Wrong Direction Farm

Sittin’ Chicken

Last year we raised 100 or so Freedom Rangers on about two acres.

chick

Each day we moved their coop to a new spot and opened the door to give them the run of the place.

chickengawk

At the end of the season we gave them a short ride to the butcher and the next night bagged and froze them.

ckicken

So when I handle a chicken I get from the freezer, I remember how they all did their chicken run to the feeder when I came out to the pasture last summer.

I remember all the water I poured out for them during the dry spell.

  I remember scanning the sky for hawks and picking up the carcasses of the ones they carried off.

chicken

And I enjoy the crispy skin and moist insides at the table.

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How about some leftovers for a picnic lunch in the backyard?

That is satisfying.

Two Healthy Drinks

Since the cold weather has prohibited gardening, and since I have a request from a reader,

I’ll write about an electrolyte drink I make for us in the summer as well as a tea we learned to make this winter.

In 2011, I visited Essex Farm  for a farm tour and an introduction to using draft horses in farming.

horses

Mark introduced me to a great alternative to a sports drink. He filled a quart jar with water and added

about

2 T apple cider vinegar,

1T real maple syrup,

1/2t ginger powder,

1/4t salt.

It was spot hitting and has become a staple around our house. All the electrolyte goodness without all the unhealthy additives. Of course he didn’t measure the ingredients and neither do I, so you may find your own balance of ingredients to suit your taste.

elect

A couple of months ago, my sister sent a link my way with a delicious tea recipe.  It is a yummy way to calm reflux. It calls for bay leaves, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and raw honey.

drink

The recipe is explained in detail with beautiful illustrations, so enjoy looking at it here.

The Cousins Come

The kids were excited to see their cousins come for a visit today.

goofing in the back of the truck while DP worked under it

goofing in the back of the truck while DP worked under it

They played some ball, visited the animals

Ryle is happy!

Ryle is happy!

and played pig rodeo–a delightfully funny game to watch.

Cayden and AJ averaged about 5 seconds.

Cayden and AJ averaged about 5 seconds.

Until next time….

a Perozzi kid tradition...pushing the car out

a Perozzi kid tradition…pushing the car out

We Add A Few Sheep

The trouble with Spring is that it gives you the feeling you can do anything.

So when an opportunity comes along to expand, you usually jump at it.

Drake

Drake

We want to add sheep to our farm, but we aren’t ready to add a flock.

Sean

Sean

Our compromise is to try a few males we will  have only for a season.

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We started with three yesterday.

Little Rose

Little Rose

Allie is thrilled out of her socks.

Our Possibilities

What can we do with 97 acres, an old farm house and a lot of hard work?  Anything!

pasture

Land and Animals

These two are so interconnected, I’ll take them together.  The health of the soil depends as much on the animal as the animal depends on it.  Managed properly, these two improve each other indefinitely. The animals give as much back to the ground as they take from it and the ground gives to the animals the improvement it has received from them. We call that sustainability.

the birds are a fantastic source of fertilizer
the birds are a fantastic source of fertilizer

We manage our pastures by rotating our livestock through it wisely. We hope to eventually raise 4 groups of 30 pigs each year and maintain 50 head of Angus while improving our soil.

Dave moves the farrowing hut into the new pasture for the pigs.
Dave moves the farrowing hut into the new pasture for the pigs.

Cultivation

Again, everything is connected.  We are interested in permaculture.   We want to see many different types of plants and animals existing together and benefiting from each other. We desire to nurture variety, hardiness and sustainability and share that with our community. We want to be productive instead of consumptive for the sheer joy of it.

ducks

Ponds, ponds and more ponds will improve productivity, provide additional food and draw a variety of beneficial organisms.

Our Family

How do you measure quality of life? We want our kids to grow up within the rhythm of the days and seasons, to know what it means to work hard and then partake in the abundance they have produced, to share that abundance and watch it benefit others. We want to cultivate in them a devotion to the simple goodness of life.

kids

The Farm House

house

With so much satisfying farm work, it is hard to get excited over an old farmhouse that has seen only the barest of updates since it’s construction. But there is beauty in that, too–a return to simplicity, to knowing when enough is proper and when updating is merely distraction. For now, enough means an outhouse, primitive wiring, no insulation, and stones wrapped in towels for our feet in the unheated bedrooms. For now, enough is beautiful.

keeping warm as I work on the blog
keeping warm as I work on the blog

About the Blog

Penelope is the model on our front page.

