Full of Fall

The dairy cows are at the top of the farm.

Warm summer weather has held on for most of the week, but we are ending with a few cooler wet days here to finish the week. Despite the dry summer, our fall foliage has been really spectacular this season, and lots of trees are still holding most of their leaves. The Farm School Instagram (#thefarmschool or the_farm_school) has lots of great images of the changing season, with some incredible pictures of the bright fall colors up and down the ridge.

Spreading minerals on the Secret Pasture.

We had minerals spread on three pastures Thursday, hoping to adjust the chemistry in the soil a bit with a goal of encouraging the growth of a more cow-friendly community of forage plants. Any time that a pasture starts being overwhelmed by a single type of plant, it is a sure sign that there is some imbalance in the soil, creating the conditions that the dominant plant is taking advantage of. Two pastures that we treated were being over-run with poison-ivy, and the third was covered in bed-straw. Soil tests from the summer revealed a variety of soil mineral deficiencies, poor organic material content, and a low PH. Lancaster Agriculture Products, the company that we buy our chicken and pig feed from, worked with us to develop a custom blend of minerals to address our specific issues, and they were also able to come up and spread the blend on our pastures for us. We addressed almost twelve acres, putting down just over a ton per acre, and the whole process took just three or four hours.

Loading the minerals in the truck.

Thursday also saw a second round of wrapped bale delivery, with forty-four coming in for the beef herd. We’ve had to buy winter hay from a variety of sources this year because many local producers were unable to make a second or third cut in the drought conditions that dominated the summer weather. There are some wonderful hay producers in the area, including southern Vermont, and it was really reassuring to be able to fill the barns with such great feed, even in such a challenging year.

Bradley has been out in the woods with the student farmers this week, introducing some foundational forest management principles, marking trees for this winter’s cutting, and finding large straight pines to harvest for this year’s timber frame project.

From logs to timber frame.

A local sawmill owner moved the log Bradley cut to our sawmill, and students will start milling out the timbers needed for the frame over the next few weeks. Once the greenhouse is emptied for the season, Josh will setup a makeshift heated timber-frame shop in there for a winter of joinery work under the lights.

The student farmers did a full day tractor operation and safety class last week, and this week started the half-day tractor maintenance classes, as well as tractor operation one-on-one training. The tractor is by far the most dangerous part of any farm, and we do a lot training throughout the year in the hopes that we can start every student with a strong foundation of understanding, comfort and caution for that machine.

New Students

We are approaching the end of the first week with our new class of student farmers, and it has been an incredible start to the eleven-month program. The week has included livestock chore and veggie harvest training, a walk in the woods with a local natural historian, a full day of tractor operation and safety training, and will culminate on Friday with the first class in our farm carpentry series.

The beef herd on fresh pasture.

That first week encompasses so much of what a farmer does through the year, and it is exciting to anticipate working alongside all of these wonderful new students as we delve deeper and deeper into all of these skills over the coming months. The charge of energy that has gone through this place with the arrival of eager new farmers is incredible, and their willingness to engage in this work is an invigorating reminder of our mission here at The Farm School.

We have had at least one strong frost so far this fall, and with Friday night’s temperature forecasted to be down to twenty-eight, it seems like the grazing season may be drawing to a close a bit ahead of our November 1st goal. The grass will tolerate freezing temperatures well, but the cold weather sends a message to the plants to stop growing, and the grass that we have now may be it for the year. We have a couple of beautiful pastures left to graze, and the cows will be enjoying some of the best grass of the year over the next few days.

Some of that beautiful fall pasture.

The winter’s supply of large round wrapped bales of hay began arriving today, and we will get them setup in our usual grid layout for winter-feeding. Both the dairy herd and the beef herd are primarily fed outside through the winter, and we preset large grids of round bales that we can use temporary fencing to expose as needed for feeding. This system spreads manure pretty evenly over the whole winter-feeding area, and can be operated successfully by a single farmer after the bales have been setup.

The harvest season continues its incremental creep toward the end, with our focus turning more and more to the cold-hardy vegetables, storage crops already harvested and curing, and cleaning up from the growing season. Leaks, hard melons, garlic, onions, beans and kale are prominent on the list, and those deep green kale plants seem to carry on vigorous and sturdy no matter what.

The plastic went up over the winter hoop-house this week, preparing that space for plantings of cold-hardy vegetables that we can harvest through the winter.

The hoop house filling for winter harvest.

