October 7th-15th

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Colder weather is trying 

With summer lingering here in the middle of Massachusetts, we haven’t really gotten much of that fall feeling here at The Farm School yet. Veggie harvest and the grazing rotation are still chugging along, and with more than an inch of rain falling during the day Monday, I’m optimistic about strong growth going forward. The ten day weather forecast does call for our fist night-time temperature truly below freezing on Monday, so that may start to really convince our resident plants and animals to shut down growth for the year.

This was a full week for our new student farmers in the Learn to Farm Program, with chore and harvest trainings, a full day of tractor safety training, more cooking classes, and a full day carpentry intro workshop as well. The beginning of the student’s year is really heavy with introductory training, as we work as quickly as we can to get vital skills into the hands of these new farmers. Although we try hard to intersperse physical work in with more information based sessions, and to not overwhelm folks with too much material, we definitely recognize that some students get maxed out, and we are diligent in revisiting all of this intro material repeatedly down the line, and in making sure that folks get a refresher before we ask them to use these new skills on their own.

We don’t have many big projects going right now as we focus almost all of our time and

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Beautiful, notorious, the boss, Daisy

attention on trying to give our new student farmers a strong introduction to Maggie’s Farm. We are starting to setup our chutes and systems for pig loading, hoping to have everything in place for our first batch of pigs headed off next Thursday. We will take ten pigs per week for the next three weeks, with everyone gone by the first week of November. Hopefully we won’t have too many freezing nights before then, since the pig’s water system seizes up when the hoses freeze, and the pigs don’t get any water. The system usually thaws out pretty quickly once the sun comes up, and we can always supplement with big water dishes, but ideally we’ll have all the pigs gone before the real cold weather sets in.

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Another misty morning

Alex has been busy most of the week finishing veggie beds for the year. He does a final cultivation to mix in all of the left-over vegetable matter still in the field, tills the mix down to a really nice smooth and fluffy surface, and then puts down a cover crop seed of winter rye and vetch. Our soil is nice and damp right now, and the beds of cover crop, put in place to keep the soil locked down all winter and give it a boost of organic material to eat in the spring, have been coming up tall and dense. These strong crops of green material will go dormant for the winter, but the winter rye will survive till spring, keep any early spring weeds under control, and will be tilled into the soil before spring planting to boost our organic material. Cover cropping gives us a whole bunch of really

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This week’s incredible shitake harvest

significant benefits, and it is a practice that more and more farmers are using to support their approach to soil management.

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September 30 – October 7

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Some of the fall harvest

Our new student farmers are on the farm, and Maggie’s Farm is buzzing with a mix of excitement, nervousness, and the incredible volume of information that we are going to try to share with these great folks over the next days, weeks, and months. We went around the circle on Friday morning to give everyone the chance to share how they’d arrived at this place at this time, and, as usual, the stories were inspiring, funny, thoughtful, and gave me a sense of real excitement in helping all of these new farmers take a step forward that they’ve been contemplating for a long time.

We are passing through what I think will be the final grazing rotation of the year, visiting pastures and paddocks for the last time before fall and winter really set in. Most of our grazing acreage has performed really well this year, and despite the dry fall that we’re

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The pigs enjoying hickory nuts

going through right now, the grass out there still looks pretty good. I have begun taking down fences behind the dairy herd and beef herd where I can, and I’ve even spread a little manure too. I think we have a few more weeks of grass available out there, and that should take us pretty close to our November 1st goal for the end of the grazing season.

