Saturday, December 31, 2011

We can rebuid it. . .

It's not the best blog title, but I just a got a call from Dr. Bridge while loading up the blog. Dr. Bridge is one of the leaders of the service trip to Guatemala. They are currently laying over in Huston, TX, which made me think of Austin. That made me think of Steve Austin who was the 'Six Million Dollar Man', the opening credits of which started with 'We can rebuild him. . .'.

So that was probably a whole lot more about my morning thought process than you need to (or wanted) to know. But it is all relevant to the goings on at the farm as the year ends. We have seen such tremendous growth and change just in the last year that it feels like we are reinventing the farm all over again. So, no, we aren't rebuilding it, but we are certainly making wonderful improvements.

The weather as of late has been so bipolar. It's hot, it's cold, it snows, it rains, it sunny, it's confusing. The sheep have been in and out of pasture more times since the college has been on break than I can count. Even they are getting a bit confused about where they are supposed to be.

Having open pasture has been nice. Keeping our woolly friends and their guardian (Amall) on grass has kept our hay bill down this year, which gives us a little wiggle room in the spring if it ends up being really wet. We are supplementing them of course with hay, because we have so many moms-to-be, but there is something to be said about still rooted grass.

Speaking of babies. . . There has been a lot of work being done on the barn itself, and this has made for a little extra noise and commotion for our doe goat Brandy who is expecting any day and the rabbits who are about 30 days out from delivery.

Facilities, God bless them, have given us (what we are calling) the loading dock. It is a branch of the barn that looked to be, formerly, the spot where livestock would have been loaded onto trucks, or conversely unloaded. It gives us a place to keep the tractor, who still lacks a name, out of the weather. All of the other petrol powered equipment has moved there as well. The space is even large enough that we are able to share some of it with our friends at the milfoil project.

For those of you who are unaware, milfoil is an invasive water plant that moves into a body of fresh water and multiplies until it crowds out native plants and fish. There is a group on campus that monitors a number of local lakes and removes large quantities of this little nasty every summer. In the course of conversation we concluded that composting would be the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of it. So it is a good marriage. They harvest it, and we recycle it back to soil nutrients.

In addition to the loading dock, Facilities has also granted us the "hallway" that links our wing of the barn to the loading dock. It's not a giant space, but it is perfect to put our cooler and a couple of tables to process/package veg in the summer before taking it to the cafe or market. Of course with all of this we have been given new lighting! Now we will be able to see in a number of new places in the barn (in the winter it gets dark in some parts of the barn as early as 3 pm.).

I have a lot more to say about the poultry in the palace, the ducks in the new and future chicken tractor and of course there is always compost, compost, compost! However, this is already starting to look like a novel and I haven't added any pictures yet. . .
In fact, I think I will save the pictures for next time.

Until then, Happy New Year!

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