Farm and Garden Update: Where Have We Been?

| 7/30/2009 4:50:00 PM

A Sell Family PortraitI want to begin by heaving an enormous sigh and taking in a deep breath of rainy atmosphere.

It’s been a bumpy and amazing ride these last two months. I feel like I am just resurfacing for air after a dive to the deep end of the public pool: I can see the wavy light above me, but my lungs are burning for the oxygen promised on the other side.

Whew. It tastes good. Since I last wrote about what was happening here at the farm, we had just remodeled our old pump house into the small, but functional farm store. We have since added some little bits of home to make it comfy and welcoming and overall, our customers like it very much. Since then, we have been really slammed with work here and since we have so many new endeavors this year, everything that happens is like an emergency and must take center stage. To say the least, we have been stressed out.

However, I have uploaded a bunch of photos from the beginning of June until just a few days ago in order to help me keep the days straight. We’ve had so much going on that I need these visuals as much as you do! Here we go ...


Below, you see our back field that held the pumpkins/chickens/sheep last year. We have since converted it into a fully functioning garden. Well, about half of it at least. Here, Bret and his mother Rita spent an entire day planting and tilling and planting and watering. We got our garden in super late this year, but I am thankful we have a garden at all. You see Rita and her husband Gale and family of eight kids have pledged time to come out and work the gardens throughout the season in order to have food for both our families. It works out great! Andy and I had high hopes for a pretty large garden this year, but when everything hit with the dairy, we just had no time to devote to it. Enter Rita and her two oldest kids, Bret and Cortnie. We have the two of them nearly five days a week now in the summer, sometimes all day and they help with weeding, watering and eventually, harvesting.

Garden preparation

Becky and Andy
8/10/2009 6:26:07 AM

Hi, We pour the milk to the chickens in a shallow pan. They drink it up just like water. I had heard that chickens like yogurt a lot and thought, well, let's see if they'll drink this. Now, chickens eat a lot of things, but they don't eat what they don't like. They aren't like pigs which will just sort of vaccuum up whatever is in front of them. They like the milk we give them and I have to think that its imparting many minerals and nutrients to them even though its not a traditional foodstuff for them. Please understand that we are experimenting with all this and can't vouch for any sort of science behind it. We just want to see what works. About the plants, this was my own hair-brained idea and we have found that one needs to dilute the milk one to one with water or the plants may get burned. My thought behind this one was that milk is full of great raw mineral and nutrients. Why not try it on plants? We have been dumping in one area of our garden to see what happens. This area holds strawberries, hollyhocks and sunflowers. They have grown prolifically in that area. Unfortunately, so have the weeds! The strawberries started producing again this month and the berries are way bigger than June's crop. I don't know if that has to do with weather or milk, but it certainly hasn't hindered them, you know? All of this is with raw milk, mind you. Pasteurized milk is a dead food and would only rot on the plants. We won't be dumping any more milk now that we got picked up by the cheese plant. It was a fun experiment while it lasted! Thank you for the questions.

Robert Blackburn Jr.
8/7/2009 3:09:37 PM

Can you elaborate on" dump the skim to the chickens or on the gardens"? Do you just dump the skim on the ground for the chickens or put it in a dish? What does this do for the chickens? Also, do you just dump it in the garden or on specific plants? What does it do for the garden? This was a new use of milk to me so I jut had to ask. Thanks!

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