Too Cold, Too Sad, but Warm Reflections

We’ve been concerned for all the havoc the super cold temperatures are causing for people but it is exciting to hear that the coldest of our temperatures are reportedly setting

 back advances of threats like the emerald ash borer.

We’ve been paying attention to the cold, emptying certain faucets and water lines at night, celebrating sick days (Penelope and Mari) and long, indoor meetings (Andrew, Vegand Berry Association). Monday morning when Flora delivered the first two kids in the cold snow squall all seemed fine. Close watch ensued on the small pair through yesterday’s deep chill. Meanwhile we paced all day yesterday waiting for UPS to get here with the pig sperm, worried by its arrival at 6:09 it was nowhere near its optimal 60ish degrees.

By 8pm we were able to celebrate successful artificial insemination of two of our gilts (young female pigs), albeit slightly sub-optimal timing, a little late in their heat cycle. And we tucked the two young goat kids in with Mama Flora and went to bed. These are temperatures which melt away patterns of group dynamics and this morning when Laura went to the barn all the goats were sleeping together (ignoring their ordinary cliques and pairings). Flora’s kids had scooted away from her in their bonding corner, the female kid suffering from exposure with a low body temperature. The male kid had died.



The next couple hours involved warming the kid (sink full of 103 degree water), building out a temporary place for Flora and kid to get sunshine and a heat lamp at night in the animal hoop house and, when all else was settled, composting the male kid. Now, capturing the lessons learned. Ordinarily we won’t kid in this season, but Flora came to us pregnant. One always hates to separate young animals from their Mama’s and we vow never to use heat lamps in the barn, fearing fire. The little guys had not exactly thrived but had milked decently. Now of course we are saddened and wish we had taken different action. The good news is that the little gal is looking a little stronger, but uncertainty remains.

So, everyone who comes to the farmstand tomorrow can help us winnow down from the wonderful list of naming theme options so we can name her and those who will follow (mostly in March).

Amidst Boris’ sudden death last week, the final projects from the Williams students started to role in. Each student’s reflections mentioned how grateful they were to spend time with many in our community. Huge thanks to those shoppers who took time for dialogue with the students and to our friends and neighbors who lead learning segments (Kati Osgood, Rose Beatty, Theresa and Rodney Elmer, Mark Krawczyk, Ben Falk, Greg Sharrow, Lee and Richard as well as Ian and Chandra at Fieldstone, Calley at Fat Toad and Christa, Mark and Emily at Jericho Settlers Farms.)

Two projects seemed particularly appropriate to share with all of you. Mike Vercillo’s song is splendid!   We’ll Always Have the Land

As you’ll see from his lyrics he was inspired by time at Mountain Deer Taxidermy. Together with the four short poems from Siobhan Harrity are lovely reflections of what we all try to do together.


The best we can ask for
is a daily layer of new snow.
All footprints are covered
and the land looks peaceful
under unbroken white.
But when the days get too warm
and the clean veneer melts away,
frantic mouse tunnels criss-cross
the fields, from fallen fir cone
to forgotten grain.
Their industriousness impresses,
but the fierceness of their need repels,
so we turn our eyes back skyward
and wish for a fresh fall
of beautiful ignorance.

      – Siobhan Harrity