Lucia enticing the layers to come outside on this beautiful, brisk day.
Lucia enticing the layers to come outside on this beautiful, brisk day.
First time mentioning this i think, but we've got a little flock of 13 chicks being reared by a lovely little Bantam hen. She sat on her eggs up in the hay loft just like last yearis doing a wonderful job with them. Kinda makes you wonder how all those mail-order day old chicks make it without a hen showing them what's what.
Here, she's demonstrating the finer points of dusting (flapping wings in a dusty spot to ward of mites and lice)
Look closely and you'll see little bits flying through the air from their flapping.
onions doing great
chickens loving their new access to the compost pile
the new generation
Well, not much else to say. They arrived this morning and didn't seem too stressed after their journey in the mail.
pictures and more details tomorrow...
Many people may think that not much happens on a farm in the snow and ice of January.
Those people are not accustomed to Winter with sheep, chickens, a cow, cats, and dogs. Oh yes and our two favorite farm animals: our children!!
Besides the daily care of the farm, which can be as easy as filling up waterers from the running creek or as difficult as breaking a hole in the ice and fishing around for water, there is a ton of planning that we must do in order to provide our customers with the delicious food that they count on in the warmer months.
For instance, right now we are sitting up deciding what exactly to do about the broiler debacle. A broiler is what we call a 'meat chicken' they are the cross bred birds who if they continue to grow past the 10 week mark their internal organs fail because they cannot support the immense bulk of their body. Not a pretty picture. Not to mention: they can not produce offspring (since they cannot live to the 24 week, egg laying age). This fact alone has pushed us to reconsider how we grow chickens that people want to eat. We want to support truly sustainable agriculture. It does not seem sustainable to be unable to reproduce (this is why we steer clear of GMO crops).
So stay posted to find out how we solve the Broiler issue. Other things we will be doing this week:
*submitting a lengthy seed order to FEDCO seeds (based in Maine. An AMAZING seed co op that, if you grow anything, you should order from. go to www.fedcoseeds.com),
*wrestling with our Bosch propane hot water heater(something is not working right and it has been apart more times than dan would like to count. He is considering becoming a service technician as soon as he figures out WHAT is wrong with ours!)
*picking up grain from our local farmer up in Canajoharie - thank you Peter, dan's dad does this drive for us -
*driving our sheepskins down to the only east coast tannery in Quakertown PA -
*Seeing our local bank about a business loan
*Hosting a toy and clothes swap in the community center on Tuesday!
Hey I have to get to work
With a strict diet of hard-core GMO grain you too can have chickens that cling sideways to the walls of the coop.
Some serious wind blew the chicken coop over today. Fun stuff. Exhilarating up there on the hill. I guess we should have moved the chicken wagon a month ago like we'd planned. Tomorrow's soon enough. Check back to see the chickens nestled in their new solar-heated winter housing.
Kate's sister Alyssa checking in with the most recent farm happenings.
It was a stunning weekend, the sun lighting up the reds, golds and oranges of the trees and shining all through the last Franklin market this season. There was a fair turnout at the market where some folks had brought an old apple cider maker and were churning out gallons of the good stuff.
Yesterday while Kate and Sara, up from NYC, were at the market, Dan and Jeff went to work building a "hoop house" (Dan has promised pictures when it's completed) and got some stone piers and timbers laid for the foundation. It's near the house and will be one of two planned greenhouses, the other nearly finished and waiting for some shower doors to be its ceiling.
Today Kate, Sergi, a very helpful Isaac and I managed to get 15 pounds of garlic planted - six different varieties, 5 from this season's crop and one from a neighboring farm.
Also recently finished is the root cellar in the big house, all that's missing is a final sealing around the outside wall and a couple of cracks and it gets loaded up with all of our humidity loving storage crops - potatoes, carrots, onions, some tolerant winter squash and maybe some cabbage.
Predators came from the west a few nights ago and flushed our youngest chicks at dusk and came back after dark to finish the job. All told they made off with twelve of seventeen. Subsequent attempts at a stakeout (Dan hiding with a shotgun in the brush) proved unsuccessful, so now we're just taking as many precautions as possible when we shut the various birds in every evening.
The temperature is sure to drop again soon, high in the 40s predicted for this next weekend, and the city visitors consider themselves pretty lucky to have enjoyed the indian summer the last few days.
Come on by the farm for fresh chicken tomorrow (today?!) Saturday, August 30th.As you know we process our chickens right here at Stony Creek Farm. We store them in ice-cold spring water for a few hours on the day of butchering so you can come and get the freshest chicken available anywhere!
Also, get a 10% discount since we don't incur any freezer costs on the ones you buy.
We also have all cuts of pork as well as legs of lamb and some beef.
We hope to see you on Saturday anytime after 2pm (or earlier if you want to watch the butchering process)
Today, following a five-hour butchering session, we totaled at a whopping fifty-four broilers, in order to call it a full day. Between the five of us (Kate, Dan, Nono, Rush, and I), we managed to maintain a pretty steady assembly, of slaughtering, de-feathering, de-gutting, cutting, and packaging, and weighing. Although a newbie to butchering, when it was time for me to step up to the plate, any reservation I previously had diffused into the breeze behind me. Until today, I had only seen the finished product of a chicken, however, now that I'm fortunate enough to be part of the process, I walk away with a newfound respect, not only for food, but also for the most notable packaging of any sort. The body.
By the way, I guess now would be the appropriate time to introduce myself; Alyssa's the name, summer apprentice is the game. Stony Creek Farm has taken me under its many, many wings in hopes that I can learn from and adapt to this new language (for me) of organic farming and homesteading.
Our new laying chicks will be moving out of the barn in a few weeks. The old mobile chicken house is too small so they'll need a new home. Pete pulled this old rolling chassis out of the weeds last year, cleaned it up and gave it a fresh coat of paint. It's gonna be one fancy chicken house!
Apprentice, Mike Clark learns the finer points of welding from Pete.
check back for more pictures as we continue building
Hi everyone, and welcome to our first new blog post. Just a quick note to say that it was a pastoral scene this morning during chore time. The new layer chicks are doing great. Gertrude (the sow) is snug in her house patiently waiting for spring (and her new piglets!) to arrive. The guineas seem fine despite having been evicted from the barn after we finally installed the new 12by12 foot sliding door (doesn't slide yet). And, our venerable flock of laying hens continues to brave the cold mornings and provide us (and you) with lovely eggs everyday (if only 1 for every 6 hens).
Please check back again soon and leave your comments for others to consider.