Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
A view of life on our farm
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Hurricane Farm in a nice article from the HARTFORD COURANT

A link to a nice article about our farm in the Hartford Courant from October 14, 2010.

Click on the "Discover Windham" link...

 http://www.courant.com/about/special_sections/

 
 

Humane Meat Processing

There has been lots of news lately about the demand for locally grown meat and the growing suppply being raised on family farms.  Of more interest, however, is the lack of USDA inspected processing facilities.  In fact, we do not currently have one in the state of Connecticut.  There are many smaller, non-inspected facilities, but if a farmer uses one of these then the sales of meat products are restricted to "bulk" (usually a % of the animal).  In order to sell meat by the pound at local farmers' markets or at a farm stand located on the farm itself, the meat must be inspected, packaged, and labelled under the oversight of the USDA.

This effectively eliminates the local processing of farm raised meats in CT.  Luckily, we are able to bring our animals to Adam's Farm (www.adamsfarm.biz) in Athol, MA.  Despite the distance from our farm in Eastern Connecticut, we are happy to be able to bring our animals to a processor that not only works under the guidance of the USDA, but which uses a humane system of animal holding, transport, and slaughter designed and engineered by Dr. Temple Grandin (www.grandin.com).

No doubt you have heard of Temple Grandin due to the recent success and accolaids of the biographical film produced by HBO. (www.hbo.com/movies/templegrandin/index.html). 

If you have a chance to watch this film you will learn much about the way that your meat used to be processed (or still may be if you are not buying from a humane farm and processor) as well as about the humane practices currently being used throughout the country by most small scale producers that were innovated by Dr. Grandin.

It is not only important to know how your food is raised, but be sure to know how your food is processed during the many steps it takes to go from "farm to table."

 

 
 

Hurricane Farm visits NPR

On Friday, November 6th, my wife Erica was a guest on the Colin McEnroe show on WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio.  She discussed our farm, the farming life, and locally raised meats. 

You can find the link to stream a recording of the radio show here.  It went well and she was invited back for a segment with Jonathan Safran Foer, author of the new book Eating Animals.  They had an engaging conversation that aired today.  Link to follow.

                            

 

 
 

End of the Season Cattle Wrangling

It is come upon the end of the season for our borrowed field down the road.  The cattle did a wonderful job clearing out the overgrown field and we have high hopes for superior hay next season.  I'll be brush-hogging the remaining saplings and whatever else may be left.

To that end, we spent an afternoon moving Fuzzy back up to the field behind our barn.

Liev decided that he would be responsible for the rope.  The trailer is a bit high off the ground, so we end up roping the cattle to help coax them aboard.  We use the rope as a sort of leash and aboard they climb.

Erica decided that she, too, would be a "wrangler."  We're lucky to have neighbors that allow us use of this 5+ acre field.  We plan to fence in a second pasture next Spring as well as put in a large pumpkin patch (right where the truck is parked just behind the cowgirl in the photo).

And here we are backing the trailer up in order to unload our passenger, Fuzzy.  It was hard to tell whether he was pleased to be back at the farm or if he missed his summer home. 

After the weekend, we loaded him back up again and Erica took the long trip to deliver him to be harvested.  I think it is great that our children, and the children who visit the farm, are aware of the sources of their foods.  What could be more natural than a connection to the very essence of life that sustains us all?

 

 
 

Holiday Meat CSA - Shares Now Available

Hurricane Farm in Scotland, CT is currently offering a Holiday Meat CSA. 

Many people inquired about and have been on a waitlist for our Summer Meat-Based CSA.  We are now pleased to be able to expand our CSA to a second season and we welcome new members.

Members have the opportunity to get fresh meats straight from the farm.

 

Each member's share will include the following: 

End of October: 
Pork Chops ($9/lb)
Sausage ($9/lb) 

Early November:
Nitrate Free
Bacon ($11/lb)
Ham ($11/lb)

Thanksgiving:
Turkey 20-30lbs ($100)

Early December:
Grass-Fed, Dry Aged Beef ($7-20/lb)

Plus:  Eggs, Swiss chard, Spinach, Lettuce, Peas & Kale

CSA with Turkey: $300
CSA without Turkey: $200 We are now accepting a $50 deposit with 2-3 weeks to pay the remaining balance. 

