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Searching for higher ground

May 27, 2015

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IMG_3411 I do not mind feeding my chickens in pouring rain, especially when it is warm, but I will not move electric net fencing in a lightening storm, so the sheep are going to have to stay in where they are for a while. The sheep and chickens are soaked, like I am, and the prognosis for drying out within the next week is dismal. So far the flowing sheet of water across the pastures has drowned only one 8 week old broiler chicken–one too many. Even our well adapted Gulf Coast Native Sheep do not like having their hooves wet all the time. We spent the evening yesterday doing Famacha testing for internal sheep parasites that thrive in warm wet weather and can be deadly to sheep. The gardens, our June income, are gone, sitting in standing ( and sometimes running) water most of the month, and much of the road is impassible.
Additionally, we suspect the sheep are not getting as much nutrition out of the grass because the rain has leeched so much from the soil.
Farmers are always working in a tug of war with the weather, but this season has been especially challenging. Since Jan 1 we have received over 40 inches of rain, half of it here in May and 9 inches in the last 36 hours. On the bright side this morning at 8:15 am, as I was hooking up the battery/inverter power to the freezer, electric power returned and I expect the internet will return soon and I will post this.
Kenan and I are some of the lucky farmers because we have the opportunity to take decent paying part time off farm jobs. Many farmers do not have that choice. But we still have to work long hours at the farm to keep the animals as happy and healthy as possible and to maintain the systems we have in place for the future of the farm.
This weather calamity to local farms is coming at a time when ethical and health concerns abound from industrial food sources. Your chicken might be from China, your pork may be from pigs that have never been able to turn around in their cages, organic vegetables from foreign countries might have no regulations. The problems go on and on. You have to know your farmer. The farmer has to stay in business.
At Laughing Frog Farm we are going to be fine, but it will take time for us all to recover from this. We all appreciate the customers who continue to support us.
Buy local, healthy, ethically raised food direct from the farmer whenever possible. I want to thank all my customers, past, present and future–and I will see you at the market.
We farmers plan to be around for you in the future.

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