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Posted 8/27/2013 2:02pm by Stacey Roussel.

 

Yesterday was the first day of school.  I am sorry that I am late with this update, but I could not focus on writing.  I spent the whole day keeping my hands busy not to worry for my kiddos.  They came off the bus happy and with big smiles-what a relief.  

 

Clay and I made the most of the rain yesterday.  He cleaned the barn and the chicken coop.  I emptied the greenhouse so our little transplants could see the rain.  I potted up 170 late cabbage and 150 early cabbage yesterday.  There should be cabbage for our shares early and late in the season.  The rows for those plants are ready, and we are waiting for the sun to dry them so we can put the cabbages in their places.  

 

In the greenhouse we also have cushaw squash and lemon squash.  All of those plants look great.  The lemon squash are going to the farm this afternoon to be hardened off and the cushaw tomorrow.  We need more space for new seedlings-broccoli and celery. 

 

The beans and pumpkins we sowed last week are germinated.  Peppers that were transplanted are struggling just a little, but I am hopeful they will pull through.  

 

I met with Liz Barker last week.  She is growing carrots, chard, chervil, beans, and spinach for your share.  She called this morning and it sounds like she is making really good progress.  

 

Jay, my husband, built more fence for our pastures in Guy this weekend.  He has gotten really good at this trade.  I am grateful for his work.

 

I am behind on getting information for our pig shares.  Getting in touch with our butcher proved difficult last week.  They must be extremely busy.  I am in contact with another in Rosenberg.  Hopefully, we can make progress this week.  

 

Mamma pig is growing her babies well.  I go to meet Clay now to move our Large Black Hogs to new grass.  

 

Thanks to those who picked up eggs this week and last.  

 

Stacey

Posted 8/19/2013 3:36pm by Stacey Roussel.

What a difference a week makes!  We got over 4 inches of rain last week.  Tractor work done and beans planted.  More beans sowed today, and as soon as I finish writing this, I am going to seed pumpkins in the greenhouse.  This crop is a stretch for us; I have never been successful with pumpkins.  Cross your fingers and maybe we’ll have pumpkins for your share before Thanksgiving.  Cabbage has germinated, but not the broccoli.  Fear not-We will try again with a different seed.  

 

I will make alot of rows tomorrow to be seeded this week.  Clay is working on weeding the squash and cucumbers we sowed a few weeks ago.  Hopefully, after his work today, we can mulch and be weed free in those rows moving forward. 

 

This weekend, my electrician dad, rewired our well house so that our animals can still have water in case that we loose electricity.  I am really grateful to him, and can sleep just a little better at night now after watching the news explain the development of storm systems in the Gulf. 

 

We moved one of our chicken tractors to Guy to test if we could have a flock of birds there on a more regular basis.  The chickens were doing really good work for us cleaning out under our apple trees so that we could mulch them with composted wood chips.  The coyotes found us last week after over a month of being there.  We have been loosing a bird a night, so they will be moving back to Dannhaus where we know they will be safe.  

 

Eggs are coming like crazy!  The chickens are out of molt and they are looking so pretty.  My mom made two dozen deviled eggs this weekend (she really likes them, but that’s alot of stuffed eggs).  If anyone would like to purchase eggs, I can arrange delivery in the next week to Sugar Land and Houston.  Please just send me an email if you are interested.  

 

The goats with bloat are recovering well, but our milk production is down.  We will start milking only once a day now that school is starting next week.  Looking forward to breeding again in October, and we start the cycle all over again. 

 

Mamma Pig is doing well.  Her babies have grown so fast.  Last week they could fit through the squares in our fencing, this week they are too fat.  She is doing a good job feeding them, and we have to cut bigger holes so they can still run and play in the goat yard.  My very favorite part of the day is watching the goats stand at the fence looking at the baby pigs playing.  I can’t decide if they are just as taken by their cuteness or just in horror that pigs are in their space.  

 

Clay and I will measure and weigh our first set of pigs today.  I will be contacting the butcher later this week and will be sending a progress email to all who have ordered a pork share.  If you have expressed interest in a share and do not receive an email by next Monday, please let me know.  

