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News From the Farm

posted on

May 22, 2024


Hay Season Begins

We dusted off all of the equipment, sharpened the blades, and harnessed up the horses. This week we cut, raked, and baled our first test run of haylage. The grass is ready and we are too. Last year we produced about 1000 bales from June to August. We are hoping to produce 1500 this year.


To make our work more efficient to reach this goal, we purchased a better baler/wrapper. This 2014 model Claas bales and wraps in the same motion which will make the process go almost twice as quickly. Also, our new 2014 John Deer has more power, heavier duty parts, and cleaner emissions than our old 1970 International. The JD uses less fuel and blows less exhaust in my face while I’m driving which is very nice. The new baler won’t get clogged as easy either which makes troubleshooting less time consuming. All and all, we are very excited about the process being cleaner, easier, and more efficient.

We still do all the cutting and raking with the horse team the old fashioned way.


Barn Renovation Begins

The 200 year old dilapidated barn that we plan to use for a milking parlor is under renovation. We spent the last month, jacking up the posts and beams, replaced the rotten wood, dug and poured footers, installed the parlor floor and drain plumbing.

If you have never experienced an Amish work party, let me describe to you one of the most spectacular community events.

At 6am a bus load of 30 young Amish men with tools pulled into the driveway and jump right on it demoing the rotten siding. They stopped for breakfast and prayer for an hour. They hopped back on the roof shoveling off the old tar shingles and rusted metal, replaced rotten rafters and purlins with new lumber.

At 1pm, we stopped for a lunch of Burke’s Garden Farm Pork Sausage Grillers and Alpine Heritage Cheese prepared by Verna and the women who spent the rest of their time mulching and planting the garden. The carpenters hopped back on the roof and installed the felt and metal roofing on half the barn, completed the new staircase and entry door.

By 5:30pm they were loaded back on the bus and heading back to Lancaster to make worship service on Sunday morning. All this was quite the scene and a true example of community support at its finest.


Rogue Food Festival

We spent the day at Polyface Farm vending at the Rogue Food Festival. Being our first time, I had a wonderful experience with my son making connections. I appreciate the the layout at Polyface where the kids can be on the playground and still close enough to be observed by the presentation barn and by the exihbit hoop house although Asa enthusiastically helped me setup and hand out cheesebeef sticks, and Simply Grassfed stickers. Great to be around aligned people and work with John Moody the organizer and his wonderful family. If you were a participants of the festival, you can receive a 10% discount on our products until July 5th with the code you received at the festival.

Micah Trust Fund

Several of ya'll have inquired about ways to make a contribution specifically to Micah, who lives in our community, son of Orla our deceased farm worker, the 2-year old lone survivor of the fatal auto accident that took the lives of his mother, father, sister, grandmother and several of his aunts.

A fund has been set up specifically for him that will go into a trust for his support later in life.

If you would like to make a contribution please send to : First Sentinel Bank, Micah Fund c/o Daniel Miller, PO Box 167, Tazewell, VA 24651.

Micah as been adopted by his aunt Solema and uncle Earnest Byler (brother and sister to Micah's deceased parents), who live here in the community and is thriving in connection with his surviving friends and family.

Comments from Sheep News

Thanks for all the comments on our blog about our grass fed sheep.

One customer wrote back with a tidbit: Did you know that sheep are good companions to rhinoceros.

Now you know!


Memorial Day Weekend Specials 

Our big discounts continue this week for Memorial Day. 

UPS is not running on Monday, so orders next week will ship on Tuesday and arrive at your home a day later than you normally would receive when we ship on Mondays.

I’m off to make hay!

Phoenix and the Simply Grassfed Families

More from the blog

Burke’s Garden Farm Lamb - A High-Quality Healthy Meat Option

Here at Burke’s Garden Farm we raise some the healthiest sheep, and thus, lamb meats in the USA. Sheep thrive on 100% pasture grasses and hay. Sheep also consume plants, such as noxious weeds, that most other animals will not touch. This means that sheep are an integral component of an all grass-fed rotational grazing ecosystem along with other livestock.

Simply Beautiful at the Garden

I spent this morning leisurely walking the property and basking in the beauty of where we live and where our livestock graze and grow your grass fed food. Not everyone gets an opportunity to experience this majestic land first hand, so I’m bringing you with me in photos. Scroll slowly through these pictures, take a deep breathe, smell and listen to each one, and really drink from Nature’s full cup of glory.

Spring is Here!

As the weather sways back and forth from Spring back to Winter and back to Spring again, we are beginning to feel life preparing to POP!! Daffodils Bloom. Tree buds express. Grass is beginning to grow. Baby animals are being born. On the farm, it’s time to wrap up all final winter fence and water system repair projects, test out the equipment and get ready for the next 6 months of rotational grazing and hay making.