Monthly Archives: January 2012

Fight Back Those Monday Blues

For those of you who may be fighting some first day of the work week blues I thought I’d share some baby cow photos to help get your week back on track.  A dear friend of mine, after hearing the last calf was born 7 days ago, came to visit with camera in tow to capture the calves before their  ‘cute stage’ is over.

So alas, please enjoy the final pictures of the most ittiest bitties left on the farm–

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But Fret Not, There Will Be More Itties To Come Next Year! Happy Monday!


Winter Prepping for Spring Planting

Who knew the dead of winter could be so busy on a farm.  We have been working hard to get the the chickens all set to be out in the open, protected from the hawks, and easy to move and manage. We’ve been tilling the greenhouses, taking soil samples, checking our seed inventory, and doing a lot of winter cleaning so that we are fully prepared and ready for the spring and summer seasons.   Our days our filled with being out on the farm which has left little time to reflect and sit down at a computer.  The dreary weather has brought us indoors today where will be focusing on this years farm plan.   Soon, the seeds will be ordered, the farm will be cleaned and prepped, and the full season apprentices will begin arriving!  If prepping is this much fun and educational, I can’t imagine how incredible it will be when we actually start planting seeds!  Let the excitement and joy continue! Happy day!

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On Life, Death & Farming

I came to Goldsboro to farm.  What I have since learned is how much more there is to farming than…‘farming’.  Consider the language used to describe farm activities—‘growing plants’, ‘raising animals’, ‘nourishing soil’. All actions that require the creation of life and the awareness of death.

The constant presence of new life and death on farm has had a profound impact on my life. I have felt a baby calf inside its mother, have seen calves enter the world, take their first steps, drink their first milk.  I have seen laying hens grow from mere chicks to vibrant, ever-hungry birds.  This will only continue with the arrival of spring and the planting of seeds.

Along with the beauty of birth and growth, comes the occasional death.  I have witnessed (through tear filled eyes) a calf come out of its mother – 60 pounds and lifeless.  I’ve watched a Red Tail Hawk capture a chicken and on several occasions have found the remains of the Hawk’s conquests.

I never anticipated such soul-searching would occur here, at a place where one learns how to drive a tractor, plant a seed, till the earth. Yet, each new life and each death brings with it a moment of pause and introspection.  The stillness of death and the joy of birth come as a reminder that our time on earth is finite, fleeting. With each death, comes an offering of thanks for the lives that remain.

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Farming is much more than a career or a hobby.  It is a spiritual journey, a vision quest.  It is a part of our culture that is now all too foreign to many.  I feel this disconnect not only relates to our food choices and declining health, but to our ailing relationship with, and understanding of, the land, Mother Nature, life, and death.  Our food, our farms, our land have a lesson to offer us and it is my hope that we all take a moment to listen, watch, and participate so that we can once again connect, appreciate, and value all of them.

Happy New Year, Happy Harvest

Although we may be considered the ‘Small’ Farm Unit don’t let the name fool you…we produce an extraordinary amount and variety of fresh food, even in the winter!  Since I have been here, we have donated hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, dozens of cases of broccoli and collards, and large quantities of kohlrabi, spinach, cabbage, and much, much more to the local soup kitchen and other entities that provide food for the hungry.

For thanksgiving meals alone we delivered–10 cases of collards, 1.5 cases of cabbage, 3 cases of broccoli, 4 cases of spinach, 10 cases of tomatoes, 4 cases of lettuces, 2 of kohlrabi, 3 of turnips, 1 of mustard greens, and over 3 lbs. of ginger.

Below are some photos of our fall plot and our weekly deliveries!

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As the winter plot comes to a close, the Small Farm is busy planning for the upcoming seasons.  We are reaching out to our partners in the community better understand how many people they serve, what they prepare, and the nutritional and dietary needs of those they serve.  It is our hope to continue to support our community by producing healthy produce through our stewardship of the land, tedious planning, and the continued and invaluable help of our extraordinary volunteers.

Here’s to a 2012 full of Mother Nature’s most beautiful bounty!