It has been several weeks since our last blog post. What is going on at Maple Hill Farm? We attended the Rusk County Jr Fair, finished milking for the season, and added a new fur baby to the family. I would say that is enough to keep us busy, wouldn’t you?
Let’s start with the Rusk County Jr Fair – another year has come and went and this will probably be our last with one of our sons showing an animal. Definitely bittersweet but oh what memories. Over the years, we have had our kids show sheep, rabbits, chickens, pigs, beef cows, and dairy cows. We have had entries into photography, vegetables, artwork, jams/jellies, and many other fun things. We have some great trophies and ribbons to show for the hard work. But it goes way beyond the ribbons. The kids at the fair work for many months with their animals and on their projects and it all comes to a conclusion at the fair. On Sunday as some of these kids are saying farewell to their animals or just packing their animal or project up for the return trip home, it is often times met with tears. You know that the projects they work on are close to their heart. The lessons that are learned, the spirt of commradie that is developed, the hardships that might occur. That little fair has a lot of life lessons and value all wrapped up into a four-day weekend.
Another bittersweet moment is the end of the milking season for 2017. Sheep are seasonal milkers and we start shipping around the beginning of February. The milk production goes along with the Summer Solstice so as the daylight gets shorter, the milk production lessens. On average, a sheep lactates for 190-220 days. During this time, a milk truck comes and picks up our fluid milk twice a week and returns to Carr Valley Cheese to make some of the wonderful sheep milk cheeses we sell right here at Maple Hill Farm. And of course, we hold milk back to make our sheep milk soaps and lotions. Did you know that Sheep milk is highly nutritious, richer in vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium than cow's milk? As you know, our little soap and lotion business continues to grow by leaps and bounds so we need to freeze this milk to allow for our production to continue year round. Sheep milk has smaller fat globules than other dairy making it a milk that can be frozen without separating. All this science means that we are able to produce our products for our awesome customers all year. Thank goodness that our wooly friends are so versatile!
And then lastly, we added a new fur baby to our household. His name is Prince. While minding my own business one day, a friend tagged me in a post for the Sawyer County Humane Society where a black border collie mix was staring with his big eyes back at me from Facebook. Needless to say, we quickly filled out adoption papers online and the next day, Brian was heading North to get a companion for Sugar. Prince is 8 months old and full of energy. Most of the time, Sugar just stands there looking at him like she can’t understand why he is always trying to get her in trouble. She seems to forget that the first year we got her, we replaced the strands of lights on the Christmas tree three times cause she thought they were great to play with. So as with anything new, it takes a little getting used to but as I came home today and saw them both running around playing with the same stick, I thought to myself that they are going to get along just fine.
So until next time we leave you with our tagline Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.