Winter Farm Update

 

CONTENTS

  • farm update
  • goals for 2016
  • thank you for all who volunteered in 2015

 

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Clockwise: quail eggs, silkie eggs, Mixed Americana eggs, English leghorn (white), RI Red (brown)

 

  • I now have more eggs than I know what to do with (and more kinds) since a whole new batch of chickens began to lay their first eggs in January.   What great timing (I’m joking)!   Yet another lesson to learn for future years.  “Winter = low sales & high costs.  Don’t hatch chicks in the summer, otherwise you’ll spend all this money feeding them and protecting them from the cold, and they wont produce until January when the lack of daylight hours will reduce their egg output, and when there are no customers!” Duh…

Otherwise, all is well at the farm.   During the snow storm and cold snaps we got, the goats prefer the barn, while the Emu’s chose to stay outside at all times.  In fact it took 12  inches of snow before they finally gave up and came in the barn.

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I kept telling them that if they didn’t move, they’d be under snow by the morning.  

 

I’m glad I didn’t wake up to Emu Snow Men.  When it stops snowing, they are back outside, zipping like snowmobiles across their pen.   The chickens are somewhat chicken when there’s snow outside.  They choose to stay in the barn,  trudging back and forth with poor posture and some weak cooing to express their misery.  The ducks, they just don’t know any better than to continue to waddle and be happy.   Even if it means resting every 10 inches as they sink into the snow with every step.   It’s sort of a stop and go parade out of the barn.

I got a pleasant reminder that the days are now growing longer.   After taking a two month hiatus the ducks have begun to lay again, now sensing the longer days yet to come.  Also, one of my hens has already been trying to brood (nest), pecking at me when I collect her eggs.  And yeah, by the time Spring rolls in the goats and Emu’s are going to be of courting/mating age.  Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of action at this farm.   Oh boy.

The lazy days of winter are now over – seeding starts in two weeks.   Everyday when it’s too cold, snowy, or wet, I must spend doing indoor projects.   A walk-in cooler, a washing station, and a mobile chicken coop must be built (from scratch).  A manure spreader needs significant repair and the greenhouse needs to be completed.  The fields have to be amended with compost and other organic compounds.   Over 8,000 seeds need to germinate.  All before April, or May.

But I look forward to my second year of farming, and with your continued support I think I will be able to reach these goals for 2016!

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always watching me feed my ducks some grain, just hoping that I’ll be won over by her cuteness to offer her a handful… I try not to…

2016 Goals

  • triple my sales income by doubling my CSA customer base and expanding into two good farmer’s markets
  • build infrastructure – chicken coop, walk-in cooler, washing station, greenhouse
  • grow more varieties, especially of tomatoes and melons, and lots more of them!
  • maintain a consistent production of diversified eggs – chicken, quail, and duck – year-round
  • lower my high costs of buying certified organic grain by supplementing my bird’s diet fresh pasture and kitchen scraps – to that end, my goal is to find a bakery or restaurant (or network of families?) willing to supply me consistent vegetable and food scraps
  • introduce new produce – horseradish, okra, popcorn, culinary herbs, habanero & poblano peppers, ground cherries, paste tomatoes, fava beans, and pumpkins
  • continue relationships with Grassroots International, Providence Youth Student Movement, Teoma Massage Works, and Environment Justice League of RI, and add on 2 – 3 new organizations/businesses to our network
  • expand CSA drop-off sites into Roxbury, Cambridge, and Dorchester
  • support our social justice partners by hosting fund-raisers or donating my produce
  • learn from elders from the Cambodian Society of Rhode Island who will be volunteering on the farm and building a Khmer-style garden
  • continue to search for employees/colleagues/partners who can help carry the weight as well as expand the vision of Movement Ground

Thank you to the 50+ people who volunteered!

From helping with seeding and weeding to opening up new farmer’s markets to helping with blog entries and research, this has helped put the food and the farmer where they belong – as part of a community!

Just writing this list has comforted me so much.  Thank you.

Michio & Melody Ishihara * Emiko Ishihara * Mateal Lovaas – Ishihara *  Rachel Miller * Mimi Budnick * Sara Mersha * Gladys Gould * Shannah, Dante, Omar Luna-Kurland * Martha Yager * Kathy Lessuck* Sarath Suong * Mr. and Mrs. Suong * Sarah Bernstein * Adeola Oredola * Anim Yeboah * David Conner * Dania Flores * Matt Feinstein * Chung-Wha Hong * Sandy Wright * Judy Khy * Stanley Mui * Lydia Simas * Rachel Meketon * Dimple Rana * Pitu Sim * Michael Wojcicki * Veasna Chan * Todd Courson * Glynn Lloyd * Elaine Tsang * Jose David * Dave Jenkins * Matt White *  Daniel Kamen * Dee Wojcicki * Matt Anderson * Andrew Bumila * Cynthia Marie Espinosa * Teo Corley *  Andie Janota *  New England Sustainable Farming Project * Charlie Chhum * the EJ League crew (Bolu Taiwo, Elizabeth Onamiye, Angela, Kayla) * Theary Voeul * Saroeup Voeul *

Special Thanks to my Coordinating Crew (Judy Khy, Sarath Suong, Sandy, Wright, Dimple Rana, and Elaine Tsang) and to our CSA drop-off sites (Providence Youth Student Movement, Teoma Massage Works, Grassroots International, and Revere City Hall).

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A very peaceful winter =)

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