A view of life on our farm[ Member listing ]
22 Nov · Mon 2010
Thanksgiving is almost here! We've been hard at work preparing our customers' turkeys and CSA pick-ups. It's been quite busy here on an otherwise quiet rural backroad with all the folks coming and going.
Maybe you purchased a Hurricane Farm turkey, some veggies, eggs for baking, syrup for sweetening your pies, vinegar for your salad dressing, sausage for your stuffing, or beef for a Thanksgiving lasagna?
Whatever you are eating from our farm, we hope that you find it delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by Chris @ 05:09 PM EST
17 Oct · Sun 2010
We are happy to announce that our 2010 Harvest Party is happening next Saturday, October 23. It begins at 2:00 pm and features farm fresh foods.
All ages, and kids welcomed! We will be roasting one of our turkeys on a spit, pressing apples to make cider, and hosting live bands throughout the day. This event is BYOB.
2:30 King Cake (www.kingcakeband.com)
Posted by Chris @ 10:38 AM EDT [ Comments  ]
A link to a nice article about our farm in the Hartford Courant from October 14, 2010.
Click on the "Discover Windham" link...
Tags: farming beef pork turkey family meat grass-fed thanksgiving farm eggs heritage csa free-range natural chicken
Posted by Chris @ 10:26 AM EDT
21 Sep · Tue 2010
Chefs Kevin Cottle (from Season 6 of Hell's Kitchen) and Van Hurd have our sweet sausage, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, herbs and butternut squash. Watch FOX 61 (in Connecticut--or check it out online!) Wednesday morning at 11:00 and see what they make!
Tags: farming pork television heritage chefs fox hurd family kitchen van farm sausage fun cottle 61 eating kevin hell's heirloom tomatoes cooking
Posted by Chris @ 03:42 PM EDT
19 Sep · Sun 2010
We're winding down with our tomato crop, but there are still plenty left! Watch for our heirloom varieties at the food booth of "Celebrating Agriculture" at the Woodstock Fairgrounds next Saturday, September 25th.
Check it out...it's a great family event focusing on agriculture in Eastern Connecticut: http://www.celebratingagriculture.org/
Posted by Chris @ 04:31 PM EDT
03 Aug · Tue 2010
We've finally started work on our newest pasture. This particular pasture is about 2/3 of a mile down the road...not far at all. We've finally "tamed" the pasture that we acquired laste year--meaning all of the invasive trees have been cut back and we're starting to get the grasses to fill in. This first pasture had not been tended to in years and needed alot of work.
Our newest pasture, however, is in GREAT shape and is ready for the cattle as soon as the cattle are ready to range (and once the fencing is finished).
The landowner of the new field has allowed us use of his 29 HP New Holland tractor complete with brush-hog and post-hole digger attachments. First we mowed down some of the field to make space to work. Then we attached the post-hole digger, drilled some holes, and set the corner posts. The next job was to mark out the location for the rest of the posts on each side. Some rebar and surveying tape worked nicely.
The attachment worked better than we imagined! It took only a couple of minutes to line-up and then drill each hole. We hit very few rocks, maybe 4 all day. Great soil!
We were able to get down about 4 feet for each hole! Now I can do this with a shovel, but not THAT fast! Check out all the "Danger" labels on this thing!
Corner post one. Barely had to use that shovel off to the left. A little "tamping" with the 2 x 4 and it's all set.
Being used to a 1963 Farmall Cub, this "new" tractor was a completely different machine. I think that I could turn a complete circle atop a postage stamp with this thing! Amazing control, both forward and back as well as steering.
Drop the three-point hitch, bring up the throttle, and then a touch of down pressure...
Still lots more to do, but we're off to a good start. It's been a full few weeks, with field clearing, harvesting chickens, and building chicken coops for customers, but we're on our way to some new farm land!
Tags: cattle beef tractors grazing fun fed range grass digging farming tractor cedar family free posts farm
Posted by Chris @ 07:29 PM EDT
12 Jul · Mon 2010
This past Saturday we took part in the Coventry Regional Farmer's Market "Graze Fest" which involved tours of some of the farms involved in the market.
Follow this link for a slide show courtesy of David Cope > http://www.flickr.com/photos/triodeandco/sets/72157624467019842/
Posted by Chris @ 11:51 AM EDT
07 Jun · Mon 2010
That's right! You can follow our exploits, experiments, failures, and success stories on FACEBOOK.
WHOA! That is one clunky URL. Just go to http://www.facebook.com and join Hurricane Farm.
