Friday, April 30, 2010

News from the farm

So much is going on at the farm right now it’s hard for me to steal a minute to write a post without feeling tremendously guilty. A couple of important things have happened; the first is the pullets went into the bus the night before last. After dinner Linda, Kasey, Nate and I, armed with a pad of paper (head count) two head lights and a stealth attitude snuck up on each pullet and laid them down in their new home, the Egg bus. We seriously have to think of a good name for this! Inside the bus on one side are the roosting poles, on the other are (or will be) the laying/nesting boxes, on the floor is lots of pine shavings, a hanging feeder and a few waterers. Everything they need.

So the idea behind this is basically creating a movable hen house. In a perfect world were fences are in place and grazing rotations are second nature the hens would follow the rotation of sheep, this is all fine in theory but I can see before I start that it’s going to take some serious training on my part. It will take me a while to find the perfect timing, for both flocks. I’m going to be studying grass now. Grass and me, me and my grass. Grass, now takes on a whole new meaning in my life. Nancy Osborn a friend and mentor from Cordero farms talks about grass in her farm blog. She sees the grass as a direct link to the health and well being to her animals along with creating a superior nutritious cut of meat for her lamb business. When she talks about it she gets a sparkle in her eye. That and soldier flies, let her explain.
I’ve met grass farmers before. The first time was in Seattle, A vender at the market who sold pasture raised beef, which, I might mention at that time I had never heard of, would always talk about how they were grass farmers. When I visited their farm they were like, “oh yea there are the cows, but come over here and let us show you our grass!” I understood the nutrition and the idea behind it but I didn’t understand what was clearly an obsession. I like obsessions and I’m due for a new one so grass is it. First I’ll just start trying to understand it. There are lots of good books out there on the subject, but how exciting! I ordered my electronet fencing yesterday morning so I’m off on my journey.

There is a new Llama in the mix, Lisa Branborg, Country Garden Farm, brought Cusco by on Wednesday. Cusco is a two year old gilded male, a perfect guard for the sheep that I’ll be moving into new pasture soon. I’ll keep him and Pascal (the other guard Llama) in separate locations. It seems we have a coyote problem so we are on ultra high alert and are building up our defenses. We’ve lost I believe four small lambs in the last three weeks. So my hairs are standing on end right now. I’ve been bringing all the sheep back to the barn at night so I can sleep, haven’t had any more losses. Life is a miricle, a hen who had been setting on a clutch of eggs came out with 12 chicks the other morning. They are doing great!

The vegetables are doing well. We are addressing some serious fertility issues mostly to do with nitrogen but we are hanging in there. We have pretty much gotten most of our crops in and now will just be working on weeding, harvesting and building our soil for the winter crops. Oh, good news is we were approved for the hoop house grant so winter growing will be a dream!
That’s the news from the farm

1 comment:

nanc said...

Now, don't get me started on black soldier flies... too funny! So glad you got those girls into the magic bus! I can hardly wait to see how this experiment goes.