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The Fluffy and Feathery Friends of Levesque's Farm



In the past several newsletters we have talked about the valued members of our family, the

importance of insects. We discussed how growing trees allows us to provide firewood for our families,

lumber for our farm projects and maple sap for our maple syrup production. We also discussed how

growing our soils and ecosystem in the soil allows us to grow happy and healthy produce for our families

and you the customers to consume and enjoy. This newsletter will be about us growing/raising our small

herd of farm animals that have been serving a multitude of roles, some better known than others, on

our farm. We will touch a little on their breeds of each animal and the role they play in keeping our farm

running.

The first of our friends we will talk about is our little herd of Belted Galloway cattle. As of right

now we have 3 heifers and a bull, and hopefully by next spring we will have doubled this herd and will

be able to share pictures and tell stories of our three new Beltie calves running around and brightening

our days. With the growing of our herd, one day you may see Leveque’s own beef at our farm

stand. When we decided to get cows we put a lot of thought into what breed we were going to

purchase, we did our research and found that the Belted Galloway was the breed for us! The Belted

Galloway, originally from the Galloway region of Scotland, is known for its extremely docile behavior and

ease of handling, while still being great mothers that will protect their calves from any threat. This breed

is a great breed for the harsh winters in Maine, their beautiful black and white coat is very dense, at

almost 4000 hairs per square inch this breed is more comfortable in 0 degree weather then 85 degree

weather. They are also considered a dual purpose breed of cattle. While the Belted Galloway is mostly

known as a beef cow, it can be milked as well, producing very rich milk that is high in fat and good for

butter making. While these cattle are very slow to come to market weight and mature compared to

other breeds of beef cows (2 years of age for Galloways vs 15-18 months for other breeds) they are also

known for producing a very high quality meat that is low in saturated fats and very little waste fat, a

steer will dress out around 60-62% of its body weight making it exceptional compared to other

breeds. Lastly we decided on the Belted Galloway as our preferred breed due to their eating habits.


While most beef cattle will need grain or corn to finish and fatten if raised for

beef, the Belted Galloway has shown that it can be brought to market on

pasture and hay alone. They are able, and from our experience prefer, to have a

mixed pasture. The pasture we have for our cows include a mix of cover

cropped production fields that are on their years of resting, out of vegetable

production, pasture specifically set aside for the cattle, and woodlands where

the cows can go for shade and to nibble on branches, twigs and other forest

plants and trees they seem to really enjoy. Studies on the Galloway cattle show

that this breed needs the least amount of food to

gain a pound of body weight compared to most

other beef breeds. For all the scientific positives of this breed our

experience with this breed has shown a few added benefits. For one, these

cows are very intelligent, knowing the difference between our family and

strangers. Our girls will come and see us when called while they will avoid

being anywhere near a new person. The cows are also very calm and gentle

around the young Levesque children, allowing the children to bring them

apples and pet their noses. Lastly the cows are a great supplier of manure

that allows us to nourish our greenhouses and crop fields.

The next animal we would like to mention is Kong, named after the

video game Donkey Kong. Kong is our large standard donkey. Used as guard animals on many farms in

the world, donkeys are known to chase off and attack predators that enter any pasture they are in.

There is not a fox or deer that shows up on the farm that is not met with

snorting, stomping and braying (hee-hawing) by Kong. Known also for

their intelligence and steadiness when riding, donkeys, unlike horses, are

able to see all four of their feet at once allowing them not to fall, trip, or

stumble. This is why guides choose donkeys, not horses, to go up and

down the trails of the Grand Canyon. Pound for pound a donkey is much

stronger than a horse, and has a great memory. Studies suggest that

donkeys can remember places, people, and other donkeys that they have

seen up to 25 years ago. Kong has been a great addition to the farm, being a great pet for the youngest

Levesque children and, like the cows, a great provider of manure for use in our compost.

After talking about two of our fluffy farm animals we would like to mention our feathered

friends. When you come to our farm stand you will see that we sell our own farm raised, free range

eggs. We raise red sex link laying hens. They are a hybrid breed of chickens, originally a cross between a

Rhode Island Red rooster and a White Leghorn hen. We will raise between 80 and 100 of these hens

yearly. These hens are known for producing a large brown egg and can lay up to 300 eggs a year, one a

day unless they are molting or have been stressed or are feeling a bit under the weather. The other

factor when it comes to chickens laying eggs is the amount of daylight the hens are exposed to

determine if they will lay eggs. Chickens in general need 12 hours of daylight to lay eggs where 14 or 16

hours is even better. These hens will lay for about 3 years, starting to lay eggs between the ages of 17

and 19 weeks old. These hens tend to be very docile, with the occasional one who likes to be wild and

jump over fences. We keep our hens in an area of about 3⁄4 of an acre. This area is not just a field, we

have found that our birds like to have the ability to go into wooded areas and be able to dig in the leaf


litter, around stumps, and peck at decaying logs. They like to be

able to track down bugs and worms and then come back to

their house for a drink of water. We fence in this 3⁄4 acre area to

protect our hens from the always roaming foxes and coyotes.

Just like the cows and the donkey we also use the shaving and

chicken manure from the chicken house for our compost.

We have a few other animals on the farm including two

ducks, a drake Khaki Campbell duck and hen Muscovy. Four

dogs who protect the animals and hunt unwanted mice and rodents. Along with a couple goats and

depending on the year anywhere from 2 to 4 pigs. We love our animals at Levesque’s farm and for all

their benefits we have them mostly because we like having them around and caring for them. They are a

part of our family and we treat them as such. When we got all these animals we made a commitment to

give them the best life possible while they were under our care and we intend to do just that with the

animals we have now and any other animals that we happen to pick up down the road in the future.


What’s New


There’s no denying that fall is here. The leaves are changing colors and falling on the ground for

kids to play in, birds are going to fly south soon, woodstoves have started burning, hunting season is just

around the corner, and frost has snuck upon us at night. To say we had a blessing of a season would be

one giant understatement. Our customers are wonderful. We’d like to say, “Thank you,” for supporting

Levesque’s Farm this season. With the year slowly winding down, there’s winter prep ahead of us. Wood

still needs splitting, fields are getting seeding, greenhouses are getting cleaned up, and believe it or not,

plans are already getting put into place for the 2023 season. Just as a reminder we have corn stalks,

pumpkins, and gourds available at the stand for all your fall décor.


Important Information


***Our hours have changed to Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm & Sunday 10am – 5pm***

***Royal Affair, the bull we are renting, will be staying with us a little bit longer which everyone is very

excited about***

***Be sure to follow us on Facebook or check our website to know when we will be closing for the 2022

season***


Verses


“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning,

his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:6

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the

ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:35


Potatoes Gratin


Ingredients

 3 tablespoons butter

 1 small onion, finely diced

 1 clove garlic, minced/grated

 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

 3 tablespoons flour

 1 1/2 cups milk

 1 1/2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded

 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)

 salt and pepper to taste

 4 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced


Instructions

1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 3-5

minutes.

2. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Sprinkle in the flour, mix well and cook until it starts to turn lightly golden brown, about a

minute.

4. Add the milk and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.

5. Reduce the heat, add 1/2 cup of the cheese, mix and let it melt into the sauce before adding the

nutmeg and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


6. Spread some of the sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish (or cast iron pan) and place the

potatoes in with sauce between each layer. (I like to dip each slice into the sauce as I place them

into the pan.)

7. Pour any remaining sauce over the potatoes in the pan, sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

8. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the potatoes are tender, about 45-60 minutes.



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