Last winter’s beef feeding system, with round wrapped bales setup out on the pasture in a large grid, and fencing moved to allow the cows to access fresh bales as needed, ended up turning the pasture into mud. Our cows were super dirty, mucking their way through some really unpleasant conditions when temperatures were not cold enough to keep the ground frozen solid. With the mild weather we had last winter, we ended up with just about six weeks of well frozen ground, and the rest of the winter saw various stages of muck and mire. This year we have worked to develop a small feeding yard on some ground that we hope will not turn into mud, and plan to use this space for feeding when mild winter weather keeps us from putting the cows out to eat at the pasture bale setup. We scraped as much topsoil off as we could, leaving some hard packed sand and clay behind, sloped the area so that it can drain a bit, and now we’ll build some fences to give us access with a tractor for setting bales and scraping the area clean. We are going to have to do something similar for feeding the dairy herd this winter as well, hoping to keep them high and dry through muddy weather as well as we can. We have put huge piles of wood chips to good use over the past couple of years to help keep the dairy herd out of the mud, and I expect we’ll try something similar this winter until we can develop a solid feeding yard at the dairy farm as well. The dairy herd can always stay inside if the conditions really preclude sending them out, but our preference is to have them out as much as we can. With body temperatures over 100 degrees, the cows are usually most comfortable out in the weather, and we really only start to worry about them when things get wet, or the ground is not safe for them.

Firewood season is sneaking up on us here at The Farm School, and Brad’s saw is a more and more common sound coming from the woods around the farmyard. Tom and King are pulling logs in for the sawmill, as well as for firewood production, and their earth-shaking walks through the farm are always a highlight for the farmers and visiting students. The Student Farmers at Maggie’s Farm will be trained up on the sawmill in the coming months, and then will mill the timbers for the next timber frame, using pine logs from our surrounding forests. Students will also have the chance, once they’ve completed a three-day draft horse intensive training at Fair Winds Farm, to help Bradley and the horses in pulling logs from the woods to the sawmill. Once the timbers are milled, they’ll get them over into the timber frame shop (the greenhouse emptied and setup with sawhorses, tools and louder music), and spend a couple months with Josh Buelle chiseling out a frame.

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We are making progress on the new goat house. 

Sept. 25-30

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The beef herd trying to get in the shade

After a run off really hot summery weather, with afternoon temperatures well over ninety degrees most of the week, we have finally broken through into some real fall weather here at the end of the week. The thermometer dropped down into the lower forties last night, and our forecast is calling for the lower thirties by Saturday evening. Though the temperatures have dropped significantly, we have been super dry around here for the past few weeks, and things were starting to look dusty and droopy. As I write this Saturday morning however, rain is falling, the bright green has returned to the pastures and plants, and all our animals are all having a rainy Saturday morning snooze under cover (if they can find it).

The hawks are back after the chickens this fall, repeating our experience from the last two years when red-tail hawks showed up in the fall looking for easy meals. Our layers and pullets are still out on pasture, so I am having a tough time coming up with an effective way to keep the chickens safe without the security measures that we have in place at the winter coops. This year, unlike the past two, the hawks have even gotten brave enough to go after the layers at Sentinel Elm Farm, where our Program for Visiting

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Cover crop, trying to grow, and fall crops ready for harvest

Schools happens, which had been much safer because of all the kids and dogs running around everywhere. As I’ve mentioned before, I have no interest, nor is it legal, to do the hawks any harm, so we need to find ways to deter them, harass them a bit, and generally get them to decide to go hunting elsewhere.

Our fresh class of Learn to Farm student-farmers arrives on the farm next Thursday, and we have been busy all week getting the facilities and program into tip-top shape to welcome them into our community. We are really excited about some great refinements to our program, hashed out during some in-depth meetings over the past couple of weeks, and the buildings and grounds which are looking great too. We never feel fully ready for the new group, with an endless list of little tweaks we could make to just about everything, but we keep getting better and better, learning as we go. This will be another full class of fifteen students, and we have high hopes for their next year here with us, and for their ability to launch from here to make a difference in the world. Check out farmschool.org/learntofarm to get a good look at the program!

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Turkeys enjoying their new yard

The turkeys have been setup in a large day-yard, and released from their houses. The houses, with food and water, are in their area for shelter and roosting, but the birds are out enjoying the big open space, mixing in with everyone, and generally being silly. We loved the security that their houses provided them, but the exuberance that they show now that they’re out seems to be worth the risk. (They are too big for the hawks). We have not been herding the inside their houses at night, and so far they have been fine, with most choosing to sleep inside on the roosts, some on the feed trailer, and some just nesting down on the ground. Now we need to think of a way to collect them all the day before processing so that they can be caught and dealt with.

