|Kelsey, our chicken whisperer, socializing the chicks|
We've added 10 baby chicks and 3 laying hens to the bird flock. Socializing the chicks has been a priority and they seem to be getting quite comfortable with us. They grow larger everyday and will be joining the free ranging older hens in only a few weeks.
Ken and Mary, a couple of dairy farmers down the road, run a cow share program. We purchased three shares in a cow, getting us three gallons of fresh, raw, delicious milk every week. Taking the cream off the top we regularly make a pound of butter and occasionally boil up some farmers cheese or whip together some ice cream. We have set up a work share so that we pay for our milk by working 8 hours per month. As an added bonus they have a huge mound of composted cow manure and we grab a load every time we get milk.
|Morels. Butter. Enough said.|
We have a little irrigation system now running off a small 12 volt pump. We use a deep cell marine battery to run it and are considering purchasing a solar panel. We can easily move 300 gallons of water per day the necessary 100 yards and 35 vertical feet from our spring to 6 barrels above the garden beds for storage.
|Jacob, master of all that is bamboo sweating|
|Alan and Jeff building the deer fence|
|Planting our summer crop of potatoes!|
One of the main focuses has been building and preparing all the garden space we would need for the 150 different varieties of plants we will be growing. This has been an ongoing project since we arrived and has now reached completion! In total we have about 3000 square feet (about 1/15 of an acre) of fertile sheet mulched growing space. We are extremely excited that this year's garden building season has come to a close.
|Blue Ridge Mountain heirloom tomato seedling|
Already we have transplanted the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kolhrabi) and lettuce, and have direct seeded carrots, beets, radishes, arugula, mustard, orach, chard, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and peas. Sprouts are up and growing fast!
In addition to the new hens and chicks we added two very important members to the farm family, Miss Calloway and Mr. Bear. On the 14th of April, Fran brought home a German Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) mixed puppy who now goes by Calloway.
She is 5 months old, quick to learn, and full of energy, greeting us each day with enthusiasm to "herd" the chickens and excitement over the chicks. She also loves getting loved, especially a good belly scratch.
|Two best friends napping in the Bear Cave|
The next few weeks are promising sheep, guinea hen babies (keets), more planting, and some early harvesting of spring greens.
|Fran planting some everbearing strawberries|
We hope that the sun starts shining for those of you on the west coast and that you all are happy and healthy.
Kelsey, Fran, Jacob and Alan