Thursday, January 28, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Fourth Week of January 2016

We’ve passed the coldest part of winter and already our thoughts are focused on the germination of our Spring crops and planning for the growing season ahead.    This week I used the germination station, pictured below, which can produce 360 seedlings at a time using grow lights and heat pads, regardless of the external temperature.    Winter Density lettuce, Romaine, and Japanese Mibuna are now growing. In a few weeks I’ll put them in our newly prepared raised beds.   We’ll also be starting a few other lettuces next week

Bibb (Buttercrunch)
Boston (Nancy)
Greenhouse (Rex)
Red (Rex Cross)
Mache (Vit)

We’ve designed a monthly succession planting schedule to keep the germination flats and hoop house beds full (with crop rotation) all year long.

My Umass homework this week involved reading this article about Farming for Quality of Life Improvement and writing our personal story:

“My wife, daughter, father-in-law and I moved to Unity Farm in Sherborn, MA four years ago.   We had lived in Wellesley, MA for the previous 16 years.     When we originally moved to Wellesley, it was a family oriented place with many modest homes, many young children, and a rural downtown (Diehl’s hardware was the largest business).   Today. Wellesley is filled with exercise studios, Range Rovers, elegant shops, overworked parents, and few modest homes.

Exercise on the farm involves a shovel, not a personal trainer.   Entertainment is rolling in the hay with the pigs, not going shopping.   We have a small delivery van and a front loader, not a  Range Rover.    The amount of financial farm losses we experience every year is minor.

The farm enabled us to create a multi-generational household where everyone lives, works, and plays together.   Although my father-in-law passed away last year, it’s still a place where generations gather and my daughter will be married at the farm this Summer.

To paraphrase the  Visa card commercial - the price of feeding the pigs every year - a few hundred dollars.   The joy of feeding the pigs - priceless.”

We found fresh Bobcat tracks around the treehouse today.    A local television station captured a picture of one of the Unity Farm Bobcats last fall.

The freshly fallen snow looks like a freeway of coyote, bobcat, raccoon, fisher cat, turkey, deer, and fox tracks.

We’re expecting more snow tomorrow.   I’ve found the snowblower attachment for the tractor to be invaluable.  The pigs really do not like snow, so I put them in their barn and used the snowblower to clear their entire paddock during the last snowfall.   The geese do not like the snow since they tend to ski on their webbed feet.

Now that Unity Farm is fully operational, we have quite a rhythm.   Every creature - pig, goose, chicken, guinea, duck, alpaca, llama, dog, and cat has a routine and knows its place in the ecosystem.   Every plant has its season.   The land creates food, shelter, and water flow.   Everything fits together in unity, just as we hoped.

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