Or GOOGLE us. It works!
Posted by Chris @ 08:35 PM EDT
Though neither "Up-To-the-Minute" nor "Late-Breaking," (sorry, we just found this article from last Winter) this blog commentary offers an interesting perspective on local, sustainable farming.
Posted by Chris @ 08:32 PM EDT
02 Jun · Wed 2010
In the Fall of 2009--a year and a half after establishing our Scotland, Connecticut farm--a film crew shot the following documentary.
"The New Farmer's Voice"
Posted by Chris @ 10:05 PM EDT [ Comments  ]
27 May · Thu 2010
More people are buying a piece of their local farm
Willimantic Chronicle, 27 May 2010
By MIKE SAVINO
ABOVE: Erica Andrews, right, the owner of Hurricane Farm in Scotland with her husband Christopher, allows Jasper Cote, 2, to hold a baby chicken.
BELOW: Andrews gives a steer named ‘Mert’ a rub on the cheek. The farm is part of an effort to increase community supported agriculture by allowing people to purchase a share of the crops at the beginning of each year.
WILLIMANTIC CHRONICLE, 27 May 2010
Posted by Chris @ 04:06 PM EDT
17 May · Mon 2010
We brought some of our livestock to the annual Farm Day here in Scotland, CT this past weekend. The photos below are from the Norwich Bulletin.
Here's two week old Moe sleeping after a morning's full of attention.
The piglets were also hard at work ripping up the grass looking for grubs, roots, and other yummy things. But so much hard work made for some sleeply little piglets for sure!
We had a great time and met some wonderful new customers and friends. It was also nice to see some of our CSA members and regular customers who came out as well.
Posted by Chris @ 03:39 PM EDT
22 Apr · Thu 2010
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!
Tags: family grass-fed fun free-range lamb cow ferns beef hen lambs sheep cattle cows fiddleheads mutton steer farm chicken bulb flower farming grazing kids calves calf
Posted by Chris @ 03:03 PM EDT
05 Apr · Mon 2010
Spring is alive at the farm and the surrounding woodlands and wetlands. The frogs have been peeping for weeks, and now after their loud rituals we are finding egg sacks in the "frog pond" and along the banks of the brook and stream.
Soon, the eggs will be hatching and tiny tadpoles will swarm the waterways that surround Hurricane Farm.
Even though there were seemingly thousands of frogs at the start of the "peeping," they are hard to spot now that the mating is all over. Here's one of the little guys. Who would expect something so small to make a sound so large?
In addition to the creatures, the plants are also popping up all over the place. Here is a Skunk Cabbage making its way up through the muddy bottoms of the stream.
And of course manure needs to be hauled. We started moving some up from the back manure piles, but there is still much more to move. We'll be tilling the gardens soon and we're also eagerly awaiting the next batch of "four-legged-tillers" (or piglets) who will be arriving in a couple of weeks.
There is still a lot to clean up from sugaring season, though. And both Erica and Violet spent hours working on this task. Gathering and hauling empty buckets from the woods, cleaning and scrubbing buckets, pails, spiles, and tubes, and getting it all packed away for next year takes more than an afternoon!
It was so sunny and warm that Violet felt compelled to break out not only her sun hat, but the sun-screen too! The finished Sugaring Pavillion is there in the back, still awaiting its roofing job...soon to come...
We also disassembled the bee hive, cleaned it out, and got it all ready for its new inhabitants. Hopefully we'll have better weather this coming summer and the bees will be able to prosper.
And, let's not forget, the arrival of the new farm animals. Just hours ago we welcomed our first lamb of the year! As always, it's busy busy busy here at the farm!
Tags: fecund farm eggs fun family spring fecunder manure frog sheep egg fertilizing farming fertilizer life frogs birth lamb
Posted by Chris @ 06:40 PM EDT
03 Apr · Sat 2010
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.
Tags: maple sugaring construction sugarin' chickens coop farming family farm chicken carpentry syrup
Posted by Chris @ 10:49 AM EDT
02 Mar · Tue 2010
We had the evaporator firing late into the night over this past weekend and our results yielded our first batch of 2010 Maple Syrup!
The full moon was out, the steam was rising from the pan, and Hurricane Farm's Official "Taste Tester" was on the job!
It's the moment of truth. Violet grabs her tasting glass and takes a "sniff": "Mmm. Sugary," was her first verdict.
She takes the first taste of the year...and...
It's good! Her smile tells it all...
