Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fun at the Expo and Followup

Urban Livestock Expo on February 3,  provided participants with a fence free zone with goats.  GlennArt presented a short talk on developing goats in the city with over 50 participants.  Four sessions, with one in Spanish, were accompanied by Oreo and her mom Patsy.  

It was a successful opportunity for the public to ask questions about goats and goat care. Thanks to the AUA and the Southside Occupational Academy for hosting this experience.

​ GlennArt also provided followup emails, sending the our goat care review document.  If you areinterested you may obtain it below.

Click on the button to open the file:  GlennArt Farm;  Care of Patsy and Oreo

Last call for Easter hams!

April 2014 orders are open. From our newsletter:

Last chance for Easter Ham!

OK, they can be secular hams too, but the timing is right for an Easter feast!
Our bone-in alderwood-smoked hams are from our heritage Tamworth pigs who were raised on our Certified Organic pastures. The hams are around 4-6 lbs each. They need to be fully cooked, up to 145º, and will be lovely glazed or unglazed. Our special price for Easter is $11/lb. We only have about 10 left so email us to reserve yours now!

Contact us at as soon as possible to place an order. We’ll work directly with you to arrange hand-off. The hams are frozen and will need a couple of days to thaw, so get in touch soon!

We also have a few variety packs available for April. Our variety packs consist of ten pounds of pork in a variety of cuts. The contents vary every month. As an example, a recent ten-pound assortment included a roast, sausage, a couple of packs of chops, pork steak, bacon, and a tenderloin.

(Pint of ice cream for scale only! Our pork variety packs do not include ice cream, unfortunately.)

We’ve heard from some customers that some of the cuts have been fattier than they expected. These were not lean pigs! We think the fat is delicious to eat, but if that’s not your thing, this might not be the pork for you. Please get in touch if you have any questions about what to expect.

As usual, we also have some extra goodies that adventurous eaters can order — pork heart, liver, jowls, leaf lard, tongue, and smoked hocks; chicken liver, hearts, gizzards, and feet.

Coming up soon we’ll have ham steaks available in the variety packs, and possibly lamb by next month.

Consider yourselves invited to the farm anytime — there are lots of new babies to visit! Follow us at for pictures.

Thanks again! Feel free to get in touch anytime with questions, comments, or just to say hi.

Lauren Manes & Garth Daley Highsmith
Dropstone Farms

Manure March Madness

Every week we clean up after seven goats, not only in the pens in the garage but also the side pen.  After years of trial and much error, we now bag all of our manure in 42 gallon contractor bags.  Our experience of working with this medium for gardens has been very successful.  Gardeners like it. 

The manure consists of the following components:  20 percent pine shavings, 70 percent alfalfa stems from the hay and 10 percent goat poop and urine.  Some gardeners call it amended hay.  

Depending on the use, for gardens we generally we recommend NOT using it topically but rather under soil. It works particularly well in the city wide gardens with wood or concrete enclosed raised beds.  This avoids any seed/weed development.

At this time we will be charging $5.00 per bag of manure.  Each bag weighs between 30 and 40 pounds.  Call or text us when the bags are picked up. My number is 847 612 7315 or email us at

Goat Guardian Guild members not only enjoy free manure but we will delivery it within a radius of 5 miles.  For $125.00 per year membership fee, we schedule delivery. See our website at

Archaeologists find earliest evidence of winemaking


Original Article:

Excavations in the Republic of Georgia by the Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition (GRAPE), a joint undertaking between the University of Toronto (U of T) and the Georgian National Museum, have uncovered evidence of the earliest winemaking anywhere in the world.

Photo by Stephen Batiuk


Excavations in the Republic of Georgia by the Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition (GRAPE), a joint undertaking between the University of Toronto (U of T) and the Georgian National Museum, have uncovered evidence of the earliest winemaking anywhere in the world.
The discovery dates the origin of the practice to the Neolithic period around 6000 BC, pushing it back 600-1,000 years from the previously accepted date.
The earliest previously known chemical evidence of wine dated to 5400-5000 BC and was from an area in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Researchers now say the practice began hundreds of years earlier in the South Caucasus region on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Excavations have focused on two Early Ceramic Neolithic sites (6000-4500 BC) called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, approximately 50 kilometres south of the modern capital of Tbilisi. Pottery fragments of ceramic jars recovered from the sites were collected and subsequently analyzed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania to ascertain the nature of the residue preserved inside for several millennia.
The newest methods of chemical extraction confirmed tartaric acid, the fingerprint compound for grape and wine as well as three associated organic acids – malic, succinic and citric – in the residue recovered from eight large jars. The findings are reported in a research study this week in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine,” said Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and the Archaeology Centre at U of T, and co-author of the study published in PNAS.
“The domesticated version of the fruit has more than 10,000 varieties of table and wine grapes worldwide,” said Batiuk. “Georgia is home to over 500 varieties for wine alone, suggesting that grapes have been domesticated and cross-breeding in the region for a very long time.”
GRAPE represents the Canadian component of a larger international, interdisciplinary project involving researchers from the United States, Denmark, France, Italy and Israel. The sites excavated by the U of T and Georgian National Museum team are remnants of two villages that date back to the Neolithic period, which began around 15,200 BC in parts of the Middle East and ended between 4500 and 2000 BC in other parts of the world.
The Neolithic period is characterized by a package of activities that include the beginning of farming, the domestication of animals, the development of crafts such as pottery and weaving, and the making of polished stone tools.
“Pottery, which was ideal for processing, serving and storing fermented beverages, was invented in this period together with many advances in art, technology and cuisine,” said Batiuk. “This methodology for identifying wine residues in pottery was initially developed and first tested on a vessel from the site of Godin Tepe in central western Iran, excavated more than 40 years ago by a team from the Royal Ontario Museum led by fellow U of T researcher T. Cuyler Young. So in many ways, this discovery brings my co-director Andrew Graham and I full circle back to the work of our professor Cuyler, who also provided some of the fundamental theories of the origins of agriculture in the Near East.
“In essence, what we are examining is how the Neolithic package of agricultural activity, tool-making and crafts that developed further south in modern Iraq, Syria and Turkey adapted as it was introduced into different regions with different climate and plant life,” Batiuk said. “The horticultural potential of the south Caucasus was bound to lead to the domestication of many new and different species, and innovative ‘secondary’ products were bound to emerge.”
The researchers say the combined archaeological, chemical, botanical, climatic and radiocarbon data provided by the analysis demonstrate that the Eurasian grapevine Vitis vinifera was abundant around the sites. It grew under ideal environmental conditions in early Neolithic times, similar to premium wine-producing regions in Italy and southern France today.
“Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture,” says Batiuk. “The domestication of the grape apparently led eventually led to the emergence of a wine culture in the region.”
Batiuk describes an ancient society in which the drinking and offering of wine penetrates and permeates nearly every aspect of life from medical practice to special celebrations, from birth to death, to everyday meals at which toasting is common.
“As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economics, and society throughout the ancient Near East,” he said.
Batiuk cites ancient viniculture as a prime example of human ingenuity in developing horticulture, and creative uses for its byproducts.
“The infinite range of flavors and aromas of today’s 8,000-10,000 grape varieties are the end result of the domesticated Eurasian grapevine being transplanted and crossed with wild grapevines elsewhere over and over again,” he said. “The Eurasian gravepine that now accounts for 99.9 per cent of wine made in the world today, has its roots in Caucasia.”