2021 was the year we became a farm. Where just two years ago there was an open field of grass, we now have five acres of small berry plants and nut tree seedlings; two little barns with large protected runs for our chickens and sheep; and a house with a wood workshop and a lovely studio upstairs for Mark and me. It is the story of hard work and many pairs of hands coming together.
The other day, Jacqueline, Drew, and I were putting up trellises for the new raspberry field. We had set out five nicely curved rows of about 100 feet each. The curves reflect the Japanese “hide and reveal” design concept (miegakure): to make experience of the field more interesting by hiding pieces, inviting the viewer in to discover what lies behind. But this story is not about design; it's about skills.
Last April, hundreds of baby trees and shrubs arrived - ordered in the depth of Winter, late January. The shrubs went out into the field in long rows we built with a team of Charlotte’s friends in April. But about 100+ treelings for which we did not have an immediate place went into the tree nursery. I planted them close together in rows protected by hay mulch and we watered them during the dry month of May. Then, we forgot about them. This is what happened...
July 24, 2021 - chicken carnage disaster starts
This is about the chicken carnage disaster. Let’s call it one more “learning experience” in what seems to be an ongoing series of “learning experiences” (read: disaster) as we try to be real-farmers-who-have-chickens-and-sell-eggs.
Before the Chicken Disaster, we also trained our sheep to go out to the pasture every day - a humbling, and time frustrating and often hilarious experience. It involved much useless chasing after sheep until we learned to kind of let them find their own way to where they were supposed to go. Just two days after we had settled the chickens down in their new home, three new sheep arrived and chaos ensued in the barn.