Family Trip and Farm News

August 24, 2020

Its been a big week for the Lau Family!  We took an all too rare vacation and spent some time checking out Yellowstone and Teton Nat'l Parks as a family.  A couple of friends watched over our animals and we were able to sneak away for 2 nights.  The sights were awesome and we had fun being all together for a little bit.  We even got to see 2 grizzly bear cubs, as well as lots of bison, and elk.  The fancy old lodges were all closed for the season, as were the visitor centers but at least there were not a zillion people around.  We saw licence plates from all over the nation.  The parks seemed plenty busy to us, but we heard the crowds were way less than normal, so if you can manage a trip this might be a great time to visit some of these sites.

Almost immediately after getting back from the vacation we took Bec down to Logan and helped her move into her dorm.  She is now a college girl and we are empty-nesters.  Tom was here for a couple of days after Bec left, which was awesome but he's back to Logan too now.  She seems to be finding her footing quite well so far and has met lots of people.  Classes don't start for another week or so.  Hopefully both kids will have in person lectures instead of just online but they have both proven they can excel online if they have to. 

John is in the midst of cutting a little bit of second crop hay.  There were plans for much of the hay to be made into little bales I can feed in the lambing barn, but the fellow we were going to do that with is out sick for a few days and the hay needs to be baled.  I think we have enough little bales stockpiled to get us thru the 2021 lambing season but its always nice to have an over supply.

The smoky haze (from the California wildfires I've heard) is finally thinning a bit.  It has been so thick that our solar powered water pumps were not able to get enough light to work.  We have a gas powered pump down the same well, for just such emergencies, and we've had to run it for several days now.  It doesn't sound like the CA fires are abating so the winds must have changed and some other poor folks are getting all the smoke.  On Friday we heard that there was ash falling in a neighboring community.  Its hard to believe ash would travel this far, but amazing things happen.With the hay in the stacks (except the little bit we cut where the alfalfa had regrown a lot) its time to start grazing the regrowth in the remaining areas of the hay fields.  We are really wishing we had another well, solar system, storage tank and trough system on the south end of the property.  It would make grazing the south end so much easier, but the cattle have walked from the fresh pasture to the water for years and they can continue to do so.

With all of our help back in school (or down to college) i am back to being John's right hand gal.  I don't want to wish for summer to end, but a little break in the heat wave we've been having would be very nice.  The list of tasks that need doing never seems to get shorter!

A quick note on the sausage front.  I was able to reach the previous owner of our sausage making business (the original owner) and he is working on being able to get his business back from the 2nd owner.  The new guy has had some issues and has more or less quit making the custom sausages.  So anyway, there is some long term hope that we will be able to get sausages made again using these fabulous recipes.  We have reached out to a few other sausage makers and some of them don't make USDA inspected products and none make the range of flavors Lost RIver Meats made for us.  We are trying to avoid anyone who will add fillers, nitrates or use an artificial casing.  

Our county Farm Bureau board has decided to try to change American Farm Bureau Federation policy so that the group will be supportive of changes to meat inspection regulations, like those proposed in the Prime Act.  Slow Food and several other local food advocacy groups support the Prime Act and other similar proposals that would deal with the fragility of our food supply and specifically in the consolidation of food processing.  We are submitting a policy change resolution from Caribou County that will have to go thru 3 more levels of consideration-Region, State and then National. The idea that the "big boys" have to run the show is so ingrained that i'm not confident we can get the 6 other counties in our region to support us but we are going to try.  I've heard rumors that other issues dealing with the fragility of the food system are being addressed by other Idaho county FB boards.  I think, as a state and as a nation, we are seeing some mindsets changed, and regulation changes that help make the food system more localized and more secure could be forthcoming.

We hope you are all doing well and staying healthy.  Staying sane in these difficult times seems to be the biggest challenge of all.

Thank you for supporting our family farm!

John, Lori Anne, Tom & BeccaLau Family Farm, LLC

Lori Anne Lau

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