Summer Rain

In last week’s update I revealed my growing worries about a lack of rain, but we got

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Alex and the Cub, veggie-masters

more than a full inch of wonderful, gentle, soaking rain on Monday, and a bit more on Thursday, and things are looking up again here at The Farm School. The dust has been washed off the leaves, the pasture plants are standing up tall and practically glimmering in the bright sun, and I am optimistic again about the next few weeks of our grazing plan. Rain in July is a real treat, giving plants braced for the hot dry stretch of summer weather a respite from the persistent drying of the sun, and a boost of energy and vigor. I always expect July and August to be rainless and hot, so this storm system was a real treat that the pastures, veggies, and I truly enjoyed.

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The pullets marching down their ramp for the first time

We moved our pullets out of the brooder this week, shifting them into the new egg mobile that Josh and the student farmers built this spring. They spent a night getting used to the their new accommodations, and then headed out to a fenced pasture paddock in the Middle Earth Pasture. They will move every other week or so, getting fresh ground to hunt for insects and other good things to eat, and doing their part to help till up some acreage to make space for better grass. They had a little trouble figuring out how to get back inside the house after their first day outside, and I ended up spending a good deal of time on my belly under the house last night, catching them one at a time and putting them on roosts inside the house. Needless to say, the ground under the coop was not the cleanest place to crawl around, and I am hoping that they can do a bit better for themselves in the days to come.

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New micro-compost bins at Sentinel Elm Farm

Going back through these weekly updates over the past few months, the growth that the new animals have put on is really clear to see. We see the pigs, turkeys, calves and pullets every day, so it is hard to see their growth from day to day. When I track back through these pictures however, their rapid development becomes crystal clear, and it is really impressive to see. It would be really interesting to take a picture of the same young animal every week, and to track it’s growth through the season to watch it develop. Like most ideas on the farm; ‘maybe next year’.

Veggie plants and fruit trees are really showing the maturation of the season, with apples and pears developing really nicely on some of the trees at Maggie’s Farm, and the corn tasseling beautifully in the home garden as well.

There are tomatoes and peppers plumping up out in the fields, melons and squash everywhere, and the wealth of the fall harvest season is truly starting to show all around the farm. The period from August through the end of October is really the most abundant time of the farm, with the young animals reaching their full potential, fruit and veggies bursting out, and cold storage filling up.

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