Hopefully the warmth that the plastic creates will encourage the three beds of late-seeded spinach to grow up big and strong, although that’s a bit of a gamble because spinach likes cooler temps for germinating. Our goal is spinach ready to harvest and eat by Christmas. We have have also planted 2 beds of carrots, which are looking great, and will be big, beautiful and sweet all winter long. Putting the plastic on means having to irrigate occasionally, which happened for the first time Thursday with an overhead sprinkler, and will likely have to happen a couple more times until the spinach is established.

Cover crop continues to green over dormant veggie beds, and I get a sense of hunkering down and bundling up as I look out over our beautiful farm.

Cool and Crisp

We are approaching the end of another beautiful week here at The Farm School, and the cool crisp autumn weather has got us all feeling lucky to work outside all day. Frenzied preparation has continued up until the moment our new class of student farmers arrives Thursday afternoon, and the Maggie’s complex is looking better than ever. We have made some dramatic upgrades in the farm house, trying to make more space, more seating and better Feng shui for the larger class coming in.

Ready for new students!

Work has started on the pig loading setup, and with processing dates at the slaughterhouse every Wednesday for the next four weeks, we need to be ready soon. Loading pigs is always challenging work, and my limited experience has shown me that a thoughtful setup can go a long way in avoiding a crisis at the critical moment. There are not many things worse than trying to fight three hundred and fifty pound pig about where it’s going or not going, and our goal in loading is to have the whole process be easy for everyone involved. We try to keep the pigs from feeling like there are any choices in the process, like everyone is moving in the same direction, and that there is something good to eat inside the trailer at the end.

The recent cold nights have done a great deal to move firewood into a more central place in our plans and work, and making sure that the wood shed at every

Another crazy egg.

cabin is fully stocked has become a priority. I’ve seen smoke curling out of a few chimneys already, chainsaws have been buzzing around the farm, and the transition from growing to hunkering down for the winter is starting to build. The change in seasons has some unforeseen consequences on the farm, and the transitions in the weather often create or remove opportunities that we try to be ready for. In warm months, the ground is soft, digging is possible, but the world is covered in a thick layer of growing things. Come winter, the plants will be dead and gone, but the ground will be frozen hard. Between the two seasons may be a moment when the plants are gone, the ground is exposed, and we can still dig before the real freeze comes. This is our chance to move a building, dig holes for fence-posts, and do sight work as we work to improve the infrastructure of the farm. Then the snow will come (maybe), and anything left out will be gone until spring.


Cover crop is growing thick and green on veggie beds that we’re done with for the season, and every added day, every inch of extra growth, is a benefit for next year’s soil and crops. Farming has so many time scales, from the immediate to the longest term, and there are so many places where those time scales intersect and interact with each other. The growth of this fall’s cover crop and the conditions that determine that growth will have a profound effect on next season’s success, and the sequence of cover crops over a series of years will affect the health of farm for years to come. We make great effort at the end of every season so get our cover crops in with ample time for successful growth, with varying degrees of accomplishment, but this year the stars have aligned for a flush of growth.

We’ve run into another hawk problem up at the Egg Mobile, with three layers killed and partially eaten this week. I am not really sure of a good solution with the chickens out in the field, but I think we’ll start with a more significant move of the house, to see if we can just go somewhere the hawk is not comfortable working. I’ll try to keep you posted in the coming weeks as this latest chapter in our hawk vs. chicken saga unfolds.


September into October

Winds of Autumn

Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn 


On this cool and blustery day, the turn of the season is plain all around the farm. The sun is bright, and after a few days of misty rain, the trees and pastures are practically iridescent in the late September wind. The soil of veggie beds is the deepest, darkest, bottomless brown, and the hardy kale and chard is standing up at attention so tall it seems ready to launch like a model rocket. These are such sweet days on the farm, after the heat and humidity of the summer has passed, and we get a short return to vibrancy and vigor before it all closes down for the winter. The pastures love the weather, and it’s put on a little final flush of growth to end the season. The cows and sheep love the weather, and as the flies are blown away on the fall wind, they are truly comfortable again, resting in the pastures and chewing their cud. The fall crops love the weather, and with a little more rain over the past few days, they are ending the season in great shape.

The red pullets got new neighbors on Wednesday when the sheep went into a new paddock. The sheep in the picture are trying to find grain that the chickens might have spilled.

