Happy Spring from Little Bear Farm!
This is our first official customer newsletter, and we want to take a moment to thank each of you for being a 1st time customer our farm -- we are impressed and encouraged that each of you value local agriculture enough to be willing to support our farm in it's early stages of growth. Thank you! We are excited to put vegetables in your kitchens this summer. We will be supplying regular updates every couple of weeks this spring about life and work on the farm, as well as more details about an open house at LBF we will be hosting at the end of May. Once the harvesting season is here (end of May/early June you can expect a shorter, weekly update focusing on what veggies to expect in your subscription box.
We were looking at last year's calendar recently and realized we hadn't been able to get into our show bound driveway at the farm last year anytime between mid December and March 27th! This year's mild winter has allowed us to work on infrastructure projects on the property week after week this winter, which has been truly helpful in getting our young farm ready to roll. We are still a few weeks away from the start of outdoor planting, but our greenhouse, affectionately name The Spring Peeper, is warm and filling up with young plants destined for the field. We've also been working on installing field irrigation systems and finishing our new walk-in cooler. Projects over the next couple of weeks will include planting new wildflower blocks and strips in the field for beneficial insect habitat, and setting up our deer-deterring fence around the vegetable fields.
Speaking of deer, (which are rather plentiful at Little Bear Farm) it is time for our farm story of the week and our main character, Fern Dog. Some of you may be familiar with Fern, our enthusiastically insistent family pet. Here she is:
She's a decent little dog when she's not sneaking pork tenderloin off of the stove or barking at the wind, and she is in love with farm life and the grass and sun and critters that it holds. We've been trying to train her to keep deer out of the veggies, and when she spots one (or often a herd) she usually launches herself as if out of a cannon, chasing them off deep into the woods and away from our Romaine and Peas and other tasty things.
Last week I was in the field performing a springtime rock removal, when I noticed Fern was down near a neighbor's house, crouching and wagging her tail and jumping around in a playful manner with what I assumed was a friendly dog -- nope, that was a young deer that Fern had cornered near a garden shed. Neither creature seemed to know what to do; Fern would paw and bark cheerfully, and the deer was doing some prancing and nudging of Fern with it's head. Kind of cute, actually, but I knew this possibly wouldn't end well so I gave a whistle and Fern trotted back for a hundred yards or so towards me....
Then her shoulders tensed and she stopped for a second, realizing for a minute what she had just left behind -- though I was far away, I could almost see her brain freeze -- DEER!!!! And in spite of my calls, she spun in an instant and bolted towards the animal, who freaked and took off on its own at full speed around the house, through a field and directly across the road between 2 cars through a neighboring pasture, into and then over a barbed wire fence, and then finally plunging into the chest deep Ischua Creek. The deer was swimming fast downstream, and Fern was right behind her, doing her best doggy paddle. Ischua Creek winds through many a property in Franklinville/Farmersville, and I guessed this was as good a time as any to meet some neighbors -- "Hi, I'm Jesse, I bought the farm across the way a couple of year's ago, and my dog is currently swimming through your backyard...." I found Fern about a 1/4 mile downstream, soaking wet, muddy, no deer in sight, looking quite possibly like the happiest creature alive. We've still got some training to do.
Cheers, talk to you soon,
Jesse, Katie, and Charly McClain-Meeder