Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED 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 a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thank You Piggies

As a family, when we eat meat we always thank the animal we are eating. When we began farming it was, in part, to provide our kids with healthy meat, and also to show them a real world connection between what they eat and where it comes from- with meat that means: (once) live animals and hard work.

Last night at dinner for the very first time our (almost) two year old thought to thank the piggies. It made me feel so happy and like we were doing what we set out to do when being around our table, eating food we grow made our little two year old feel thankful...even if we weren't eating pork.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Climbing Tree Farm = Clean Glands!

Last week we had the pleasure of participating in the butchering (and curing and cooking) of one of our pigs (wow- never thought I, a vegetarian for over two decades, would say butchering was a pleasure!). The butcher, Jake Levin (of the,, pointed out the pigs glands. Just like humans, animals have glands that are essentially used as filters. Jake showed us the glands from our pig. They were semi-translucent, light pink and had no discernible scent. (I wish I thought to take a picture of them! I'll look back and make sure there isn't a picture with a little gland showing.) He explained that in the past, when he butchered conventional pork, the glands he found were black and stinky. It makes sense that glands from a pig grown in filth and disease would need to work harder to filter out more, than glands on a pig like ours who lived a healthy life.

Clean glands: just one more reason to choose Climbing Tree Farm Pork!

Life's a Beach for Our Pigs


Our leased land includes a large field that was cleared for building a jumbo house, and then the project was canceled, leaving acres of exposed shale. We call this area of our farm the "Shale Field." One of our goals on the farm is to use our animals to improve the health of the land we work- especially the Shale Field. When we moved to our new farm we put in a septic field, which left a large shale patch in the middle of our pasture. Through grazing, winter feeding (think manure and wasted hay), and spreading old hay, we were able to rehabilitate the area quickly and without adding seed (the seed in the hay fell out and volunteered in the new dirt that was created as the hay decomposed). We're hoping to do something similar on the Shale Field...except on a much, MUCH larger scale.
At any rate, we have had a bunch of thunderstorms lately and the Shale Field has turned into Shale Lake (a field of rock is not nearly as porous or absorbant as a field with vegetation!). My guess is that the lake is a couple of acres square and about ten inches deep.
During our last storm a tree fell on the pig fence abutting the new Shale Lake. As you might expect, some of the pigs went exploring. They didn't go far, and our pigs are rediculously easy to put back in their fence (a few apples and some milk and they were happily back in the fence in less than a minute). My sense is that pigs who live well don't feel as compelled to travel as those who live in mud, eating who knows what. It also helps that they're smitten with Colby.
It's hard to leave our farm, even leaving for the afternoon is a challenge most of the time. There are a lot of creatures depending upon us, and things rarely go as planned. On Monday, when the pigs were out, we were supposed to be at a pig roast (Our pig! YUM!). The pigs who were out were so content splashing in Shale Lake, rolling in the sand pile (not sure why, but there's a dump load of white play sand in the center of the field), and chasing apples that Colby was throwing for them that we just had to stay and play...and be a little late to the pig roast.
Honestly, being a farmer is a lot of hard work for little pay, but an afternoon like this, makes it worth it. Our kids were shrieking with joy, our animals were splashing and playing with our children, and we felt good about the way we do our job...even if we're always late to BBQs.
First pig ride.
A lake with a view.
Headed to the beach for a swim.

Running around having a blast!

Just a guy and his hogs.


Sand Castles anyone?
Scratching in the sand.

Rolling in sand.

Our son wants to take them to the beach next time...
reasoning that we wouldn't have to find anyone to farm sit.

First time digging sand.

Playing with friends.