Work continues inside and around the Maggie’s farmhouse, getting it ready for the coming class of Learn to Farm students. The dry-wall work is done, and the painter is in there now making the whole place sparkle with a fresh coat of paint. The LTF staff is meeting regularly to prepare the schedule, field trips, classes and all the other myriad little parts of the daily swirl of activity that make up the Learn to Farm Program. We are anticipating a class of fifteen students this year, up from ten last year, so the schedule has to be reworked a bit to keep everyone moving through every part of the farm. Every year we make little changes and adaptations to the schedule, both in the short term as well as long term, trying to reflect the experience of the year just ended, the feedback of students and teachers, and the challenging realities of the production cycle. In general, we have been moving incrementally toward larger blocks of time over the long term to allow students to dig deeper into each area of the farm over the course of a couple of weeks, rather than moving daily or weekly. Our hope is that extended time in an area will generate deeper mastery, understanding and a richer feeling of responsibility for each component of the farm.


The beef cows, lined up to get the freshest grass they can find.

The work of the fall season is primarily wrapping up the schemes of the summer, and getting everything ready for the coming winter. Some components of the farm are purely seasonal, and are eliminated before the cold weather really sets in. Broiler chickens, turkeys and pigs are all gone by the end of fall. Other than garlic planted in the fall, and cover crops in the veggie beds, veggie fieldwork wraps up for the most part with the coming frost. Some endeavors span the year, and the fall is one of those seasons consumed with the transition between warm and cold weather arrangements. Animals need shelter, water systems need to simplified and even heated, feeding switches from pastures to stored feeds, and everything draws in a bit closer to the barns. These shoulder seasons, when our work is divided between the conclusion of one phase and the preparation of the next, encapsulate so much of the feel of the work of farming. Looking back over the production season from here gives us some our most valuable lessons for next year, and at the same time, we are all irrationally hopeful that we can set up the perfect winter systems that will make everything go effortlessly over the months to come. Like us, farmers all over the world are trying to learn from each season’s end, and are absurdly optimistic about next year. A lot of farming can be captured in the image of the farmer, working diligently to develop a system that might work, and then watching as the natural world has its way with that system.

Toward the end of their first laying cycle, chickens start to produce eggs of strange shape and size. This is a huge chicken egg!




Although the last few days have certainly felt like summer, we have been getting little tastes of fall around the edges, and the end of the growing season really seems to be approaching.

The beef herd grazing as the sun goes down.

There are leaves changing color up and down the ridge, we’ve had nighttime temperatures down in the forties, and the ten-day forecast even includes a few nights down in the thirties. Other signs of fall include the greenhouse full of curing root crops, turkeys growing out on pasture for Thanksgiving, and the pullets just starting to lay the first eggs of their lives.


We got a huge rainstorm through this part of Massachusetts Sunday and Monday, with over three inches of rain falling here on the farm.

Our rain gauge, checked often…

The rain was so welcome here, and really has the potential to setup the whole rest of the fall growing and grazing season. Ponds in the area have a bit of water back in them, the ground is not too hard to put fence posts in anymore, and the pastures are green and vibrant again. Getting all that rain in a matter of hours was a bit much for such parched ground, but, at this point in a droughty year, we’ll take rain in any form we can get it.

The Student Farmer class of 2016 has graduated and left the farm, and we’re down to a skeleton crew to keep the whole place rolling along as best we can until the next class arrives. Their first day is October 6th, so we’ve got a couple of weeks to hold it together until the cavalry arrives to pitch in. The Maggie’s farmhouse is getting its yearly refurbish, with drywall, paint, plumbing and electrical work going on throughout the building. The farmhouse is more than two hundred years old, heavily used by many many people every day, and it takes some real work to keep it together through the year.

The bull on the left, a steer on the right. Aside from the obvious differences between them, a bull also develops other visible traits that show his fertility. The clearest one shown here is the curly hair on his head and shoulders. 


Dry beans processed and in storage.

The extended dry summer has given us the opportunity to brush-hog in pastures, corners and roads where we rarely get to go, and we have been able to tame some pretty wild areas of the farm. Surprisingly for a farm stretching along a ridge, we have quite a few spots that are consistently too wet to drive a tractor over, and those spots can end up growing some pretty gnarly stuff without the attention of the brush-hog. Though there are few benefits to long-term dry weather, one silver lining is the manicure we can put on all of those spots usually too swampy to address.

Wind and Rain

There is a definite chill in the air this morning, and with the thermometer reading in the low 40s at dawn, it certainly feels like fall is here.

