and search me for treats. So I mistakenly thought," oh she will be the first to lamb". See I still have lots to learn in the "Shepherd" world.

But this is a farm and where there is joy there can be great sadness. Its that circle of Life. My very favorite and most ancient Jersey cow, Lily the house cow passed away quietly in the barn this morning. This was "my" first dairy cow and she amused me to no end. I set all Jersey standards of beauty and disposition by her. She was at least in her high teens and produced a calf every year without a fuss. And her milk supply never dried up. Other calves would steal a nip and tuck from her when their own mothers turned them away. I never chased the cows because I could call her and she would come very very slowly for her bucket of grain. The beef cows figured out that Lily got grain and they didn't and would run to barn to beat her to the bucket. But she was clever. By the time she made it up to the barn the other cows would be shut in and she could enjoy her grain in peace and quiet in the side yard. I think she had a good life most commercial dairy cows last about 4 years. So for now I will keep her cowbell in the house I already miss her.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kept in the Dark and fed lots of. . . compost?

Tomorrow is supposed to 50 degree F and rainy (possibility). This translates into frisky ponies, wayward hogs, and honeybees on cleansing flights. Woo-hoo! I'll have to check the hives tomorrow morning to make sure they have unblocked entrances and leave sugar syrup out for all the girls to enjoy. However the weekend is supposed to go back down to 25.
I guess I always knew the day would come when I would have to say goodbye to the "Bourbon". Yes, the beloved Mom Mobile, the 94 Chevy Suburban. I've been thinking about for awhile (5 years) but I just can't seem to hang a For Sale sign on it. It was my kids' childhood car. Cross country trips, soccer games, brownie troop, lacrosse tournaments, horse shows, ultimate pet mobile. It is the only vehicle I ever bought new. (And you know they issued them to every mom in Portland, Texas, hell every town in Texas for that matter.) That Kiss & Ride line would of been a whole lot shorter if we were all driving Subarus)
Back to my story. . .When Quentin was 2 or 3 and he would have a meltdown usually in some very public place, he would scream for his favorite things his "Bourbon" and "Purple Crack". At the risk of looking like a degenerate parent, I would try to hustle him out as fast a possible because I was usually wild eyed myself when he got to that point. Listening to him wailing, "I want my Crack, I want my Bourbon" at the top of his lungs usually made an entire store become deathly silent. I had to explain on more than one occasion that all he wanted was to take a nap in the Suburban and have his favorite snack, Raisin Bran cereal. The cereal came in a purple box. His other favorite was "dip dip", Italian salad dressing. So it would sound like my baby wanted to dip tobacco, drink bourbon, and snort crack at 2 years old. Gee those were some fun days! Thankfully, Quent 's command of the English language has improved since then.
Fast forward. I have a parking lot of vehicles that need to move on. Tractors have new homes, cars are being traded around and now someone just stopped to see if I might want to sell the "Burb". Not being too helpful I said they were welcome to look at it if the wanted to dig it out from under 3 feet of snow because I wasn't about to. Dang, if the guy didn't come back today and dig it out and give me a deposit for it. Oh no. I can't come up with anymore excuses why I can't sell it. I know all the Cowboys in Reber are tired of listening to me say I want to sell it but just can't. I guess I can.
Mushroom spawn arrived yesterday. I looked at the tracking from my phone because I wasn't home when it arrived. Said it was left on the porch. Well it wasn't it was left by the road about 500 feet away from my porch sitting on a snow bank. I was a tinch annoyed. I'll have to start it down in the basement since it will be April before I can put it in the mushroom beds outside. I got some oyster mushroom spawn for the 4-H kids to practice with. We will grow those in recycled clementine boxes in coffee grinds and shredded paper and some other composted stuff. It is a fun indoor project for next week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tomorrow's just another birthday

Well. there he is Cletus the boar. He enjoys digging himself a very deep nest under the hay and straw. He also enjoys dumping out his food and water. So I am not really certain how much he is eating but he is still growing and doesn't look ribby so I'll leave it at that.

We have lots of snow on the ground and we are still digging out from last week. Lots of barns have collasped in the area under the weight of it. A North Country "handy" item to have is a Snow Rake, that you use to pull the snow off the roof. When we first came up here and folks would mention a snow rake I thought it was like going on a snipe hunt. You know something you tell newbies to waste their time looking for and you get a good chuckle out of it.

