Sheep, Fencing, Eggwasher (and join our CSA!)

Join Our CSA!!

The time is NOW, folks, to sign up for our next Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season and start receiving a box of your favorite Dry Ridge Farm meats (plus eggs!) every two weeks!  And by “NOW”, I mean you’ve got to sign up by this Wednesday, August 7th! Why not take two minutes (literally) now and go here https://dryridgefarm.org/join-our-csa/ to sign up?! You know you want to… Everything you need to know about it and a handy-dandy online sign up form is at that link!

I’ll keep this CSA plug short and sweet. Joining our CSA is the single most effective way to support our work and to enjoy all the variety of meat cuts we have to offer.  Here are the highlights:

– Each share box typically includes 3-4 main meal meats, a breakfast meat, and eggs.
– Half shares (portioned for two) and full shares (portioned for four) are available, for $100 or $200 per month, respectively.
– By signing up, you commit to a three-month season, with share pick-ups or delivery on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
– Pick ups are typically at French Broad Food Coop Tailgate Market, Wednesdays 2-6 pm, but if you’d rather pick up at City Market South or Oakley, just let us know!
– That’s right, we offer home delivery! To anyone with an Asheville address for only $25 per season!
– This season starts on August 14th and runs through October.
– You can pay in monthly installments or pre-pay for a whole season.

Need that link again? Here it is: https://dryridgefarm.org/join-our-csa/


Sheep, Fencing, and the Eggwasher Saga

It’s a beautiful Friday summer afternoon here at the farm.  After finishing another section of fencing this morning, Graham’s giving the truck and our Kubota mule a check up, while I sit on the porch reflecting on the past few months.  After a Spring that was very pig-centric — getting them settled into their new digs, getting a new boar, and having three new litters — June and July turned out to be sheep months.  We’ve (finally!) had a little bit of time to try to get ahead of the game and started on improvements, which means that Graham’s put in about a third of our new permanent fence lines!  The sheep have been great at letting us know where things aren’t quite right… where strands aren’t close enough together or too high off the ground; they find their way out of any inadequate fence within hours it seems, and for several weeks in early July, they were driving us straight batty.  But now, they seem to be content in their field, aware that the fence is very shocking, and have stayed put for about a week. Which leaves us breathing a little easier, knowing our fencing’s on the right track. Below are images of building fence. They’re misleading; Graham had already put days of work in to the fence before my parents and I helped finish it up… I just didn’t take any pictures of him working!

Fencing has been high on our priority list so we can get away from moving temporary electric netting for the sheep, and I’ve been impressed with the speed at which Graham’s been cranking it out (shout out to our buddy, Brandan, who’s been a huge help in the fencing department!). When I commented on Graham’s fencing speed, he said, “well, you know why I’ve been working so hard on it right?” Me: “To keep the sheep in?” Graham: “Well yeah… but I also said that when all the fencing’s done, I can get a few cows!” Now, the only time I can ever compare Graham to a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert…. is when he talks about cows. That might be a *slight* exaggeration, but man, does that boy love cows! And so, I made that fencing comment a few months back, to get him away from ogling cow listings on Craigslist; I figured fencing would take a while. But I’m a woman of my word, so it looks like we’ll be getting a handful of steers in the next few months (and be able to add beef to our CSAs!).

Back to sheep: we’ve also used them to clean up our weedy creek beds, and those weeds seem to be making our lambies grow like, well, weeds!  The January lambs are starting to look mighty delicious! And we’ll have lots of fresh lamb available starting at the end of this month!


EGGWASHER!!!

I feel like screaming that word from every balcony I can find! It has arrived. It’s beautiful.  And I was giggling as we broke down the box in which it came.  It’s been a long time coming; until today, we were 99% sure we’d been swindled out of a sizeable wad of cash, after our check got cashed (not deposited) by the person who’d promised it to us and then we didn’t hear from him for two months. The story goes like this: In May (yes, May) Graham found two used egg-washers for sale, one in disrepair, the other was “good to go! Ready to ship next week!” Wait, before I go any further and reveal our mistakes to you, here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Check Better Business Bureau ratings on any business you plan to buy from. They have ratings for a reason, and they’re useful!
2. Always pay on delivery.

So, we wanted the “ready to go” egg-washer, and sent a big ole check to a man in Iowa.  A week later, it was cashed. Red flag. Who cashes such a sizable check.  We call. No answer. Leave a message. (Repeat three times). Get an email after a month, “yeah, it’s been raining a lot and we’ve had flooding. The washer just needs a few tweaks, then I’ll send it next week.”  This is when we check BBB. Despite sounding like a good guy on the phone and having a fancy, professional website, the business has an F rating, with four complaints filed in the past two years. Damn. This dude’s a con! Okay, week rolls by… no egg-washer. We call. No answer. Leave a message (repeat a lot). A month later, say mid-July, we get an email. “My best friend died and I’m gone for the weekend, but I’ll send your egg washer next week.” You see a trend?  This is when we decided to break out a can of Graham’s Uncle Lawyer on him, and after a very civil, but firm communication from Uncle Lawyer, the man began to listen. It probably helped that Uncle Lawyer mentioned that his “law partner attended Harvard Law with ____, the Iowa Attorney General and Iowa has stringent consumer protection laws with sever penalties.” A comment about which I said aloud to Graham, “well, that’s convenient!” And Graham just smiled.  The Iowa egg-washer man seemed to be as gullible as I am.  Within 10 days though and after a few more emails and a few more excuses (“my secretary got scared off by Uncle Lawyer’s email” and on the day we’d given as his deadline, “I was hospitalized today”), we finally got a bill of lading. It was shipped!

I imagine the person who sent it to us probably did have a bad few months, and part of me feels a little sorry for the guy. He obviously did end up coming through with the machine. But the fact remains that you don’t cash a check three months before sending the item that the check’s paying for.  I didn’t get excited until we took the box off the machine. We weren’t sure if we’d be getting anything resembling a real egg washer after the whole fiasco. BUT now I’m giddy about it. It’s gorgeous! We’ll be building an egg washing room for it, complete with shelving for dirty eggs, boxes, cartons, and all in the next couple weeks, and then… This little beauty will save us about six… yes, six… hours of time every week! More time for things like fencing! It works basically like a car wash for eggs; they travel on a little conveyor belt through jets of water and spinning brushes. And out they come on the other side, all shiny! It’s hard to verbalize the joy that this machine has brought us. It’s a huge relief and once Graham gets our egg-washing room built, we’ll put it to work (and I’ll send out a video). For now, pictures will have to do!

And finally, a little splash of beautiful and adorable and a little bit of random. Enjoy! Note: I’m working on figuring out the appropriate resolution for pictures. These might take some time to load, but they’re worth the wait!

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