Visiting students learning to milk.

A cold front went through here yesterday afternoon, but the rain that it brought never got close to this farm. We did have a quarter inch of rain on Sunday, but the farm remains profoundly dry. This cooler weather should lead to nice heavy morning dews, so that should pep the pastures up a bit, and hopefully will carry us through October.

The lane at Sentinel Elm Farm at dawn.



The rain Sunday was accompanied by some really strong gusts of wind, and our little pasture turkey house went for a short flight before a rough landing. One turkey was killed in the event, and three others seemed injured. We moved them into the hospital ward in the barn, but things were looking pretty bad. Surprisingly, within 24 hours they were back on their feet and acting totally normal, so they were put back in with the big group on Tuesday.

Storage crops are coming this week, with pumpkins, winter squash and potatoes coming out of the fields. These crops are out there for a long time, growing big and full, and curing a bit in the field before we harvest them.

Pumpkins ready for harvest.

These big crops are really capstones to the veggie production year, and the proper wealth our of farm can be genuinely felt looking into the greenhouse with all these beauties piled up for more curing before they out to the CSA or into storage. The watermelons have been coming in this week too, though they head out to market and CSA pretty quickly. The hot dry summer concentrated the flavors in each melon this year, and the results have been delicious!

This has been the final week for the student farmer class of 2016 in the Learn to Farm Program, with graduation this Saturday at Maggie’s Farm. This has been a wonderful group, and they have faced a truly difficult and unique season enduring this droughty summer.

Milkers enjoying fresh grass.

They have all found ways to make our work better, they have made The Farm School a stronger place, and we have all justly enjoyed working alongside them. Some are going on to college, some to farm on other farms, and some are still working on their next move. They will all make the world of agriculture stronger.

Our forest-thinning project came to an end this week, and I think that we are all relieved that it is over. The machinery and traffic at the sight was really remarkable, and although the long-term impact of the work will be a huge positive for the land that we steward, the immediate impact has been astonishing. I will try to get down into the site next week for pictures and a good write-up of the whole thing.

Further Fall

There are trees on the ridge just beginning to show the first signs of a change in color, and the start of fall seems to be creeping in here at The Farm School. The clearest sign of the changing seasons is the change in daylight,

Afternoon light in the dairy

and I realized fall must be coming this morning as I clipped a pasture in the dark at 5:30. At the peak of summer, there is enough light to go to work right at 5am, and often those early hours are a vital part of full day of work. Those days are winding down as we move deeper into September, and my thoughts have begun to turn to how to wrap up this season. It seems strange to think of extra hours of work as a luxury, but at the height of the crazy summer production season, the early morning hours are a wonderful opportunity to stay ahead of the workload, and are often the difference between getting it all done, and not.

The dry weather has continued here over the past week, and we watched Hurricane Hermine spinning off of Cape Cod with a bit of longing. Although we would never wish dangerous weather on anyone or on our farm, we certainly could have used some of that rain! The brief period of regular rain that we had in August is a distant memory at this point, and we are back to a world of dusty roads, browning pastures, and irrigation on the veggies. There are fewer new plantings out in the veggie beds, so there is much less urgency in the watering work, but there are still crops that need support to continue growing and producing. That rainy time did produce and moderate bit of growth in the pastures, so our grazers are out there now enjoying what may prove to be the last green grass of the season.

Rumor is that the forest thinning project we’ve been hosting over the past month is about to wrap up, and I am really excited to get in there to see the results. I have been looking into the possibility of generating an accurate map of the logging roads that have been established throughout the forest, and I will be sure to put out a full write up with images as soon as the project is truly completed. Once the loggers leave, the NRCS foresters will be back out to make sure that the work was done within their guidelines, and then hopefully they’ll pay us for the work.

The Visiting Schools program has begun again this week with our first school group of the fall season. The Charles River School seventh and eighth grades are our first compnay of the fall every year, and they always bring a big group of enthusiastic kids to get this place back in action. The fall season is just three months long, and we have plenty of work to get done before winter arrives, so we are always super excited to see big groups of big kids, ready to dig right into the work.

Dry beans, grown on the farm, shelled by students.

They are out there now helping to finish up the last loads of hay in the dairy barn hay loft, process the dry beans with Bradley, make a final push to get the year’s firewood cut, split and stacked, cook our meals, and keep all the livestock fed and happy.