Sept. 18-25

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Gus and the dairy cows on a steamy morning

We’ve been going through a bit of summer weather here at the middle and end of September, I guess making up for the unseasonably cool wet weather that dominated in our area in August. We have not seen any measurable rain for about two weeks here, and things are drying up pretty noticeably at this point. However, the pastures continue to grow, aided by heavy dew every morning, and the shorter days giving the pasture plants extended relief from the hot sun every night. Our goal is to graze through to the end of October, and while things look good now, if we don’t get a little rain in the next week or so, I think we will run out of grass pretty quickly.

Maggie’s Farm is a pretty quiet place these days, though the work of harvest, livestock chores, and cultivation has to carry as on as well as we’re able with most of our crew graduated and gone. This is always an interesting time of year at the farm, with the students graduated, and plenty of work to do to keep things moving along, we scrape and scratch to get enough hands on the work, and usually find fresh efficiencies that inform our approach moving forward. This is especially true with harvest, wash-up and livestock chores, where our limited crew forces us to find ways to streamline the work enough that we can get it all done. These adaptations often show us fresh ways to approach the work, and make our farm stronger moving forward as they are integrated into our approach.

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Beef cows enjoying some water

The attention of the Learn to Farm staff has now turned to tweaking and refining both the facilities and program as we prepare for the new class coming in a couple of weeks. We always have work to do between classes to refresh the rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and other facilities in the farmhouse, which have been used so hard over the past year. We’ve got a full house of students coming in, so we’re moving the grower’s office up to the library, and opening up another bed-room downstairs to make as much room as we can. We will also be focused on digesting the great feedback that we have received from the newly graduated class, mixing it in with our own reflections on the just ended program, and trying to find ways to integrate all of it into maturing the program. This is an invaluable process that gives us all the chance to rediscover the meaning and purpose behind the components of the program, and recommit to the principles that guide our teaching.

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A curious turkey

Sentinel Elm Farm is cruising ahead into the fall with some spectacular groups of visiting students, prepping the farm for the coming winter, putting up a ton of firewood, and taking good care of our array of livestock. Our Thanksgiving turkeys are growing and thriving up on the hill behind the bunkhouse, and we’re contemplating building them a yard and letting them out of their pasture houses for some free-range adventures. They are super safe and secure in their houses, and their twice a day moves ensure that they have access to plenty of fresh ground, but we are always looking for ways to improve the animal experience, and to try new things, so we may be brave enough to give this a shot. We’ve also made some great progress on the new goat house, with the frame up and one wall just about sheathed in homemade siding. The surrounding hard fence is almost completed as well, and with a gate for getting in and out, we’ll be just about ready for animals. We are hoping to get the goats in their new house this fall, and then we’ll turn to repurposing the old goat area in the back of the dairy barn. That will be a project for another update!

Sept. 11-16

The Farm School’s Learn to Farm Program runs almost a full year, from the beginning of October through the middle of the following September. It has been an evolving program over its entire existence, and we’ve continued working to perfect the mix and balance of experiences that make up the year. Our goal of farmer training is ambitious, and we try to pack so much into every student’s experience that we feel an immense pressure to

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One more fall beef calf

sustain a resilient balance among the countless student undertakings. We alway strive to furnish each student with the broadest and deepest possible set of knowledge and experiences, and to temper all of it with as much authenticity as we can. We made a couple of changes to the end of our program this year that addressed these concepts, and really seemed to make the student experience even better than it had been.

