Thursday, May 20, 2010

What happened to Spring?

It whizzed right by and suddenly summer is afoot although today it feels a lot more like January than June. It has been a rollercoaster of a couple of months, with new animals arriving and new challenges arising at every turn.

Describing the current state of Stop Sign Farm the other day, I paused and finally said, well, it looks a bit like someone's garage threw up all over us.

That pretty much sums it up.

After a year or more of feeling like progress was progressing along, we've gone back into a kind of construction mode, trying to take the farm to the next level. Just as our chicks were hatching out of the incubator, we were faced with the sudden opportunity to acquire 23 young laying hens - a real time and effort saver. That necessitated a little heavy lifting and rearranging of coops but hey that was just fine because at the very same time we'd also scored a commercial greenhouse from an island farmer who was moving and selling it all.

The greenhouse, in addition to needing to be dismantled (how come we dismantle, but don't mantle?) also required 240 electrical to run its heating and venting systems. Which required a long, deep trench. Which required a tractor.

Enter our pal Jake, who putt-putted over on his big blue rig and made all manner of wondrous things occur - the long, deep trench, the new hen area, wood waste to the rescue of the exceedingly disgusting sheep pen, and even a little pot-hole filling to boot.


So, All hands on deck to take down, transport, and ... not quite put up the greenhouse. Yet. But, it's getting there. New lambs upon new lambs came into being throughout April until 6 fuzzy babes were frolicking about.

Greenhouse, greenhouse, greenhouse. Not that trench-hopping doesn't deserve to be an Olympic sport - I mean, it sure is fun, but ... greenhouse greenhouse greenhouse.

And, oh yea, that garden. Where is it? Well, it's hard to see under the 3-foot tall pasture grass that takes over the second you turn your back. Luckily, it appears that garlic, onions, and potatoes are hardy souls indeed. We took a couple hours away from greenhouse fretting and shaking our fist at the weather - always too windy, rainy, or sunny to actually work on the greenhouse - to fight back nature and reassure our baby crops that mama and papa have not run off to the city and abandoned them forever. Although...

Lest we feel that the greenhouse might be in danger of completion and our farming selves facing some possibility of success, we simultaneously discovered that our new hens have taught our old hens - now all totalling over 50 - a wondrous trick: how to eat eggs! Turns out, eggs are quite delicious and full of protein and are, well, right there! No need to tire oneself out with all this endless foraging - no ma'am!

Setting aside the sort of grim yuckiness of the act, one can understand the attraction of such an easy and healthy meal. As a long-term evolutionary strategy, however, it does appear to have some vulnerabilities.

So, that's been an interesting challenge to face: observing and identifying the worst offenders, putting them in the brigg, and hoping for the best, along with very frequest egg collection. So far, our fingers are crossed and we're cautiously optimistic.

Onward. More soon.

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