Next week is the final week for the 2016 class of Maggie’s student farmers, and it certainly is a bittersweet time. Every student is now a vital and effective part of our farm community, and we are so proud of the work and learning that we have done together over the past eleven months. It is truly heartbreaking to see them leave now, with all their skills, their confidence, and their deep knowledge of this farm, but we are also really excited for the impact that they are going to have out in the world, on their own farms,

The corn says the season is about over…

working for another farmer, or in their communities. It has been a challenging and wonderful year with these great folks, and we have all been honored to work with them.


With a few close misses on the rain over the past ten days, unfortunately the farm has really started to dry out again. Irrigation restarted on the veggie beds today, with two water wagons, generators, pumps and drip tape redeployed up and down the ridge.

Our young turkeys have moved out of the brooder.

Our pastures have lost that vibrant green glow they were showing last week, and although there seems to be quite a bit of grass out there now, I am concerned that this might be the last gasp for the pasture plants for the year. We typically graze until the first week of November, but if we only have one more turn through our pasture rotation, I don’t think we’ll get past the end of September. We have secured a pretty healthy supply of winter hay, and even made some of our own, so we might just squeak through the year by a breadth. It is a bit alarming to consider just how much rain we’ll need to make up for the deficit this summer has put us in, and a local farmer shared with me yesterday his belief that we’ll need weather systems coming in from the ocean, rather than as they usually do from the west, to change our current situation much.

This year’s bull has just one horn.

The rental bull arrived on the farm yesterday, and went in with the beef herd to get to work. He came from Rotokawa Estates, in Hardwick MA, and he is a new bull for us. Cows are pregnant for about nine and a half months, or 285 days, so we expect calves to start arriving on the scene next June some time. There is always some doubt about how quickly a bull will start breeding the cows, and there are lots of factors that go into that process. Depending on the cow’s heat cycles, the bull’s assertiveness and how easily he integrates into the herd, we expect breeding to get going within a day or two. By comparison, the ram is mounting and breeding ewes within a minute or two of going in with them in November.


Our forest thinning project has continued through this week, with semi-truck loads of chip heading down the hill on a regular schedule all day. I have not had chance to walk down to see the work, but I am getting very positive reports from our forester who is on site to inspect twice per week.

We harvested storage onions from the Flat-Field early this week, and they have been setup to cure in the greenhouse under a shade tarp. The garlic is in, the pumpkins come in next week, the beans have been harvested and the veggie season shows signs of nearing the end.

Although there are plenty of crops that we will tend and harvest all the way to the first frost, we’ve passed some of the big landmarks of the season here at the first week of September.


Broilers in the freezer

Our broilers came back from Stillman Quality Meats at the end of last week, and they are in the walk-in freezer ready for sale. This will be our first try at raising birds for sale, and we are all eager to see what the demand out there is like.


A Taste of Fall

The first few days of this week brought a little taste of fall, with temperatures in the seventies during the day and the low forties at night. It was a wonderful relief from the heat of the summer, and a reassuring reminder that this crazy summer will eventually transition into another season. This has been one of the most challenging seasons that I can remember in my time at The Farm School, and while we have all learned a lot from these trials, we are all looking forward to a change.

The Egg-Mobile working a pasture edge.

We also had three-quarters of an inch of rain Sunday night, keeping the nice string of rain accumulations going, and keeping the veggies and the pastures moving in a positive direction. We have now had a few weeks with somewhat regular rain, and the whole farm is getting back on track.

The beef herd started grazing again on Tuesday evening. They will get tiny sections of new grass every evening through the remainder of the week, easing their digestive systems back over, from the hay that they have been eating over the past six weeks, to green pasture. We are also taking advantage of this grazing period with the beef herd to do a little weed control in the pasture that they have just begun grazing. The pasture, named Upper Racetrack, is one that we have used for overwintering the beef herd, with our massive grid of round bales pre-set in the fall for winter feeding.

Pasture re-growth

This practice adds tons of manure and grass seed, but also sometimes introduces strange seed from the bales that we buy in. Several years ago, I noticed a new weed taking over in this pasture after we had used it for the winter, and now we are going to see if the beef herd can take care of it. With the small sections of new grass, less than they would like to have, I am hoping that they will be motivated to eat the weeds they would otherwise pass up.