We have recognized over the past few years that many students need to leave the Learn to Farm Program a couple of weeks early to either go back to school or to take a fall job on another farm. In response to that recognition, this year we offered the option of an earlier completion date for the program, and just under half of our students chose that option. Rather than students trickling out over the last few weeks, this year we had a fixed date for early departure, and we were able to tailor specific programing to address the final phase of the program for the students who stayed. With about half of the original group still on the farm for the last three weeks, we developed a simpler capstone style schedule with the aim of really emphasizing the management and direction of the work of the farm. The students chose to spend their last three weeks in either the vegetable or livestock tracks, and they were pushed into the roll of planning, scheduling and managing the work of the farm. We hoped to give them the chance to move beyond simply using the skills and

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The dairy herd enjoying fresh grass

knowledge that they had developed here over the past year, and to start placing those skills and knowledge into the larger tapestry of the working farm. We also wanted to give these students a block of time to feel a bit more of the weight of responsibility, still within our safe setting and supported by the staff, and to recognize some of the pressure of being answerable for the whole operation.

This was a really exciting and wonderful way to culminate our program year, and it felt like a perfect way to empower and celebrate the development of this year’s class. The work that was accomplished was truly amazing, and the maturation of each student as farmers was remarkable to see. The students in the vegetable track took control of our vegetable acreage, managed harvests and CSA pack-outs, cultivated beds, staffed the markets, and through it all, proved themselves fully capable of overseeing this scale organic vegetable operation. I think that every teacher here at The Farm School was thrilled to watch the new vegetable managers confidence grow through the three week capstone block, and to watch them rise to this

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Dave’s finished barn

challenge. The students in the livestock track took over full management of all of our diverse livestock enterprises, managing the grazing rotations for the beef, sheep and chickens, and maintaining all of the systems that keep the pigs fat and well fed. They split their time between managing the livestock and doing two great building projects, finishing Dave’s timber frame barn, and building our new sheep alfalfa feeder. The barn had been a bare frame with a finished roof, and after three weeks of hard work, it now has beautiful board-and-batten walls, windows and a gorgeous sliding door. The project has improved the visual beauty of our working farm to a remarkable degree, and it is going to give Dave the opportunity to really get on his land and get to work. The alfalfa feeder, imagined and designed by the students, will allow us to feed the sheep alfalfa pellets without having to go into their yard with full buckets of their favorite food, avoiding the hurly-burly struggle that we all dreaded every afternoon. Both of these projects have had

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The new alfalfa feeder

remarkable and positive impacts on this farm and community immediately, they were both finished on-time, and I think every student in the livestock track has mastery and confidence in their building skills.

Today is the graduation for the Learn to Farm students of 2016/17, and it marks a bittersweet moment for all of us here at the farm. This is a wonderful group of young farmers that we have all grown to know well, and to love for their strength of character and determination to engage in the work of farming. We are truly and deeply sorry to see them leave the farm, but we are all so excited to see them go off onto their next adventures. We know they will bring joy and a can-do spirit anywhere lucky enough to have them! Thank you and congratulations to the class of 2016/17!

September 2nd-9th

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve had the chance to sit down for an update on the work going on at The Farm School, and I feel like there is quite a bit to report. We have had some great late summer weather over the past few weeks, and with two inches of

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Sunrise over the dairy barn

rain this week, plants and pastures are looking flush up and down the ridge. All the moisture in the soil should mean a vigorous fall of growth, and I am optimistic that we can have a strong late grazing season. We try to graze to the end of October, taking into consideration the damage that can be done when grazing pasture that has gone dormant and will not recover before truly cold weather sets in. We usually do not quite reach the end of October, but I have some hope that this rainy weather may give us a chance this year. A longer fall grazing season will shorten the period of winter hay feeding, keep our cows and sheep happier, and save us some money.

We have taken the first batch of pigs off for processing, and have another scheduled to go on Monday. That run will take care of the rest of the eleven larger pigs that we

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The grapes are ripening, but not quite ready yet. 

scrambled to find a processing date for, and will leave an additional twenty-four that still need some more time to grow. We have those later pigs scheduled to go to processing in batches of ten through October. With about a month left to grow, I am hopeful that we will end up with some really nice pigs. There are a couple of pigs in the group who’s growth and size has not really kept up with everyone else’s, and I am considering keeping them through the winter to put on some more weight. We usually raise a few winter pigs that get a pretty milk rich diet, grow enormous, and go off for processing before mud season makes loading them impossible.

