Updated: Apr 28
Hello friends! Welcome to the new website and the new blog! Picking up here at this new home for all things Cold Antler Farm! The blog will be updating Tuesdays and Fridays with news, pictures, details, stories and song dispatches from the front lines of farmsteading as a couple in Upstate New York. There may be bonus posts from time to time but I am committing to two updates a week. I'm excited as all get out! The website will be growing - from what is for sale from the farm stand to news, speaking events, falconry, book updates, classes and more as we emerge back into normal times.
As for us: let me catch you up. For over a decade CAF has been a solo operation. I started homesteading and named the farm Cold Antler in 2007, and thirteen lucky years later - I met Shannon - right before the pandemic hit. She moved into the farm last August and her energy, spirit, cleverness and work ethic have made this farm so shiny sometimes I just need to step back and take it all in. She is amazing. And now the blog is our farm's story.
It's the end of April at Cold Antler Farm here in Jackson, New York. The snow has melted, the earth is being turned up and planted, and the animals are shorn, shedding, and producing like gangbusters! Let me tell you all about it:
The sheep were shorn by Mary of Can Do Shearing earlier this month. She's a badass mother, shepherd, and business owner over in Vermont. The three ewes that are the foundation of the new flock are named Gwynne, Masha, and Ludmila. They are of unknown origin, a hardy mixed breed of wool and meat ancestors - but we assume (with Mary's expertise as well) a combination of Dorset, Tunis, and possibly Icelandic. They are little chonkers and have good feet. Excited to breed them for the first time this coming fall with a farm neighbor's rented Icelandic ram!
Cade the pack goat is all grown up and learning the halter and pack. He's a real snorting spitfire of a Nubian wether. More on him as we share more outdoor posts hiking and backpacking.
The horses are almost shedded out. When the sun hits Merlin and Mabel just right they seem to shine and it fills my horse-girl heart with some serious butterflies. Merlin is certainly showing his years. Almost 27 (possibly 28?!) he is now gray in the whole face and losing some muscle in his rump but still a solid trail pony. Mabel is now around 18 and has turned into a wonderful companion and friendly trail horse in her own right. She's solid and true - if a little bossy/moody at times. Mares.
As for the production: the farm is about to take its first crop of broilers to the butcher in early May and have some free range whole chickens available for pickup soon. And if all goes well the two Flemish Giant does we were gifted this winter will be having kits. Another crop of meat chicks was just added to the farm this week so if you can't snag your Sunday roast now - you can in about 8-10 more weeks! Email to reserve yours, locals!
The first cold crops are in the garden - kale, lettuce, brussel sprouts, onions, radishes, etc. Old dead locust trees have been cut down and will be terraces for our expanded kitchen garden. The five new golden wattle shoats are growing well, all stock from Hill View Farm - amazing neighbors and good friends.
April has always been a month I need to get through. It makes me uncomfortable, the slow growth of a northeast spring barely winning a race against winter's decay. But when you're emerging from a pandemic it hits different. We made it. We're grateful. Our town, friends, and farming community have been amazing and comforting during this winter. And this April I don't feel the same cloud, but hope. Things are green, awake, and feeling optimistic. More to share on Friday, and wish us luck with the growing season ahead!