Holiday Farm is Growing

5 07 2007

Round bales in the Pond Field

July brings with it the start of the summer’s hot & humid days, thunderstorms and long, lazy days by the lake. At least, for everyone except us farmers. We’re busy trying to get the hay into the barn between thunderstorms, weeding the vegetables before the weeds take over, and making sure all the animals have adequate shade & water to ‘weather’ the heat. July through September marks the busiest time of year for us as we struggle to maintain a balance between everything that needs to get done and hoping that the weather cooperates and even then, a piece of needed equipment goes down unexpectedly or an animal escapes and there goes your schedule for the day!

Speaking of escapes, we’ve had two interesting ones in the lastPorter & Des month. The first was when Porter, the 450 lb boar boyfriend of our gorgeous sow, Pinky, walked out of his enclosure and straight to the Cottage. Someone had forgotten to turn the fence back on and he just decided that the grass was a little greener on the other side. We were pretty lucky though- first of all, he’ll do just about anything for grain, and second, he’s pretty mild mannered, despite his three inch tusks. After a little roundabout, he followed Desiree right back to his enclosure- nose in the grain scoop.

Our second escape was aided and abetted by someone who thought that the little pigs shouldn’t be fenced in. Thank goodness, neither they or anyone else was hurt- these guys are in movable fencing along a major highway- and even though we call them the ‘little’ pigs, they are still weighing in at about 160 lbs each and if they were to end up in the road, well, it could cause more than a little accident, a potentially fatal one, especially to the pigs. In any case, another kind passerby noticed the problem and came to tell us- and we were able to walk them back into their enclosure before they had strayed too far, with the aid of the almighty grain bucket, of course. The fence was also undamaged, thank goodness for small favors.

Baby chicks!In other animal news, the baby chicks are doing well and starting to grow their adult feathers. They always look a little scruffy during this adolescent stage, but soon become sleek and lovely. Until then we still have to keep a heat lamp on them. They still have many weeks until they start laying eggs though, we won’t see that happen until the fall. We do have some eggs available now in the office fridge as our new hens are laying well. Digging in the GardenHowever, there are only 25 of them and so we’re still pretty limited- we’re only getting about a dozen and a half per day and they go quickly! The yolks have darkened up to a nice orange-yellow and the whites really stand up in the pan, nice and firm- it is hard to separate the yolks from the whites!

The Children’s Garden is really starting to take off. Everything that is in is growing well and the demonstration plots are gorgeous! The Berkshire Homeschooling Network came by last month and worked really hard helping to weed and work up the section for the Edible Tunnel Garden. Then the kids got together and planted the cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and Jack-in-the-Beanstalk pole beans that will eventually grow over the tunnel and provide snacks to anyone venturing through. They also weeded in the sunflower house, planted more sunflowers in the empty bed along the horse paddock, and put in flower seedlings in the front bed behind the daylilies. The 3 sisters section looks incredible, with the beans and squash really taking off, our only worry now is keeping them from drowning out their other sister, the corn.

The wood is sawn and the construction of the Rare Earth Market farmstand is finally under way. A little past our initial opening date, but better late than never. We will soon be able to offer fresh, organically grown vegetables, eggs, pasture-raised pork (fall), maple syrup and hopefully, lots of other local products such as cheeses, ice cream, milk and breads as well. We’re pretty excited by this upcoming project- First on the vegetable harvest list is many varieties of new potatoes, peas (sugar, snow & shelling), and lettuce mix with summer squash & zucchine, green & yellow beans, cherry tomatoes and lots more to soon follow. We’re growing 25 + varieties of tomatoes alone, from everyone’s favorite red beefsteak slicers to crazy colored, but delicious heirlooms. Look for our signs on Rt 9 in Dalton, we’re going to be right next to Whiting Gas (if you drive past the farm regularly, you’ll often see me, with little Elspeth on my back weeding, hoeing and planting in the market garden next to the road). So stop in and check out what we have to offer throughout the growing season.

The Holiday Farm Mountain Bike Series which currently hosts a weekly Wednesday night race, had their first big race of the summer this past month and it appears to have been a big success. People from all over came to the farm, set up tents and raced through the woods (really fast!) on their bikes. We’re always excited to see all of these folks coming to the farm and enjoying this unique and beautiful place.Holiday Farm Mt. Bike Racers 

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