Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of October 2015

We had 4 inches of rain this week, bringing a welcome end to the drought of the past 30 days.   Over the past few years we’ve worked hard to regrade the landscape around the farm and ensure water drains away from buildings.    Not a drop entered any structure.

The nights are turning cold and we’ve restarted the fireplaces at night.   I welcome the opportunity to spend evenings around a cheery fire.

We’re splitting the last of the 2015 harvested wood - ash and cedar can be burned without aging, but all other woods will be cured for a year.

We’ve cleaned the barn loft in anticipation of our 2015 hay delivery - 4 tons of second cut arrives this week.

This week we replaced the barn doors that were over 20 years and starting to decay.  Our first clue was the one foot hole the geese poked in the rotting wood.

I put the finishing touches on the zip line this week, adding a backup stop block, just in case the brake fails.   I also built a landing platform that allows the rider to stand, step, and unclip before climbing back to ground.

We picked apples - everything in the orchard that was over 15 Brix.   My favorite eating apples are Empire and Macoun, which we’ve set aside.  We’re making craft cider from the Ben Davis, McIntosh, Cortland, Pink Lady, and other varieties.    Some have have asked if we have help with the harvest.   Here’s a photo of our 4 picking staff, who really enjoy eating apples and pears during the process.

Cool Fall nights are great for growing lettuce.   Here’s a photo of the lettuce harvesting crew

Our smallest rooster, Tyrion (Bantam Cochin), has paired with our largest female, Midnight
(Jersey Giant).    We look forward to seeing the offspring of that pair!

Our last major project of Spring is replacing our aging driveway before the snow falls.   We’re digging down 9 inches, adding course rock drainage and using pavers instead of asphalt.    Kathy designed a compass rose to sit at the center drive and the serve as a directional guide for all our farm locations.

I do not sleep much, which works out well on farm that requires me to check on the animals in the middle of the night.   At 2am last night, the geese were particularly upset.   In the morning, I found out why - a raccoon had been pestering them but could not enter their secure pen.    As soon as we let the geese out in the morning they chased the raccoon back to its home in the hollow of a tree - here’s what a raccoon looks like after it’s been chased by angry geese.

The weekend ahead (Columbus Day) is packed with cider making, mushroom log inoculation (Japanese Reishi mushroom), garlic planting, and preparing the farm for my absence next week in China.

The farm will miss me as much as I’ll miss it!

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