Get involved with your food and get it straight from the source!

Contact us at:
hurricanefarmmama@gmail.com or 860.465.9934

 

 

 
 

A Recipe for (Our) Heritage Pork

One of our customers recently tried some of our Heritage pork and offers this recipe:  "Slap Ya Mama Heritage Pork Chops."

Please follow the link to their Food Blog and, perhaps, try it out yourself!

http://acoupleinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2009/08/slap-yo-mama-heritage-pork-chops.html

 
 

Your Turkeys!

Lots of folks have been asking about our (their) turkeys.  It must be coming to that time of year when summer starts to end, fall is almost here, and thoughts of Thanksgiving start emerging from deep within.

This year we decided to raise more heritage breeds and scale back on the conventional giant whites.  This decision was in part due to customer demand, but also due to the ability of the heritage turkeys to free-range.  The giant whites are allowed pasture space, yet they seldom wander far.  The heritage turkeys, on the other hand, roam far and wide throughout the farmyard.  They even find their way atop the farmhouse, from time to time.

Here are some Narragansett and a Bronze "picking" raspberries.

In the distance are some pastured turkeys.  The whites never leave the fenced in area, while the heritage turkeys rarely stay within.

And there you have it...Your turkeys!

 
 

Chicken World Grand-Opening

We finally finished the general building of the new chicken coop/outbuilding.  There are still some things left to do, though, like add siding, roofing, a step, maybe a window box with some flowers...

But we have moved all the meat chickens and some of the young egg layers into it.  It took an extra couple of days to get the outside run portion put together.  I ended up using more of the leftover cut-offs from the lumber mill to frame in the run, which gives it a kind of rustic look.

When the moving day came, we first had to load up the chickens.

We backed the little truck right up to the barn and the kids and I loaded them into cages.  It took four trips in all to get every last one.

Violet and Liev especially liked being able to ride in the back of the truck as I drove it from the behind the barn to the new coop.  I remember riding in pick-up beds back from baseball games, to the movies, and all over the place when I was a kid, but that sort of thing is kind of outlawed now-a-days, I suppose.

We probably could have done the whole job with more cages and fewer trips, but the kids really liked the whole driving back and forth and catching chickens aspect of it.

Here is a shot of those lumber mill cut-offs in action.  They were well over 12 feet long, which allowed me to set fewer posts.  To the right you can see one of the windows that we reclaimed from the transfer station (there are 4 in all in this building).  I hung them so they tilt in (old-school chicken coop style).  This allows the air to circulate in the top of the window and then the warm air is sucked out through the openings in the joists atop the wall.  In a house one would block those openings up (with soffits) to keep out all the nasty little critters that try to get in.  But here in the chicken coop it makes for a nice air flow.  Standing in the coop with the windows open you can actually feel the breeze as the air circulates.  Pretty amazing.

I mounted the windows with door hinges...see next photo.  Also see Liev trying to convince the chickens to try out their now pop-hole and chicken yard.  (I think that you can also see part of Violet through the pop-hole...she is testing out the chicken's new ramp.)  Those white chickens all around on the floor are meat breeds.  They grow heavy and fast.  Liev is holding an egg layer the same age as the white ones...It is about 1/4 the size and weight of the white ones.

Smile.

There is the new building from a distance.  We'll add additional runs off the right side and the front next year, but for now the rear one offers plenty of fresh air and shade for the chickens on these hot summer days.  We're planning to put on that tin/metal roofing material like you see on all the homes in Vermont and New Hampshire.  We were thinking maybe white, as it would keep the building cool, but since it has such great ventilation already we might opt for red.  After I build the garden shed we'll order the roofing material for both buildings at once and save on some of the cost. 

 

 
 

A Pilgrim's Progress

Well, it threatened to rain all day, but only spritzed a little bit here and there for a couple of minutes.  So, my work crew (see photo 1) and I got lots accomplished on the new chicken coop/shed.

