The Great Compost Delivery of 2020

November 15, 2020
When I conceptualized the idea of a compost delivery back in the spring, maybe I didn’t think I would survive to fall!  When the time came, it was more difficult than I had imagined.


We hadn’t had the tall sides on my Dad’s old 1992 Dodge diesel truck in over 10 years.  Rust had corroded the slots the sides fit down into, so we had to get out our little Oxy acetylene torch and cut away the rust before we could fit the sides in.


Then I loaded the truck full of compost and watched the tires squat.  My trepidation grew.  Was I going to make it to Madison?


The next morning I took off on my route.  Did you know there are websites that will help you plan the best route if you have multiple stops?  Bonus discovery.


I drove slow, 50 mph on the way up because I was worried about the weight.  But I made it!  Everyone was home and helped unload their order.  Thank you!


I think that will be my one and only compost delivery.  I always have compost though, so if anyone would like to come to the farm and pick some up for your garden, you are welcome to it.  

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date December 5th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!


Compost Pile

October 30, 2020

I’m sharing my compost this year, so I’ve been working more diligently on it and am happy how its turned out.

Its hard to believe that a cow we lost to lightning in the spring has almost completely turned into soil.

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date November 14th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!


Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished, Grass-Fattened

September 20, 2020

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Whatever you want to call it, these herbivores have been doing what they do.  Its been another excellent growing season here in southwest Wisconsin and the cattle show it.

We are finally catching up to the extra demand for local meats caused by Covid-19 and the resulting shortages.  We’ve taken care of our long-time customers and picked up a few new ones as well.

With all the turmoil and trouble so many are experiencing, we count our blessings every day.

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date October 3rd.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!

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Synergy/More Good Eats

August 27, 2020

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My friend Grant says this loaf of bread’s main ingredient is Curiousfarmer sweet corn.  It tasted so good, I brought him more corn and commissioned more loaves.

Jeremy’s tomatoes are really starting to produce.  My favorite is the yellow.

These two, plus Curiousfarmer sliced ham and mayonnaise, make a delicious supper most nights of the week.

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Attention to Detail and Changing Jobs

August 25, 2020

 

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Twine threading through my New Holland square baler.  We remove the last bale from the baler at the finish of haying season and have to rethread the twines at the beginning of the next.  It doesn’t work unless its exactly like this, so I took this photo so I could remember, and save myself some frustration.

If I had to square bale every day I’m sure I would come to dread the job.  But because we only do it a few days a summer, its actually exciting.  We round bale a lot more.

Changing jobs frequently suits me well.  Even menial labor can be pleasant if it doesn’t consume the whole day.  This is one of the reasons I love farming.  Often, my body is engaged in menial labor while my mind is busy working on a more difficult problem.

A new customer asked about the treatment of our animals from our farm to slaughter.  I’m confident our animals are among the most humanely raised on the planet.  We look at each species and strive to give them what they want: Pigs root, Cows graze in a herd, Chickens forage for bugs, etc.

And I deliver to our butcher and walk them all the way to the kill floor.  I don’t stay to see them killed, but Avon wouldn’t have a problem having me stay as they kill as humanely as possible.  I’m much more concerned with a slick walkway than with Avon’s slaughter technique, as hogs and cattle don’t understand they’re about to be slaughtered, but they definitely experience fear if they don’t have secure footing.

Another reason I like Avon is they’re changing jobs throughout the week just like my farming.  They only kill animals a couple of mornings a week.  The rest of the week they’re cutting up animals, or curing meat, or dealing with customers.  Unlike threading my square baler once a year, Avon is doing jobs every week, staying proficient, yet changing jobs every day to keep things fresh.

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date September 5th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!

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The Power of Yes

July 27, 2020

 

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We always eat well, but these next two weeks are remarkable.  It’s sweet corn season!

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Above is a corner of my sweet corn field I carved out for my friend Jeremy.  He grows tomatoes, eggplant, and cowpeas, and the rent he pays is all we care to eat.  This is the third year we’ve said yes to this arrangement and its delicious!

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date August 22nd.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!


Peas and Oats

June 14, 2020

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Planted April 6.  I replant our annual Pig Pastures in the spring and they are ready to graze in 6 weeks.

These photos are from a paddock that is 9 weeks after planting.  The peas are flowering and the oats are heading out.

This year I also planted an understory of Red Clover and Bluegrass which will come on later if the pig don’t root too much.

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date July 11th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!

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Where’s the Beef? (and Pork)

May 17, 2020

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UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date June 6th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!

On the hoof at our farm.  Other, much larger farms, don’t have the flexibility of space, and farmers have euthanized their pigs and chickens as a last resort due to complications from Covid-19.

How did we get here?  According to Temple Grandin, the huge, meat processing plants that dominate our industry now, are more fragile than the smaller, more numerous meat packers our industry used to have.

“Big is not bad, it is fragile.”  Temple Grandin

When one of the huge meat packers shut down, the few others available to take more animals, struggle to absorb the overflow.  Animals which are designed to be harvested on a certain date, overwhelm a highly efficient, yet fragile, system.

I’m so thankful to have a close, working relationship with Avon Locker in Darlington.  They’ve picked up a lot of new business and had to turn some away.  Their business is booming, as everyone nowadays is thinking about their food and how to have it hyperlocal, like in their freezer right now!

And with a little patience we will put meat in your freezer.  I’m sharing photos of our cattle on pasture and a new litter, reassuring customers we are working as always.

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As people think more about their food, many are appreciating resilient, local food.  I’ll conclude this post with a quote from one of our best, long-time customers, Heather.

 

“If there is a hopeful note to attach to the mess our world is in just now, I have to say I am so glad for small farmers and small local processors to be getting new business.  I really hope that more people realize the benefits of doing local business on small scale, as they get superior food while helping the local economy.  I started buying meat at farmers market trying to find a more humane source, but the quality is so much better too.  And it is good to know personally and trust the people producing my food.”   Long-time customer, Heather.
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First Green of Spring: Stinging Nettle

April 21, 2020

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Craving fresh greens?  Don’t want to shop?  Look for a patch of Stinging Nettle, (Urtica dioica).  

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Wear gloves, or use the tough parts of your fingertips to pinch off the tender tops, being careful to not let your wrist brush against the little stinging hairs which line the stem.  Don’t eat raw!  It may kill you.  But even a small amount of heat renders it harmless.

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Saute` in butter.   I missed the next step, but Isabel added mushrooms and onions.  Delicious!

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Farming Quote by Eisenhower

April 6, 2020

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“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

It may not be easy, but it is heaven on Earth for me.  

Spring always seem like a miracle, but this spring’s new births are especially welcome.  

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I marvel at the promise of a seed, all the instructions it needs, packed tightly inside.

All I do is drop them on the soil, and in a few weeks, luxurious green!

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Saturday morning Dane County Farmer’s Market closed due to Covid-19.  Making trips to Madison for meat drops every other Saturday.  Next delivery April 25th.  Contact Matthew for more information: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com.  Thank you!