Meadowset Farm & Apiary

  (Landenberg, Pennsylvania)
"...our land is not a gift from our parents, but a loan from our children..."
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autumn is in the air

 Autumn notes....

September is my favorite month! Growing season still underway but the nights are cool.... not bad for a Swiss mountain boy. We dried the ewes off last week, a month earlier than usual, but this year was tough with help and our precious "fairy helpers" have returned to school. Cheese making lasted from March into early September; the last weeks' rich creamy milk was used to tweak the yogurt recipe. With some luck we may be able to pull the yogurt making off for next season; if we can get the necessary equipment funded, that is. Stay tuned on that.

The ewes are on their honeymoon now and the ram is quite busy. The flock is enjoying the cool days and lush autumn grass as pastures have come in strong with all the rain we enjoyed.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite poems as nature winds down another growing cycle in PA:  

"Chant d'Automne" Paul Verlaine:

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon cœur
D’une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure;

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.



summer on its way out & thank you for the rain

.....rainy day, allowing to catch up on some overdue farm paperwork. Milking sheep came to a close last week drying everybody off, ram is out and the annual Meadowset Farm honeymoon of our sheep has begun. This year was filled with activities getting our "nano" sheep dairy of the ground. Jan and Feb were filled with construction of milk and make room, parlor, farm store etc. Feb and Apr were busy with lambing of a total of 80+ lambs. Milking season kicked off in mid-March and lasted until late August. Ewe inventory is completed, all data entered, ewes tagged and in the database, and 60 happy ewes are ready to be bred in the next couple of months as we are getting ready to plan another milking season. Now the work is shifting to the aging room, marketing and getting a winter farmer's market attendance organized. The farm store is open for business although things are not quite all in place but we are working on it. Well, we are hoping for a nice fall with good grazing and another cutting of hay.

Enjoy the bounties of your gardens, visit and support your local farmers, Happy Fall, so long!


Annual Sheep Shearing

Thoughts about spring, early crops, weather, bees and of course shearing sheep! Happy Spring from all of us at Meadowset Farm. 

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.....growing season has come and gone...

Wow last entry dates back to February 09... not really surprising, at least not to me.  February usually brings the last quiet weeks before another growing season packed with successes and failures takes its beginning.


In review, the year was wet and unpredictable....lambing went smooth with almost 200% lambing rate, simple deliveries... or maybe moms who just know what they are doing? Sheep shearing in the middle of March was another success. We decided to keep the lambs on the ewes since we are still in process of finalizing the dairy, thus shifting some of the time towards expanding the apiary and vegetable garden.


We made a lot of splits and now as the honey bee colonies are ready for winter we are back to 30 colonies. The honey harvest was average this year and overall the colonies went somewhat lighter into late fall than in previous years, requiring somewhat more labor to get them all ready for winter.


While haymaking was a bit of a challenge, yet we got both cuttings in without rain, on the other hand, the grazing was great with plenty of grass almost throughout the entire season.


Fall harvest is winding down and stashes are plentiful, the rams are enjoying their honeymoon with the ewes and preparations are in full swing for the 2010 growing and milking season.


From our homestead to yours, we wish you a very peaceful holiday season.


Spring is coming....

....almost every day our three year old daughter asks me: "daddy, when is the snow coming?"  While my family back home in the Swiss Alps is drowning in the snow, southeastern PA just got a couple of light one of my friends put it: my girls are getting a concussion from making snow angels.  These southeastern PA winters are a tough pill to swallow for an expat from the Swiss Alps!!!  Anyway, snow or no snow, spring is coming and life on the farm is starting to get busy again as we prepare for the annual shearing and lambing.  The honey bees are out and flying on days around 50F and witch hazel, croci, snow drops are providing the first pollen for their colonies as they get busy with brood rearing.  I used the opportunity to check the colonies a few weeks ago during the warm-up we had here, and I happily observed most hives were well and strong.  The milk ewes are doing well and starting to show some udder development.  A few lambs have already been born, thus the 2009 lambing season is officially underway.  Pretty soon, onion grass will come up and there is no holding back of ewes and lambs yearning to get the first blades of grass.  Hope to see you all at the sheep shearing March 14th, 2009.


.....winding down...really?

...we like the fall, nature slowly prepares for winter, busy bees fly on warm fall days gathering pollen from some "late bloomers" and carry water to the hive one last time, milk sheep are being dried off and the rams are looking forward to their "wedding night"....Fences are being moved a few last times to get the stockpiled grass on the pastures, hay making equipment is being stored away and, ...yes, of course, then there was the new addition to the familiy...three weeks early, so we lost some hay on the ground and the last beans went south with the early October frost.  Time to start reviewing notes made during the growing season....not before long, the next year is upon us before we know it; but for now, we'll enjoy some hearty fall and winter meals from "Grosi's (Swiss German for: grandma) farm recepie collection. We'll spend some time at a crackling fire with the girls eading stories of fairies and gnomes who lived in the Swiss mountains many, many years ago....but sshhh...there may be some right down at the creek on a full moon.....  We'll do some cooking at the hearth with a grass-fed leg of lamb on a string slowly turning and roasting while sipping on some local wine, sharing stories with friends....gotta run, dinner is ready.....there is this wonderful smell of melting bees-wax filling the house while candlemaking is in full swing; stay tuned!
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