Last week saw a bit of a murder mystery unfold among our pastured hens. Last Monday morning the crew found four chickens dead, last Tuesday morning another was dead and several were injured. Who was it, and how were they accomplishing their dastardly deeds? Whomever it was had to be adept, able to get past the dogs. How were they getting in to the houses, which are covered in wire? Could it have been through the small holes where the handles (used to move the houses) come out (see them towards the end of the video here)? Julie thought that a weasel was to blame, and the crew went through making security-enhancing changes – wiring up all the holes to prevent future entry, re-configuring the dog’s chains. The nights that followed passed with no new casualties, so it seems as if the problem has been fixed – but Julie’s keeping the young turkeys, newly on pasture, close to the house for now.
It was another short-handed week at the farm, though hopes are high that will change soon. A few new working shareholders have committed to time on the farm, and Julie is hoping to see Jerod back soon. We are also expecting a few reinforcements, in the form of WWOOFers – we are expecting Issac on Wednesday night, and Chloe, who has been a two day per week person is moving in and becoming a WWOOFer. Finally Dre is coming on Sunday to join the team as a WWOOFer. In the interim, the order of the day is just trying to keep up – especially with weeding, and the late season planting that will make the fall a bountiful one.
In the vegetable fields, the continued pattern of substantial rain and heat have been doing wonders for the plants. Summer squash and cucumbers exploded this week (figuratively) and the collards, kale and other brassicas are finally beginning to look as if they’ve overcome their early season struggles. The garlic was harvested this week and the bounty of the coming weeks is coming into sharper focus: early apples are starting to drop; the sweet corn has tassled, the plants standing 6-7 feet tall. The green beans and tomatoes are looking very good, and on track for next week.
Also in vegetable news, our friends at Advancing Eco Agriculture, the plant nutrition and biostimulants consulting company that provides many of the nutritional products applied to our fields, are planning a visit on August 4th to shoot a demo on how to use their sprays on smaller-scale farms. Julie says she is “very gratified that they chose us, they are an international company used to working with much larger-scale farms”.