AgriCulture: First Time

 TURKANA FARMS, LLCGreen E-Market Bulletin March 15, 2019

…The opposite of chaos is things coming together.

First Time

Hey all. Troy here.I’m sure you all are familiar with the phrase, “There’s a first time for everything.” You often hear it when someone wants you to do something that you’ve never done before and that you don’t want to do. I realize that it’s supposed to be encouraging, like they are saying, “Don’t let the uncertainty stop you from trying.” However, the wording has always confused me, and I can’t shake the feeling that it’s actually a veiled threat. To me, it sounds like, “Every possible future will happen,” and more specifically, “Do it now, or it will happen TO you eventually.” This may very well be true. The idea that everything that can happen does indeed happen is actually a well-known theory in quantum physics. It is basically the flip side to “things that are impossible don’t happen.” While this seems like a pretty airtight theory, it doesn’t seem to scale well to the macro-world. I feel like I’m not alone in seeing a lot of impossible things happen over the past several years. Maybe sometime between the Big Bang and right now the idea mutated into Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Seems about right to me.By nature, all of these theories of everything are unfalsifiable; thus, they are bad theories in the eyes of science. Even so, I’m starting to really believe the one about me doing all the things I’ve never done before. Ever since I got to the farm, I’ve been scratching things off my “never have I ever” list like there’s no tomorrow. I can now confidently tell people that, “Yes, I have mucked a whole barn by myself,” or, “Of course, who hasn’t ridden on the back of a ram before?” or my personal favorite, “Why yes, I have orchestrated a playdate between a baby lamb and a baby rabbit, I do that all the time.”As I write this, I get to scratch yet another thing off my list: I just survived my first week on the farm all by myself! That’s right, this week, both Mark and Victoria stole away to New York City – Mark to do his usual lawyer stuff, and Victoria to complete a fiber arts residency with the Fiberhouse Collective – leaving me behind to keep all of the animals, including myself, alive (it’s okay, I’m not bitter). I’m sure all of us wondered whether or not this week would abide by Murphy’s Law. How quickly could I send this farm into irreparable chaos? Or would it be the farm that breaks me beyond repair? Well, it’s certainly been a packed week, but I’m happy to report that no one died, there were no disasters, and all went rather smoothly. In fact, the biggest drama ended up being whether or not I’d get the bulletin written in time.While the animals did need quite a bit of attention this week, my biggest challenge was actually the new project I took on: staining and assembling a spinning wheel for the first time. Last weekend, before Victoria left on her fiber adventure, she generously gave me my dream come true, the gift of a new spinning wheel. I wanted to start spinning right away; that way, I could write this bulletin all about spinning on the wheel, and my upgrade from the drop spindle to the wheel, and how cool it is that my last name just happens to be Spindler, etc. Before any of that though, I had to first stain and finish all of the wooden parts, then assemble them.Unfortunately, as a total novice at treating wood, I didn’t realize how long that process would take. It turns out, you have to wait a whole 24 hours between applications of the wood finish – some pieces of wood needed at least three coats! Plus, they recommend you sand each piece using a subsequently finer grain sandpaper, starting at 120 grit then 180 then 220 (some people go all the way to 320 or 400 grit), and then more sanding after each coat of finishes drying. I confess that I cut a lot of corners to save time, which is somewhat visible in the results. Also, the stains turned out vastly different than I was expecting. But after assembling it this afternoon, I’d say it looks great, charming even. I haven’t managed to spin any yarn on it yet, but I do enjoy pedaling the treadles. It feels like I’m gently splishing my feet in a pool or playing footsie with someone.I fumbled my way through, it took a long time, it didn’t look the way I imagined, but it turned out okay in the end. This is how I would describe my experience registering my truck in New York for the first time, long-term bottle feeding a baby lamb for the first time, giving a mass hoof-bath to a herd of sheep for the first time (shout out to our neighbor Emily for helping out with this! Thank you!), all of which also happened this week.Now, after all of that hustling around, I finally get to hang out with Mapquest, our rabbit, on a windy screened-in porch as the sun sets, sipping on some juice and writing this bulletin. Maybe I was wrong about Murphy’s Law. Maybe since coming to the farm, I’ve stepped into an entirely different all-encompassing, unfalsifiable theory. “Best of all possible worlds” perhaps?

THIS WEEK’S OFFERINGS FROM LAST FALL’S GARDEN HARVEST:FROZEN SQUASH (SHREDDED, TROMBONCINO), GREAT FOR FRITTERS, $2/LB.EGGS: Production is now in overdrive. We can handle all your orders. $5/dozMEATS: We keep some on hand, but it helps to order ahead in case we need to retrieve from our stash in the big commercial freezerGEESE: One remaining, about 8.5 lbs. $10/lb.TURKEYS: A few small ones left over and frozen $11/lb .GUINEA FOWL, frozen $7/lb (half the price of the Union Sq. Farmers Market). These are excellent 3 lb. or so birds.ROASTING CHICKENS – Freedom Rangers, $6/lb, range of sizes, mostly in the 4 to 5 lb. rangeLAMB: Loin chops at $14 a pound, riblets $8/lb, rib rack roasts $14/lb, small leg roasts $14/lb, We will soon replenish our lamb supply as it’s time for several to go to market.PORK: Loin pork chops, $12/lb (2 to a pack, btwn 1 and 1.5 lbs), Jowl (roughly 2 to 3 lbs each), $12/lb,
Spare ribs and country ribs $7/lb 
baby back ribs $8/lb 
fresh ham roasts (2 to 3 lbs), $12/lb 
picnic or Boston butt roasts (roughly 2 lbs) $12/lb 
smoked bacon, $12/lb 
ground pork $7/lb 
Kielbasa $8/lbBEEF 
the last of our diminishing stash 
Sirloin steaks, $14/lb. 
kidney, heart etc. $1/lbDUCKS: Last year we did Pekin ducks. The males are not so different in size from the females, and these are nice meaty birds, most between 5 and 7 lbs. Also $7/lb. We have to retrieve these from the big freezer, so please order a week ahead.

FARM PICKUPS:Email us your order at, and let us know when you’d like to pick up your order. It will be put out for you on the side screened porch of the farmhouse (110 Lasher Ave., Germantown) in a bag. You can leave cash or a check in the now famous pineapple on the porch table. Regular pickup times are Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., other days by arrangement. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call at 518-537-3815 or email.

HEAR OUR SHOWIf you’d enjoy hearing these bulletins out loud instead of reading them, we broadcast them on Robin Hood Radio, the nation’s smallest NPR station. You can find it on FM 91.9, AM 1020, WBSL-FM 91.7 “The Voice of Berkshire School” or streaming on the web at, where podcasts of past broadcasts are also available under the title AgriCulture in the “On Demand” section. FM 91.7 “The Voice of Berkshire School”can be heard from just south of Pittsfield to the CT border. You can hear the station on WHDD FM 91.9 from Ashley Falls, MA down through the Cornwalls and in NY from just south of Hillsdale down to Dover Plains. You can hear the station on AM1020 from Stockbridge, MA to Kent and from Poughkeepsie to Pawling to Kent, Goshen, Torrington, Norfolk, and Ashley. Recently added for those in the Route 22 corridor from Ancram down to Pawling is FM frequency 97.5 And of course you can listen in our own neighborhood of Southwestern Columbia and Northwestern Dutchess County, where it is being broadcast from Annandale on Hudson, 88.1 FM.FOLLOW US
The bulletins may also now be found in written form on line as well, at the Germantown, NY, portal of us on instagram @turkanafarms or on facebook 


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