Sunday, September 4, 2011

Many Hands Organic Farm

August has been a crazy month and like many, I can't believe September is here already. So let's go back in time a bit to the lazy summer days of July...

                           and to a weekend of volunteering on Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre, MA. 
The house was designed and built by the farmers in the 1960s.
I am proud to say that I can totally hack it on a farm. (take note, Josh!) We spent most of our time weeding in 90 degree weather, making space for frustratingly small carrots and beautiful red lettuces. For the obsessive types, it is so rewarding to look back and see a neat and orderly row of red lettuce where before there was a mess of green.

Because organic farmers don't use pesticides, weeding by hand is essential. But the farmers have other tricks as well. If you plant the seeds close enough together, they will crowd out weeds once they are established. A couple of other tips I learned:
  • Lay down hay in between rows to encourage earthworms
  • Don't pull up clovers - they fix nitrogen so they actually help fertilize the crop

The farmers do chores twice a day, feeding the pigs, moving the cows to new pasture, and moving the floor-less bird pens so the chickens and turkeys can get at fresh ground (and fresh grubs, yum). We also fed the chickens compost, presumably so they could eat the bugs.

Baby turkeys

Whatchyou lookin' at?
We saw lots of other creatures as well.

After a couple of days of hard work, buggy nights, and excellent food (stir fries, soups, and salads, made with the farm's vegetables), we had all earned a well-deserved nap.

I'll finish this puzzle later...just going to close my eyes for a bit.

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