The Maggie’s student farmers processed their broiler chickens on Tuesday. They raised one hundred birds from chicks delivered in the first week of June by Hoffman Hatchery. The Heavy Silver Cross Grey Broiler grows a bit more slowly than the industry standard Cornish Cross, but they seem to avoid most of the challenges that the Cornish Cross has with it’s super rapid growth. The Silver Cross Broilers also forage on fresh pasture better than the Cornish Crosses, and are able to walk along in our daily-move pastured system very well. The Cornish Cross birds are typically raised for only seven weeks, so our approach adds time and cost to the process, but seems more humane and successful to us.


We sent seventy-five of this year’s birds to a Massachusetts approved processing facility, and kept thirty for processing on farm. The on farm processing system that we teach starts with killing the birds, dunking them in a pot of hot water to loosen their feathers, a spin in the plucking machine, evisceration on the table, and a drop into the ice bath to cool. Every student has the opportunity to try their hand throughout the whole process, and can take a bird from start to finish, or find one job in the sequence to really master. By doing just thirty on farm, we take away most of high-paced pressure that a full one hundred would bring, and give the students plenty of time and space to navigate what can be a very difficult experience. The chilled birds end up in the kitchen, where Cristina (Head Chef/Kitchen Master) and Josh Buelle (New Age Renaissance Man) teach students how to break down the carcass into usable parts. They are vacuum sealed and frozen for next year’s student farmers to eat throughout their time at The Farm School.

The student farmers put up their timber frame last weekend, completing a nearly eleven month process from log to standing structure. They milled timbers on our sawmill, chiseled out all the joinery, and finally put the whole time together on sight. This year’s frame was actually sold to a student from this year’s class who lives locally enough that we could make it work. He hopes to apply the things he’s learned in his year at Maggie’s to an expanding homestead, and the timber-frame barn will be a part of that growth.

Late Summer

With a bit more rain this week, vibrancy and vigor continues to seep back into the pastures and the vegetable beds at The Farm School. Plants are standing tall and glowing green again, the ground is soft under foot, and the animals are busy grazing and growing.

Looking fresh and healthy!

With everyone but the beef herd back out grazing, the rhythm of the farm is returning to normal after the strange lull we experienced in June and July. Pasture rotation is back at the top of my list, with daily checks on grass condition, paddock size, and planning for the next move. It is wonderful to see the sheep and dairy cows back out on the hillsides doing what they do best, and I am really looking forward to getting the beef herd back out grazing again next week. From a mix of soil conditions, slope and aspect, and probably many other factors that I don’t fully understand, their pastures have been much slower to recover than the sheep and dairy cow’s.


The Farm School has undertaken a large forestry project over eighty acres or so down below the Maggie’s Farm complex. In cooperation the state of Massachusetts, the NRCS, and a local forester, our project is thinning the forest by between a third and a half, with a focus on removing poor quality trees.

A view of the log landing.

The NRCS encourages this type of work, and even pays us to do it, in support of a goal of a healthier forest full of larger, and ultimately, more valuable timber. The forester walks the forest and marks the trees that are to be removed, the logger buys the trees as they are based on the foresters calculations, and then harvests them for sale. The vast majority of this harvest is going into wood chips since the trees coming out are small, crooked or are otherwise low quality. For us, this project includes a nice payoff, but it also sets our forest up for long-term healthy growth into the future, and the potential for smaller more lucrative harvests down the line. This approach, called ‘low-grading’, is the counter to ‘high-grading’, which would be the harvest of only the largest, best, and most valuable trees. This would pay in the short-term, but leads to the degradation of the forest over the long run as only the weakest and worst trees are left. The work of forestry at this scale is now done almost entirely by machine, with feller-bunchers, skidders, a truly massive chipper, and semi-truck loads of chip leaving all day. Although the project as it is happening is loud and rough, tearing things apart and cutting lots of trees, the long-term response of the forest should be a real positive for us and that ecosystem as a whole.

With just a couple of weeks before school programing resumes at Sentinel Elm Farm and the Program for Visiting Schools, work has begun on our annual efforts to renew the bunkhouse and surround grounds. Every nook and cranny gets a deep clean first, extra stuff that’s collected from the year gets moved along, and the while place gets a detailed inspection. We’ve had some light carpentry on the boy’s side of the bunkhouse, we’ve got some painting going on now, and, as usual, Ben and Brad are busy at work making the grounds beautiful. Flower plantings are ready, the weed-whacker is humming full time, and place is really looking nice. We host a few different events in the weeks before school starts again, from teacher retreats to visiting friends, and the work to keep the place looking nice for every visitor never stops.