Farm and Soap Updates — farming

Calving in season and out

farming Vermont

Calving in season and out

For the eight years that I've had cattle at Fat Chance Farm, I've always managed to keep our calving dates "in season," that is during Vermont's warmer months of May through October. Warm season calving is better and less stressful for all involved, cow, calf and farmer! When calves are born, they don't know what season it is, they're born with a summer hair coat no matter what the weather is like. Since they are wet when they're born, if not dried off promptly they are susceptible to chills and frostbite, even hypothermia! Which is why I was a little...

Read more →


Good Spirits and a Broken Furnace

farming Vermont

Good Spirits and a Broken Furnace

I am not a great memorizer of quotations or poetry but there are a few turns of phrase that really do stick in my head. At the moment it is this: “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” - Aldo Leopold Currently there is no heat (or hot water) coming from our furnace, so consider my spirit in a place of safety. Luckily, it's not all that cold out and the wood stove does keep the...

Read more →


First Frost and Thoughts on Winter

farming Vermont

First Frost and Thoughts on Winter

Autumn comes early most years in Vermont. We had our first very light frost yesterday, can you see the tiny frost crystals on the grass? As someone who raises livestock on pasture in northern Vermont, frost heralds the coming transition from rotational grazing to stationary housing. This far north, it's an often untalked-about reality that farmers raising pastured livestock need to be just as good at keeping livestock stationary and indoors, as keeping them on grass. By the end of October, the laying hens are tucked away in their winter quarters and the cows have finished up the available grazing....

Read more →


Skunked!

farming Vermont

Skunked!

This is the face of a dog who deeply regrets her choices. Farm Dog Caraway got sprayed directly in the face by a skunk a few days ago and didn't realize how many baths would result. I'm hopeful she's learned her lesson, since immediately after getting sprayed she started frantically wiping her face in the grass, clearly the smell was not an enjoyable experience.  For those who might need to deskunk a pet in the future, I can recommend "Skunks Etc." enzyme wash as the most effective treatment I tried. It still took several rounds to make her even remotely...

Read more →


How we Fared in the Flood

farming Vermont

How we Fared in the Flood

Vermont has been in the news lately and not for a great reason. Our county has seen worse flooding than during hurricane Irene and many towns and farms have been hard hit. We are fortunate enough to be a hillside farm, so while we have seen minor washouts and truly impressive volumes of moving water, our animals, plants and home are safe. Here's what is normally a small creek on the farm. Even though we've escaped the worst of the flooding, we are dealing with saturated soil in our pastures, which means making mud pits is a real danger. It can...

Read more →