 

Breaking NEWS!  I just got a phone call from the feed store in Damon.  Over the summer we switched to all non GMO feeds for our animals.  This took research and a little bit of courage and a couple of drives to College Station to switch from what was working for us to an unknown.  Our animals are doing very well.  

 

The local feed store noticed I was gone and have decided to start carrying a line of non GMO feed for us.  This is really wonderful news.  Your dollars and preferences are really moving markets, and think of how powerful that is because now non GMO feed will be available to our whole community in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties.  High Five and thank you for supporting us. 

 

Your farmer

Stacey 

Posted 8/12/2013 5:40pm by Stacey Roussel.

Last week was a hard week, if I can be completely honest.  

NRCS came out to the farm on Monday.  I wanted their evaluation of our pasture remediation project.  The word was that our pigs are doing great work.  They told me you need more pigs, so I made arrangements to make that happen later in the week. 

Clay and I worked hard at the beginning of the week.  We seed out 100 pots with the first round of broccoli and cabbages for the fall.  They were started in the fridge so that we could trick them it was the winter.  I put them in the greenhouse at lunch today.  Even with a reflective shade cloth, two fans and every door open our temps reach 100 in the middle of the day.  

We did alot of tractor work hoping for rain over the weekend, so that our weeds would germinate, and then this week, we could disk them under and put up rows.  No rain, so we are using a sprinkler, every hose every day. 

Chickens were moved and pigs were moved and our goats got all new grass.  

On Thursday, my daughter, Emelie, and I went to Prairie View A&M for an integrated pest management workshop.  We learned about internal parasites in our animals and how best to control them.  I feel like we took a step forward in our understanding of pasture management which should mean healthier livestock and better product for you all around. 

On Friday, I picked up a breeding pair of pigs north of College Station and drove them back to Needville.  On Saturday, we lost the boar to heat stress.  I was devastated.  Days like that are really hard to manage and are a part of farming.  Life and death passes full circle in front of our eyes so very often.  Often, we have no control over events and sometime bad decisions lead to awful endings.  August is not the month to transport such a large animal.  I know now. Mom and her babies are beautiful and doing great, so not all was lost. 

Two of our goats got into feed that they should not have eaten on Friday.  We were so busy with the boar Saturday, that I did not notice they were off until late Saturday night.  Very happy for my parasite class because it helped us understand and diagnose what happened.  They had bloat.  Sunday was spent caring for them.  Walking every 15 minutes and throwing everything we could at them to make them comfortable.  One has recovered completely.  The other is coming around more slowly.  

Today, we planted sweet basil and harvested and shelled peas for you, in between forcing the goat to walk.  I am blanching those peas now as I write this, they will be frozen, and I hope we have enough for shares this fall. 

I am headed to the farm to stop by a neighbors house to tell them thanks for helping us with our goats yesterday, and then I will seed another 100 pots that are in the fridge.  


Always make hay while the sun shines-as they say. Thank you for your support.  Thinking of you and your families keeps me going after a weekend like this one. 


We still have shares available for the fall, if you have friends that are interested, please share our info.  

Your Farmer...
Stacey

  

Posted 8/6/2013 8:56am by Stacey Roussel.

The seeds we sowed last week have germinated.  Watermelon, squash, butter peas, cucumbers- yes!  The weeds have also joined in, Clay was able to clean out all of those rows yesterday.  We are irrigating like crazy.  Every hose everyday is our new motto.  Things are really dry.  We have a 30% chance on Saturday.  Please pray.  

Today, we are planting green onions for you!  All of the seed ordered last week is in, so the next two months we will plant almost every day.  


Last week, I was able to attend a Botany Conference.  I learned lots, and am reconsidering some of applications we make in the field.  Lots of reading to do.  I will post a blog of my experiences at the conference if anyone is interested. 

NRCS was out yesterday to review our prairie grasses and give me an idea of where we stand as a forage for our animals.  My feelings about our progress on pasture remediation were confirmed good work is being done by the pigs.  


Thank you for supporting our farm.  Your farmer-Stacey

Posted 7/29/2013 9:46am by Stacey Roussel.

Hello and to our new members welcome.  We are preparing for October, and I wanted to let you know what we are up to.

