Chickens, Pigs, and Cows
Photos 1-3 – We instituted a new rule on the farm this week: we can sleep in the first morning after the last chicken harvest. Why? Because this is when our season really begins to change from summer to fall: pigs and chickens have all gone into the freezers, and there are no more early morning chores to do. Cows have all calved, and our 1969 combine is (sort of) ready to harvest the beans and the sunflowers if we can just get a few more weeks without a hard frost.
Draft Horses for Sale
Photo 4 – We begin to think about winter feed, and how we’d prefer to carry only 5 horses through the winter. Time to sell our trained Percheron team before the horses start eating hay, and before Chad brings his new stud colt back from Virginia. Moose (left) and Killian (right) are for sale, folks. Let us know if you are interested in a trained team, sold with harness.
Photo(s) 5 – One of the first things we did on the farm in April was tear down the old barns that had been on the property for nearly 100 years. Liability risk and a practicality common to farmers required that we do it. It was sad, and many memories were recalled as the pile of rubble burned. However, the next day we saw what we had created: a panoramic view of the Jay Range and Poko McCready. Breath taking. As we began to plan the essential farm infrastructure we made sure that the new barn would not drastically disturb that view while remaining a useful space.
Our barn has been a feat of team work, and we are so excited that it is almost finished. Chad and his horses pulled nearly all the lumber for it out of various Essex woods. His training as a Biological woodsmen means that he leaves these woods healthier and more productive than they were (read more about BWs at www.draftwood.com). The construction has been community supported from day-one: neighbors John Bigelow and Pete Sayward (members of Peter Gucker’s team) ran the excavators that built the road and dug the foundation, neighbor Hugh Goff milled the lumber, neighbor Doug Kerr ran the crane that lifted the trusses into place, local businesses Ward Lumber and Maicus Building Supplies helped us find the best prices for the remaining lumber and roofing.
The barn needs to be finished. We’re close now, trusses went up a week ago, with roofing and siding soon to follow. Watch this video (by Shax Entertainment) of the truss party below:
This barn will give our horses, cows and laying hens a place to escape the storms expected this winter. It will keep our grain, hay and tools dry; its height allows us to pull a full wagon of hay into the barn for those days when the rain is just behind the baler. We will be able to fix old and build new equipment in the machine shop. We may even get married in it.
Photo 6 – The turkeys are sizing up nicely, just in time for the Grange‘s Election night dinner on November 5th, and soon after for our Thanksgiving tables. We’ve really enjoyed raising turkeys this year, and plan on doing more next year. They are sociable, easy keepers, that need little infrastructure and are a consistent source of amusement. Turkey breeding is likely in our future as well.
Photo 7 – A last cutting of hay, as the Bouquet Mountains change colors. In a few weeks, Chad will be taking Fern, his mare (on the right) down to Virginia to breed her to a Suffolk stud owned by Jason Rutledge, the founder of Draftwood and Biological Woodsmen (practitioners of improvement, restorative forestry, using animal-powered extraction of logs, and worst-first selective timber harvesting).
- Essex Farm: Eat! Eat! (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- NEW Health Opening Celebrates Community that Made It Possible (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm Fotofeeds #1 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm Fotofeeds #2 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Bank Barn Winter Preparations (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Harvest Halloween Festival at Black Kettle Farm (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)