by Margaret Osha
This morning I woke up to the beautiful twitter of song sparrows that nest each year in the trumpet honeysuckle vine that climbs up the north side of our farmhouse…welcome back my friends. It’s a glorious spring morning outside, a large flock of juncos are busy foraging on the lawn, and the wild turkeys are out in the distant field. Three male turkeys are strutting about among the females hoping to attract their attention, with their beautiful display of feathers.
It’s time for a cup of coffee, a bite of breakfast and off to work. Spring spells major clean-up around a Vermont farm. It can be an overwhelming time with lawns to rake, paddocks to clean, fences to repair and manure to be spread. The cows are anxiously waiting for the grass to grow and going to spring pasture. A few days ago we were working on fences, the cows were laying near us, contentedly chewing their cuds with the warmth of the sun on their backs, it was one of those special in the present moments, the kind that you hold in your mind far removed from the fast pace and chaos of present day living. Our first calf of the season was born just a couple of days ago, she is a heifer and guess what we named her? April, of course! Her mom is a registered jersey cow and her name is Crazy. We have two cows that will be calving next month, another in June and the last one expected in July.
We have a small herd of five dairy cows which makes us a micro-dairy. We are frequently asked the question ” just what is a micro-dairy?”... so in case you are wondering, a micro-dairy is ten cows or under. Another frequently asked question: “What do we do with a handful of cows …after all, you need at least fifty…right? We sell raw milk directly from our farm to our customers in our on farm store called the Moo-tique. We sell raw milk to a Vermont cheese maker who makes artisan raw milk European style cheese with our milk. He also makes a limited quantity of creamy blue cheese for us that we call Turkey Hill Blue that is available seasonally. We have just finished construction on our yogurt/cheese room. To be able to sell yogurt, the milk must first be pasteurized before culturing. Our yogurt will be available soon in local markets, as well as at the farm…we hope that you will try some. So, you see you really can do quite a lot with just a few cows!
Happy spring from Turkey Hill Farm