For our new members- a little bit of context -

We are a small family farm with 4 acres of vegetables but 20 acres total we are managing.  There are lots of projects going on at the farm, and I hope that you will get a chance to visit us.  In addition to our vegetables and egg production, we have a small orchard and pastured pork operation.  The pork is the means by which we are reclaiming pasture from invasive species and returning it to coastal prairie to use as grazing for our dairy goat herd without herbicide.  

I hope to write a little more in my next updates about the people who make up our farm because we could not do it all without a community. 

This summer we have worked hard on our apple trees.  Irrigation is now in place, we are running our chicken tractors through the trees to help boost fertility and are following that with a composted tree mulch. 

We built a permanent fence for our hogs.  They are growing nicely and doing a great job eating up nutsedge and mccartney rose.  The pigs are rotated each week on new grass.  We are hoping that the sales of our shares will allow us to fence the perimeter of our property there, 13 acres total.  The fence will be the first step towards growing out our dairy herd.

In the last two weeks, the rains have been very good to us.  The soil is responding, and we were able to start to make rows for our season.  We have planted lots of winter squash and melons for you.  We are testing the brix daily and have had great sucess with peas and are struggling to increase the sugars on our eggplant.  I will not give up until we see the sugar rise in those plants as sugar is our insurance against bugs and disease and is also an indicator for nutrition for you. 

All of our fall season seed is ordered and expected delivered this week.  We will start to plant every day in anticipation for your harvest.

Please note - we have pork 1/2 and whole shares available if anyone is interested please let me know.

I hope that you have a great week.  Please look for future updates.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email or call me. 

 

Your Farmer-Stacey

713-305-2005

stacey_roussel@hotmail.com

 

Posted 6/17/2013 9:23pm by Stacey Roussel.

I am so proud to complete this CSA season and prepare to open the next. When someone signs up for the CSA, they become a part of the farm. I worry about providing good value in the shares for your family just like I do my own. Farming presents risks and challenges, and CSA members sign up to brave those risks and challenges with me, but we also enjoy the benefits together. The product we put in our shares are honest and local and the result of a lot of hard work and timeless wisdom that I have learned from others. From the beginning of the farm, farm labor has always been treated as more than just an input. From the earliest days when it was all volunteers, we respect the dignity and capabilities of all the workers. I’ve heard some on the news call farm work “unskilled labor”, and this assures me that the person speaking has never actually done this labor. Farm labor is a skilled labor and it takes time to build those skills. Growing more farmers is one of the best investments that our farm makes.

 

Most of you know Clay (he has his own farm fan base). Clay has been working with me for several years now. He started part-time while he was studying at the University of Houston, and became a full-timer immediately following his graduation. Clay studied anthropology and graduated near the top of his class. Clay has taken on more and more responsibility with every season, and that is why I’m proud to announce the next step in the All We Need Farm journey. Clay will be taking over the day to day operations of the CSA. I will still be involved to manage logistics and communications and help Clay with some of the work, but the majority of what I currently do to stock the shares will be transferred to Clay. We are proud to announce this because not only does Clay improve his resume of already impressive skills and experiences, but he also takes a step further in running all aspects of a small farm. So often I hear, “these are jobs Americans don’t want to do”, and I understand that fully because this is hard, hard work, but just once I wish the media would recognize Americans that choose to do the work and do it well.

 

So, what will I be doing with the time previously spent at the farm? I will continue building a new culture around food, and advocating stronger Gulf Coast prairies. I plan to restore the 13 acres of land that we own nearby our current vegetable land. I will improve my grazing program and improve the quality of our goat herd. We will continue raising heritage hogs in order to produce high quality pork while remediating a weed problem we have on about 7 acres of land. Some of these efforts will result in immediate offerings from our farm. For example, we hope to offer pork shares in the very near future. Some offerings will take longer to get to market. I also plan to carefully document my experience with our animals and pastures so that I can help others remediate brittle pastures so that it is a more healthy and lively ecosystem. I hope to do more speaking to local groups so that I can advocate local food, cottage industries, and healthy land.

