Thursday, June 5, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - First Week of June 2014

As Spring begins to transform into Summer, everything on the farm is a sea of green.

As Paul Simon wrote in 1973 

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's
a sunny day

All of the guinea fowl are in crazed Summer mating mode, with males chasing females all over the property and communal nests appearing in the forest, with clusters of 30-40 eggs.   On some nights a “designated layer” sits on the nest and sometimes does not survive the prowling foxes, coyotes and fisher cats.    We lost one guinea this week, so we’re down to 27.

I’ve lined all our trails and pastures with bird houses.   Since we cleared 2 acres for the orchard, large numbers of tree swallows and barn swallows have arrived.   As I walk the dogs in the large meadow, tree swallows peek out of their nesting boxes at me.   A mated pair of barn swallows  has created a nest in the rafters of barn.

Every day we’re harvesting vegetables from the hoop house and dinner includes fresh Unity Farm kale, spinach,lettuces, peas, and garlic, pictured below.

With all the growth of late spring, we've had to mow the orchard and meadows.  Now that I'm mowing 5 acres, I've had to retire the push mower and use an exMark commercial mower.   The orchard is a 20 degree hill so mowing takes a lot of upper body strength.   I use a brush cutter around the blueberries and apple trees then use the mower to trim the 2 feet of clover to 4 inches high.   I've tried to save as much clover as possible since the bees are beginning to harvest clover nectar for our  light, fragrant spring honey.

Trail maintenance continues and I completed the mulching of the Orchard Trail and portion of the Marsh trail.    My work was very timely since Kathy walked the trails with a local historian this week, pointing out the Revolutionary War era hand dug well, the Sherborn Powder House, and the grave of James Bullard, the powder house keeper, all of which are part of Unity Farm.

We pulled another ton of fallen poplar out of the forest and are busy inoculating logs with mushroom spawn.   We have a few visitors from California at the farm this weekend and I'll recruit them into mushroom permaculture.

Finally, we’re continuing our honey extraction.  This weekend we will spin the honey from an additional 22 frames - likely getting another 10-11 quarts of late season honey from last Fall.

Every night the sounds of Unity Farm become more Summer-like with crickets, bull frogs, and the gobble of wild turkeys climbing to their roosts in the tall pine trees.   Next week, I’ll post the sounds of approaching Summer from Unity Farm.

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