Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Middle October. . .

(Editor's Note: Some of these photos are a bit older because our camera is temporarily out of service).

An ecology student transplanting lettuce into the hoophouse.
Our second frost of the season hit this morning. Most everything is out of the ground now. We are holding over some broccoli, cabbage, and kale for a few more weeks. There are just a handful of local schools that still need to come out for field trips before winter. Otherwise we have about half of the fields under a cover crop of winter rye and mammoth clover. We will be finishing up what can be tilled and planted this week in the hope that the temperatures hold just long enough to get us a little growth on those patches to help hold the soil down. The sections of field that are still holding vegetables will be heavily mulched with hay and leaves. This is by no means the end of growing though.
We are re-tilling our new field in preparation for garlic planting next week and the hoop houses are all but planted with carrots and late autumn greens. In the greenhouse on campus we have already started our second round of winter plantings.

Charlie our newest stud ram!
Out in the pastures the sheep are in the field doing what sheep had better be doing this time of year. . . breeding. This season we have two rams and five available ewes. That puts us at the half way mark for our desired flock size! We are hoping for a good yield this year. Based on the numbers or twins and ewes born in the coming spring we will add one or two ewes to our breeding stock each year until we hit our goal of ten ewes. In the meantime we are anxiously looking forward to the possibility of actually making a modest profit in the 2013 season. Remember that one of our permaculture targets is to become economically neutral within the next five years. . . so we want to be making enough income on our lamb to pay for our winter hay and supplies! If all goes well, we might just make a dent in our 2013/14 budget! 

On the poultry front we are looking forward to the processing of our fourth year of turkeys. The drought across the Midwest certainly hit us in the feed department this year, but our birds managed to put on quite a bit of weight anyway! They look forward to our food scrap/compost drops every other day. They follow the truck up to the pile and make a run at the food scraps while we return the scrap bins and bring up the tractor and leaves. It sounds gross, but it makes them happy. We will be again working with Farmer's Gate in Leeds, Maine to process our Thanksgiving birds and bring quiet and solace back to the farm (with all those turkeys running around it is a lot like having a small army of 6 year olds. It gives me a lot more respect for our education majors. . .).

A couple of the girls taking a break from stacking hay.
Otherwise cleaning up around the barn is the buzz around the barn as we frantically scramble to get things put away before the real cold gets here.

I already miss summer a bit, but  not too much!

Until next time. . . Grow Happy!

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