August in the Valley
August has just flown by, and we are already into September, how did that happen?! I guess time flies when you are having fun, and chasing turkeys…! We are well over half way through the season and finally all of our wonderful animals are out in the main pasture and every day a set of pigs or a coop of birds gets moved on to new ground, which certainly keeps us busy.
Each animal impacts the ground in a different way (while fertilizing it), the pigs like to root around in the dirt with their strong snouts, the ducks love water and to forage with their beaks in the mud, the turkeys are getting heavier and trample the grass well (providing great soil coverage) and the last two coops of heritage chickens are outside during the day, free to to stretch their legs, get dust baths, run about and forage for extra proteins. This means we have a daily schedule of setting up fencing and moving one set of animals or another.
We set up the fence for the pigs right next to the current fencing and then place a board over the electric fence and lure them over with food and veggies to their new home. Using a pig’s appetite definitely makes it easier to get them to do what you want! They are food motivated just like all of us here. To move the chicken and turkey coops, we attach chains from the tractor to the coop and drag everything backwards into the new space while another member of the crew watches out to make sure no daredevil birds stay in the coop while it is moving. Moving two sets of pigs from the front field to the main pasture gave us a little extra work as they have to make the journey in a trailer, so for a couple of days before the big move we put the entrance of the trailer within their fence and feed them from it so they get used to it and it (supposedly!) makes it easier to get them in there when we want to move them over. Pigs can be pretty stubborn, and rarely do what they don't want to do, so sometimes it takes a little extra coercion and encouragement.
The turkeys have been pretty well behaved up until the last couple of weeks, but if there is one thing we have learned about them on the farm it’s just how curious they are. They always want to see what is happening on the other side of the fence, and when they act as a turkey herd they can push down the fencing to have a good explore of the rest of the pasture, but after they have had a good nose around they usually let you lead them back in, conserving energy for the next break out. You can bet they’re already planning it!
The barn is getting really close to completion and just keeps getting more incredible every day. A highlight of the design are the Dutch doors on the north side which have been hung this week, beautiful and practical, much like the barn itself. We really can’t wait to get moved in, it is going to change life on the farm to have that working space. We might be biased but we are fairly sure it is the most impressive, beautiful barn that has ever been built! And the huge team of people working on all the different elements have brought their expertise and energy to the project in the most incredible way. We feel so grateful to be on this land at this time to be able to utilize this amazing structure and truly benefit from the generosity of our landlords, POST.
And finally, some big news - the famous blue farm house is having a lick of paint to freshen her up so she doesn’t feel too shabby next to the new barn. And not only that, she is now a beautiful dark red! The times they are a-changing at Root Down! We are excited to be moving into fall, and can’t wait to share more tales of farm life through September.