Thursday, October 27, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Fourth Week of October 2016

After two weeks of international IT collaboration, I’m returning to the farm tomorrow.   Kathy and I have been in constant contact despite the 6, 12 and 17 hour time shifts during my travel.

What has Kathy done in my absence?

1.   A few baby guinea fowl showed up in the driveway after being hatched in the forest and then chilled in rain/freezing temperatures (did I mention Guinea Fowl are horrible parents).   We immediately put them in the brooder but only 1 survived.   We named him Rambo.   He refused to eat because he was so focused on searching for his brothers and sisters.     Kathy gave him an instant family of freshly hatched chicks (pictured below) and now he’s eating like a horse.   We’ll move the entire group to a mini coop inside the main coop when I return.

2.  We’ve had 5 inches of rain during my travels so our mushroom farm has thrived.   Kathy has harvested 100+ pounds of Shiitake and has filled a stack of produce bins as tall as she is.   Here’s what happens to inoculated oak logs when they’re soaked with Fall rains and  given moderate temperatures.

3.  All the bantam chickens and roosters new to the farm have established their pecking orders and found their territories.  Kathy has kept them healthy and happy.   We’ve not lost a single bird to predators while I’ve been gone.

4.  Before I left I cut a road from the barnyard to the new aviary area and around the back of the alpaca paddock to the edge of the new sanctuary property we’re acquiring next door.   In my absence the gravel for that road arrived so we now have a new area to drive over with farm equipment.    I've called it Sanctuary Road.

5.  When I left, the trees were just turning and the forest was still dense with growth.   Kathy has watched the leaves fall and has been sweeping the ponds of leaf matter daily

6.  Although the aviary was nearly done before I left, the hardware cloth shipment arrived and Kathy hired a local contractor to install the wire.     We'll create a small shelter inside the aviary and then be able to host various species as soon as our permits arrive.

7.    Uneaten hay, mud, and excess rain combined to create a kind of quicksand in the girl paddock.   During my absence a local farm hand used our front loader to clear out the paddocks.   The alpaca are thrilled to have a flat, firm, dry place to sit.

This weekend I’ll be busy doing animal care - trimming alpaca toenails, running with the dogs, giving the pigs the belly rubs they’ve been missing.   I’ll be crushing and fermenting 500 pounds of apples.     I’ll be racking the cider I fermented before I left.   The work on the farm is invigorating and I will not miss sitting in economy seats while the person in front of you leans back all the way

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