May 2024 Updates

Kia-Beth Bennett

5/19/20243 min read

Hello All,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying Spring. I’m partial to the month of May, despite the changing climate, and I’ve spent many mornings birdwatching and using a newly-installed Merlin App to identify the birdcalls on the farm. I’m so, so excited to learn more about the diversity here: Veeries, Vireos, Golden-Winged Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Green Herons, Waxwings, Song Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Snipes, Woodcocks, Trumpeter Swans, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and Bald Eagles are just a few of the feathered friends with whom we shared this ecosystem.

Of course, the birds aren’t the only ones bouncing around – dobsonflies, dragonflies and damselflies are hatching, the carrion beetles hunting, butterflies and bumblebees flitting, and the resident swarms of Apis mellifera – the honeybee – have moved into their new bee-boxes. BM Dooney Farms will arrive tonight to bring them to their new home. I love when we can collaborate and connect with more farmers, and I hope the bees like where they’re heading.

In very recent news, I’m writing this at 2.16 am because I’m on piglet watch. Dear, lovely Bluebelle (who, yes, occasionally stands on me with pointed hooves and 300 pounds of flesh) just had a litter of piglets. There are nine healthy, strong little nuggets already scrambling around the Nursery, and Bluebelle seems very content. Personally, I’m really glad she’s no longer carrying them, as she was gravid. She’s on a high protein diet with plenty of fresh raspberry and motherwort tea now, and we’ll be adding an herbal wormer to her meals.

In the “human world”, we’ve hired two crew members for the season. Isaiah is a herpetologist, passionate about restoration ecology, ornithology and non-human social behavior. He’s slid right into place here and is making the work days a lot more fun. Jesse is reserved but quick to grasp all the puzzle pieces and fit them into the holistic design we’re creating. He’s staying at the cabin and I am so thrilled that he and his kitty are helping us eat all the food here. One of last year’s crew will likely return in June, and I think this is really going to be a good Summer.

There are enough other things happening that to discuss them all would take many, many pages, but here is a brief list: Emma and Fern will calve soon, Gus will have her piglets next, we’ll hold a Compost Workshop and a Chick-Rearing Workshop in June, the first potatoes and carrots were planted yesterday, we’re building new fencing for Shirley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (the Irish Dexter cattle), we received a grant to purchase fencing for the rotational pig and sheep grazing, we’ll open the Farm Stand this month, and the cherries and apples are producing thousands of baby fruit.

Lastly, on May 26th at 1.00 pm, we will host a memorial service for my mother, Ann M Bennett. All are welcome to come; the memorial for Ann will start at one, during which time we will plant her beloved lilacs, bulbs and roses. There will be time to share stories, refreshments, and then the Bennett family will hold a personal service for other loved ones who have passed. You are welcome to bring a dish to pass or a plant to plant. The address is 1249 State Highway 184, Heuvelton, New York, 13654. Call 315 344 0443 or 315 777 7245 with any questions.

As always, please check out the inventory list: there are pounds and pounds of pork, including bacon and sausage, available for sale, trade or sharing. We still have an abundance of seed potatoes, dried herbs and are now harvesting greens and veggies.

We are also on Instagram now, if anyone wants to follow our adventures in photographs! Find us at @bittersweetmilkweed.

Wishing you all well,

Kia-Beth (Catherine)