 

What we are trying to do here is both a vocation and a business, and I really think it is worth the effort. As Dorothy Day once said, “People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.” I don’t dare to think that my work is as important as the work that Dorothy Day started, but we do the work and we hope for the ripples. Judging from the incredible meals I have seen my customers post on Facebook, I can see we are doing something right.

 

For all those who follow and support our farm, thank you. I hope that I am serving that trust well. Fall Shares are open, please stay tuned and sign up early so that we can plant.

Posted 5/4/2013 10:18am by Stacey Roussel.

I was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle Business section the other day. My business is a far cry from most of the businesses featured in the Chronicle’s business section. For one, I don’t make a lot of profits, and honestly if you consider the hours that I put into my business, I don’t make anywhere close to a minimum wage. 

Every day I do the work that the media says “Americans don’t want to do”. I go to sleep worried about the millions of details that I may have forgotten or the emails and phone calls that I did not return, the rain that didn’t fall, or the bugs eating my cucumbers. Like any other working mom, I’m anxious about meeting all of the other commitments that come with having two young girls, and I often feel like I’m not doing enough.  So, the obvious question I get is, “why do you do this work?”

I love farming. I love the whole process. Seeing the cycles of nature unfold in front of me everyday is magical.  Seeing my land transform for the better each season is a huge payoff.  But what people really mean when they are asking me that  question is “why do you work as hard as you do, sacrifice as much as you do, when there is limited financial reward?” If this is the question then I am always quick to remind people that financial profit is only a single measure, and if we give too much weight to that single measure we can get very skewed results. I agree that in order for something to be viable, we have to cover costs (which I do), but beyond that, what are the holistic goals of our operation?

First, health. Am I promised a healthy life for doing this work? No, but I am I doing my best to manage my risk factors by doing physical labor and eating what comes of my land?  We should all calculate the costs of eating or living in a particular way.  Unfortunately, those bills are paid later in life, the bills of an unhealthy lifestyle are not delivered monthly.  I’m hoping that by focusing on this work, I putting off future expenses… and if I were still an accountant, I could argue about how those savings (or costs) need to be more closely related to current activities, thus making my work look more profitable.  

Outside of my own health, I consider the health of those who support my farm and the health of the community that we live and work around.  I am confident that the product we provide is much better than our customers can find elsewhere because of our growing practices and because it is consumed so close to harvest.  I build soil everyday because all life begins and ends in soil.  Food is attached to the soil, we cannot rid ourselves of this fact.  I also know that my neighbors will never have to worry about my drift because nothing toxic is sprayed at All We Need.

Growing the way we do is expensive.  People often ask why organic costs more, and it’s simply because our labor costs are much higher.  We’ve always looked at labor on the farm more than simply a commodity input. Finding the cheapest source for labor is an indication of what you value. For those hired by the farm, I hire citizens and pay as fairly as I can afford. This is a principle that was always part of our farm since the start, a commitment to the common good. We are all connected to one another. We also have an internship process, where people can volunteer their time and learn farming.  

If I get this far, I’m usually asked, “so does your husband have a real job?” I cringe at the word “real”, but I know what they mean. I live in reality and I’m fully aware that we have a mortgage to pay and other expenses. My husband works in Houston. He loves his job and feels a tremendous amount of good comes from the work that he does for his company. He is a vital part of our farm system. If he did not love his job, we would tweak things (maybe hire fewer people) to accommodate those circumstances. Instead, since he loves his job, we have structured our farm so that he can work on the weekend here, and work at his office during the week. In other words, the farm in its current state could not support all of our family’s expenses because we have designed our farm to fit us (not forced us to fit the farm). When I speak to people who are interested in farming, I say don’t accept someone else’s system, but design one that fits your needs.

I sometimes laugh and say, “I could make more money selling cotton candy at the baseball games.” And my kids love cotton candy!! But it’s also important that we have people who care about our land and care about the products they are producing. The better something is for us, the less profit margin their seems to be in selling it.  No one needs me to be their momma and tell them to eat their veggies, but I am glad that I get to supply a good, honest product that is also good for my customers. My heart melts when people send me pictures of their dinners which are using the products from our shares. It really shows the whole lifecycle and is just as important as the number I’m putting in some box on my tax form.

