We're all happy to be at our new farm this autumn. We've partnered with a life-long farmer to continue our own farming adventure.
The new property is still on NW Springville Rd, but we're not set up for receiving visitors. Our farming operation has been greatly scaled back and we're rather bare bones now, only keeping a handful of cattle and a few chickens - and no pigs through the winter (they will return in the new year). With my kidney stone problems this has all worked out for the best right now as we take it easy and concentrate on the core of our farm and homeschooling our oldest.
There are new and different opportunities on our new farm. It borders the Portland city line, providing unparalleled access to farm fresh food for our West Hills and city neighbors. The land is about 90 acres and has been cared for as a family farm for generations. There are hundred year old fir trees and it provides one of the few safe movement corridors for the deer and elk herds.
Our cattle are currently harboring in the walnut orchard and rejuvenating its pasture. For the winter, we plan on fixing a few fences and widening the driveway as well as building a new solar powered dairy building. Perhaps we'll have photos to share soon, but for now, the property is closed to the general public as we work out our infrastructure and as I regain my health. May this winter be kinder to us than last!
At the beginning of July I had an emergency room visit for a kidney stone blocking my left ureter. The awesome urologist put a stent in and decided we needed to look at getting that stone and the other small stones on my left side out... We also talked about getting the very large stones in my right kidney out. Since then, I have been waiting for this double surgery which is coming up in a week and a half.
Since my emergency room visit, my wife, Susan, has been doing almost all the farm chores as well as her full time job, and looking after me and our three girls. She's used up almost all of her reserve energy, but we have a bit to go yet. Thanks so much to David and Alen for helping out!
On top of this we've been shutting down the farm at the location we've been at for the past three years, figuring out what the future holds and trying to downsize as small as we dare. The Grey Day Dairy of the future will be a leaner operation, but still plan to keep our mission and provide milk, meat, eggs, fermented foods, and other products to our friends and neighbors here in Portland's West Hills.
We'll update as we're able. For now, let me get through this surgery and out on the other side.
This morning We had a chap come to the farm for milk who hadn't come for almost 2 years. He brought back the bottles and caps from his last visit and was I shocked... I'd forgotten we used to have white caps and half gallon bottles. We now use only quart bottles with our familiar adorable logo - and black caps. It's like the difference between day and night!
There have been a lot of changes since we came to our current location 3 years ago... And this year will bring even more with our new South gate and new dairy building. Construction can't begin until the ground dries up in June but from then on there will be no looking back - the whole farm will be completely different.
So at Thanksgiving dinner the other evening, I again heard from someone "So what you're doing is illegal, right? Raw milk isn't legal in Oregon."
Politely, I stated what I've probably had to say hundreds of times since we started selling milk about 5 years ago: "Raw milk sales are legal in Oregon."
In fact, from what I can tell, many of the producers in this state are not aware that they are legal. I've even seen the wrong idea that it is illegal to sell on another raw milk producer's website.
So let's get it straight: what we do is fully within the law. We are a micro-dairy that is exempt from Oregon dairy licensing and inspection requirements.
The other day, Daisy and I put in a post partway down the driveway, attached a bright orange board to it and affixed a wireless doorbell button. Now, when it's pouring rain, you can, from the comfort of your car, just roll down your window, push the button, and we will be alerted to your presence when we're in the milk house with all the machinery running. The other evening we had 4 girls running up and down the driveway pushing the new ding-dong bell button, so I hope the battery still works!
Obviously, you expect your payment information to be encrypted when you buy something online.
Recently, there has been a push to make more of the web secure for general use. If you'll notice, using Google search or Facebook, most websites now have the green lock in the address bar to indicate that all data to and from the server is secure.
Now, Grey Day Dairy primarily sells raw milk to Portland, Oregon, folks and currently all our sales take place in the driveway, but we also have available on our website a list of all of our products for sale, such as pork cuts, kimchi, and salve. Right now this is a catalog and ordering system for pickup at the farm. Regardless, it was decided that we should follow the lead of the cutting edge of the internet and secure the whole site. This has the benefit, for example, of protecting your email address and phone number in our ordering system. Also, if you use the "get directions" feature of our map, you're current location is protected from prying eyes. ALL the data that is transferred to and from our server is now secure. Sounds good to me!
Look up in the address bar - you'll see our green lock! We've been verified to be a real business with a data secure site.
Sometime in the foreseeable future, there may be a payment system available in our online store (and shipping, too). Because our site is already encrypted, we're ready at any moment to make this change. This means credit cards might be in our store's future, making your purchase easier and allowing our products to be shipped across the country.
The weather this year has been pretty good. And this autumn has been no exception: we've had some good rains followed by warm and sun - like today! So the grass is growing nicely which means milk production has gone up and so has the nutritional content. We're very fortunate in this climate to have this mini spring embedded in the autumn.
There are cattle in the above photo... Can you see them?
The byproduct of excess milk around here is cream, so I'm pleased to announce that we'll resume cream sales starting today!
Here's a shot of this morning's cream making:
Cream is $8 a pint and I'll probably make it twice a week, so put in your order early.
There's not much better than a raw cream breve on these chilly mornings.
We've been gifted with a truckload of trash at our top gate. I was thinking this load might have fallen out of someone's truck... But they haven't been back to claim it.
A recent customer wrote some very kind words about our pork on her own (acupuncture) blog. You can find out what she wrote up by clicking here.
Thank you, Liz! I'm glad you're enjoying the pork.
Welcome to our new website!
I've spent countless hours over the past 3 months on this website and finally it's on its way...
Firstly, I'm a farmer, not a web designer or programmer, so this has been a long, rocky road, filled with much help from friends - special thanks to Jordan and Nathan for your help! And to the nameless tech support guy who gave me all the wrong answers: thanks - because of you I learned much more, having to find the answers myself. Whew.
The store is still not functioning just as I want, and there's a few other things that need tweaking, so thank you all for your patience as I learn many things I never wanted to learn. It's sort of how I came to learn to fix my vehicles... it's broken and I need it, but I don't have the money to pay someone else to do it, so I jump in and learn as I go along.
I'm really happy with the functionality of the new site, though. I have a few goals for the site that I want to share. After all, why does a farmer need a fancy website?
- It's the 21st century and pretty much the only way anyone finds anything anymore is on the web. So if I want to be known, I need a presence.
- I need a way to introduce what we sell and how we do farming as time is limited. I love meeting folks, but there's only so much time in a day and only one of me.
- We now have more products to sell than I can keep track of:
- raw milk
- shares of beef and pork
- USDA cuts of pork
- herbal products
- fermented foods
- and much more to come...
- This whole farming project is a grand experiment in ancestral farming practices, so I want to share some interesting observations.
- I have learned that many people want to know what is going on at the farm - even if they can't come out every week. So it is for these folks I have created the blog.
At any rate, I hope the Grey Day Dairy website is useful for our neighbors here in NW Portland and those around the world who take an interest. These are exciting times for us and for the land we're on. There are big changes coming. I'll let you know as they happen.