Saturday, May 30, 2009

We NEED an Apprentice.....or Two

I am a little late getting the ball rolling for an apprentice, but honestly I really didn't know how to gauge whether or not I needed help until the season started. I NEED HELP! SOS! I'll try to formally put in a listing on Mofga's website but here's a preview.
We are a small family farm with a fledgling creamery. We have 5 kids, 9 months to 10 years old. While it would not be the apprentice's job to care for the kids, it needs to be known that we do EVERYTHING with our kids, so sometimes- okay most of the time it is noisy, controlled chaos but the kids bring a sense of humor to every situation, and we are happy they are with us fully, living and breathing this farming lifestyle. This also means that we need an apprentice to cover for us when the kids have appointments, and I need to be able to drop everything and take them swimming on a hot day too.
We live in Lubec, Maine. The easternmost town in the USA. The sun rises first here, and we expect you to rise with it! Just joking! We milk the cows at 10:15 am and 7:15pm. Mainly because I am busy making cheese and setting up for the day, getting the kids fed, etc. but I like to be able to move that morning milking up to 9:15 or even 8:15am. You will learn all aspects of dairy husbandry from calving, milking, setting up rotational fences, CLEAN UP-- which there is a lot of.
We have an 8x15ft addition to our log cabin which is our licensed creamery. We process ALL our milk and sell directly to consumers, primarily through the four farmers markets we attend. An apprentice would probably need their own car, it would be nice if you could sell at one market yourself a week. Work inside the creamery is varied and consisits of straining and cooling fresh milk, skimming cream, making butter, cheeses, yogurt, and more. Packaging and packing coolers for markets, and LOTS of dishwashing. Please, I have dishpan hands and could use some help!

Our farm is 150 acres, 20-25 acres is pasture with a year round brook, and the balance is in forest. Our cabin and the milk barn with our licensed milk parlor are nestled a 1/2 mile up our wooded lane in a clearing in the trees. We literally " bring the cows home " twice a day to be milked and/or feed calves. It's actually fun, and reminds me of the good old days where the family's cow was just let out to forage all day and usually the children were sent out to fetch her home for milking.
Speaking of the cows, we have 10 purebred Jersey cows and one Jersey/Angus milker. These break down further into 4 milkers, 1 old cow I'd like to get bred one more time, the Jer/Angus who is due in August, and 3 purebred Jersey heifers that are bred. We also own 2 young Jersey bulls which you need to be vigilant of. They are seperated from the milkers so daily contact with them isn't necessary anyway.
We also have heritage pigs. They have already had their litters for the year, but there is fence building for them too, plus daily feeding of skim milk and whey, and occasional loading and delivering to the butcher. They are big and magnificent, but do not herd well when loose, which happens.
Additional skills that would be very helpful------ basic carpentry. We always need something built. There also will be construction of a large high tensile fence this year, fine tuning of the watering system, painting barns, mowing fields, spreading manure. We have 6 acres of overgrown wild blueberries, we need to start clearing the brush and saplings off of. Construction of an apprentice cabin.
Speaking of housing, we have several " rustic accomodations" available. These include your choice of a tent site or the empty loft of our barn, with its lofty views. The barn is virtually empty in the summer anyway, and I wouldn't hesitate to sleep in there myself. Or pitch a tent in the loft.
We think this poasition would be best suited for 2 people that can live together such as a couple or good friends. We will consider an individual too. June through Septemeber if possible.
Email us with interest or questions.

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