Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, and LAMB and WOODLAND PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with local raw milk dairies, and breweries, to feed our pigs whey, milk and brewers' grains. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.


Find us at:
Abode Farm CSA- New Lebanon, NY
Allium- Great Barrington, MA
Baba Louies- Pittsfield, MA
Castle Street Cafe- Great Barrington, MA
Downtown Pittsfield Farmer's Market- Pittsfield, MA
Fish and Game- Hudson, NY
Gala- Williamstown, MA
Jacob's Pillow- Becket, MA
Lebanon Valley Cooperative Meat CSA-
New Lebanon, NY/Pittsfield, MA/Albany, NY
Red Apple Butchers- Dalton, MA
Trusted Roots Farm CSA- New Lebanon, NY
Wholesale to individuals and businesses

Please visit our website climbingtreefarm.com
or contact us with questions or to place orders.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sheepy Sign of Spring!

Grey sky. Snow patches. Brown grass.
 It may not look like much, but this here is one of the first signs of spring!
The sheep are spread out across the field grazing,
rather than bunched up around a round bale (of hay).

Today I was remembering an early spring trip to California a few years ago-
 It was grey and muddy here in New York.
We arrived in California in the dark and the next morning
we were shocked to see the long, vibrant Spring grass.
We were so starved for green that we got out of our rental car
and we all rolled around in the beautiful green on the side of the road.
 At the time the fresh, spring grass looked to alive we just wanted to eat it!
(It's possible that we tasted it- not sure.)
Alas, the mud is here for a while, and the seasons change slowly.
But....The earth is awakening. The sheep have forecast it: Spring is coming!

Mulefoot Babies


We've been looking for years for a Mulefoot Boar to breed,
 and haven't been able to find a fella for the job.
We generally have a fairly closed herd (we raise most of our own stock),
 but recently brought in two Registered Mulefoot gilts and boars. This year we bred our
 Mulefoot gilts to a Red Wattle, and while we expect beautiful animals out of that breeding,
we are excited to be able to breed our own pure Mulefoot hogs,
 in part because that will help to preserve such a rare heritage breed.

Livestock farming is all about long-range planning.
 Conventional hog farms raise a pig to size (from birth to 200 lbs.) in 5 months.
Most of our heritage breeds grow to size in 9-10 months.
Mulefoot grow more slowly- with an average age at slaughter (on our farm) of a year or more.

These little guys will have piglets next spring (2015)
and those piglets will be ready for harvest in the spring of 2016.


The four amigos- Here they are housed in a training pen.
You can't tell from the picture, but these piglets are about the size of house cats.
They're a little small to be reliable in electric fencing, and will be trained to electric in this pen.
 (Pen is outdoors and about 16x64 feet, for the four piglets).









Chicks- for pleasure and meat...




After many years of brooding chicks in our basement (which is smelly, dusty and cumbersome),
we now have a chick brooding shed. the back third of the shed is sectioned off for brooding, with 50 gallon drums split lengthwise, strung with heat lamps, and used as a heat hood. It has been quite a bit colder out than we expected so far this brooding season, but we have been able to keep the little guys warm with extra heat lamps and rigid insulation piled on top of the brooder. In their first weeks chicks require a temperature of around 90 degrees (think- snuggling up under mother-hen's tail feathers). As their fluffy down falls out and is replaced by feathers chicks become more all-weather animals. Their first day in the shed it was about 22 degrees outside. We were worried that the brooder wouldn't be warm enough and the first day we visited the chicks every hour. After several trips to the shed Colby had the brilliant idea to put the remote sensor for our thermometer in the brooder- so we can now monitor the brooder temperature without putting our boots on and slogging around in the mud!

Washed up all of the chick feeders and waterers- made a resolution to wash them
 (outside with the hose) at the end of this chick season so that in the spring of 2015
 I do not need to scrub chicken poop off of them in my bathtub again...ever.

Picking up chicks from the post office. This box contains 100 little peeping fuzzballs.

Our son asked for chicks for his 7th birthday. He chose Cochins. They grow to be big, fluffy, and are quite tame. He likes that they have feathered legs and feet.
Here he is at the post office, meeting his new friends.

Opening Birthday present chicks:
 25 Cochins (egg layers) to keep and play with.
75 meat birds to slaughter and sell.
(And, to keep the birthday chicks warm on their journey to our house).
For the past several years we have had between 300 and 500 layers.  We've decided that egg
production is not a viable part of our business, so we will no longer be selling them. It's felt weird
buying eggs from our friends' farm,  rather than out from under our chickens. These little ladies will
 provide our family with eggs in about 22 weeks. And,  our son is thinking about starting his own egg
business. Stay tuned for details.
When we get new animals we always discuss with our kids which animals are for meat,
and which will stick around as pets or breeders. This way they know who to get attached to.
These chicks are pets!


Building a fort for, and reading to the new chicks.

Chicks love stories.

Baby cochins.

Sleepy chick!

The birthday chicks live in the brooder in the shed with the other chicks,
 but come out for visits and story time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Baby Raccoon Vists Our Crab Apple Tree

 
Baby raccoon has been visiting a lot lately to eat dried crab apples.




Lebanon Valley Cooperative Meat CSA Sign-up!

It's that time again! Time to sign-up for the Meat CSA.
Although the thermometer doesn't show it, spring is on it's way!

We are now working with three local farms to provide you with super produce and meat:

The Abode Farm (vegetables): abodefarmcsa.com
Artemis Farm (grass-fed beef): Cynthiasrandallcattle.com
Trusted Roots Farm (vegetables and eggs): trustedrootsfarm.com

Read more about our Cooperative Meat CSA on our website:
 climbingtreefarm.com

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's Still Winter.

It is the first week of March now,
and the weather station said it would be 27 degrees below the average today.
I see one or two days in the 10 day forecast in which the high goes above freezing.
 It's still looking pretty wintery out there.

The pigs have made themselves a network of trails through the snow.

Here it is: The first puddle of 2014!

We are SO excited for Spring!

 

 

On Farm Slaughter



Fresh liver from on-farm slaughter.
We've been told that livers from pigs raised outdoors are often condemned by USDA
 inspectors because they are usually unhealthy due to worms....
that doesn't seem to be the case with these pigs! This is one beautiful organ!
 
 
We love our pigs. We want their lives to be as comfortable and as good as possible.  We also want their eventual deaths to be comfortable and good.
 
Meat sold to a restaurant, store or farmer's market must be processed in a USDA facility. That means that the animal is brought to a slaughter house alive, and is killed, butchered and packaged there. We only use Animal Welfare Approved slaughterhouses, train our animals to load the trailer for transportation on their own (to reduce stress), and we unload our animals ourselves at the slaughter house to avoid rough treatment. Because our animals are born outside and live every day of their lives outside, any transportation and time spent in an unfamiliar surrounding is stressful to some degree. In an ideal world our animals would all be killed on-site while they are happily chomping away on forage, and can remain blissfully unaware. This is the lowest stress scenario for the animal.
 
We just did our first on-farm pig slaughter. The pig was hanging out in the woods, she died quickly and peacefully. The pig was gutted on site, transported to a butcher shop to be aged, and was butchered, and packaged there. NY state law allows meat slaughtered on-farm to be sold from the farm and through CSA. The pork we sell through our CSA will be from pigs processed this way....its an ideal world!

CSA sign-up forms coming very soon!


Checking out the beautiful liver.