We managed to get the end rafters up and we hung the ridge pole.  We had to make a quick stop back to the lumber yard in the midst of the work day as we realized our math was a little fuzzy.  But, one new 2 x 8 x 12 later and we were back in business!  I've been reading a little about building and learned that I need to hang a little of the ridge pole over (I did 8") in order to have a nice overhang that will also serve as a sort of a drip edge.  I'll hang (ladder-style) some more rafters off the front and back to make that overhang.  Stay tuned as we finish up the roof!  If all goes well, I'll be enrolling in Door-Making 101 sometime next week.  (I already have the windows--nice recycled/reclaimed 6 pane wooden sashes.)

Those weather folks keep telling us rain, rain, rain, but today ended up a great almost-summer day.  Not too hot, not too humid, and not much rain!

 
 

Fresh Chicken

As CSA pick-up approaches, we decided to see where our meat chickens are at size-wise.  We prepared two of them, one of the larger sized ones and one of the smaller sized one this weekend. 

We are looking at meat birds in the 5-6 pound range on average dressed, and there are still two weeks to go before we prepare them all.  We used the plucking machine that I built last fall and it worked WONDERFULLY. 

At first, it seemed to have no power, just like it did with the over-sized turkeys.  I was pretty frustrated.  However, I noticed that the belt was slipping--perhaps it was a bit stretched out while it over-wintered in the barn.  (How many hyphenized-words can I use in this post?)

I loosened the motor (the hefty 3/4 horse-power motor that I had upgraded to last Fall) and added a shim to tighten up the belt, Mickey-Mouse-style.  Oh boy, did it work!  This will save us probably about 10 minutes per bird at least!  It took less than a minute, and I think less than 30 seconds for the machine to do its work...WOW!

We have some photos and they will be up soon.  I especially like the one of us hauling it around the farm in the back of the small wagon attached to the Farmall.

 
 

Pig Soccer

We were cleaning out the young pigs last weekend when our kids came up with a new sport:  pig soccer.

After moving out several loads of dirty shavings and mud, we dumped in the new wood shavings.  The kids decided that they would help to spread them around the pen using their feet.  The pigs loved the action! 

Enter the soccer ball.

It appears that the pigs enjoy a friendly game of soccer from time to time.  Above, you can see how they arrange their offense.  The one in the front is about to block for the one with the ball...

Here they are, trying to regroup, after my son scored twice in a row.

We had put the soccer ball in the pen with the last batch of hogs as they were constantly dumping over their water pail.  We figured that they might "attack" the ball rather than the bucket of water.  After learning that they could not eat the ball, our old pigs left it in a corner of the pen.  These new pigs, as you can see, have learned a thing or two about soccer balls since then.

 

 
 

Some Animals in the Barn

How can one not love such a face?  The newest hog trio has a new game:  destroy the feed sack.  See, here are the easy rules...

1.  Pretend to eat your feed.
2.  Quickly sneak out of the gate as your water is being changed.
3.  Seek out nearby sack (either feed or wood-shaving, it does not matter).
4.  Proceed to rip it to bits while running up and down the barn.
5.  Smile as in above photo.

I can't tell if the pig is gloating or apologizing.  Your thoughts?

These sheep are about to give birth to winter lambs any day now.  We are hoping that all four of our ewes are expecting.  We'll be cleaning out and setting up seperate stalls this weekend to house the moms and their newborns.  We'll post pictures as this progresses.

This last one is one of the cattle.  Perhaps Mr. Greenshoes.  I am not sure which one this is.  We have eclectic names for our livestock, it's true.  But that is some of the fun.  We have had many rabbits named after characters from the Simpsons.  We had one trio affectionately named Patty, Selma, and MacGuyver. 

 

 
 

CSA openings for 2009 Season

We are now accepting new customers for our 2009 CSA.  We currently have only a few openings, so please contact us ASAP to reserve your space.  Pick up's will be monthy from June to November, and there are two price levels.  Hurricane Farm's CSA is meat-based, and includes:  cage-free chicken; grass-fed beef; heritage breed pork; heritage and conventional breed free-range turkeys.  Other farm items such as eggs, maple syrup, and breads will be offered as well.  Please call the farm today at 860-465-9934 to find out more about our program.  Farm tours are also welcomed and encouraged.  See you at the farm!
 
 
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