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Archive for the ‘the daily grind’ Category

 

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.

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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.

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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.)

 

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late fall

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

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Attendees at this weekend’s fall farm workshop have an added bonus!  Come early on Friday and help us kill, skin and gut a steer.  A great chance for some hands-on experience!  We’ll hang it in our cool room (worth taking a look at) for two weeks; then, the day after Thanksgiving, we’ll cut and wrap it.  Sons and their families who live within striking distance will be on hand to help with the work, and take home part of the harvest.

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Our November workshops are filling up fast, but there are still a few places open for both the 10th (adults only) and the 17th (family day).  A whole day of hands-on intensive rotational grazing, fence, dairy, captured water systems, farm fertility, and non-GM animal feed crops.  Check out our schedule here and contact us to hold your space!

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