We ended up with a very nice "light amber" for our first batch. The pan is still full, the holding tanks are at maximum capacity, and the sugar bush is still pouring forth the sap. It looks to be a good season so far...
Erica worked late into the night boiling down to the finished product, filtering the syrup, and then bottling it up.
Our first bottle of 2010. Yummy.
Tags: family amber maple backyard syrup taster taste sampler light sugarin' sugaring evaporator fun farm
Posted by Chris @ 05:41 PM EST
27 Feb · Sat 2010
It was "supposed to, maybe, probably, it could" snow all week here in Connecticut. We had rain. But...Friday came and so did the snow. Finally!
The maple buckets are in the woods and there is a fresh layer of clean, peaceful snow on the ground. Perfect conditions for woods-walking and maple sugarin'!
The ducks and geese love it. They take this opportunity to escape from the mud and clean their feathers.
Even the hogs like the snow, since it gives them something new to dig in. This one is almost ready for market.
This is Butch. He seems to be the current ruler of the barnyard. He doesn't mind the snow, and is the first one out of the barn despite weather conditions.
The Sugaring Hut...now fully piped, roofed, and ready to keep on sugarin'. We'll be adding some tin roofing in the Spring time. As it was, I was barely able to finish it to this stage before the sap started flowing! It works great, though, and now we can sugar in all sorts of nasty weather.
Here is one of our "snow plows" hard at work.
Another shot of the new Sugarin' Hut.
Here's Liev heading out to "plow" the "bridges" that we've put out to get us across the small streams and into the woods.
With all the rain, the water in the woods is flowing quite rapidly! In fact, some of the jugs that we set out on some the trees are now inaccesible. The larger brook has swollen beyond its banks and we can't get to some of the maple trees to retrieve the sap. Paco the Cat, however, does not seem bothered by this.
We use milk jugs to gather the sap once we run out of metal buckets and 5 gallon pails. You can see a couple of the jugs on some trees that are now in the midst of the brook. We'll have to wait to collect from those for a while...Or else brave the bitter cold water? I think we'll wait...At least until my Dad comes down and is loking for a job to do! Bring your waders, Dad!
Another tree now in the middle of the brook...
Finally, here is a cool tree bound by wild grape vines. Pretty neat find out there at the edge of the woods.
Posted by Chris @ 09:54 AM EST
22 Feb · Mon 2010
It took only a few hours and a sunny morning to get about 100 taps in. We dug out the buckets, lids, tools, and spouts, loaded up the trucks, and headed across town to the sugar bush.
The owners of the land that we use have been hard at work clearing out the brush, thinning the trees, and making the sugar bush more productive. You can see in the above photo some of the smaller trees that they had cut down to allow the larger trees room to grow.
The darker hole in the photo below is the hole from last year. To the right you can see the a new hole with fresh sap already dripping out. We generally put two taps per tree. This works out well as the two taps will generally fill a five-gallon bucket each day during the sugarin' season.
A few slight knocks with a hammer and the spout is set!
One a sunny day like this, the sap starts to flow before the drill bit is removed from the hole. It starts with a steady stream, but then slows to a pulsing drip. Those drops sure do add up, though!
Once again, everyone lends a hand. First we loaded up the trucks. Then we unloaded them in the woods and set out the buckets, covers, and spouts. Finally, we drilled and set the spouts into the trees.
It takes some focus and concentration to score a direct hit with the hammer!
The old-fashioned hand drill (brace) works better than an electric drill, in our opinion. Less noise and more elbow grease makes for some contemplative moments in the woods. (The more keen of our readers will notice something about the photograph below. Examine last year's photos...any takers?)
Teamwork all around makes quick work of the trees in the sugar bush.
The buckets are set, the trees are tapped, the sap is flowing...Maple lovers prepare to have your taste buds tantalized!
Posted by Chris @ 08:42 AM EST
18 Feb · Thu 2010
With the roof on, the trees tapped, and SNOW in the forecast, it was time to bring in some of our dry firewood.
Our design of a post/pole building leaves plenty of open room for the sunshine, for fresh air and ventilation, and for stacking wood! We started with the remaining slabwood from last season and then moved on to some of our super-seasoned hardwood. To get the sap boiling, you need as hot a fire as can be mustered.
The stacks of wood will also make a nice windbreak. An added bonus!
Every one in the family lends a hand at maple time.
Once we get all four walls stacked, it will be as if we're in a bear den. And...once the evaporator is firing, it will be nice and cozy...
It's almost SUGARIN' TIME...
Posted by Chris @ 01:32 PM EST