the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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the shortage of livestock veterinarians is reaching “crisis levels”

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Even after the lamb comes, the ewe continues to strain. Sticky with afterbirth, the ram lamb calls to his mother in quavering tenor, but though she lifts her head in his direction and lets out a low moan of response, her heaving sides won’t let her rise and go to him.

In the compounded darkness of the manger—it’s well after sunset—it’s hard to see what’s happening. The ewe stretches a hind leg in effort, and then again, and again, pushing. She stops her rhythmic movement, breath ragged. Someone shines a light: there is something there, behind her hind legs, on the straw. A second lamb? The thing is dark, darker than the first lamb. A black lamb? But no, it glistens too strangely in the odd glare/shadow contrast of the flashlight.

“I—I think that’s part of her body.” What? “I think those are her organs.” 

The stillness breaks. The livestock manager is called. “Prolapse,” “iodine,” “warm water,” “towels.” There is a flurry of activity in service to these words. The rumble of a truck announces the arrival of Josh, the livestock manager, from down the road. He clicks his headlamp on to peer at the lumpen tangle between the prostrate ewe’s legs. “That’s her uterus,” he says, and walks away to call the vet.

He returns shaking his head. The vet can’t come for two hours—there’s another emergency, over the border in Vermont. “I guess I’ll try to put it back, but I’ve never had much luck.”

Josh instructs someone to fetch sugar, someone to fetch a better light, someone to prepare a bottle of colostrum for the new lamb (“He’s huge, look how huge he is! That must be what did it”). He sloshes iodine up to his elbows while two people hold the ewe still. Gingerly, he lifts the uterus from ground, pulling off bits of straw and hay. He pours sugar over it. “The vet says this will make it shrink, so that it will fit,” he tells us. Then in a low mutter, to himself, “This was my favorite sheep.”

After a few moments, he begins trying to push the uterus back into the ewe. But even gritty with sugar, reverse-osmosis starting to drain the fluid, it’s slippery and swollen, bulging any place where Josh’s hands can’t stretch, the task like trying to fit a water ballon into the tap from which it was filled. “She’s pushing against me,” he says. “Her body thinks she’s having a lamb.”

He keeps trying: adding more sugar, repositioning, applying prolonged pressure, but it won’t go. Josh sits back on his heels. There’s nothing to do but wait for the vet.
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making the eggs-pansion a reality!

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OK, gang, here’s the deal: our friends at Apple Creek Farm (run by Greenhorn Abby Sadauckus and her partner) just needs a few more eggs in their basket to be successfully funded in their Barnraiser! With three days to go, they are within 85% of their goal of funding a the construction of a chicken coop that would allow them to meet the demand for local pasture-raised eggs at their local farmers market. As Abby writes below and as every farmer can empathize, raising money is so just so much harder than the actually work of farming, so let’s help a sister out!

More info about the eggs-pansion (and I hope you’ve caught the double pun there) here!

Here’s the latest from Abby: “As we are all well aware starting a farm takes more that great products, consistent markets and energy—it takes the support of the community as well. The campaign will fund the construction of a hoop house which will serve as winter housing for our expanded flock of organic laying hens.

We’ve met our minimum funding goal of $8,000 and the remaining funds will help us purchase new nest boxes that will make egg collection easier, the lumber for constructing our end walls, and an exhaust fan to keep the house dry.

By improving the way we produce our eggs we’ll be able to offer the same unparalleled product, enhance our hen’s living conditions and double our flock without increasing our workload! Eggs are a key component of our market presence and when we run out in the first two hours of markets our customers notice! This project will enable us to sell more eggs to market shoppers, natural foods stores and through a CSA.

Since we brought all of our farming activities to Bowdoinham we’ve increased our capacity and now we’ve outgrown our current buildings and are ready to take the next step. So, we have this fundraising campaign. We’ve been pushing it for a month and to be honest, it’s harder than farming!”

Support the Greenhorns community! Donate here!

 


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latest ourland episode is out! and it’s awesome

Our Land Episode 6: Growing a Regional Food Economy from The Greenhorns on Vimeo.

No secret that we can’t be exactly unbiased talking about the latest Our Land episode, but as a blogger who has essentially no film-making skills and had no part in the making of this video, I have to say that it’s kind of the bomb-diggity. Episode Six, “Building a Regional Food System,” which follows the Cook family of Maine. The Cooks are responsible for the first large organic potato operation in Aroostiuck County, the phenomenally innovative and inspiring Crown of Maine Co-op, and Northern Girl— a value added processing plant that provides rural farmers with access to institutional buyers across New England. The story and its footage is as poignant and hopeful as you’d like to start off your day, but the video goes so far beyond your typical feel-good foodie youtube piece and into the nitty-gritty challenges of what it actually takes to create resilient regional food systems.


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be part of the egg*pansion!

Getting style points for its high danceability factor, this video comes from longtime Greenhorns collaborator (most recently of Sail Freight fame) Abby Sadauckas. Abby is “growing out” her farm, Apple Creek Farm, and is asking for help funding an Eggspansion. And how does one “eggspand,” exactly? You build a hoop house to serve as a winter coop for your flock of laying hens, which you then can quadruple! What does this let you do? Meet the local demand for fresh local organic eggs at the farmers market! Please, support their Barnraiser here!

Apple Creek Farm produces organic pasture-raised livestock and eggs in Bowdoinham, Maine.

Oh, and for those of you raising your eyebrows with intrigue at the word “Barnraiser,” here’s some more info on the farmer-oriented crowd-sourcing site!


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maine asks trump to make sail freight a reality

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Or, well, almost. As you may remember, two summers ago, the Greenhorns loaded a schooner with 10 tons– $70,000 worth of cargo– and sailed it from Maine to Boston to sell at markets in the city. And then, the NEWSAG conference held a “FoodBarge Hack” lunch at their annual conference. The Portland Press Herald said of the project, “It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.”

It looks like Maine’s Department of Transportation might actually agree. As BDN Maine reports, “The National Governor’s Association submitted its members’ wish lists to the Trump administration last week. The overall list isn’t being made public, but the Maine Department of Transportation is releasing its proposal: almost half a billion dollars for improving the state’s roads and bridges and to jump-start a project that would revive a long-dormant coastal barge route, from Maine to New York City.” They’re calling it the “New England Marine Highway.”

Though the Greenhorns would like to see a less fossil-fuel dependent model than tug-boat-pulled barges, we’re glad to see people thinking more creatively about viable ways to move goods from agricultural areas to regional markets. Put a sail on that barge— or, oh we don’t know, a solar panel, a hydrokinetic turbine, or some draft power— and we’re all for it!

Missed Maine Sail Freight, read more here!


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spirited music! legendary gawker family band at mettabee farm in hillsdale, jan. 27

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Looking for  a way to keep moral up and marching after yesterday’s historic marches? Hudson Valley folks will have a great opportunity next weekend. Friday, January 27, 2017, from 7:00pm  9:00pm the Gawler Family Band will be playing raucous joyous Americana and folk from around the world. Find them at Mettabee Farm and Arts Center in Hillsdale New York. Information can be found on the farm website, which we’ve copy and pasted below the break. Read more about the band and its history here and listen to member Edith Gawler sing here. Continue reading