Saturday, September 27, 2008


The word autumn always seems so solemn. Fall to flippant. It is natures way of easing us into the deep freeze. Fair enough. I just wish there were another word to describe how this time of year makes me feel.

Claire finally passed her spelling test! Woohoo. No to get her to consistently remember the kindergarten words so that the teacher believes me when I say she knows more than she lets on... So much for the easy life...

Dave and I found Claire talking to her chickens again. She brought down one of her play chairs and was sitting there with the one hen that survived the Belle attack. It was sweet and reminded us that Claire does have a sweet side to her. She is a good kid.

We are going to look at another round of properties in the Washington County area again. I need closure on all of this, but it is hard to look at farms. People want estate prices now. You cannot afford much of anything and expect to be a non-trustfund or other income farmer east of the Hudson river. I think that is what is making Dave and I the most anxious. We want to be in an area that is now estate agriculture. We knew that, but I think denial helped us cope until now.

Well, Claire is out of time out and I have to get back to help finish chores.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I know Marcia wants me to post something about Claire. Sorry. Today it is all about Patrick. I have to pick him up from Kelly Meats. He should be in little vacuum sealed packages, frozen, ready for the grill.

We raise our own meat on the farm. We name the animals and treat them well. They do have a purpose. He is a nice veal calf. Ayrshire cattle make a nice pink veal with a lovely flavored meat. I like them more than Holstein veal. This one was fattened on a brood cow. A kerry one, Maxine.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thoughts While Driving

My mom is going to be ok for now. At least the lymph is not cancerous. Only, she does have sarcoidosis. I am only scratching the surface of that condition. It is one more thing to research, to worry, to figure out. I just don't care for the lack of balance thing. I am terrified that she will go upstairs at work (granite stairs) and fall down or something. I am 3-4 hours away.

I came home after getting notes home from teacher. You know I do not care for this lack of communication thing I get here in CNY. Kinda like this job where they said, "there is your desk, your files...good luck..." What does that mean? Are you trying to set me up for failure?

Basically Claire is having test anxiety and teacher anxiety and apparently she feels she can blame it on my homeschooling Claire. I am sorry, but the teacher had her change her hadwritting (that she was taught in nursery, pre-K and my K program). She gave her different words. She asked them to start spelling and basically offered no transition, no interaction with parents at this "Open house" where we are to sit and listen to her theories on education adn then watch another parent take over the situation. No follow through with us...

After paying $4000, this woman feels that with 8 kids in class, she does not have time for my daughter and that I am doing a disservice to my child by not letting her stay back in school! There are 21 kids in that class. Claire did her work for us. I did not get to talk to her. She told me her view point and that was final. I am not a happy person. I am a very unhappy person. I do not want this woman to ruin my daughter. Claire feels she "didn't win". How do I explain to Claire (for her to believe me) that it is ok and that it was not a race. She did not have to "win", only do her best.

I did not sleep. I have faint spells and I think I'm either allergic or getting a rash...

What to do with the cheese business this fall? I'm thinking just yoghurt and milk for pasteurized and raw milk for cheese. That or sell and move to civilization and start up in 2 years again.

Being dissapointed sucks.

I have to drive to MI for conference next weekend. 10 hours 22 minutes. I'll have time to sort out my thoughts I think... I wish I had my Gale dog. She would understand and come with me to listen. I miss that dog soooo much today. It is strange to miss her again. She has been gone for 4 years. Stinks to loose your soul mate.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First Day of School!!!!!

Woohoo! Claire goes off to St. Mary's School today. She is excited. She will tell us later today if she still loves St. Mary's. The uniform makes her look way cute. She giggled and hugged me when I told her I wrote that.

Here she is!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September Already

Yup, the leaves are changing. You don't need the fan on at night and Claire starts school tomorrow.

Dave had a conversation with the Manhattan boys yesterday. They wanted us to beg them to buy the farm. We don't need to. They wanted us to sell them a fully outfitted farm, fully staffed and all. They wanted the cheese plant, a CSA staff, logistics, etc. All for $295,000. Basically, after 2 post-visit phone calls, these guys are morons. Yup. Not as smart as they want to think they are. The failed the first rule of business.


Don't insult the seller and don't keep insisting that you know what you are doing. Also remember, we all deal cash in agriculture. It does not make a difference if you pay cash or not. We are still talking about depreciable expenses and we will still claim all of the money. We also use an attorney and we will be buying another piece of land. The biggest thing, we own the farm outright. We aren't selling because we own too much. We own all of this.

OK. What is this talk of buying and selling?

Well. It is not secret that Dave and I want to get a little closer to family. My mom is alone in MA and her health is not as great (for someone who is still 39years old). Ken and Marcia are too far for Claire to visit regularly and we want to be closer to them as well. It has been a hard year for us. There are responsibilities 4 hours away in one direction and we are here.

The thing is we don't HAVE to move. We do like this farm. We do have great customers and friends here. WE want someone who will continue what we are doing. I like to see completion (rather than closure) on this whole local food thing in central NY.

The farm has been cleaned up a lot. The house is starting to get all of the cosmetic stuff done to it. Structurally it is great now. The barn has had a lot done and will continue to get a lot done to it. The deal shipping milk to Hood has been fine. The cheese business does offer an on-farm income to me. It also stabilizes the milk price for the dairy. We have rented land that is next door (and one field 6 miles away). You can also buy that land if you want to.

One theory is to drop back to 8-12 cows seasonally. Make 6-7000# of raw aged cheese and do veg. for the rest of the acreage. You can make a very nice income that way. It is also a great lifestyle. Kinda like the model Orb Weaver has in VT. I really like that model. It is also quite a sustainable one, without working the person into the ground.

I don't know. I think one of the biggest reservations about these guys from Manhattan was not that they do not understand dairy farming, the dairy industry or any of that. It was that they only saw that you get money up front (probably $850) for a CSA and that the wetlands were a liability. A liability! They are an asset to the watershed. They also provide wetland habitat to wood ducks, wetland species of plants and are where you grow cedar. The CSA is also a relationship between community and farmer. They missed that. F&^$ hated the flies and the whole thing about the farm, constantly asking if Tom's half starved cows were "happy". They have no intentions of being a farmer. They missed the crucial thing about linking the consumer and food. They were just about the money. The irony is that they don't know how to make it farming. They don't want to farm. They don't care about the environment of their consumers getting the best food.

We are still hare and will still keep producing food for sale. If it sells, it sells. If not. We are here and happy to make food. We also will not talk about honest people interested in being a part of the food shed in CNY and our farm on the blog if they are interested. These guys just missed the whole picture and it made me loose sleep because they don't care about the upstate farm economy, the environment or the crucial link between farmer and consumer. THey sell organic milk into NYC and only see it as a commodity and not getting their consumer a food product that they believe in. M*$$ though organic was a joke. That rotted dirt.