Thursday, February 14, 2008

Important update for Volunteer Post Open from May thru October


We are looking for one or two volunteers to help out here at the Farm one day a week from May thru October. This is obviously not a paid position, but we do reward our helpers with generous sharing in some of our produce and usually a nice healthy (and usually organic) lunch if they are here at lunchtime.

The position that we are looking to fill is as a picker/packer for CSA shares and will include such duties as culling produce, weighing, counting, packaging and packing vegetables for CSA share holders. It will also require someone who can lift 25-30 lbs minimum for loading vehicles. Volunteers need their own transportation to and from the Farm.

Volunteers also need to be dependable and able to commit to the position, even though it will only be for one or two days per week, for approx. 4-6 hours each time. In other words, anyone who wants to come and do this once in a while is not the person who will be chosen.

This is an excellent opportunity to spend a little time on a real organic farm, learn about how things are done here and to experience first hand what it takes for food to get from the field to market.

If you are interested in this position, please email me at with a paragraph or two about yourself and why you think you would like to participate here at the Farm. Call backs will begin sometime March or April, with interviews to follow. This is a great activity for an older teen but our insurance will not cover anyone under 16, so no one under that age would be considered. And, while we would love to be able to have folks come here with their kids for a day and "help out" this position is not conducive to that situation.

The hens are laying now and it is driving my crazy.

About 2 weeks ago we noticed that some of our hens were acting a little strange. After the cold of December and January passed (well, not really all that cold, but colder than the last 2 weeks) and with the days getting longer, our young hens are starting to come into their egg cycles for the first time. I have mentioned in previous posts, etc. that our chickens are very closely related to the wilder jungle fowl that are the ancestors of all modern chickens and they have habits that more closely relate to a wild creature.

For example, they are masters (mistresses?) of concealment. The other day, I reached under a shelf in one of the sheds to get something and got peckedby a hen laying in the top basket on the stack that is stored there. In the same area, there are some other baskets that we use to keep odds and ends and which are stacked on the other wall of that same shed. One of the hens is laying her eggs in there. Another hen is laying in the rosemary bush and another in a bramble thicket. I have been doing some outside work recently and sat some of my work tools, including a black trash bag, in a box on the front porch and there were 4 eggs in the box the when I went out to finish my project.

So far, we have gathered about 2 dozen eggs, some of which we have had for breakfast or used in some other recipe. While this may sound pretty cool - and in some ways it is very cool - the problem is that we have 12 laying hens right now and I have only located the preferred nests of 4 or 5 of them. Where the heck are the other ones laying their eggs?

Most of them are probably laying under our giant boxwoods, under the garage or some place similarly discreet and will never be found. The biggest clue to where they are laying is watching the roosters pace around the nest site like an expectant father in a waiting room or to listen for the cackles the hens make when they have laid an egg. The roosters patrol around the hens while the laying is taking place and the hens make a huge fuss when they are done. Maybe they are just excited or maybe they are letting their babydaddy's know they are doing a good job! Unfortunately, who has time for all that watching and listening when there are potential nesting sites spread over 30 acres?

Skunks, snakes and other varmints will find many of these nests at night and will have a feast and later I will find piles of broken shells. The hens will keep laying on the same nest site for a couple of days or even a week or more but will give up eventually and move to a new nest site. I just hope that the critters find all of the errant eggs and that I don't have to find them this summer when they have been sitting in the 90 degree heat for weeks...that is not a pretty situation but one that I have encountered on more than one occaision. Did I say YUCK!!!!?

These little hens we have now are our "pet" chickens that I write about frequently. They are a little too wild to be considered productive farm poultry but their enjoyment factor is very high and we like them alot. The eggshells are hard as rocks and very small but the yolks are as orange as a tangerine. We very much appreciate these plucky little hens making the effort to do their part here at the Farm.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Progress report from the Farm.

I have been really busy lately and have been trying to keep up the website, write for two other blogs, do my paperwork for my organic certification, order seeds, do interviews, manage my CSA business and keep up with the laundry. Everything but the last one is being done with aplomb but it has not left me much time to post to this blog.

We are getting ready to start our planting, which signals the beginning of the "season" so I will finally be able to start posting more info about how that is progressing. I think a lot of people look at this blog for that info anyway and I look forward to sharing that with my readers.

I will be trying my best to post something weekly from now on, so check back at least once a week and see how things are progressing here at the Farm.