But most importantly there is the food I serve my own family. Eating everything fresh and homemade is a luxury to many working families. I may work hard, and I may not take home a lot of cash for the work I do, but I eat like a millionaire… and that’s why we named our farm, “All We Need”.

But beside that point, it’d be nice to get rich. Don’t get me wrong, I love the profit motive. It causes me to be as efficient as possible and it tells me if my work is valuable to other people, but that motive alone can cause odd behavior.  

Farm On! Eat Well! And remember to thank those that are in the food chain.

Posted 3/31/2013 6:19pm by Stacey Roussel.

Good Food is bi-partisan and spans wide gaps of gender, lifestyle, religion after all everyone eats everyday. 

Some of my customers know that I took a break from regular farm work so that I could speak to the State House Agriculture Committee. It was a bold step for me because I typically keep my head down at the farm and leave lobbying to those who enjoy being engaged in such activities. I chose to step out because local food (and cottage industries) tend to be under represented at the table where laws are made. We don’t have large trade groups, entrenched bureaucracies, or lobbying groups. We tend to be somewhat independent, and certainly busy just trying to make ends meet. We all must focus on getting our product to educated consumers and thus tend to leave the “legislative priorities” to others. I know other farmers around the state who have the same problems and felt our voice should be heard. 

I will say that there are areas of the state that seem better organized than others. Austin, not surprisingly, seems to have local legislators keenly aware of bills that either promote (or at least create a level playing field) for local farmers and cottage industries. Houston, on the other hand, is a little more spotty in terms of legislative awareness on these issues. Let me highlight two issues where my customers would likely agree, but have attracted significant opposition by Harris County officials.

The first is the cottage food bill. Prior to 2011, it was illegal in Texas to sell any food made in one’s home. Last session, the law changed so that anyone could make specific low-risk foods (such as cakes, cookies, and jams) in their homes without being regulated by the health department or having access to a commercial kitchen. This has led to the growth of numerous small businesses, but the current law requires all sales to be out of a person’s home. For people living in rural areas, that certainly restricts the market for your home baked items, opening the market to include farmers’ markets and farm stands seems like a good thing to me.  After all, there is low risk because the transaction can be controlled from one hand to another without the distance of a supply chain. 

The second is actually the reason I testified in Austin. Many of you know about my small farm where I grow veggies. Most of you have never seen my much bigger plot of land where we grow hay. I bought that other land so that I could steadily grow my vegetable, fruit, and herb business. I have not plowed any ground there for a simple reason; simply the land where I grow nothing but grass receives an agriculture exemption and the minute I place rows of food for human consumption there I run the risk of losing that exemption because vegetables are not an considered an agricultural commodity in my county. The land where I grow vegetables which serves 50 families and Houston restaurants does not receive an agricultural exemption. This does not make sense, and surely does not serve the needs of my customers or the public. 

(Read below for my specific testimony in favor of HB1306).

Both of these present details that are important to discuss and work through, but seem sensible in principle. These issues can bridge political divides, and attract those who may disagree on everything else. More importantly, these bills remove some of the barriers so that small, local producers can establish themselves in a market that already has significant headwinds that one must overcome. It’s hard to break away from the farm, but taking time to participate in legislative issues is important if we want a state that is free, local, and is full of great food. Barriers to entry must be taken down and small producers should be encouraged to participate not be bullied by fear of overreaching regulations or laws that just don’t make common sense in our current environment.  

Let your voice be heard with regard to the proposed legistlation because the Harris County is active in its opposition.  Does this oppostion reflect the people of Harris County?

Following is what I told the folks in Austin.

I want to start by speaking a little bit about my background, because that's a big part of the problem.  I did not grow up farming. I had always had the desire to farm,  but was told 4-h was for kids who lived in the country. 

I am from Louisiana and went to LSU, studied accounting, and became a CPA. That’s what brought me to the big city of Houston. 

As I sat in my 50 floor office, I realized that I was not happy and took the first step that led me to my land.  I quit working my desk job.   My husband and I decided to save up our money and buy a small plot of land.  

