Thursday, July 17, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - Third Week of July 2014

Although midsummer is a time of harvest, the focus of the past week has been on the birth of our new baby alpaca, Sunny.   Our philosophy at Unity Farm is “living things first” - maintenance, infrastructure, and new projects must wait until all our living things are cared for.

Sunny was born at 5pm on July 15 after an 11 1/2 month gestation.   She weighed 17 pounds at birth and walked in the first 30 minutes.   After an hour she was feeding vigorously and proudly displayed her milk mustache.   Her mother is very attentive and the two spend the day playing, resting, and eating.    Our traveling veterinarian visited the farm on July 16 and declared mom and baby in perfect health.    The placenta was perfectly intact, so we are confident that mom will not have any retained tissue.     In the next few weeks, we’ll have another alpaca birth and Sunny will have a playmate to grow up with.

The guineas continue to sit on their woodland nests.    They generally do a very poor job of keeping the eggs warm, so we’re not expecting many new birds from our four nesting moms.   We gathered 50 eggs from one nest and candled them, finding that 9 were developing and 41 were not.   We gave the 9 to the ducks, which are great parents, to hatch.    The ducks also have the advantage that their nests are inside a protected coop at night.   The guineas in the forest have to contend with raccoons, foxes, and fisher cats.

While maintaining one of our pond pumps, I found a garter snake nest.  She has an interesting choice of companion,  bonding with a power cord.   Clearly she prefers her men long, black, and generally quiet.

This week we harvested 25 pounds of Shitake mushrooms, 25 pounds of cucumbers, multiple types of squash, chinese long beans, and tomatoes.   Dinners have included homemade ramen noodles with fresh vegetables and mushrooms as well as mediterranean style tomato/cucumber salads.    It’s Summer and the living is easy!

The weekend will be filled with cleaning our animal areas,  harvesting vegetables, and spreading wood chips on trails.    I've been wearing a pedometer and the average Unity Farm day takes 10 miles of walking, but it's joyful work.

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