Part of springtime is that our animals head out to the 130-odd acres of pasture that we farm around Lincoln. We had an exciting and busy week last week with animal arrivals to the farm and other animal departures from their winter homes! On Monday, we received over 1,000 new laying hens. These birds arrived about four or five-months old, basically fully grown and about to start laying. Our breeder in Pennsylvania set out before daybreak with a truck loaded full of hens, and drove for six hours to get them to the farm. It’s no small matter moving birds! Some other smaller farms coordinate with us to place their own orders for birds, and so they joined us to pick them up at the farm.
There was a festive atmosphere in the air as pick-up trucks, vans and animal trailers pulled into the Codman parking lot. Some came from as close as the Wright-Locke farm in Winchester, and some came all the way down from New Hampshire. When the delivery truck arrived, a small crew of Codman volunteers and staff, and folks from four or five other farms hopped to work unloading yellow crates full of birds, and freeing them into their mobile coops. Pete then hitched the coops to the tractor and towed them down to Codman South Field. The birds have been out in the lush grass for a week now, and if you’ve driven down Codman road you’ve probably seen them on top of the hill. Toby is out guarding them, and happy to be back on the grass as well.
Our cows headed out to pasture as well last week. If you were near the depot on Thursday or Friday, you might have seen Pete and Jared driving them to Farm Meadow, pulling the big silver animal trailer behind their tractors. Most of our herd is there, with a small second herd of younger cattle still on the farm waiting to move to another field. While the farm feels a little quieter with less cows, there is plenty going on.
All this is made possible by some of the efficient systems Pete and Jared have designed to make sure that we can keep our animals watered and fed while spread out on so many different pieces of land - something that is crucial to build healthy soil, rather than overgrazing and degrading it. Just seeing the lush grass along the Codman road makes me smile, knowing that our animals are foraging on the best food, and cycling fertility back to the soil, building up the resilience of the ecosystem.
Education continues on the farm. We had Farmer’s Helper again on Wednesday, and the kids learned how to spread cardboard and bark mulch to suppress weeds around the fruit bushes in the orchard. Our Waldorf High School class cozied up in the greenhouse during the rain on Friday, and learned about soils and seed starting. They discussed plans for their herbal tea garden, before planting out trays of seeds for their garden plot.
The weather is warming and the rain seems to be subsiding, so we’re looking forward to planting winter squash and other veggies, lambs arriving on the farm, our first chicken harvest in just over a week, pigs arriving and moving out into the fields, and whatever else arises with the flow of the season. Before we know it, we’ll be into the summer, and settling into the routine of chores as all the animals settle into their homes and the days grow longer and longer. If you’re interested in helping out at the farm, you can join us for our 2nd Volunteer Chicken Catching next Wednesday, May 29th, at 8pm! Old pro or never touched a chicken except on the dinner plate, your help is welcome, and we’d love to see you here.
Until next time,