Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Day at the Farm

I have a lot of dreams and ideas, often so many that I get overwhelmed. One idea is turning the ranch into a functioning, sustainable, CSA farm that would provide a box of produce to its members weekly or monthly. The only way to get to that point is through hard work. 90 percent of the time there is only one person out there working the ranch, and that's me, twice a day, every day, morning and evening. (Realize that fact before you decide you want to milk a goat or cow.) My kids help on the weekends and some evenings during the week, but for large scale change to occur, I really need some extra willing (adult sized) hands and strength.

This past Sunday was an experiment on a work for food idea. My husband and I invited a small group of close friends who had expressed interest in the CSA farm to come out and help. I didn't want to overwhelm them with too much to accomplish in the heat, so we started at 9AM and went to about 12 with bagels, cream cheese and drinks provided.

I was really only hoping to get the weeds pulled from the garden and its pathways, but they all did so much more! A huge amount of firewood was gathered and piled next to the existing pile. A gate was put in place by the pasture, and the goat pen was cleaned, the poo bagged to go home with volunteers so they could place it in their garden.

We paid them with a box of lettuce, dill, green onions, half a dozen chicken eggs, a goose egg, and a quart of raw cow milk as well as a container of homemade yogurt. I hope next time we try this, we can have a wider variety of produce from the garden to place in their boxes.

Thank you to all the volunteers who came out to help: Vlahos, Mitch, Holly, Erin, Koulis, and Camilla. You have no idea how much I appreciate all your hard work!

Here's what they got done:

A gate was installed by the alfalfa pasture so I can control this...
Animals can now be grazed in a controlled manner in this pasture!
This will prevent overgrazing and keep the field fertilized on a regular basis.

The Gigantic Garden was weeded and all the pathways cleared.

Goat poo, a fantastic fertilizer, was bagged and made ready for transport to others' gardens.

A vast amount of dead mesquite wood was gathered up and stacked for future use.

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