An Ongoing Story, In Words and Photos, About The Challenges Of Living Life On The Farm, The Inspiration That Sustains Us And The Lessons Learned Throughout. Thanks for visiting!

Final Chores

We slaughtered ninety-seven chickens. Raised the timber frame. Prepped our early fields for winter. Harvested a crazy number of tomatoes. Moved our animals to fresh pasture, one final time. And then, just like that, it was over.  Maggie’s class of 2013 has graduated – our foray into farming receding, fuzzy and dreamlike, into memory. The chickens we slaughtered were our broilers, 6-week-old birds raised for meat.  It was our third time at the killing cones, knives in hand, tasked with the grim work of harvest.  In previous attempts, we’d all... Read the Rest →

 

Chicken Hospice

[Erik is on his two-week holiday break from Farm School, so in addition to decorating our Christmas tree – and lighting our menorah, grandma dear  – we’ve been involved an urban animal-husbandry dilemma. He returns to school on January 6.] This all started when we nearly killed the whole flock two weeks ago. Erik and I were driving home after five days away at the Young Farmers Conference in New York and we had the following conversation about our six backyard hens: Erik: “You checked their water before you left,... Read the Rest →

 

Meat and the Maker

In July, I wrote about taking our four beloved Buff Orpintons to the butcher.  And from that post, it’s probably clear that I can be a bit sentimental about killing animals. That cold morning I remember searching their eyes for clues: did they feel betrayed? And even though it wasn’t me who slit their throats, did I have the right to determine their premature fate? In the absence of definitive answers, we’ve plodded ahead holding close to these questions and the hope that we’d eventually find comfort in our role... Read the Rest →

 

Processing Poultry, In Life and Death…

Today, there is only one photo.  It was all I could bear to take. This morning, Dina and I reluctantly rose at five am, plucked our Dorothies from their comfortable roosts, placed them gently their old chick brooder, and drove them to Cambridge to leave them in the care of Louis, a man with a knife and bloody apron. It was the second time we have culled members of our current flock but the first time we shed tears.  The first two we butchered were easy to let go. They... Read the Rest →

 

Weed pressure: Low – Sense of satisfaction: High

Mary Mary Quite Contrary How does your garden grow? With vermiculite and florescent light And 57 days worth of photos: (1,059 photos to be exact) This is the time of year when we step out of the house and into the garden and feel like heroes.  The potential for a season of bountiful harvests is everywhere.  Floppy green squash leaves fan out all over the yard.  Curly bean tendrils reach out to grab hold of the bottom trellis rung.  Shoots of corn stand proud and orderly in their weed-free beds.... Read the Rest →

 

Class of 2014

Sadly, the Dorothys, our four Buff Orpinton chickens have laid their last eggs.  They are now post-menopausal and living out an early retirement in our backyard.  It seems early because we have only had them for two years and we weren’t expecting their egg supply to be exhausted so quickly.  But this is apparently normal. When they are born, chickens come equipped with all the eggs they will produce over the course of their life (like humans).  When we artificially supplemented the amount of light they got each day, it... Read the Rest →

 

Lazy Chicken Farmer 101

Chickens get up early, poop a lot and waste a ton of food – all of which are problems for lazy chicken farmers, like ourselves.  Over the two years we have owned our chickens, I have devised a few strategies that have allowed us to continue to be as lazy, or perhaps efficient, as possible. First of all, I have to give a shout out to Mark King of King’s Berry Farm  who made us our coop.  It is a project I could have done myself, but the time it would... Read the Rest →