Small Farm, Big Truck

Rawson Brook Farm is very unique. Have I ever mentioned just how small and compact the entire production is? We make 500 pounds of cheese per week in one barn. There is the cheese room that starts to feel cramped when more than three people are in it. There is the milking parlor where three goats come up on the circular stand at a time. The fridge we sell cheese from is also in this room along with shelving, and other equipment. Through an open door is the room where the bulk tank, milk pump, and sinks are located.  I’m leaving out the hot water heater, hoses, drying rack, vacuum dryer, shelves, and hose washer. Efficient is the best word to describe the operation.

Using space as efficiently as possible in a small dairy is very important. Little did Susan know when she built the barns and designed the rooms, that an enormous tractor trailer would be delivering hay, alfalfa, and straw in several years. Let’s just say the narrow driveway and curvy entrance aren’t the easiest places to back an 80-foot truck into.

Well, today was another trial.  The trucks that transport our hay just keep getting bigger and our farm stays the same. It took the trucker about ten tries over half an hour to back up close to the barn, but he couldn’t make it far enough to the barn door where we were stacking the straw. So, we carried each bale. 550 of them, I might add.

Like always, everything worked out fine. What I like most about unloading the trucks is how every crew of people is different and how great it feels afterward to see the empty barn become full of the straw we stacked together. It’s so easy to worry about anything. The mind just goes there when such a large amount of stuff has to be moved from one place to another. Will there be enough people? Will the truck get lost? Will the trailer not fit? Is the hay going to be wet and moldy?

Chick Brooder (1 week old)

Surprisingly, once we get a good system going, it takes less than an hour to do the job. I think every one is relieved once the work is done and loosens up a bit. We start laughing, telling jokes, drinking iced tea, and introducing ourselves for the first time. The tension lets up and our faces are more relaxed. It’s like how travelers get chatty after the plane has landed safely.

Exotic Baby Chick

Exciting news: I received 25 baby chicks in the mail from McMurray Hatchery in Iowa about 12 days ago and they are doing great. I lost 4 due to stress, temperature fluctuation, and cheap food, but I am learning a lot. They are growing quickly as the Cornish X Rocks are designed to do for tender meat in about 8 weeks.

The one “rare exotic chick” comes free with the 24 meat birds we ordered.  He grows much slower and acts a little more like a chicken than the others. What’s it like for him being the small chick that doesn’t look anything like his buddies?


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5 responses to “Small Farm, Big Truck

  1. Hannah! I just visited your blog for the first time today–it’s wonderful!! I am filled with admiration for you and the path you have chosen. Not only that, I made apricot jam today and ate it with some of your delicious goat cheese! I hope we can visit you next weekend when we’re in Lenox. xoxo

    • farmingforjustice

      Just let me know when you plan on visiting and I’ll try to be around. Thanks for your kind words. Ahhh, apricot jam sounds delicious. Chocolate goat cheese truffles are one of my favorite things to make. Be well. H

  2. farmingforjustice

    I work Saturdays so I will definitely be around. If I’m not, ask Susan (my boss) if she is there. I work in the cheese room from 8-1 and milking goats from 4-7. The farm # is 413.528.2138 if you want to call. Otherwise, Sunday and Monday are my days off so I will be out and about, but if those days work better, let me know.

  3. Jess Murphy

    Dear Hannah,
    Jana and I very much enjoyed seeing and reading about the chicks.
    Love Jana and Jess

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