Our parameters were -one hour from Houston, we had less than $50,000 saved, the property could not be adjacent to fields that were sprayed because I grow organic product.  We found the perfect 4 acres in  Needville where I could start growing vegetables for market. I did not understand property tax exemptions at that time, in Louisiana we have income and not property taxes.  That was not a parameter in our decision to find land that was ag exempt already.  I have learned so much in 8 years doing this work.

It has been a great experience for me and also for my girls who are here today. I found very excited customers who were really hungry for good, fresh vegetables. Our 4 acres grows the food for 50 families and serves restaurants in Houston every week of the year!  There  is really enough market and space for many small farmers just like me. 

We started off with 4 acres because that was all we could afford. Our family now owns another property that is ag exempt just a mile away from where I started farming.  I will not grow any vegetables there- not because there is not a market for them, but because I am afraid of loosing my ag exemption on that land.

You see, in our county, like many others, there are very specific requirements to obtain an ag exemption. If you do not raise hay, cotton, sorghum, and other commodity crops.  I am not eligible because I grow food for human consumption- those words from my appraisal office.  They were nice enough to help me obtain a horticulture exemption for my vegetable land, but I still pay much  more than an agricultural exemption. I think it's important to note that I do not live on the land that I farm. I am not looking for a way to scam my community out of tax money. I am simply asking to be treated like larger farmers, and not be penalized to serve my community.

My farm has never taken any money from any government funded program, and we work hard to give back to our adopted community by buying local and volunteering money and time to programs such as 4H.  I hired a young man who graduated from the University of Houston at the top of his class. He is learning how to farm.  I work tirelessly  on my land, and I am very good at this work. 

Met the extension agent from the county just south of me.  In a crowd he was asked how many new farmers started farming that year, his response was none.  "The trend we are seeing is that when farmers retire, their land is being scooped up by existing farmers and they just buy bigger equipment.  "  What does that say about the future of the farm in 10 years?  I am the new face of agriculture at least in my county and those around me. 

In my opinion, we need to tear down the barriers to entry.  This is hard beautiful work.  Profit margins are low if there, especially for someone building skills. 

We have an ever expanding population in this state, we need more farmers to feed those people.  That makes sense on so many levels.   I love this state, and I love my town, and I think that small farms will make it that much more appealing. I thank you for your time, and the work you do and I appreciate you listening to my story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Posted 10/14/2012 4:36pm by Stacey Roussel.

The last several months have been an intensive education for me, so intensive that at times I felt both overwhelmed and a little guilty that I was spending time away from the farm. As most of you know, Clay joined me full-time after his graduation, and I was able to take advantage of some training that I would have otherwise not have been able to participate. These classes not only train me on how to improve what I’m already doing, but help me to better understand how to judge the opportunities in front of me, and how best to make decisions that align with our farm’s vision. 

 

One class brings me to the Austin area once a month over the next several months. The class is led by the Holistic Management Institute and is entitled, “Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in Texas.” We are roughly 30 women who are passionate about the work we do, and want to do it in a way that allows us to farm until we pass from the earth... and hopefully not get killed by farming.  Many of you have been with me for several years, and you know our vision and direction have been pretty consistent, yet I have spent very little time writing down that vision for everyone to fully digest. HMI has helped me detail what we’re trying to accomplish with our farm, and I’m excited to be able to share it with people. 

 

Some of you have done the math, and realize that my farm is not the most profitable venture in Ft. Bend County. As a farmer told me a few weeks ago, “if you figure out how to make a million dollars doing this work, let me in on the secret.” We have meager income targets which we are able to support, but I have said from the beginning, and it is the cornerstone of what we do, “dollars and cents are not the full measure”. Growing good food for people who care about what they eat, teaching new farmers how to farm, growing in a way that allows me to farm for a lifetime, and caring for my land in a way that supports those goals are all components of our “holistic” approach. Just like I ask my customers to focus on more than just price per pound, our farm focuses on more than just net profit.

