Spring into Summer

There are no visiting students at Sentinel Elm Farm this week, as we take a short break between our last visiting class and the first week of summer camp. This is a great opportunity to do some deep cleaning, renew heavily used spaces, and get setup for the summer season. The farm is strangely quiet without all the kids tearing around, but the work goes on. Maggie’s Farm students have been hard at work all week, with their first significant veggie harvest of the season, and a marketing workshop to go over our market stand and routine. The harvest included kale, pac-choi, mesclun mix, haukeri turnips and spinach.

Calves have finally started to arrive in the beef herd, with three born this week. They have all been heifer calves (girls) so far, and I am hoping for a few bull calves down in the coming weeks. The steers, bull calves castrated in the first ninety days, grow up to be the best contributors to the beef component of our Meat CSA. Unlike the heifers, who spend energy developing reproductive systems, the steers just grow big and fatty. Although heifers produce good meat, they have a greater potential as long-term mama cows.

Our beef herd gets the best view on the farm.

Sunday night was the Big Pig Gig in Cambridge, with the Spirit Family Reunion and a room full of our wonderful supporters and donors at The Charles Hotel. Chef Peter Davis put on an incredible feast, with most of the ingredients coming right off the farm. The night was a huge success, and everyone here is feeling immensely thankful and honored by the generosity of The Farm School community of supporters. We auctioned off tons of great prizes, including a mini Big Pig Gig, a year membership in the Meat CSA, a trip to Italy, and some of the incredible art produced for the event.

We’ve got 115 broiler chicks scheduled to arrive at the post office this morning, and the brooder at Maggie’s Farm is ready and waiting for them.

Broiler chicks enjoyed food, water and heat.

After these chicks, the fifty turkeys coming the first week of July will be the final animals added to the mix for the season. That is always a significant milestone for me, knowing that we’ve got all the animals we’ll have for the season, and we just need to keep them all growing and thriving for the next few months before things start to wind down again in the fall. This time of year, when we’re setting up fencing, water and feed systems all over the farm, and adding animals all the time, can feel a bit crazy, and it is always nice to know when we’ve got everything here for the year.

We are expecting kids (baby goats) to arrive any day now at Sentinel Elm Farm, and although Dave checks first thing every morning, nothing has happened yet. Several year ago, Visiting Students at The Farm School conducted a scientific study to determine the most mind-meltingly cute baby animal on the farm, and baby goats won by a landslide. We are all eager to have them back in the mix soon!

Tom and King enjoy a cool farm evening on pasture.

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