Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
A view of life on our farm
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Hurricane Farm in a nice article from the HARTFORD COURANT

A link to a nice article about our farm in the Hartford Courant from October 14, 2010.

Click on the "Discover Windham" link...

 http://www.courant.com/about/special_sections/

 
 

The Further Emergence of Spring

Spring continues its forward progession. 

New calves have been introduced to the growing "herd" out in the pastures...

A new lamb, named Vera, is introduced to some of the other sheep in the flock...

A little girl holds one of her favorite hens...

A flower pops its head through the freshly tilled and fertilzed soil...

Fiddleheads pop up alongside the brook and stream...

Spring is here and in full force at Hurricane Farm!

 
 

Spring Work

The maple sugarin' season was very short this year with a low yield.  We made about 25% of what we made last year.  Lucky for us we have a very diversified farm and we don't rely on one product/season.  My advice is that if you are looking to get fresh CT maple syrup this year, snap to it!  Many of the larger producers will be buying their syrup in bulk  from Canada and re-bottling it in their own containers.  If you want REAL CT syrup.  Go buy it before the end of April.

In other news, we have a busy day on the farm:

Erica and the the kids are going to the sugar bush to gather all the buckets.  Then we will need to clean and store all the maple syrup making equipment.

I'm working on the first batch of chicken coops.  We've already sold a few and have customers waiting.

We've also just acquired some new calves and the turkeys and chickens are arriving later this week.

The eggs in the incubator in the house should be hatching any day, as well as the various clutches of turkey and chicken eggs "hidden" under hens throughout the barnyard and barn.

Another batch of bees should be ready for pickup any day.

Manure needs to be loaded, moved, spread, and tilled. 

Spring veggies need to be planted.  Seeds need to be started.

WOW!  Let's get busy...!  New photos of SPRING to follow.

 
 

Chicken World Grand-Opening

We finally finished the general building of the new chicken coop/outbuilding.  There are still some things left to do, though, like add siding, roofing, a step, maybe a window box with some flowers...

But we have moved all the meat chickens and some of the young egg layers into it.  It took an extra couple of days to get the outside run portion put together.  I ended up using more of the leftover cut-offs from the lumber mill to frame in the run, which gives it a kind of rustic look.

When the moving day came, we first had to load up the chickens.

We backed the little truck right up to the barn and the kids and I loaded them into cages.  It took four trips in all to get every last one.

Violet and Liev especially liked being able to ride in the back of the truck as I drove it from the behind the barn to the new coop.  I remember riding in pick-up beds back from baseball games, to the movies, and all over the place when I was a kid, but that sort of thing is kind of outlawed now-a-days, I suppose.

We probably could have done the whole job with more cages and fewer trips, but the kids really liked the whole driving back and forth and catching chickens aspect of it.

Here is a shot of those lumber mill cut-offs in action.  They were well over 12 feet long, which allowed me to set fewer posts.  To the right you can see one of the windows that we reclaimed from the transfer station (there are 4 in all in this building).  I hung them so they tilt in (old-school chicken coop style).  This allows the air to circulate in the top of the window and then the warm air is sucked out through the openings in the joists atop the wall.  In a house one would block those openings up (with soffits) to keep out all the nasty little critters that try to get in.  But here in the chicken coop it makes for a nice air flow.  Standing in the coop with the windows open you can actually feel the breeze as the air circulates.  Pretty amazing.

I mounted the windows with door hinges...see next photo.  Also see Liev trying to convince the chickens to try out their now pop-hole and chicken yard.  (I think that you can also see part of Violet through the pop-hole...she is testing out the chicken's new ramp.)  Those white chickens all around on the floor are meat breeds.  They grow heavy and fast.  Liev is holding an egg layer the same age as the white ones...It is about 1/4 the size and weight of the white ones.

Smile.

There is the new building from a distance.  We'll add additional runs off the right side and the front next year, but for now the rear one offers plenty of fresh air and shade for the chickens on these hot summer days.  We're planning to put on that tin/metal roofing material like you see on all the homes in Vermont and New Hampshire.  We were thinking maybe white, as it would keep the building cool, but since it has such great ventilation already we might opt for red.  After I build the garden shed we'll order the roofing material for both buildings at once and save on some of the cost. 

