I've written about Hand/Eye Magazine before here. Their mission is to "bridge the worlds of art, design, craft, philanthropy, retailing, and socio-environmental sustainability." Besides a lovely print magazine, they have a wonderful weekly newsletter. Today I was surprised to see them feature some local artists in a special feature on finding art and craft at many Farmers Markets. Congratulations to Lucy Fagella and Tiffany Hilton, two local Greenfield potters, and to Justamere Tree Farm, makers of beautiful corn brooms, besides being major maple sugar producers.
This Saturday January 29th, I'll be selling our Leyden Glen Lamb at the Amherst Winter Farmers Market at the Amherst Middle School. There will be a "SOUP-TACULAR" featuring soup made using the local farmers produce made by local chef Tom Hildas. Stop by and pick up some stew meat or half a lamb shoulder and I'll give you a recipe for both our favorite Scotch Broth Soup (full of root veggies) and Braised Lamb Shoulder. I'll be bringing some half shoulders so they will be smallish (1 1/2 to 2 lbs. instead of the normal 4 lb. shoulders). Did you know that Jamie Oliver's favorite cut of lamb is Lamb Shoulder? It is incredibly flavorful and wonderful to have simmering on the stove on a Sunday winter afternoon.
On February 5th, we will be selling our Leyden Glen Lamb at Winter Fare, the 4th Annual Greenfield Winter Farmers Market. Held at the Greenfield High School from 10 to 2, this is a great event. It is jammed with people and has a very festive atmosphere. This market is worth a trip from far away because there is just so much darn good food available for sale there! All you Boston knitters, hop in the car, come to the market and then head down the Valley to the two fabulous yarn stores in Northampton or up the Mohawk Trail to the newish Metaphor Yarns. Cross your fingers for good weather for us!
And speaking of farming and markets, those sheep are at it again. Lambing season looks to be starting within a week or so. Yesterday I heard the door open shortly after noon and as the cold air whooshed in, I heard the telltale baaaaahhhh of a newborn lamb. I will spare you the details, but the mama wasn't able to deliver and instead of losing three sheep, The Farmer acted fast and did a c-section to save a pair of twin ewe lambs. As he was walking in the door, I was talking to Kevin Ford, our sheep shearer, and mentioned what was going on. His quote to me was "Well, he is a real farmer, isn't he?" And I totally agreed.
Do you see that glimmer in his eyes in the photo?
He won't tell you this, because he doesn't often express his feelings, but I can tell that he is really excited that lambing season is almost upon us. The other reason his eyes were twinkling was that he had to work fast to save these two lambs and he was able to do it successfully. I guess I could make the analogy to all you knitters out there, it would be similar to finishing your first Fair Isle Sweater or intricate lace shawl.
When you are a sheep farmer, you act as your own vet most of the time. We rarely have a vet come to the farm - in fact I bet in 30 years, the vet has been here 5 times. This was a concept that was totally foreign to me in the beginning but quickly I understood that the value of a sheep is rarely worth the cost of a vet bill.
We will be lambing out over 250 ewes this year so it is going to be fast and furious and I have already volunteered to be in the knee deep in the thick of things. If there is anyone out there interested in an "un-paid internship" we may be willing to talk.
It is officially "house lamb" season here at our farmhouse. These twins were big and seem to be full-term. After a few hours of mucky breathing, they are up and about and loving the heat in front of the woodstove. In about a week, we'll transition them to the barn but for now it is cuddling time watching television in the evenings with them on our laps and poop and pee patrol. Makes you want to be a sheep farmer, doesn't it?