Thursday, December 19, 2013

Newborn Lambs Galore!

We have 7 new lambs in 3 days here on the farm.  It's been perfect weather- sunny, 60 degree days. And all the ewes have had their lambs in the daylight, so we can check on the lambs and so that the lambs don't get cold too quickly.  Everything is better with sunlight involved.
Fuzz and her twins at 1 hour old

Sweet Pea licking off her lamb

Fuzz and her twins!

Wooly Bear and her triplets at 1 hour old.

Triplets nursing!

Sweet Pea (all black sheep) and twins (1 black, 1 white) meeting the flock after sleeping overnight in the "Maternity Stall"

Friday, December 13, 2013

No Charlotte market for us 12/14 Maybe lambs on the farm!

The whole crew in the revamped pasture area!

Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market

8am-noon, 1801 Yorkmont Rd. 

As you may have seen on the weather reports tomorrow is not predicted to be very pleasant.  Here in the foothills we expect it to be barely 40 degrees and raining!  Unfortunately (and unusually for us), we are going to let the weather scare us away this time.  All spring and summer you can count on us through rain and weather.  But when its cold and wet---well we have a good excuse.  

All of the ewes, the mother sheep, are pregnant.  We expect three of them to lamb any day now.  When its cold and wet it is very important for us to be able to take care of the lambs as soon as they are born.  The sheep flock is still out on pasture.  They have shelter that works great for adults, but not the newborn lambs.  So we will be at the farm tomorrow making sure all the animals stay as warm and dry as they can (we might get a little soggy and cold, but that's our job!)

We plan to attend next week's market on the 21st.  We apologize for any inconvenience, but we hope you'll pre-order pork and beef for next week!

Photos from the day's projects preparing for the rain

Getting Started early.

Bedding for the layers form the sawmill down the road

Moving the chicken palace to higher ground.  Keepin' their feet dry!

Hay bedding (and a snack) for the pigs

This is actually haylage.  Hay that's baled wet and fermented to improve its nutritional value (think sauerkraut)

The hens like the haylage just as much as the pigs.  Because its baled wet the rolls are several times heavier than dry hay.  The bobcat is a necessity for moving them around.

Hens under the palace.  They are scratching up the spilled bedding.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winter Orders! Order now for Wed the 11th pickup in Morganton and Hickory

Hickory Special Order
Location: Youssef 242 restaurant 242 11th Ave NE, Hickory, NC
12/11 Wed.  noon-1pm

Morganton Special Order
Location: Morganton Natural Foods (Nature's Bounty)

12/11 Wed. 4-5:30 pm

Order your Pastured Pork and Beef at our website

You can order as little as 1 pound of sausage to as much as you need to stock up!  Of course, we will have extras of our meats, but it helps us for everyone to order ahead, and we'll set your order aside.

We'll schedule dates for January-March Special Orders starting in the New Year!

Marie and winter projects
Marie doing some heavy lifting

Pastured Pork

We have a full selection of our delicious pastured pork. Our hogs are fed GMO-free certified organic grains and raised outdoors on pasture.·       

Order a Family Pork Pack and stock up for winter!  

Thick bone-in chops
Country sausage
Shoulder roasts
Boneless ham roasts
Spare ribs and country backbones
Spicy chorizo sausage
Sweet Italian sausage
Thick sliced side meat
Ground pork

Pastured Beef

Our steers are raised on grass pastures without medications.
Our animals are moved to fresh, healthy new pastures every week for the best growth from grass.   We supplement the steers with small amounts of organic corn, alfalfa, and wheat to help supplement just the right amount of fat to ensure juicy beef.  