 

There is a lot of discussion about conservation efforts in Ft Bend County, and we have always said that if you care for the big places (our parks and wildlife preserves), you must care about the small places too because the small places connect to and support the big places. We should all clamor for hundreds of small organic farms and thoughtful prairies that would create a link of habitat for wildlife. For that reason, I have taken a number of classes and am working towards my Master Naturalist certification. This has been a wonderful experience as I met so many people who are passionate about conservation in Ft. Bend County as well as the countless resources (biologists, soil scientists, prairie grass specialists) who support our area’s conservation. The Master Naturalists provide me and my family a place to volunteer our time so that we can support these efforts and helps keep the coastal prairie beautiful. The program also helps me to develop our land in a way consistent with those objectives. 

 

Some may chuckle when I say that I went to Italy for educational purposes, and I would only be partially truthful if I made that claim, but education ensued in any case. This summer a very, very close friend of mine got married. Eva lives in Italy, but has spent many summers with our family. She is like a little sister to me. When she asked me to attend her wedding, I did not hesitate to say yes and then quickly jumped at the opportunity to mix work with pleasure. Eva (now an MD) shops at a local farmer’s market in Bologna, and asked one of the goat cheese vendors if they would host me as a volunteer for a week. So besides enjoying some beautiful days with my friend, I got to work with goats in the long days of the Italian summer. I don’t know how many people enjoy doing farm chores on vacation, but I can not imagine a better way to spend my summer. Not only did I learn more about dairy and cheese production, but I also made some great friends and ate some wonderful food. 

 

As many of you know, our dairy goats started as my daughter’s 4H project. We do what we can to support children who are interested in raising dairy goats. For now, there are no pending plans to turn our goats into a commercial enterprise, but they are vital to what we do. If you are going to raise a healthy prairie system, we need animals that will graze it and move on. You see a bunch of floppy-eared goats, but I see a beautiful herd of ruminants doing the same job the buffalo did in this area hundreds of years ago. We have finally started to get more active on our 13 acres just down the street from what most of you know as “the farm”. As we improve that land, we’ll need more grazers. I foresee having a few small cattle at some point in the future, but for now, the goats are the right size and temperament for me to work with on a daily basis. And who knows, if we continue to raise a strong, healthy herd, and a strong healthy prairie, maybe when my kids are grown, they may be able to farm and ranch on our land too. If so, that is worth more than all of the gold in Ft. Knox. 

 

Hopefully all of this education and training better serves your family and our community. Hopefully we all work to make the best better, and our goals are so big that we leave this world in a better predicament than we found it. Thanks for supporting my vision and being a part of our farm.

Posted 10/13/2012 10:31am by Stacey Roussel.

Been an exciting week on the farm.  We have been preparing for harvest next week, getting all of our chickens in a row as they say.  New egg cartons purchased, new coolers on the list.  Excess roosters processed and peace offerings made to the neighbors.  Clay and I have been working to free our schedule and plan to spend a good portion of our next weeks harvesting for you!  

We have worked hard at bailing and putting up hay, 325 bales; whew, that seems like so very much for our little farm.  Our goats and chickens will be well supplied for the winter.    

If you know of anyone who may need hay either for livestock or fall yard decoration, please pass along our information we would like to sell some our the extra.  $6 per bale...

 


Next weeks share will include for sure...Peas (shelled), lemons (from Liz Barker-one of our growers), basil, radish

Maybe... Okra, cucumber, beans depending on quantities we will spread the harvest.

 

Delivery Information:

  • Farm Pickup-Tuesday from 3-4-if you will be late, please just call.  I can bring the shares home and you can pickup there. 
  • Houston-Rice University Farmers Market-4-7-Farmer Cathy Sullivan of Sullivan’s Happy Heart Farm- will have your shares...Cathy leaves the market at 7, she has a long drive back to Damon, please try to get there early. 
  • Papershell-Rosenberg-Wednesday’s after 1pm-Elizabeth Barrow will have your shares.  Papershell is open until 5pm.  If you have difficulties with the day change please let me know.
  • SugarLand-Wednesday after 2pm-pickup is at a home in First Colony.  I will send the members of this location information under different cover.  
  • Lake Jackson-Wednesday-delivery-Lisa Presley is your driver and will have drop information.  Please call me if you don’t have Lisa’s number.

Please if you have any questions or concerns-my number is 713-305-2005.  I am looking forward to a great season.  Relationships are important to us, so please stay in touch.

 

Your farmer, Stacey 


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