Greetings from the farm. I not sure if the weather forecasters are serious or if they just like to get people excited. But it might get interesting the next few days.
Last Thursday I had dozed off while watching television when I was wakened by a noise on my front porch. I turned the TV off and listened. It sounded like small hooves. Did Santa get confused and arrive early? Perhaps Mrs. Santa had been nagging too much and he needed to get away for a while. Or maybe he had too much eggnog at the workshop Christmas party and he became disoriented. But this was on my front porch, Santa should be on the roof. My next thought was maybe Santa's reindeer had escaped from their field. Being the caretaker of farm animals, I know all too well that they enjoy a little freedom on occasion. They are good at breaking fences, jumping over fences, finding an open gate, discovering an electric fence was turned off, or finding where a negligent driver drove through a fence. I knew that I needed to round up his critters before they strayed too far so he could get them home. Was I ever surprised when I opened the front door. It was a lamb! And 9 of her stable mates were at the foot of the steps watching. Then I remembered. When I feed these youngsters, they always crowd around the gate making it difficult to enter the pen. I step back and let a few of them come out before I go in. They then follow my back into the pen to enjoy their meal. Only this evening one curious critter followed the fence line in the opposite direction and stood there watching her friends eat. I knew that was no problem. I left the gate open knowing that sheep are social animals and don't like being alone. The stray would come back on it's own. I went on to do the rest of my chores, planning to stop back and close the gate on my way back to the house. But with me sometimes being absent minded, you know what happened. It was cold and icy that evening. I knew my babies would not stray far from the buildings. I decided to give them a night of freedom. A little while later, there was more of a racket on the porch. There were now six of them tap dancing on the wooden deck. I had counted enough sheep that night and went on to bed and was soon sound asleep. The next morning, all ten of the "wanderers" were back in their pen, gate still open, lying in the warm straw, waiting on their breakfast.
I will return to Frederick on December 24 from 10 AM until 12:30 PM at the Dutch Plant Farm. While I will be making Christmas deliveries, I will have my complete product line as well. Beef will include ribeye, porterhouse, strip, sirloin, flank, and skirt steaks; eye round, boneless chuck, and sirloin roasts; stew cubes, ground round, and steak burgers. Pork will include boneless loin roasts, pork chops, spare ribs, country style ribs, baby back ribs, bacon, smoked ham steaks, and pulled pork. I should also have all seven flavors of sausage. Lamb will include boneless shoulder roasts, loin chops, arm chops, racks, shanks, stew cubes, and ground lamb. I will also have whole chickens, cutup chickens, boneless/skinless breasts, legs/thighs, and wings. I will also have cheese, including the goat cheeses you bought at the market. There will also be eggs and jams. If you still need to order Christmas dinner, there is time. Some suggestions are fresh, country cured, or smoked hams; beef standing rib roast, boneless prime rib, filet, or sirloin tip; pork loin roasts and crown roasts; leg or rack of lamb; turkeys and turkey breasts.
Please have your orders in by noon Monday. I am doing three markets that day and need to know how to allocate product. While I do enjoy a good snow, I'm not sure I am ready for two feet of it this weekend. May your holiday season be the best ever and I hope your wish list includes fresh local foods. Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.