Found some kale for a late winter meal

Last week I was scouting through the fields on a very warm February day and found that some of our kale had survived. I was able to pick more than enough from the central portion of the plants. The outer leaves were yellowed and burnt from the on and off again winter we have had this year. When I got home, I washed then chopped the kale and sauteed it with olive oil and garlic. Hermik dried juliet tomatoes in late summer, so I added them to the kale. Some kielbasa from an uncle as a Christmas gift was browned and mixed in too. The mix was put on top of some pasta with parmesan cheese. I always tell my CSA customers when you have too much of something, put it away for winter and it will be as good as gold.

How do we value farming and agriculture?

Starting 2017, Massachusetts state minimum wage increased from $10 to $11 per hour, yet the farm minimum wage remains unchanged at $8 per hour. Food is a basic necessity yet we drive the perceived cost down with a variety of policies and regulations that have many consequences. As the owner of a small farm, I compete with farms that drive their costs down by paying their staff as little as possible. As a concerned citizen, I am appalled that we expect people to live off these wages and how we don’t value farming and agriculture. No – I don’t pay my valued employees farm minimum wage.

Happy Trails

Last Saturday we had some snow. On Sunday morning we noticed a few interesting tracks. There were the usual rabbit tracks and you now how farmers feel about rabbits. We have meadow voles at the farm and it was quite interesting that we could make out tunnels that they were making in the four to five inches of snow that fell.

Microtus tunnelsIf the snow was much deeper, we might not have even noticed them.  These mice construct a labyrinth of tunnels that conceal their movements from predators. The snow acts much like an igloo and insulates their nests from the bitter cold. The voles tend to survive better when winters have more snow.

Racoon printsThe tracks here are from a racoon that is seeking refuge in the old barn. The digits are quite distinct and make very interesting patterns in the snow.

Nature doesn’t waste anything.

On Monday December 28th we heard the scream of a rabbit as a Red Tailed hawk snatched at it in a thicket of sage. It is an unsettling sound and was not easy to explain the scene to my 10 year old daughter, Narineh. The hawk was young and not concerned much about our presence, but the ducks were concerned about the hawk and immediately sought shelter in their coop. The rabbit was too big for the hawk to fly off with, but it did manage to drag it’s prey deeper into the field several yards.
Once Narineh worked through her immediate shock, she began to take some pictures with her camera. The rabbit was too big for the hawk to eat in one sitting, but returned each day until December 30th. There was not much left of it, but on the morning of January 1st, it was entirely gone. Coyote tracks were at the scene. Nature doesn’t waste anything