She came to us a year ago and gave us 16 piglets in her first farrowing. Unfortunately, her second farrowing involved some serious complications and she is no longer with us.

We miss her, but we have been enjoying her chops.

Penelope's first litter for us--16 piglets
Penelope’s first litter for us–16 piglets

The author of this blog.

Rachel
Rachel

I am loving this country life in all its hardship and satisfaction. I’m learning my poop, as they say. Bovine poop, Porcine poop, Avian poop, Ovine poop….you get the idea.

How much can you tell from a pie?
How much can you tell from a pie?

When I’m not studying the natural fertilizers, you may find me moving fences, tending my garden, homeschooling my kids, fermenting my veggies, attempting to sew, or cooking up some delicious vittles.

Thanks for stopping by.  If you get a chance, come see the farm.  We love visitors and will find a way for you to  join in the good life for an afternoon.

our kids visiting the land for the first time
our kids visiting the land for the first time

Of Origins and Aspirations

In 2009 a friend read to us a passage from a work by Wendell Berry.

We were intrigued by its quiet beauty and began to soak up book after book. During that time and as a result of research initiated by our concern for our food allergic children, we began to remember the importance of growing our own food, caring for our soil, supporting our community and producing for ourselves and others.

our suburban garden
our suburban garden

I say remember because in each of us there has always been a desire to farm. Our circumstances were not ideal for self-supportive farming, but we made a start. Our small garden plot flourished, our bunnies multiplied and our hens laid beautiful eggs.

Soon after we received the citation, we harvested our meat.
Soon after we received the citation, we harvested our meat.
holding his favorite hen
holding his favorite hen

Even though we lived at the edge of a wooded area on a dead end street, we were given a citation for these activities. 

It came too late. We had tasted the pastoral life and found it too promising to give up our efforts.

the home we built in NJ
the home we built in NJ

In 2011 we left the house we built in suburban New Jersey and pitched our tent behind a neglected 1860’s farmhouse, making another start on 97 acres of a long unused dairy farm.

2 years ago, we pitched our tent on Seebers Lane and set about renewing a farm.
2 years ago, we pitched our tent on Seebers Lane and set about renewing a farm.
the farm house
the farm house we now call home

Of the two years that have followed, we could tell many humorous stories.

We are growing down into this good land full of promise.  Our children are growing up into healthy, hardy and productive persons. 

We join Hannah Coulter in saying, “This is our story. This is our giving of thanks.”

Dave, Harry, Allie and AJ
Dave, Harry, Allie and AJ

From My Garden

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Grilled Ribs

ribs

With a simple overnight marinade of sage, garlic, orange, cumin, s&p,

and a couple of hours on the grill,

this rack of ribs given by

Princess Girl

Allie feeding the piglets. Princess Girl is the pink one, of course.

Allie feeding the piglets. Princess Girl is the pink one, of course.

brought a lot of satisfaction

as we celebrated a couple of birthdays this week.

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The Cows Are Turned Out

Through the winter, the cattle enjoyed bale grazing.

Bale grazing benefits everybody.

Bale grazing benefits everybody–it disperses manure and is easy on the land.

The new calves stayed in a pen closer to the house where they drank milk and got the best hay, minerals and alfalfa.

This shelter for the newest calves included a covered shed as well as an enclosed hut made from an old tank.

This shelter for the newest calves included a covered shed as well as an enclosed hut made from an old tank.

We moved both groups to a holding pen so they could get to know each other and start making the transition to grass.

Boba Fat broke ropes, tore through fences and generally made a nuisance of himself during the introduction.

Boba Fat broke ropes, tore through fences and generally made a nuisance of himself during the introduction.

The kids helped us move them to the pasture.

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They were happy to be on green grass.

running and bucking

running and bucking

In fact, this is what they had to say about it:

funnyfaces