Our Thanksgiving turkeys are growing well in their mobile houses out on pasture, and their twice-daily IMG_5325moves have carried them, and their powerful manure, over a large section of our dairy pastures. We are happy to reap the dual benefits of happy healthy turkeys and super powered pastures that this approach gives us, and we get delicious turkeys at the end. This year, for the first time, we stocked one of our turkey houses with smallest couple birds from all the other houses, hoping that getting the little ones their own house, and feeder, might give them a bit more access to the food, and a better chance to grow.

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This year’s rental bull at work

We had one more surprise calf in the beef herd last week, bringing our total for the year up to eleven. This calf arrived quite a while after our last one, and came as a real surprise to me. We would like to keep the bull in with the cows for about three months, giving him enough time to breed the majority of the cows, but limiting the calving season to a time frame that we can keep an eye on. Last year’s bull lingered for quite a while, I think finally getting picked up right around January 1st, and leading to this bonus calf. This year’s bull went in with the cows right at the end of August, and he is with the herd now, doing his work. We usually try to get the breeding season started in the first week of August, but I got a little sidetracked with a new baby and the bull was delayed.

We have one more week until the end of the Learn to Farm year, and the arrangement of IMG_5337the program has shifted for this final few weeks to try to give the students the chance to manage the farm. They have spent the past eleven months learning skills and developing an understanding of the farm, and we try to give them space at the end of the year to step into the decision making position. This is an exciting time for the students, and a really rewarding time for the staff as we watch this group of wonderful young farmers step forward and take hold of our farm, carry it forward, and thrive.

I’ve missed lots of great work and growth from around the farm that’s happened over the past few weeks, but this update feels long enough. I’ll try to get everything else in next week!

Summer Break

IMG_5322I’ve been on paternity leave for the past few weeks, holding a brand-new baby girl, and watching the late summer moving past my window. We’ve had some good rain, some nice sunny days, and we’ve dodged most of the really hot humid weather that usually makes August so tough on the farm. The pasture grasses have been growing well all summer, and the consistent rains have set us up for what is looking like a pretty nice fall of grazing and fattening up for processing dates coming in October and November.

 

I will send out a full update at the end of this week, thanks for reading!

July into August

We got a half an inch of rain Thursday night, and after another week of summery

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The dairy herd enjoying North West Pasture, and the top of Sentinel Elm Farm

weather here at The Farm School, I’m feeling quite relieved for the pastures to have gotten that recharge. We had a nice soaking rain on Monday of last week, but nothing since, and with some really hot dry weather, things were starting to droop all over the farm. We had some near misses on afternoon thunder storms throughout this week, but finally had a nice rainfall just after dark Friday night, and the pastures and vegetables have freshened right up. There looks to be some solid rain in the ten day forecast, and I am optimistic that we will continue to stay wet enough for the pastures and veggies to grow well through August. There had been some loose talk among the vegetable growers about starting irrigation on certain crops next week, but we’ll have to see if this rain, and more to come, changes those plans. Broccoli plants have grown enough to start putting on the edible heads, and that process can be enhanced with consistent and ample water.

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Fresh water on fresh pasture for the beef herd

The sunny hot weather this week forced us to make some small changes in our beef herd grazing plan, but we were able to keep the herd moderately comfortable throughout the heat wave, and they did some good grazing along the way. They spent most of the week in Best Pasture, and instead of breaking it up into three sections, we gave them the whole thing for three days. We added an annex at the north end of their pasture that gave them access to a nice shady yard under the edge of the forest, and they took advantage of the opportunity to get out of the afternoon sun every day. We prefer to break pastures up into small single-day paddocks to ensure that the cows are not re-grazing individual grass plants, and to give the grass as many days as we possibly can to regrow before the next round of grazing. The singe three-day pasture that we used this week was not really in keeping with these ideals, but it was a small compromise that gave the cows a much more comfortable experience through this hot summer weather. The dairy cows also get single-day paddocks to graze, and this week we gave them fresh grass every morning and brought them back into the barn just after lunch to get them out of the sun. They stayed in through afternoon chores, and headed back out for some more grazing around six in the evening, once the heat of the day had passed. The cool cement floor of the barn keeps that space pretty pleasant, no matter how hot it gets outside, and I think our ladies stayed pretty comfortable in there.