Ribeye, NY Strip, Filet, and Sirloin Steaks

Beef Roasts, Ground Beef, Stew Beef,Beef Kabob

Beef Marrow Bones

Summer Hogs

♦Our meat animals are fed certified organic grains, over 70% of our organic grains are grown in North Carolina!
♦All our livestock is raised outdoors with forages, fresh air, and sunshine.
♦No hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics.
♦Meats are individually labeled, vacuum-sealed and frozen, keeps well for 1 year from pack date.
~Most Fall Meat Packs can be picked up at the Farmers Market or at the farm, except ½ and Whole Beef (farm only). 
Available: All winter
 Our hogs are raised outdoors and root through brush, pastures, and deep hay bedding.  Fed certified organic grains.  Vacuum-sealed, frozen.
1/2 hog All the best cuts! Approx 24 thick pork chops, 4 roasts, 1 tenderloin, and a great supply of your choice of sausages.  You can also have your pork cut just the way you’d like it. After you place your order, we'll help you decide your custom cuts. ½ Hog weighs approximately 85 lbs hanging weight. You’ll get about 65 lbs of cut, vacuum-sealed, labeled, and frozen meat.  $5.88/lb hanging weight. (15% discount from retail price)  Approx $500.  $100 deposit is required when order is placed.
Large Family Pack: This assortment of delicious pasture pork is a 10% discount from retail and costs approx $260. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.  Weighs approx 30 lbs, includes:
12 Pork Chops (2/pack) • 4 Pack of Ribs • 2 Roasts (3 lb each) • 8 Country Sausage (1 lb/pack) •4 Sweet Italian (1 lb/pack) •4 Bratwurst (1 lb/pack)
Small Family Pack: This assortment delicious  pork will fit in your refrigerator’s freezer and is a 10% discount from retail and costs approx $130. Weighs approx 16 lbs, includes:
•6 Pork Chops (2/pack) • 2 Pack of Spare Ribs • 1 Roast (3lb) • 4 Country Sausage (1 lb/pack) •2 Sweet Italian (1 lb/pack) • 2 Bratwurst (1 lb/pack)
Sausage Sampler: 3 lbs each of Country Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, and Bratwurst Sausage, approx $70, 5% off retail price
Available: November and December
Our beef is always grazed on pastures and is finished with a small quantity of certified organic corn, wheat, and alfalfa for lightly marbled, healthy, lean beef.  All beef hangs and ages for 14 days before being cut, vacuum-sealed, labeled, and frozen. All prices include all butcher costs.

Beef Quarter: A quarter is 15% off retail price, weighs approx 85 lbs, and costs approximately $575. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.
A typical quarter includes:
Thick Steaks:      Roasts:                                                 Other Cuts:
6 N.Y. Strip          1 bone-in chuck                                45 ground beef (1lb/pack)
6 Ribeye               2 Sirloin tip                                        9 stew beef
4 Filet                                                                                 4 beef kabob (1 lb/pack)
1 Skirt steak                                                                      2 Short Ribs (2 lb/pack)
1 Flap steak (similar to skirt steak for fajitas)
1 Flank steak                                                                                                     
Beef Value Package: A Value Pack is 15% off retail price, weighs approx 45 lbs, and costs approx $293. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.  A typical package includes:
Thick Steaks:      Roasts:                                                 Other Cuts:
2 N.Y. Strip          1 bone-in chuck                                25 Ground (1lb/pack)
2 Ribeye               1 Sirloin tip                          5 stew beef
2 Filet                                                                    2 Short Ribs (2 lb/pack) 
1 Sirloin Steak                                                                                   
Beef Sampler Package : A Sampler Pack is 10% off retail price, weighs approx 20 lbs, and costs approx $162. $100 deposit is required when order is placed.  A typical package includes:
Thick Steaks:      Roasts:                                                 Other Cuts:
2 Ribeye               1 sirloin tip                          12 Ground (1lb/pack)
1 beef kabob                                                     2 stew beef
1 Sirloin Steak                                   
Ground Beef:  10 lb box, 10% off retail, $6.12/lb. Each pound of ground beef is individually packaged, labeled, and frozen. Our ground beef is lean and flavorful.
Mix and Match Package: Select 25 lbs. of your choice of roasts, ground beef, short ribs, and stew meat and save 10% off retail.  Steaks not included.  Shop and select from available items on our online farm store selection, and we will discount your total upon pickup. Example: 12 lbs ground beef, 8 lbs of stew meat, and 2 chuck roasts.)

