Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mid-June Update

It is a very rainy day in June and a good day to update you on our farm happenings.

The Turkeys are running around the farm enjoying whatever they grub up in the lawn/barnyard. That's the good news. The bad news is we must obviously have a predator. We came home Sunday afternoon to find about 7 poults missing. First on our suspect list is fox, however we've since added coyote after talking to a few people. This loss leaves us quite short for the demand.

The lambs don't look like cute little lambs anymore, just little sheep. Our bottle lamb will still come when called and lets us pet her. Other than that, they do what you expect them to do: graze our lucious green paddocks.

The garden got planted on May 4th thanks to industrious Elizabeth. All was planted on the same day, more or less, due to our wet, snowy, late spring. No early plants this year! Karl and I are now left to keep it weeded; this is not the best plan but we're getting better.

Our big news this year is the addition of an intern, Alex. What a great help he is! He needs to get in a set number of hours of interning on a sustainable farm in order to complete his diploma requirements, and we get him. He and Karl used the tractor and chain to clear out a LOT of dead trees in a new area we are developing into a pasture. When a huge pile of trunks, etc, were dragged into the middle of the meadow, Bob borrowed the backhoe and bucket for a day of cleaning up all the winter manure piles and keeping the bonfire pushed together for a good burn. End result: a small pile of ashes and plenty of piles of manure around this new area.

Several weeks later, Bob borrowed a tractor bigger than ours and worked all those dried manure piles into the meadow. We'll work it one more time and plant grass/legume mixture there (not sure exactly what yet) to get a good grazing pasture. This new area is dubbed Monarchy because of all the butterflies that landed there last year.

The orchard is seeing some work this summer. The MN State berry guy (official title??), Thaddeus, came to help me with our orchard trees. Boy, what an education! Very helpful. Now I know my plum trees are old and I can start replacing them, if that's what I want. Many trees have had the root stock take over, crowding out the scion. Therefore, I don't get fruit anymore. This was with plums and apples alike. In one sense, that could be bad news. On the other hand, now I know I can freely remove particular trees with no remorse and plant new ones that will grow and bear fruit. Knowledge is power, I guess.

Finally, the broiler movable pen was constructed and filled with 50 broilers. The chicks are growing well and we are setting up our processing equipment for the end of the month. Several people have offered to help, for which we are extremely grateful. This could prove to be a good venture; many people are looking for a source of good, pasture-raised, healthy chicken. We just might become that source.

So, that's some of our highlights here at GrassStain Farm. Its a good life.

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