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The weather wasn’t inclined to favor our fall farm workshops, buteople bundled up and spent the day looking at passive captured water systems, holistically grazed pastures, poultry tractors, garden pigs, and temporary fence patterns, with coffee breaks and meal times for thawing out.  Thanks to all the great folks who attended!  We’re looking forward to the January dairy workshop — milk and cheese from sunup to sundown.1117180945

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winter chickens

The November 10 workshop people checking out our winterized chicken tractors.  Covered with six mil plastic and deer netting, these portable pens become little green houses where chickens can stay warm all winter.  The ground thaws underneath them and creates the illusion that spring is around the corner.  Helps the hens lay in winter.

Nov. 10 workshop

Setting up fence with the Nov. 10 workshop — it takes some practice to hang up a reel!  We had a wonderful day regardless of the cold, damp weather.  Passive water systems, home dairying, intensive rotational grazing, and feeding farm animals from the produce of the farm.  Thanks to all who attended, we had a great time —

We have borrowed the title for this post from Garth Brown, to whom we are indebted for our new favorite description of farmstead cheese making:  ‘ a series of food safety violations arranged in careful sequence.’   Thank you, Mr. Brown, and good pasturing.

what pigs eat

cropped-piggies1.jpgPigs eat sticks.  We don’t just mean the charred wood you shove in their pen so they can eat the charcoal, we mean sticks, like tree prunings.  They don’t just chew them, they chew, munch and swallow them.  A young farmer* who visited us last week told us of this predilection which she had observed in her own pigs, and, lest we fail to credit her report, demonstrated by feeding a bunch of apple prunings to four porkers in our barn.  You’d have thought Catherine had given them carrots, or corn, instead of sticks; they didn’t just chew the sticks up, they gobbled them. Who knows what dietary need they were satisfying?  And simultaneously composting prunings that might otherwise breed a new season of disease or pest for our apple trees.  We never cease to be fascinated by the myriad levels of significance in nature, observation of which allows humans to enter into and partake of the harmony.  Thank God, too, for the engagement of so many young farmers who are interacting and observing and drawing new conclusions; the future of farming is in good hands.(*Catherine is four years old.)

 

getting under cover

Two hundred pounds of onions and garlic went from the summer kitchen (shade and circulation) to the dry cave (earth cellar under the house addition) to be safely under cover before this morning’s hard frost.  Timing is important!

 

late fall

Seasoned firewood and frosted privet, beautiful sights from the kitchen window.