Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Our baskets are running over with the bounty of the farm. It's harvest time!
Cucumbers, tomatoes, potatos, green beans, eggs, watermelons--so much it won't all fit in the picture!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Snake Season

Nature's rhythms seem to assure the black snakes will be coming out of hibernation just about the time the farm is full of Spring eggs and baby chicks. This is the second snake we've found and relocated in a week. The first was in a nest box at Hen-a-bago 3, contentedly digesting eggs. I discovered it when I heard the hens raising such a ruckus I had to see what was upsetting them. The snake pictured below was discovered by our livestock guardian dogs as it slithered its way toward a coop full of week-old chicks. Their barking caught our attention and Charlie used his "snake catcher" to hold the snake as we drove it to the woods on the other side of the farm and released it to hunt something other than our next layer flock.

This black rat snake was looking for a meal. We appreciate the rodents these snakes eat but we prefer not to have them eating the eggs or young chicks. So we gave this one a ride to another location on the farm.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

More Chicks

A broody hen will sit on any eggs no matter the breed or even the species. This white rock has hatched out some New Hampshire Reds.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chilly Morning

And Mama Hen is hard at work under the heat lamps giving a little extra boost of warm comfort to the 9-day old chicks.
See the 2 little chick heads sticking out from under the Mama Hen? There is another chick on her back. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Broody hens and baby chicks

It's the time of year when most hens lay eggs abundantly and a select few "go broody." A broody hen sits on a nest, even one from which the eggs have been removed because that's what her hormones have programmed her to do. We put our broody hens to work by removing them from their flock and placing them on a nest in which we have put about a dozen fertile (we hope) eggs. Three weeks later we have baby chicks and a Mama Hen to teach them how to be a chicken.

Six broody hens all in a row--5 White Plymouth Rock and 1 New Hampshire Red

This Mama Hen hatched out 6 chicks and is now also taking 45 chicks hatched in our incubator under her care. She was broody for us last year also and is very good mama.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Signs of a Spring freeze

Tonight's temperature is forecast to be in the low twenties. With Burlington Downtown Farmers' Market opening in one week and Three Farms CSA beginning in 3 weeks we couldn't take any chances with our crops and we've been preparing for a couple days to protect them tonight.  
We did have the starts outside to "harden off" in preparation for planting. The low twenties is too cold for tender plants to survive so we crowded everything into the greenhouse. Fortunately, the greenhouse came equipped with propane heaters and Charlie built a second shelf  to give us more space for flats. 

We've covered the beds of mangels, tatsoi, brocolli raab, baby pak choi, carrots and peas. While the plants would survive a frost they would be slowed in their growth and there is no time for set backs this spring.  We are glad we took the time to do this work yesterday in the rain as we had a light frost this morning when the low temperature on the farm was 32 degrees.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Signs of Spring

How do we know it's Spring?  Less snow, longer days, warmer weather and. . .
Starts planted! Tatsoi, broccoli raab and baby pak choi.

Charlie on the tractor pulling the disc to turn over the winter barley and prepare the garden for planting.

.Lots of eggs!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow surprise!

We were not expecting snow when we went out to begin morning chores today. Sometime after 5 a.m. it began coming down and is still falling.  Only yesterday it was finally warm enough to melt the last batch of snow. Here we go again!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First Snow

The morning after our first snow of the season the chickens were reluctant to come out. When a few did venture out, they flew, hopped and hurried under the hen-a-bago to stand on grass rather than the strange, cold, white stuff. You can see a few in the shadows under their home.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kunekune on Pasture!

It didn't take the 5 Kunekune any time at all to adjust to their new home on pasture. They are enjoying the "salad bar" surrounding their Hawg Haus.
Home with a bluebird house in the yard.

The Hawg Haus is equipped with a water storage tank and solar collector to charge the battery which provides the electricity for the fencing.

Chomp, chomp, yum!

The goats and dogs were fascinated by their new neighbors, but not for long. 

Pig's eye view of the fine eating on this pasture.
Stepping out the door for the first time and eating with every step.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Five Little Piggies

The Kunekunes are here!  Charlie drove to Virginia yesterday to collect our five pigs. Unlike other breeds of pig, Kunekune are vegetarian and can be raised on pasture without supplemental grain.
Bella is the ginger-colored gilt. At 5 months of age, she is our oldest and largest pig. Miracle is the black with white spots boar to her right. He is almost 4 months old. He is blind in one eye due to a piglet accident with a dog when he was very young. 

Five piggies in the straw though only 4 are visible here. The black one in the forefront is Snickers, the smallest and youngest gilt.  She is almost 3 months old. The two ginger pigs in the middle are the barrows, destined for the freezer rather than the breeding program. 

Miracle is in the front here and the other 4 are packed like sausages behind him catching a few winks as they recover from yesterday's trip and become acquainted with their new home. They will be moved to pasture and their "Hawg Haus" in a few days, after they are trained to recognize the electric wire that will define their space on pasture.