My second week here on the farm was quite a whirlwind of adolescent arrivals. We started off the week with a visit from an exchange group of French fourth graders, who were living with host families in nearby Ripon for two weeks. They were very well-behaved, asked a mix of intelligent and adorable questions, and took pictures of everything. Also arriving this week on the farm were 14 adorable newborn piglets. Two new sows farrowed on the same beautiful day without any problems, though when I woke up to thunderstorms later that night, the newborn pigs were the first thing I thought of.
We had been planning to order some new chicks to raise up into a pasture-based laying flock, and were just finalizing our breed choices when we were presented with an opportunity that was just too good to pass up. For half of the planned price, we bought twice the planned chicks, and so now we find ourselves with 200 chicks, some layers, some meat birds, and all of indeterminate breed and sex at this stage. It was a bit of a gamble, but at the end of the day (make that the end of the summer), we’ll hopefully end up with a trailer full of laying hens in the pasture and a freezer full of chicken for sale.
As the weather continues to warm up, we continue to slowly fill the field with seeds and seedlings. We planted our potatoes this week, four different varieties. We continued to transplant brassicas and mustards, like cabbage, kohlrabi, and pak choi. We finished ripping out the remnants of early spring spinach production, and transplanted a whole range of tomatoes and peppers to get a jump on the weather and take advantage of the demand for early tomatoes at the market.
We rounded out the week with the arrival of two packages of honeybees, which we housed in hives down by the pond, followed by a barbecue and bonfire with a few people who volunteer on the farm. We couldn’t have asked for a better night for it!
Thinking about: timing, new friends, muscle memory
Eating: homemade pizza with cow tongue sausage, yeast rolls with homemade ricotta and beet chutney, homemade mac and cheese with guanciale and spinach, fresh raw radishes with homemade butter and salt
Reading: Temple Grandin’s Humane Livestock Handling, Bee Wilson’s Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg, Diana Henry’s Plenty