Our tomato harvest has just started coming to life, with SunGolds and cherry tomatoes available at our farm-stand Thursday night at the end of the last session of summer programming, and larger tomatoes ripening on windowsills at the Maggie’s farmhouse.

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Tomato sandwiches have taken over our diets!

SunGolds ripe for picking in the home gardens, huge trays of beautiful slicing tomatoes stacking up in wash-up, and fresh tomatoes in every meal means the peak of summer at The Farm School, and it is a time of year that we all really look forward to. Josh has been doing regular Wednesday canning and preserving sessions in the Learn to Farm Program, and that work will turn to tomato based products starting next week.

I cruised the pastures on Friday afternoon, and there is a lot of grass out there. We’ve had some great rain this summer, lots of sun, and we have not had any really long baking, hot, dry weather to truly shut down the pasture growth. Rain is by far the most significant factor controlling grass growth, and these July and August rains have made our grazing acreage lush and beautiful.

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.

Summer Heat

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The turkey poults are growing. 

We are at the end of a week of real summer weather, with every afternoon topping out right around ninety degrees this week, plenty of humidity to make everything sticky, and no rain in sight. With a full week without rain, I am starting to get worried about our pastures again, though we are not in any real danger yet. We have had a really nice growing season so far, with ample rain arriving with just the right timing, so I think our soil is still holding a pretty nice level of moisture.

We had one last surprise calf in the beef herd to start the week, and the hot weather has been a challenge for that baby who has not yet figured out to seek shade during the heat of the day. The cows are headed into one of their longest stretches of pasture without shade trees on the pasture edges, but the ten-day weather forecast looks like they will not be facing much really hot weather. They are moving into a large pasture in two sections

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Our enormous Berkshire pigs

that we call Lower Barn Pasture and Lower Racetrack Pasture. This is acreage that we cut hay off of so far this season rather than graze, and it has grown back as a lush stand of dark green forage that I think the cows are really going to enjoy. Great grazing means more milk for the calves, and it means growth and weight gain for the steers that we plan to take for processing this fall. Growth, and taking in enough energy to start laying down inter-muscular fat, is what makes beef tender and delicious, and this next stretch of grazing promises to be a really productive period of growth for our beef animals.

We picked up a little load of sixty bales this week, finishing off our first cut quota for storage for the year, and topping off the dairy barn hayloft almost all the way to the ceiling. It feels great to have a huge supply of winter feed, and puts us in a much better position than we were in last year when we scrambled to get just more than half this much during the drought.

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Racks of curing garlic in the hoop house

Alex and the student farmers harvested the garlic this week, and moved it into the hoop house to cure. The garlic was planted in the fall of last year, just in time to take root before going dormant for the winter under a deep bed of mulch straw. It put shoots up through the mulch in the spring, grew tall scapes that we harvested, and put on nice big bulbs over the last few warm months. We will take cloves out of the harvest to use ourselves as seed, sell the rest, and replant again this fall to complete the cycle and keep process going.

We are headed into our last session of summer programming at Sentinel Elm Farm on Monday, and this final program runs for two weeks with the oldest kids of the summer. We are looking forward to getting some serious work done with these able-bodied kids, and we’re hoping to really get the farm into tip-top shape before the place quiets down for a stretch until school groups come again at the end of August. One big project that I anticipate working on a lot is a new house and yard for our two growing ram lambs and buck goat, hoping to get them away from the girls before we have

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Our little goat herd working on a new hedgerow

unintended pregnancies. These new breeders will live together, as laid out in the AWA rules prohibiting animals from living alone, and will cycle in and out of their respective herds for breeding seasons.