This new year brings a bit of reflection and many memories from 2008, and anticipation for lots of new opportunities and memory making at Cognito Farm for 2009.
Calving season has ended and all the cows and new calves are doing great. Seeing a minutes old calf struggle to its feet and begin to nurse while still wet is an amazing, enjoyable and sometimes comical sight.
We have been retaining the best of our new heifers to add to our breeding herd for the past 3 years, and needed a way to easily keep up with which were born in what year and in what order. This year we decided to use US First Ladies as our theme and we have some very fine new heifers from Abigail Adams and Bess Truman all the way to Ida McKinley. We haven’t decided on next year’s theme yet, but a good friend has suggested famous mistresses…….we’ll see.
We tried raising turkeys for the first time in 2008, and learned a lot. Mostly we learned how not to raise turkeys. We were mostly satisfied with those we were able to harvest around Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a couple of notable exceptions we won’t discuss here. We also experimented with raising a few ducks, mostly because Jerry loves to eat duck. We decided the we will not raise many (if any) in 2009 because of the relatively high cost and much more difficult and lengthy processing required. We will see how accurate our memories are if customers ask for them or Jerry starts imagining them on a plate.
In early December we attended the Acres USA conference in St. Louis where we were exposed to way more information and agricultural concepts than we could absorb. We did learn a lot, and attended seminars and workshops ranging from basic marketing using Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangements and farmers markets to concocting holistic, astrophysical biodynamic “preparations” (looked a lot like voodoo from our current perspective). Overall it was a great experience where we met a lot of other farmers who care about healing the land and building farms that support local, sustainable, humane and healthy agriculture.
Several projects on our list of things needed to build the basic infrastructure on the farm were completed, and work continues on several others along with some new entries to the list for 2009. We are thankful for the opportunity and ability to live and work at Cognito Farm and we recognize the many benefits that brings us. Not the least of these benefits is the relationships, new friends and experiences made possible by growing clean, healthy food for you. Thank you for your encouragement and support this past year.
We wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2009.
Jerry and Sam Williams