Fluffy Yellow Chicks (So Cute!) Arrive Next Week
Not just a few – or a few dozen – but 260 in the first batch. Amazingly, they will be only one day old! Just wait till you see the pictures next week!
Because they are so vulnerable, it is imperative that our brooder is ready when they get here so that is one of our top priority projects this week.
The brooder is basically a mini-chicken coop designed specifically for the growing chicks. It gives them a safe enclosure to protect them from local natural predators like snakes, possum, racoon, fox, owl – or even our farm dogs! The brooder also has a couple heat lamps to keep them warm and dry. This is crucial in the first few weeks when they don't have true feathers and night-time temperatures can still dip pretty low.
[If you haven’t seen it, we made two videos about brood chicks and chickens last year – both were very popular with adults and children. Just click here and here.]
In just a few weeks we move these broiler chickens to floorless, portable field shelters in an open pasture. There, they thrive on the fresh air, exercise, sunshine, and a GMO-free, soy-free organic grain which is a perfect complement to the many bugs, grubs and tender sprouts they naturally forage.
NOTE: To purchase some of our pasture-raised broiler chickens, click here. We specifically coordinate our growing and butchering cycles so we can provide a continuous supply for our CSA members – ready for delivery throughout the year!
Our Brooder is a simple yet sturdy box that with deep dry bedding and heat lamps inside. Notice the chicken wire covering all cracks and windows to keep predators out. Windows are also covered with curtains to keep chilly breezes out but also allow venting in the summer.
New Farm Garden Is Part Puzzle, Part Battle Plan
Having walked in and out and around garden rows thousands of times, we know that eliminating even a few unnecessary steps in our work routine saves a lot of time and energy. That’s why we thought long and hard about our new garden design.
The challenge was more than just arranging 200 standardized beds (50-ft long and 30-inches wide).
This week we're staking out every bed in the garden as we prepare to prep and amend the soil for the first plants--first it needs to dry out!
We had to carefully take into account watering needs and soil drainage. Crop rotation and seasonal sunlight. Where should water hookups be? Where will power equipment and vehicles need access? Where should we locate the wash-stand so we can quickly harvest, clean and package our deliveries each week?
Once the “blue prints” were worked out, we had to puzzle out how each of the 200 plots will be used to raise two or three crops. Carrots take 70-80 days to harvest. Beets spend 45 days in the garden. Yet radishes are ready in 25 days. And arugula takes only 21 days (that’s why it is called “garden rocket” in England).
Our ultimate goal: carefully rotating and scheduling each bed (down to specific days) to maximize our output without compromising soil vitality.
In fact, by using this approach our garden experiences greater rotation in one season than most big production farms have in five years. This kind of diverse biological activity is one aspect of why we can avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Our plants are stronger and pest-resistant because they grow in better soil.
It is a lot of work – but it is a labor of love – so we want to thank everyone who supports our efforts. It is so encouraging to provide our friends with a better and more nutritious food option. Thank you.
Are You Craving A Croissant?
Our talented baker Jed did some tinkering with a new recipe for croissants – and they are pretty darned good! We are offering his delicious sourdough loaves – and will possibly add the croissants as well -- as a “bread share” for our CSA members. To join, click here today!
Cogitations Of A Country Farmer – Joel Barr
I’m often asked, “what determines your planting and harvesting