Pasture Season Begins, 2021

The first batch of chickens went out to pasture yesterday.  We started with a small group. Greta, our livestock guardian dog, lived with the cattle all winter, so we wanted to give her a gradual reintroduction back to pastured poultry duty.  She did just fine with them.  I think she was quite happy to be done with the cattle.  She likes little critters more than big ones. At WDF we take the “pasture” part of pasture raised chicken seriously.  Cattle grow shaggy coats and can thrive in temperatures far colder than we experience… Read More

Multidimensional Farming

I posted on the farm Instagram account a picture of the Honey Locust trees Zia and I have been planting in the pastures.  Someone sent in a comment asking if the trees were for shade, and I thought, “Hey, this would be a great topic for this week’s post.” I’ll get to that question by way of detouring through the philosophy of what we’re doing on the farm. Consider this:  flying over cropland, the ground below appears like a two-dimensional checkerboard.  And, for shame, plenty of people in conventional agriculture have treated it… Read More

A Look Around the Farm

Things are humming at WDF. This week instead of a topical post I thought I’d just show you what we’ve been up to. We’re looking forward to a future when we can open up the farm to tours again to show you this first hand, but in the meantime I’ll try to keep it as real as possible with a few photos of what we’ve been working on. Concrete just out of the chute and into our forms. We’re building a foundation for a new bin to hold organic chicken feed. Loading… Read More

Chicks Arrive

The first chicks of the season hatched this week.  They wriggled free of their egg shells on Monday morning. We picked them up a few hours later and brought them back to the farm the same day.  From now until Thanksgiving it is bird season at Wrong Direction Farm. The chicks are kept in close quarters inside vented cardboard boxes while we bring them home from the hatchery.  It is a loud drive for Zia, as she sits in the car with a chorus of 500 chirping birds!  Chicks need to be kept… Read More

New Delivery Boxes

We’re rolling out new boxes for our home delivery orders of grass fed and pasture raised meat.  I realize the idea of custom-printed boxes is nothing revolutionary, but it sure feels like a big accomplishment for us. Here’s a look at the new boxes.  If you place an order starting this weekend, you’ll have one of these show up on your doorstep: I worked with an artist to adapt photos into sketches.  We began with a whole folder of pictures our chickens and turkeys out on the pastures.  I’m sure I drove… Read More

Mud Season Arrives

This is the time of year to bring out E.E. Cumming’s perfectly turned phrases “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful”.  This is mud season on the farm, and we are in the splash zone.  Everything and everyone is spattered with mud.  Receding snow is opening up patches of brown grass.  Within a day of exposure the vegetation begins greening as photosynthesis renews.  South-facing slopes already are bare and the rest of the fields are losing the snow pack rapidly. Feeding the cattle gets tricky this time of year with sloppy ground.  The tractor wants to sink… Read More

Getting the farm Certified Organic

Before we even started farming we knew following organic principles would be foundational to our farm.  But somehow we never got around to filling out the paperwork and getting the inspections to certify the farm officially.  It always seemed like it was not quite the highest priority; it was something to put off until next year, or the next year, or the next year… Enough procrastinating!  This week I took the momentous step of submitting all the paperwork to begin the formal certification process for Wrong Direction Farm. For our grass fed… Read More

Containerized Farm

I love and hate shipping containers as farm infrastructure. We have four shipping containers and five tractor trailer boxes serving in some capacity on the farm.  They provide modular, low-entry cost flexibility our farm has found essential. I don’t think we could have afforded to build out our farm’s business selling pasture raised chicken and grass fed beef if we also were trying cash flow the construction of traditional barns. So I love them. But I also am always frustrated by containers.  They also are always just a little too inadequate. Containers don’t… Read More

How Big is a Small Farm?

When people visit the farm I’ll frequently get a surprised comment, “Wow, that’s a lot of chickens!” And for the average person’s experience, I suppose a group of five hundred chickens is a lot, so I understand. But to my eye, this is just a small group of chickens. A conventional United States chicken farm usually raises in the range of a half million to three million chickens per year. I spoke with a farmer who had three thousand laying hens on pasture. When people at the farmers market would ask him… Read More

Keeping the Cattle Hydrated

The last few weeks have been running on the colder side. Every morning and afternoon either Rachel or I chop the ice from the water trough that is fed by underground pipeline from the pond. For all our effort, most of our cattle never use the water trough whenever there is soft snow on the ground. A few hang around waiting for us to finish chopping the ice so they can get in for a drink but the others just come to watch us work, and after their companions have had a… Read More