But signs on spring are pressing onward. I had chicks delivered last Sunday, the day before we had another foot of snow. But they are as cute as can be and are doing just fine. I got an assortment of Buff Orpingtons, New Hamshires and Delawares, and the exotic freebie is a Polish Crested.

I placed my order for package bees and a few extra Carniolan Queens for spring arrival. I hope to requeen a few hives or make some splits. There were quite a few swarms last year so I thought I might try to use the pheromone and capture one or two o start Nucs. I've been reading the Honey Bee Democracy so I thought I might use some of this knowledge before I forget it. But if the spring weather is bad it won't matter anyway. Last year was an excellent bee year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Noel on the Farm

Now that everyone is of a "certain age", there doesn't seem to be a frenetic rush to compress every holiday must-do or must-have into the 24 hour period that we did when the kids were younger. We finally got smart and spread the calorie-dense, HUGE meals out over a few days.
Christmas Eve was spent at the in-laws who have a traditional oyster stew fest. We supplied venison chili and cornbread as a counterpoint. Yes, if you were wondering, the buck was farm harvested . Anyways, friends and neighbors stopped by before heading off to midnight services. The best part is most of these folks sing in their respective choirs so they all can carry a tune and the piano can set them off into Christmas carols at the tinkling of an ivory key.
Christmas sees Gillillands all over the world enjoy the same breakfast of Susie Eggs, which some child 100 years ago changed the name from Eggs a la Suisse. When I got married my grandmother-in-law Ginny handed me the recipe and shared the family story, and I've been preparing them for 30 years myself. Eggs, cream, gruyere cheese, bacon, breads and grapefruit - you can see why we are comatose once it's all been consumed. Our bodies are stunned by calories, and a nap is the required remedy.
Pacing ourselves, we finally get to the day-after-Christmas feast of the Massive Bounty of Free Range Turkey: forty pounds of whole turkey with all the trimmings. And there you have it! Now with that mission complete, we are into my favorite, leftovers mode. Yeah!
My mother, Pat, worries that the animals are having a rough time in the snow and cold. I assure her that the heat is tougher on them. The can all go in or out of shelter and they prefer to stand in the wind and snow. They all have access to plenty of hay and water that is kept ice free with de-icers. Ponies with a snow pack covering them means that there is a layer of insulation between them and the weather. If they didn't have it, they would be blanketed or kept in the barn.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

first fire in the fireplace

Here it is October and I am finally ready to put a match to the fireplace to warm things up around here. Last year I went down to Cobleskill and it was snowing so I guess I should be thankful it is just cold.
Chauntel was supposed to keep this blog updated but I think she found out there are way too many other things to get done on farm before you can sit on your butt and type in a few words. She is very thankful to be back at St. Lawrence. She did find out that she will be heading off to the UK in January for semester abroad, good for her.
Quentin returned for his 18 hours of summer. He flew back from Ft. Knox boot camp to return to Norwich University just in time to start studying. However it seems like the VT. Nat. Guard has always got him doing something on the weekends. They just finished FEMA training and a good thing because we had about 5 inches of rain. So much for my babies.
I have increased my sheep flock. Just yesterday I picked up a "starter flock" of registered purebred Katahdins. It has taken me over a year to purchase such a thing. They are hard to come by. My "practice sheep" are the darling Shetlands and then I added on the French Girls otherwise known Ile de France again not so easy to find. They are nice and friendly and love to be petted. These Katahdins are about 4 times the size and they seem a bit jumpy (as they were up, up & away when we were picking them up at their previous farm) The thought "Danger Will Robinson" did cross my mind especially when we were picking out a ram. The other farmer had a hotshot hanging on the wall (now there is an electrical note to self) Ben Wever has us zen-trained when dealing with animals so that was an eye opener to Shaun & I. The Lady said that she had had an unpleasant incident (this is North Country code for multiple broken bones or some such 9-1-1 event) and wasn't about to let that happen again. Uh huh! You can bet I won't be taking me eyes off the ram and he is small. Maybe I should of stuck with those tiny Shetlands.
Anyone have a suggestion for the ram lamb' name? His Daddy was Southern Gentleman from Louisiana. Maybe Reber Rhett?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010