Farm News April 2017

After a single beautiful sunny day, it’s easy to forget just how wet and grey the weather has been.  This spring has offered us more than its fair share of mud.  Despite the continued rain we are doing our best to get on with the demands of spring farming.  We have laid plastic sheeting on beds to block the rain and try and dry the soil enough to get plants in the ground.  Peas, lettuces, brassicas radishes and spinach are finally outdoors!   There are still hundreds of tiny little seedlings ready to be transplanted and the first chance we get that’s our priority.  In the meantime we are weeding, spreading compost and fertilizer and keeping a close eye on the forecast.

Last week we welcomed our 13th and final lamb of the season, another healthy male.  That’s officially one female and 12 males!   We were not expecting to have lambs this year.  We had one ram lamb from last season that we thought we had successfully castrated but…. oops.  We are now trying to sell up to 5 of our ewes with their babies to lighten the load on our pastures.  So far, we have sold 2.  

As many of you have probably heard, we had one lamb rejected by his mother.  He was born the second of triplets and right away was of no interest to his mother.  I have read that this is common with triplets as the ewes have only two teats and it is rather difficult for them to successfully raise three lambs.  So, after many unsuccessful attempts to get the lamb to nurse from his mother, we had to hold the mother down and collect some of her milk so the baby could get some of the colostrum he so desperately needed.  After that we had to take him into the house to try and warm him.  We really thought he wouldn’t make it, as at that time he seemed almost lifeless.  Then we read about blow-drying the lamb’s body to help with the likely hypothermia.  We did this and within an hour Cooper (as named by Coralee) was up and stumbling around the house.   We bottle fed him round the clock for the first week and kept him mainly indoors or in the greenhouse for two weeks.  At that point we lessened his feedings and started taking him to the pasture with the other sheep for a few hours a day.  He still came in at night and slept in his doggie bed next to Lucy.  At four weeks he spent his first night outside.  When I went to check on him in the morning, he was bloody from a bite on the tip of his ear but otherwise in good shape.  He seems to have found his place in the flock and though he still wants to follow us back to the house is beginning to look quite comfortable with his fellow sheep.   We won’t be selling him ☺

We have also welcomed our third and final intern for the season.  Mikey Richardson is from Louisville, Kentucky and just finished his second week on the farm.  Mikey spent last season working at Field Day Farm in Louisville where he helped grow vegetables for a large CSA, farmers markets as well as wholesale.   The farm also hosts local schools and provides farm education to the community.  He has a passion for herbalism and wild foraging, which drew him the PNW.  He is a great fit for Pacific Crest Farm and we are grateful to have him join our farm team.

Pacific Crest elementary groups come out every Wednesday.  The baby animals have been a big hit and large part of our day.  Cooper is of course a highlight and they have been able to bottle feed and hold him over the past few weeks.  There are currently 30 new chicks living in the classroom and many children enjoy calmly holding the little birds for as long as they’re able to.  It makes me smile that despite all the new additions Lucy and Energy, our elder farm dog and cat, always get the most love!

Middle school students have been working on some new projects.  They have built two firewood storage sheds, one at their outdoor kitchen area and one closer to the farmhouse.  These will be a great resource for the farm to stack and store larger wood from our pruning and thinning projects.  Tuesdays and Fridays are typically harvest days on the farm and the middle school groups have been able to jump right in and help this month to harvest greens, wild onions and sprouting broccoli.  They helped reinforce our turkey house, which collapsed last year, in preparation for 30 turkeys arriving in June.  Last week with the oversight of teacher Rob, they began an art installation project that we are all very excited about.   Come out to the work party this weekend and get an early peek!