Farm Labor Arrives, Farm Hacks, Winter CSA, and More!
Farm labor arrives
Farmers have been farming since the end of the nomadic era, since someone discovered it may be slightly easier than hunting and gathering. Although raising livestock involves less risk of personal physical injury than chasing a wooly mammoth with an atlatl, farming still requires a lot of labor in the sun, rain, and snow. Modern farmers have “solved” this problem by using labor from far flung places, who are more likely to endure the challenging climate and tasks. Here at BOTL Farm, we’re no different (except that we do not employ farm labor, so it’s really quite different). We recently welcomed some “migrant” farm help from the “distant south”: Pennsylvania and South Carolina. That’s so far south, that one place even has “south” in the name. Secondary farmer’s brother Eric and Primary farmer’s sister Molly (not a dog, also not his sister) have both been visiting to help out on the farm, move animals, transplant berry bushes, build workbenches, and generally get in Primary farmer’s way while he’s trying to do his work. Our “migrant” workers are paid a (questionably) living wage of meat and beer, and once a month (with good behavior) are given enough time off to ghost-write the farm email. Cheers!
A reliable farm hack: discount paint
If you’ve ever used an artificial intelligence chat bot to generate a list of the top ten most lucrative careers, farming is unlikely appear (we checked). Fortunately, many governmental and non-profit entities provide grants to young livestock farmers to help us build the infrastructure we need to raise our animals. Last year, BOTL Farm received a grant to build additional animal shelters and interior fencing. The goats are excited about the shelters because they don’t like getting wet when it rains, and the farm dog is sad about the fences because she prefers wide open spaces on the farm (which she thinks is her private 20 acre dog park).
We recently finished building six new portable animal shelters. They are made primarily from lumber we cut on our sawmill, and are designed to be easily moved by the tractor. Since the lumber is untreated, we need to paint the shelters to help protect them from the elements and ensure they have long, productive lives out on the pastures.
Painting on the farm is a strictly utilitarian endeavor, affording our migrant farm laborers a unique painting experience. For example, we don’t use paint trays (just dump the paint on top of the shelter and dip the roller in), coats of paint just need to be “thorough” and not necessarily even, and most importantly, the colors are completely irrelevant. This allows us to use the “oopsie” shelf or the “discount” shelf at the big box stores, where paint was mixed incorrectly or customers changed their mind. We get paint for pennies on the dollar. Our new shelters are a delightful mix of blues, brown, pink, and grey!
Link to our free shelter design if you want to build your own!
A farmer needs to eat: meat and veggies in the winter
Being livestock farmers naturally lends itself to a carnivorous lifestyle, but you may or may not be surprised to hear that we eat a lot of vegetables too. We are definitely not vegetable farmers, though. Vegetable farmers say that plants “talk” to them, but we are unable to hear plants over the goats screaming and thus have never had significant success at growing our own vegetables.
To fill the crisper drawer of our fridge over winter, we purchase a vegetable CSA share from Still Life Farm, and we think you should too. The vegetables are great, and since we’re going for every pickup, we can drop meat off for you too (in Sturbridge, MA). If you’re looking to get local veggies all year round, we highly recommend signing up now for the Still Life Winter CSA. Then, you can use our website’s online order form to pre-order meat and eggs all winter long to compliment your veggies! Even if you don’t eat veggies, you can still get meat from us at this pickup! #JudgementFreeZone
Organic animal feed
We’ve recently hit our four-year anniversary of being resellers for New Country Organics. We’d like to give a big shout-out to all of you who are on board with our mission to keep the freshest possible feed in stock and who give us advance notice on your feed needs. To celebrate the occasion, we are offering some new products that we will (attempt to) keep in stock!
The new products are grit in three sizes and oyster shells for chickens in roughly 5 lb bags. The sizes of grit are starter, grower, and developer (layer), and hopefully we can save you a trip to a feed store by providing these products!
In addition, there was a teensy shipping incident and we were surprised with about 700 lbs of livestock salt (Redmond Trace Mineral Salt, 10 Fine in 50 lb bags). This is a great, versatile livestock salt from a reputable company, but this is way more than we need for our size operation. If anyone is looking for salt for your animals, let us know ($29.15 per 50 lb bag)!
Find us this month
Orders can be placed on our online store and picked up from any of our market locations!
On Farm Store Hours: Tuesdays noon-2pm, Sundays 2-4pm
Tolland Farmers Market: Saturdays from 10am-noon at the Country Butcher on 74. We’ll be there in June on these days: June 3, June 17
Assawaga Market: Sundays from 9am-noon at Assawaga Farm in Putnam, CT. We’ll be there every other week starting June 18.
Third Thursday Willimantic: June 15 from 6-9pm.
Sturbridge Farmers Market: Sundays from 9am-1pm on the Sturbridge Town Commons. Starts June 4. We’ll be there in June on these days: June 4, June 11, and June 25.
Farmers Market at Andy’s Neighborhood Canteen: A brand-new market that’s held in a beer garden in Webster, MA. Yum. Wednesdays from 4-8pm. We’ll be there once a month (first Weds of each month): June 7.
It’s too many dates! Save Me
Last Updated on 2023-06-03