You may have noticed that we did not post a blog last week. We were busy showcasing products made from Wisconsin’s sheep dairy farmers at Cheesetopia in Minneapolis MN and were unable to get a post written in time. So we will double up this week and give you some great reading on our past two weeks.
We belong to an organization called Sheep Dairy Association of Wisconsin (SDAW) and were honored to be able to show off the wonderful products coming from Wisconsin at the Aria in Minneapolis. It is a beautiful venue that was an old warehouse renovated into an extravagant place to host events such as Cheesetopia. We were surrounded by many cheesemakers from the Midwest along with other tasty treats. It was a fun afternoon for us and we may have come home with a bag full of goodies for ourselves too . . . we deserve it, right? We saw booths with a wide variety of cheeses, charcuterie, olive oils, and our booth had WI sheep milk cheeses, sheep milk to drink, sheep milk ice cream, and our lotions/soaps. The lotions/soaps were probaby a little out of place for the venue but hey, we are proud of our product and it is another way to utilize the rich milk.
Back on the farm, we have been moving our animals out onto pasture. It is so fun to watch the lambs and ewes jump around as they run. The chickens have been laying like crazy. And the pigs are making their way around a few acres. The cows have been content but I am sure they are waiting patiently for the grass to grow more. Then we can start rotating them around the pasture. We have also been cleaning out the deep bedding from the chicken coop where our layers were housed during the winter months. Their bedding then goes into the manure spreader and out onto the fields that our neighbors graciously allow us to hay. If you are wondering what the term “deep bedding” means, it is a method of allowing the bedding to become a good source of compost that doesn’t require us to clean the coop weekly. Instead of cleaning it out often, we simply put a clean layer of bedding on top of the old every week. By not removing the waste matter, good microbes make their home in the bedding. These microbes break down the feces and leave good bacteria behind. It is a fascinating concept and works with our lambs as well. Another added value is it actually heats the area keeping the animals quite toasty in those cold winter months.
We continue to welcome visitors to come see the baby lambs and we have been blessed to be able to accommodate their need for cuteness. Bottles are still being fed and surprisingly, we still have about ten ewes that need to lamb yet which means babies still need to make their appearance.
Our next big news that happened was we achieved our AWA certification. AWA is Animal Welfare Association. We were excited by the concept of being audited and able to show that we care as much about our animals as we say we do. They have very stringent requirements and after almost a year, we received the news! For us, this is just one more layer of Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.
Finally, we have been busy watering seeds and watching the new sprouts appear and this makes us anxious for the gardening season. As I write this, I can look out my window and watch the grass get greener and that is heaven to us. I am thankful for every day that we live on this farm and so happy that you chose to join us in this journey. If you ever have questions or want to learn more, let us know. We love to educate and your questions make us more knowledgeable as well.