Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
A view of life on our farm
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Work Begins On Our Newest Pasture

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!

 

 

 

 
 

Photos from the Hurricane Farm Tour

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. 

Erica did a great job showing a nice group of eager folks around our farm and many wonderful photos have been sent to us by the participants. 

Follow this link for a slide show courtesy of David Cope > http://www.flickr.com/photos/triodeandco/sets/72157624467019842/

 
 

Winter and Snow

Winter has set in and we have a solid covering of snow.  Looks like we'll be covered until the maple sap is running in March!  It snowed earlier than usual and has been colder than usual.  Such a combination has resulted in a nice white blanket throughout the state.

Neither the cold nor the snow seem to bother plant and animal life here in Scotland, CT, however.

The geese are still strolling around as if they own the place...That is, until the turkeys emerge from the wooded wetlands and take over.

The turkeys still "free-range" all winter, but there is little for them to eat so we offer them some grain each day.  This helps to keep them from "running away," as well.  In the summer and fall they eat entirely what they find in the woods and the fields, but the pickings are a little bit slimmer this time of year.

Even in the middle of a cold winter, the poultry prefer to remain outside.  The turkeys can enter the barn and roost within, but unless it is snowing outside, they still would rather sleep in the trees and atop the barn and sugar-shed.

These heritage toms and hens will be our breeding stock and hopefully provide us with all the poults that we'll need for this year's Thanksgiving.  We'll see how their production is in the late winter and then determine if we need to supplement our needs.  We're once again planning to expand our turkey operation and raise more birds.  We've been selling out faster and faster each season!

Here's Bertrude:

Here's Hiram:

Even though it's frigid and the water for the animals needs to be changed and dethawed several times per day, it is NOT too cold for a RED SOX cap!

And speaking of the cold:  check out what Erica and Liev dug out of the snow in the garden.  The kale is STILL growing, even in 20 degree weather!  This stuff sure is hardy!  It's now officially a year-round crop for us.  Hooray!

I can't believe that this stuff can still make it through this weather.  AND it's tasty!

 
 

A Visit to the Winter Farmer's Market

We'll be at the Coventry Winterfresh Farmer's Market in Coventry, CT this coming Sunday, December 20.  The market has been running for a couple of weeks, and we will be making our first appearance on the first Sunday of Winter! 

The market runs from 11am-2pm at the Coventry High School at 78 Ripley Hill Road (just off Rt. 31) in Coventry, CT. 

We'll have tons of free-range eggs, grass-fed beef cuts, heritage pork products, and more.

 
 

Free-Range Skunk

Upon returning from a much anticipated and highly successful "boys only" camping trip with my son, Liev, to the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont, we remarked that we still smelled the odor of the skunk that took up residence under the porch last week. 

You see, sometime over the weekend the skunk got into the cat food and "leaked" some of its skunk odor all over the place.  Yuck.  It seeped into the house, the outside boot-wiping carpet, and even my hat that was hanging nearby.

Naturally, the fresh air in the mountains helped to clear my nasal senses.  But they were all that much keener when I made it back to the farm.  The skunk must still be about, I thought.

Tonight, then, I noticed something rustling in the entryway near the cat food.  After locating the cat with a mini, pink mag-light, we all rushed back inside.  The skunk was afoot!

Liev and I grabbed our boots and hats (now skunk-free after a thorough washing!) and raced to the barn (out the skunk-free front door) to get our trusty "skunk catching trap."

This is my fourth skunk trapping, and it went pretty smoothly.  Violet had a friend over, so I had a nice little viewing audience cheering me (or the skunk?) on.

We set the trap, baited it with some wet cat food, positioned it about three feet from the little guy and in he walked!  Much easier than some of my earlier attempts which resulted in five or six "cat catchings" before the skunk finally waddled in.  I stood in the doorway and watched him circle the trap, smell the food, and walk right in.  SNAP!  He started eating the food right away, seemingly obvious to the predicament at hand.

Catching it, though, is the easy part.  Next one I must get to the trap and move it somewhere.  Tarps are used here, along with bailing twine and a poking stick.  Here I am ready to go take care of this task.

"1, 2, and 3!  Go, quick, while he's aiming away!"

It's just like wrapping a gift for someone's birthday, or even Christmas.  Remember to tuck in all the edges and get the wrapping ALL the way around the "package."  Erica helped me to get the bailing twine on, urging me not to "rustle him too much."

Anyone order a free-range skunk?

How about those bows!  Now THAT'S a great present.

 

 
 

Moo

I came home yesterday to find a bale of wood shavings ripped open and spilled across the barn floor.  Hmm, I thought, I wonder how that happened? 

Then I saw some ripped paper in the stall with the cattle...Apparantly, they enjoy brown paper almost as much as they enjoy grass and hay.

I'll have to make a point of not stacking the bales of shavings so close to them in the future.

Moo!

 
 
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