Our chickens shelter, but not in place. The idea of putting large numbers of animals in the same place for long periods of time is what drove agriculture into its dependency on pharmaceuticals. So our chickens move, and we need to make sure their shelter can move with them. The need for shelter changes for chickens as they grow. Just after hatching we keep them in insulated, heated brooders because they can’t regulate their own body temperature yet. After that early phase, once they begin to feather out, they require less heat… Read More
This spring one of my farm efficiency projects has been the standardization of all trailer hitches on field equipment. We have five little utility trailers we constantly move on pasture for water and feed buggies for the poultry, plus another trailer frame that holds the turkey shelter. Four of them used four different types of 2″ ball couplers, one used a 2-5/16″ ball coupler, and another one used an ag-style pin connector. All of the ball couplers were getting worn out, with several requiring hammers or screwdrivers to engage and disengage the… Read More
Today we brought this group of little chickens out of the brooder and set them up in the field. Between the strong cold wind and the nightly freezes, we had to give them some help. To block the wind we tarped the end wall. Our chickens get exposure to American consumer culture, with a Blade Runner movie billboard for a roof and a McDonald’s billboard as a windbreak. We also rigged a propane brooder hover heater in the shelter. It isn’t cost effective to run it full time, but I think for… Read More
We bought an old greenhouse from a farm in town. Over the last week we’ve taken it all apart and brought all the hoops back here. Having the project site close by was convenient, allowing us to peck away at the job as we found time in breaks in the weather and between other tasks. The greenhouse was built in 1989, and although it has been uncovered for more than ten years most of the galvanizing is in decent condition. Greenhouse frames that I’ve found from the 1980s tended to be built… Read More
April is such a strange month. The weather simply reaches blindly into the grab bag and pulls out whatever comes to hand. Lately the selections have favored snow, rain, and howling winds. We and the rest of the farm are tensed up, ready for the explosion of activity that characterizes May through November. But in April we remain crouched and twitching, waiting. The number of chickens on the farm continues to increase. We have three batches of chickens at various stages of development, from one week old to five weeks old, all… Read More
The farming year begins again at Wrong Direction Farm with the first chicks of 2020.
The last few weeks have been crazy ones on the farm, so I need to let you all know how things stand on inventory and ordering. But before that, I want to thank you all for your orders. It is good to know that so many people turn to us to put food on their family table. In times of quarantine, food is probably the third most important priority for folks, at least according to my informal surveying. Apparently the new Maslovian hierarchy for people stuck in their houses looks something like:… Read More
I live on two different planets simultaneously. It is reassuring to look outside at the spring returning. The ice is all gone from the pond, and little bass are swimming in shallows. Buds are swelling. Yesterday, I watched a Cooper’s hawk circle the pasture, dive, and reascend with a vole in it talons. The complex biological system of our area is beginning to reinvigorate. And of course I’m surrounded by many layers of panics. Order volumes are higher than ever so packing orders and restocking freezers is a nonstop project. We’re working… Read More
Our old milkhouse stands close to the road in a state of decay. Of course current zoning rules make it impossible for anyone to build a structure a mere six feet from the edge of our road like this shed. But this was erected a long, long time ago. Back when it was built farmers would carry their milk cans from the barn up to a milkhouse, usually built with a well or spring-fed water circulation to keep the milk cool. The farmer or a neighborhood delivery wagon driver would collect the… Read More
Making snow plows plow snow, but better.