Sign up for May and June 2017 here, there are still a few spots available. If you aren't a member yet, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to try out the Meat CSA for May and June and see if it works for you and your family, with just a 1 or 2 month commitment.
Good morning Local Food Eaters,
We hope you are enjoying the spring weather!
We wanted to share some cool photos of the early stages of Brooks' new shipping container structure. I think this project fulfills some of his engineering creativity urges. It is also really cool that you can get such a multi-purpose, functional, structurally sound box (did I mention rat proof?), delivered, for about $2000.
So this was the site before, alongside our "East Field", just outside of what we call "Pigtown", the securely fenced in area for loading pigs.
Brooks leveled the site, and poured concrete footers.
Then, our fantastic local fencing company (shout out Appalachian Fence Co.) came with a crew of skid-loaders to move our existing shipping containers. In typical North Mountain Pastures crazy style, this was done in the rain. WITH chicks in them already.
If you've been to our farm, you'll recognize the above spot as across from the barn and house. It took a few hours to get these from here to the new site.
No chicks harmed in the process in the making of this brooder.
Then, Brooks with his helper Kaj poured footers for the new shipping containers. His plan was to put them end to end.
And it worked! Here they are in place on the footers, just touching end to end.
A view from the field above:
A few days ago, the plasma cutter was used to cut out the end wall to join them into one long continuous building.
Behind Brooks in the above photo is a chick brooding setup, (heat lamps, feed, and water on deep bedding for the first 2-4 weeks to protect them while they are small).
Also we have fairies who come and check on the chicks for us ;)
Just this morning, we had a new delivery of chicks and so we have a 'Before':
Why is their bedding brown?
Last year, we switched from using primarily pine shavings to using peat moss as bedding, as it was recommended to us as being much more absorbent requiring less of it to be effective, and healthier for the small chicks' respiratory systems. However peat moss isn't the most sustainable thing in the world, and not really local. So recently we switched to using our own farm-made compost as bedding. It is a fine humus (that's HUMUS, the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms, not HUMMUS that you eat with pita chips). It is a source of carbon material, and very similar in performance to the peat moss.
The end game of course is for these chickens to be grazing outside for the majority of their life. Right now, they are at the top of the hill, and doing well. The first batch was butchered last Tuesday.
AND the rest of farm life continues as usual, with the spring beauty and babies arriving.
Look at that lamb, can you see the black tips on his ears? I tried so hard to get a better photo, but the mom won't let me anywhere near. Both the mom and dad sheep were white, so this is some recessive gene expression in this little one.
We also have a bottle lamb at the moment!
Make sure you come out to the Farm Visiting Day to get a chance to bottle feed him! He'll be bigger, but will definitely still be expecting milk. Mark your calendars for June 3, 3-7pm.
What else are we going to do with these shipping container structures?
Stay tuned to find out. For now, they're the perfect chick brooder.
Thanks for supporting locally grown foods!
~Brooks Miller and Anna Santini
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