 

 
 

Summer Eats

Nothing beats a fresh, home-grown meal. 

Do your best to enjoy all the wonderful foods out there this time of year!

 
 

Fresh Chicken

As CSA pick-up approaches, we decided to see where our meat chickens are at size-wise.  We prepared two of them, one of the larger sized ones and one of the smaller sized one this weekend. 

We are looking at meat birds in the 5-6 pound range on average dressed, and there are still two weeks to go before we prepare them all.  We used the plucking machine that I built last fall and it worked WONDERFULLY. 

At first, it seemed to have no power, just like it did with the over-sized turkeys.  I was pretty frustrated.  However, I noticed that the belt was slipping--perhaps it was a bit stretched out while it over-wintered in the barn.  (How many hyphenized-words can I use in this post?)

I loosened the motor (the hefty 3/4 horse-power motor that I had upgraded to last Fall) and added a shim to tighten up the belt, Mickey-Mouse-style.  Oh boy, did it work!  This will save us probably about 10 minutes per bird at least!  It took less than a minute, and I think less than 30 seconds for the machine to do its work...WOW!

We have some photos and they will be up soon.  I especially like the one of us hauling it around the farm in the back of the small wagon attached to the Farmall.

 
 

Silo Acquisition: Phase 2

We have just completed Phase 2 of our SILO ACQUISITION.

Phase 1, the most tedious of all phases, included posting several ads on Craigslist throughout the greater New England and Pennsylvania area in the hopes of locating an unwated silo (a.k.a. Grain Bin).  After culling through dozens of responses offering us "less-than-ideal" (read rusted, warped, three-legged, bottom-less!) silos, we decided to call around to find out about new silos. 

New silos, however, are not very cost-effective--especially from the perspective of those who always purchase things second, third, and fourth-hand.

We did, though, find a slightly used silo through one of owners of what I guess should be called the "Silo Store."  He informed us that one of his clients was interested in selling her silo, and that he would be willing to remove it from her farm and erect it on our property.  Around the same time, I stumbled upon another used silo at a farm in a neighboring town.  This one was slightly more "used," but worth while checking out.

Phase 2, then, involved looking at and inspecting both silos.  We decided, ultimately, on the newer of the two in the hopes that it will be a longer-lasting investment.  Below, find some photos taken at the conclusion of Phase 2.

(BBQ grill not included)

 

Phase 3, which involves the delivery and installation of said silo, will hopefully commence (and resume) sometime this week or next.  Phase 4, involving filling it will feed from the mill will, logically, follow Phase 3 forthwith.

 

 
 

Cold Hands

So we started out our farm life several years ago with a rabbit.  Then we had two rabbits.  Then, well, you know how that works. 

We progressed to a small chicken coop with funky little diamond-shaped windows.  We had two chickens.  Then four chickens.  Then...

So, this past summer here at the new farm a customer asked if we could build a chicken coop for her backyard.  Recalling our first coop, we put together some plans and I built the coop.  Another customer stopped by, saw the finished product, and put down a deposit on the next one that I could build.  Pretty soon, I was building two at a time to meet the demand.  Who knew backyard chickens were so hip?

Well, that was in the summer and fall, and now it is -1ยบ F here in CT.  A little cold to work on coops outside, but I will be beginning to fabricate the framing pieces, sides, and nesting boxes in the workshop (right next to the woodstove).  I've set my limit for Easter at 6 coops and 6 rabbit hutches, but depending on the demand and the incoming deposits, I may have to build more.

 

 No, she does not come with the coop.  But could I interest you in a "nice" and "friendly" rooster?

 
 

CSA openings for 2009 Season

We are now accepting new customers for our 2009 CSA.  We currently have only a few openings, so please contact us ASAP to reserve your space.  Pick up's will be monthy from June to November, and there are two price levels.  Hurricane Farm's CSA is meat-based, and includes:  cage-free chicken; grass-fed beef; heritage breed pork; heritage and conventional breed free-range turkeys.  Other farm items such as eggs, maple syrup, and breads will be offered as well.  Please call the farm today at 860-465-9934 to find out more about our program.  Farm tours are also welcomed and encouraged.  See you at the farm!
 
 
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