½ Beef Butcher Day Special: $4.15/lb hanging weight, 20% off retail price. Approx 285 lbs hanging weight, yields about 180 lbs of dry aged, cut, vacuum-sealed, labeled meat.   Enjoy a variety of steaks, roasts, and ground beef when you make a custom order.  After you place your order, we'll help you decide your custom cuts.  Farm’s scheduled pickup/delivery dates. Approx $1185. $200 deposit is required when order is placed.
Farm Pickup Only: Email for available butcher dates

½ Beef: Other 1/2 beef pickup/delivery days can be scheduled, price is $4.45 lb hanging weight. Approx $1268. 15% off retail price. $30 delivery fee between Hickory and Morganton 

Friday, November 29, 2013

A moment to slow down

Hello all,

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is always a good time to remember the importance of family, friends, and gratitude for life.  As the season shifts from the busy growing season on the farm we are able to slow down just a little bit.  It’s a season to take a deep breath and take time to actually reflect on the year.  As we look back we also gather ourselves for the next cycle of seasons. 

Tazzy the guard dog watches over her sheep

If you are half as full as I am, and your fridge looks like ours, full of leftovers you probably don’t have grocery shopping on your mind.  We have decided to take a Saturday off this Saturday the 30th.  The first free Saturday since April! So we won’t see you tomorrow. 

But don’t worry, we’ll be back in Charlotte on December 7th, 14th, and 21st

Come see us next week for winter vegetables like carrots and cabbage and of course delicious pasture raised, organic fed, GMO free meats: Pork, lamb, chicken and beef.

We now have a full selection of beef!  Ground beef, stew beef, roasts, and steaks.  Come out to get you pastured beef December 7th 8-noon! 

Carolina Wren Photo

We make time to look up from the daily chore list and the weekly schedule and see the farm and mountains around us.  We can walk with our eyes off the ground and see the trees.  Without their leaves, the trees form intricate patterns against the sky.  On a steep slope in the mountains all the trees form slender straight lines for the low winter sun to play tricks with shadows in.  The cacophony of summer insect sounds has ceased.  In its place there is the wind.  The wind roars in the distance, whistles close by, rattles leaves, brings the creaks and squeaks out of the trees.  On still days in the cold clear air you can still hear the winter birds; carolina wrens, cardinals, robins, and others.  We have a few visitors that only appear in the winter.  A funny woodpecker called the yellow bellied sapsucker spends its winters here, sheltered from the even colder winters of the northeast.  When the weather really turns for the worst the juncos come down from the high mountains and flit in and out of the bushes on the farm.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Photo

The sheep enjoy the last pasture grazing before we start feeding hay

See you in December!

William and Marie

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sage Sausage stuffing!

Sage Sausage, Apple, and Walnut Stuffing
This stuffing recipe is a big hit! It combines my favorite winter flavors of sage, country sausage, and apples. -adapted from
  • 1 lb Bluebird Farm country sausage

  • 2 cups bread crumbs or cubes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan and topping
  • 2 tablespoons rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika

1.      Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2.      Put the stuffing cubes in a large bowl with the sage, black pepper, and paprika and set aside. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish.
3.      Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break up into quarter sized pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until it loses most of its interior pink color, but not so much that it's dry, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and pan drippings to the stuffing cubes.
4.      Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the onion, apple, celery, and salt. Cook until the vegetables get soft, about 5 minutes. Add  broth and parsley and bring to a simmer.
5.      Pour the vegetable and broth mixture over the stuffing cubes and toss until evenly moistened. Mix in the toasted walnuts and eggs. Loosely pack the dressing in the prepared pan and cook uncovered until the top forms a crust, about 40 minutes.
6.      Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of turkey pan drippings or melted butter over the top. Cook until the top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes more. Serve immediately or keep warm in oven.
 Tips: Put the dressing in the oven during the last hour of cooking the turkey
 Note: To toast nuts, spread them out on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree F oven until golden, about 7 minutes.
Bluebird Farm
William Lyons and Marie Williamson
Morganton, NC

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Farm News

Our first crop for the 2014 season is planted-garlic!  You plant garlic in the fall and harvest the next year in the spring/early summer.  We have 5 amazing varieties with poetic names almost as good as they taste-Chesnook red, music, silver rose, Russian red, and Romanian red.  They will poke their first green shoots above the soil, and then sit dormant until the spring when they will take off.  By late May they will be ready to harvest. 

