Antaya Acres Heritage Farm

  (Silverwood, Michigan)
Antics at Antaya Acres

Posts tagged [sheep]

Why CSA?

As many of you know, this is our first year as a CSA. I have been selling produce down in Rochester for the last couple of years out of a 3 acre garden we had always kept here on the 10 acres where we live. CSA is just a little larger scale then what I was doing before. I have had family members and friends ask why Community Supported Agriculture makes sense for their family. So I thought I would take a little time and address that here this morning. The United States isn’t the same kind of country it was when our grandparents were growing up. In the 1930’s when my grandparents were young, each family supplied much of what they consumed. My Great-grandma Myer had 9 children of her own, and she raised 2 young indian girls as well. They grew a large garden. When berries were in season, everyone picked berries. My grandmother used to take me out berry picking when I was a girl. I was astounded how fast that woman could fill up a berry bucket. When I asked her how she could pick that fast, she responded “When I was just a girl, my father used to take us 9 kids out to pick berries. He would tell us when we got there how many we would be picking, and we would stay until we met his quota. Everyone picked. When the older children had what they needed - they helped the younger children. When we were done, my father would pick my mother a bouquet of daisies, and we would all head home.” They had a milk cow too. And my grandmother tells me now, that her father raised the meanest pigs in all of God’s creation, which they butchered to help feed their bustling family. Living off what you grow, taking what you work for, and nothing more - that is who we used to be as a nation. We have lost some of our collective identity. We stopped working as hard for what we needed, because we no longer had to.

We need to again - its that simple. Michigan has one of the worst state economies in the country right now. We have many more people moving out then moving in, and the welfare rolls are growing. People feel lost. We are hurting, and now more than ever, we should be supporting each other. The people who worked for Ford and GM, who no longer have a job due to downsizing and relocations, would tell you that if you live in Michigan and you are driving a foreign made car, you are choosing to take money out of the pocket of your neighbor. That is money your neighbor won’t spend at your local business. Taxes he won’t contribute to the local school system that both of your children attend. Taxes that could make a broken system better. We are all a web of choices and consequences in our lives, our families, our state, and our country. Our choices positively or negatively affect one another. Taking from the teaching of Randy Carlson - we all need to live intentionally. Evaluating each decision carefully and making the very best one.

Everyone reading this can choose to go down to your local grocery and pick up your vegetables there, and yes you will be supporting your local store, but please don’t be mistaken into thinking that you are supporting your local farmers by making that choice. Even the Whole Foods in Rochester, who claims to be a provider of local meats and produce, purchase and import their ‘free range’ chickens from Chicago, where they are grown in a dome. I promise you, there are plenty of Michigan farmers raising genuinely free range birds here to meet their needs. Choosing to support CSA is the best way to get the freshest produce at a price better then you will get at your local groceries. And anything in your share is guaranteed grown in Michigan. Next time you are in Krogers, pick up one of their black hand baskets - the wire ones, fill it with as much organic produce as it will hold and take it to the checkout. One of those wire baskets holds less than half a bushel of produce, which is the amount we provide as a half share from our farm every week. I promise you it will cost you more than $20, and the varieties available there are nowhere near as diverse as what we offer from the farm. That basket of produce from Krogers will benefit farmers in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. There might be some Michigan produce in there, but probably not much, and definately less than half. That isn’t good enough. In supporting your CSAs, you are supporting your neighbors, and your state and local economies. As Michiganders, we need to be very conscious of how much of what we make is staying here. Please consider supporting your local farms through their CSA programs. Your family and theirs will benefit greatly. Steph

This posting was originally from our website blog, and a few of our friends suggested we also post it on our blog here. 

Prayer for the day: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for our friends, our family, and our farm. Help us serve and represent You well in all that we do today. Help our work be fruitful, and our faith be strong. Keep us focused and diligent. Help us to set goals and accomplish them, and to meet our obligations. Please provide for our needs as only you can. Help baby Livy feel better and help Lucas’ stuffy nose to clear up. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. Amen


Heartbreak on the Homestead

Yesterday started out a lot like most days here on the farm: up at dawn to throw hay for the sheep and the pigs.  Its a good opportunity to peruse your animals and make sure everyone is happy and healthy.  Its the only birds eye view I get of them all throughout the day.  While I am out daily intermingling through the flock and the herd.  Its the morning feeding when I get the best comprehensive view.  We throw the hay down from the bed of our F-350 flatbed, so at that time in the morning I can see everyone.  Or I can usually see everyone.  As I looked out yesterday, my eyes wandered through the lines of animals, and I noticed Aries, didn't come.  Cordelia is close to delivering what I am sure are triplets and my initial thought was that as a leadersheep - maybe something had happened with her and he was back looking over her.  I finished feeding and Alex, our 14 year old daughter went back to look for him.  He wasn't there either.  Then I knew something was wrong.  Icelandic leader rams are diligent, and Aries, our big spotted fellow, was always true to form.  We walked the yard, and there he was..down on his side.  There wasn't a mark on him, but he must have passed in the night, because his beautiful wool had already frozen to the snow.  He is our first loss to our flock, and the first adult animal we have lost here.  We have been blessed in that.  As I tried to loose him from the snow, my dog Eclipse, nosed his hind quarters to try and get him to stand.  He didn't understand it either.  I explained to Eclipse that he wasn't coming with us this time, and I scratched his neck.  Alex and I laid him on the boards and we said goodbye.  For some farms, its part of 'the way things are'..its 'what happens on a farm'.  For us, we lost our friend - and I will miss the beauty and grace of him for a long time as I look out at the others.  His legacy lives on here.  His lambs will be here soon.  But he was life, created by God to serve a purpose here on our farm - and he's gone.  Goodbye my friend.

Stephanie Antaya


Spring Fever

Ten inches of snow 3 days ago, and here I sit filling in my seed order.  I am so ready for garden Its infecting my dreams.  Last night was the piglets raiding the pumpkin patch dream, and I don't even have the pigs and the garden on the same property.  After a bitter cold, but not too snowy Michigan winter (the ten inches the other day was one of only 2 really signifigant snows all season), I'm ready for planting trays, fresh garden fare, sun tea, and sweat.  Our four kids are just bursting with anticipation.  They were piled up on me looking through that seed book this morning like we were breaking dirt tomorrow.  Cassie wants strawberries.  Lucas has never met a tomato he didn't like, and the 15 varieties I actually did order were no where near sufficient to cover his appetite for the garden favorite.  Alex is 14, as of this Saturday, and she just wants to grow everything big - Dill's Atlantic Giant Pumpkins, Kolb's Gem watermelons, Honey Rock cantaloupe.  If I grew like Alex wants me to, I could barely fit one CSA share in the back of the flat bed - which I am sure the customers would see the value in, as they pondered what to do with their 900lb. pumpkin.  And that still leaves Olivia, she will be 1 on St. Patrick's Day - she just likes to crinkle the pages for now (usually in that precise moment I am trying to copy the item number onto the order form), but by mid-summer she will be tumbling through the garden, stuffing her cheeks full of cherry tomatoes right next to Lucas. 

I think the influx of babies on the farm adds to spring fever.  We had 7 litters of piglets in 10 days.  Makes for a tired household, let me tell you.  For those of you who don't know, almost all piglets are born at night, so an anticipated litter means bi-hourly barn checks and once they do arrive..what a joy they bring.  I've raised dogs for years, but there is nothing cuter than a baby Large Black Hog.  Except of course, one's own children - but its still close.  Well it appears God heard my prayer this morning, and the sun is coming out to greet me.  I better not waste such a blessing.  Happy Spring and May God bless you with answered prayers this morning too!


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