A “Routine” Day On A Farm Is Never Routine
Updated: May 14, 2021
As the days grow longer (and thankfully warmer!) we are still pushing hard to expand our new garden. Planting seeds in the greenhouse is a never-ending task. Each week we're amending more garden beds with compost. And as new garden beds are ready, we are transplanting greenhouse seedlings, or sowing seeds directly, into the enriched soil.
And because we have learned to expect one or two late cold snaps (remember the six-inch snowstorm last May?), we erected some protective field tunnels that cover our tender row crops from unexpected frost and frigid temps.
What else is on our to-do list? It includes getting our irrigation hoses in place, repairing our movable chicken coops, and keeping up with a dozen or so daily chores around the farm – and we squeeze in eating and sleeping as well!
Rotating Crops And Rotating … Chickens!
Yes, it’s time for us to wrangle our chickens out to the pasture. First, after spending the winter in one of our high-tunnels, we are moving our 250+ laying hens to the field where they will live in our new mobile chicken roost by night and forage all day. And believe it or not, those cute yellow peepers we started in our brooder are already big enough to move to our floorless movable coops in the pasture land as well.
We don’t need to use antibiotics to fight common poultry diseases. They get all they need for a robust immune system foraging in the fresh air and sunshine. Yes, we provide some non-GMO feed, but they enjoy finding protein-rich insects, worms and larvae (and fresh seeds and sprouting plants as well).
So, instead of inoculating vegetarian-fed chicken (chickens are not vegetarians), we offer you pasture-raised, cage-free, humanely-treated birds. And best of all, what you experience is naturally flavor-rich chicken -- and a deep satisfaction knowing you are helping improve the world you live in.
Healthy Chickens Build Healthy Pastures And Help Make Healthy Cows
By raising chickens this “old fashioned way” we create a biodynamic and regenerative system which plays a big role in revitalizing our old pasture into productive grasslands.
You see, we carefully rotate our chickens to new grazing areas. As we do, they naturally leave behind their nutrient-rich chicken manure which acts as fertilizer for the grass. You can actually see a difference between the scraggly tufts in the old pasture compared with the greener, thicker, healthier grass that sprouts where the chickens have been.
Then when the cows graze, they munch on leafy, green and nutrient-packed grasses which help them put on more weight faster -- and it is noticeably tastier too!
But don’t worry, our brooder wasn’t empty for long – our second batch of cute little chicks was delivered this week (to the delight of our daughters!).
What’s For Dinner In September?
You may not be thinking that far ahead, but we are. This week we started plants whose fruit will be harvested and enjoyed by our CSA members three months from now. Sounds crazy. But that’s how far out we have to plan to make sure our CSA members get a wide variety of great-tasting fruits and good-for-you vegetables.
And we also started planting some wonderful varieties of flowers. Some are edible, but we also know how a bouquet of flowers can brighten a room, bring a smile to your face, or encourage a friend. We will let you know when they are ready and available.
Taking Care Of Two Gardens
One of our neighbors at our old garden was the Osprey Wilds -- an outdoor Environmental Learning Center (ELC). They have established a variety of on-site learning experiences for school groups and other organizations.
They realized that daily food choices are the way the average person most impacts the environment. But cheaper and quicker food sources are usually more environmentally damaging due to harmful fertilizers, long-haul delivery systems, and extensive packaging.
For that reason, Osprey Wilds made food education a big part of the programming. So, when they had land donated to them, they started asking us about creating a sustainable farm to educate and feed people who visit their center. And now, after they drilled a new well, established some pasture and pollinator grasses, and used volunteer teams to assemble a 30’x72’ high tunnel and install miles of fencing, they asked us to start a quarter-acre garden.