We thank you for your support! Farmer face all sorts of challenges, even before we bring the harvest to market and hope that we get paid for our work!  It was a year filled with weather challenges.  We continue to face weather challenges as a dry fall stretches on.  The recent rain was a great help, we hope to get normal rains through the winter so we don’t start next season in drought.  Of course we also hope it doesn’t switch back to flooding all winter.   
Vintage corner of the farm.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Winter Special Orders in Morganton, Hickory, and Charlotte December-March

Where is Bluebird Farm right now?
Find us at the Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market-Yorkmont Rd
    Saturdays: 11/23, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21. 

Find us at the Holiday Hickory Farmers' Market
          Saturday 11/23 10am-2pm

Special Order Winter Locations: November- March
Order Pasture Pork, Chicken, Lamb, and Beef this Winter!
We deliver special orders placed on our online store to central locations in Hickory, Morganton, and Charlotte. These special orders pickups occur once a month from November- March.
>>>Order here<<<
Stay up to date- We'll email you the January, February, and March dates!
Subscribe to our newsletterfor farmers market information, seasonal vegetable updates,and farm news 

Hickory Special Order
     Location: Youssef 242 restaurant 242 11th Ave NE, Hickory, NC
11/27 Wed. 11am-2pm
12/11 Wed.  noon-1pm

Morganton Special Order
    Location: Morganton Natural Foods (Nature's Bounty)
12/11 Wed. 4-5:30 pm

Charlotte Regional Farmers Market-1801 Yorkmont Rd                 
Saturdays: 11/23, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21. 8 am-noon.

We deliver for Winter Special Orders!
Marie, showing off some layer hens

Farmer William

William and some lovey farm critters.  Okra the little dog was stealing food.  The cat was lurking nearby!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Amazing Roots and Delicious Meats at Charlotte Market

Clyde the Great Pyrenees guard dog loves cold weather!

Amazing Roots and Delicious Meats at Charlotte Market

Come see us at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market at 1801 Yorkmont Rd, Charlotte, NC 28217

It will probably be a little chilly, but we harvested all sorts of veggies for you and they are ready to go home with you.  Enjoy some late fall fresh local veggies.


Oh My! Beets, carrots, and greens continue to produce beautiful roots after the frost.  In fact they develop more delicious sweetness in cool nights.  These carrots just glow orange and the beets just drip their deep magenta color.  

This week on the farm we harvested as fast and as much as we could on Monday and Tuesday because we knew extra cold weather was coming.  

Then on the frosty, cold days we worked on one of our farm improvement projects-installing a water line.  We're burying 1000 feet of line to reach the upper side of our property.  That will help us this winter with the sheep and laying hens.  For 3 years we've had to run hoses out to animals form the house spigot.  The carefully drain them all so they don't freeze.  The water line will bring convenient water right to the animals.

The middle section of the water line

Freshly buried water line

Laying the next 100 feet.  Only 400 feet to go!

On the way home from Charlotte Market

Driving the big truck and trailer.  Almost one of the big boys!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Foggy Harvest for Charlotte Market!

Good Morning!

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Yesterday we woke to a foggy moist morning.  There was a hint of chill in the occasional breeze, but mostly the warmish, damp air had a strangely spring-like feel to it.  With the last several dry weeks the moist air made all the birds sing adding to the spring-like mood.  We even heard a few frogs in the brush toward the creek.  Not a strong chorus, but a definite light chirring of the end of season frogs.

Wet and grey weather makes for perfect harvest conditions.  We don’t have to worry about greens wilting in minutes and they stay fresh all morning.  We picked swiss chard, kale, collards, cabbage, carrots, and turnips.  As we returned to the barn the predicted cold front was already moving in.  Dry air, clear blue sky, a chill breeze picked up.  This morning we woke to a frost.  We still have beets, scallions, radish, and lettuce to harvest.  But we can harvest them quickly in the now dry winterish air and not worry about wilting. 

Come out to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market onYorkmont road to find us Saturday morning 8-noon.  We’ll have a full mix of kale, chard, collards, cabbage, carrots, beets, radish, and even tomatoes and peppers harvested before the frost.
 Also give our pastured raised, certified organic fed, GMO free pork, chicken, beef, and lamb a try. We’ll have our delicious lean sausage with several great flavors, breakfast sausage, bratwurst, mild-Italian, and chorizo.  Also, thick cut, moist, flavorful pork chops and melt in your mouth pork roasts for the oven and crock-pot.