The Fields are Green, the flowers are blooming.

4 06 2008

Hello again from the Farm! We were really in the thick of things as April rolled into May and rather abruptly became June. Compost orders are flying in and driving out as fast as we can screen, drive and dump them; seedlings are overflowing the smaller greenhouse and spilling into the new greenhouse even though it isn’t quite finished; piglets are due to arrive anytime; newest chicks are out on pasture; and so much more….. We are entering our busiest time of year, from now until the end of September we will be running at a full tilt, but we love it that way, or we wouldn’t do it. At least the days are warm and full of bright sunlight. This is when I like to take a brief second to stand in a newly harrowed field, turn my face to the warmth and breathe in that rich earth. It renews me when I’m as tired as I ever get, reminds me that I’m lucky to be doing what I love, and I blossom again with strength and energy like the flowers, trees and baby plants all around.

 Animal News: We put the new chicks to work. We were unhappy to discover a large patch of dead grass on the front lawn of the farmhouse and it was soon determined that Japanese beetle grubs were the culprits. Since poison is not an option for the farm, we decided to see if chickens might like the little bugs. Turns out that they love them! So we moved the young birds up to the house and put them on bio-control. We think that it has been highly successful since there are no grubs to be seen in the infested area. With so many other carpentry and building projects going on, the new, deluxe model egg-mobile still isn’t finished so we have delayed the older birds moving out of their winter housing. However, we are moving them around in the hay pasture wherever can be reached with the net fencing and the result is dark-orange yolks and rich tasting eggs.

The young hogs moved out in April. Their house got a new roof and they then will move out onto the ‘Floodplain’ field.  We are anticipating that a new batch of baby piglets from Pinky will be arriving in very short order (she was building a nest and not eating so it could even happen today!) and then another on June 27th(from Lucy– her first!).

We will have four lovely Belted Galloway and Highland cross heifers arriving this weekend from Wheel-view Farm in Shelburne. One of them is bred and should be dropping her calf sometime in July. We are very excited about welcoming these new additions to the farm- come and meet them (we have treats you can give them).

We are also looking at sheep- we have a few breeds that we think would be good for the farm. We were hoping to find some Clun Forest or blue-faced Leicester, but we’ve had some trouble locating them anywhere nearby. So we will be looking at some Tunis with, hopefully, some Romney or Border Leicester crosses (okay, those are mostly because I want their wool….). This is more of a work in progress, but don’t be surprised if you hear some baaing when visiting the farm.  

Vegetable news: The CSA is sold out! Yes, it’s true, the CSA is sold out for this year, but we are happy to take names and addresses (snail and email) since we plan on growing the CSA again in 2009. Also, don’t forget that you can still get those delicious, fresh, organic vegetables from our farmstand which will open in June. We probably won’t have too many veggies at first but we will add them as they come in from the fields.

You will notice the new greenhouse as you drive up to the farm. We have been primarily using it to harden off transplants before they go into the field where they get a little less water and a little more wind which helps prevent them from being shocked when they go outside for good. Now that it has warmed up at night we are closing up the smaller greenhouse and turning off the propane and all new transplants such as lettuce will be starting in the new house. The big house will also be used later in the summer for fall and (hopefully) winter salad production. We will have to wait and see on that project since it will need some supplemental heat to get us through the long, cold and dark days of December and January.

There is a lot of growing activity in the fields! Peas, salad, mesclun,spinach, chard all went in earlier, but in the last week we’ve added all the winter squash, pumpkins and sweet corn (a whole acre & a half!) We’ve also been doing a lot of transplanting-  the kale, broccoli, beets, turnips, pac choi, onions, lettuce, leeks, and shallots. This week we’ll be starting to put in all the hot weather fruiting crops- summer squash, zucchini, peppers, flowers and we will quickly follow with the tomatoes as soon as they get a little bigger. Potatoes are taking up a lot of space this year since we have ten varieties to choose from- Red Huckleberries, All-Blues, Kennebec, Russet Burbanks, Romance, Rose-Gold, French Fingerlings, Keuka Gold, Red Norland & Desiree’s (I couldn’t help it, folks, I HAD to try out the potato that has the same name as me). We’ll have them as both new potatoes (small, fresh and sweet) and for storage in the fall. We are all getting itchy to start actually harvesting now- the CSA starts next week and we are all getting excited to share the bounty.

Farm news: We’d like to take this opportunity to welcome this season’s farm apprentice- Robert (Bobby) Hyde. After only working for a month he has become a valuable team member and we don’t know how we would get all of this done without him. He’s a native of the Pittsfield/Dalton area so many of you may recognize him though he has been away on many adventures for a few years since graduating from Pittsfield High School.

Jonathan Sawtelle will also be joining us again for the summer season full-time once school lets out. We have a number of awesome work-shares and volunteers that are lending a hand this season and the farm promises to be all the better for it.

The business plan is nigh on finished (for now) and we will hopefully be getting the first installment of our grant money very soon.  We’ll keep you posted on what’s in store.

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3 responses

4 06 2008
The Fields are Green, the flowers are blooming. | Gardening Tips and Products

[…] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis week we’ll be starting to put in all the hot weather fruiting crops- summer squash, zucchini, peppers, flowers and we will quickly follow with the tomatoes as soon as they get a little bigger. Potatoes are taking up a lot of space … […]

5 06 2008
Bob&Margaret Burke

We are so happy to read the Barnyard Bull and read about our favorite place, Holiday Farm.
Desiree has done a truly great job.
We miss our annual summer stay at the Cottage.
Perhaps, someday, we shall be able to make it back to the Hills Of Home.
It’s a dream.
So are the many,many happy days (over 22 years, everyday, taking care of the cats and rabbits and Llamas.
Little Bow-Wow Becky is in Heaven and hunting with Jimmy the barnyard cat.
We shout a loud hello to Dawn and Denise and Stephanie and Gibby and of course Dicken.
Keep up the good work. May the rain fall softly on your fields.
(Great photos)

7 06 2008
Sienna Wildfield

Hey Des & Jess – It sounds so glorious at your farm. We hope to make it out this summer for a visit. Miss P would love to see all the animals.

XO
S

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