Off and running

It’s been a while since our last update. We had a major scramble as the trees, bees, and chicks all arrived around the same time (who planned that, anyway??) and of course, finishing the chickens’ pasture shelters took about three times longer than we thought it would.

But the trees are in the ground – sugar maples, white pines, black locusts, choke cherries, serviceberry, and elderberry – all chosen for multiple functions, including animal shelter, privacy, windbreak, bee forage, nitrogen fixation, wildlife habitat and food, and of course, food for us humans too. Now if we could just get some rain to keep them alive this summer…

The bees are installed in their hive and their colony is rapidly increasing in size with all the warm weather and early nectar flows. One good thing I can say about knapweed, besides the fact that its deep fuschia blooms make our fields look surreal at sunset: the bees really dig it.

And our 100 colored broiler chickens are happily living on pasture now. They are protected from predation by electric fencing, and every day we move their bottomless shelters to fresh ground (check out the pics in our Flickr album to see their home). They are fulfilling their duty as mobile pasture fertilizers, and enjoy a fresh daily harvest of bugs and plants at the same time.

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