Monday, November 23, 2009

Finally we have added a ram to the flock...Rip Tide. He is young and a bit small, but I expect he will perform. Hoping for 4-8 baby lambs in the spring. Rip is a gem; not a mean bone in his body. Loves a good scratch under the chin.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It looks like you have to copy the links and then paste them on your address bar at the top of the page.
Here are a couple of links that may be interesting. The first is a video from our farm's Shameless Commerce Division. The second is a video about our guard dog and his friend the duck. The third is a second video my daughter did, also about the dog and the duck.They are becoming quite the celebrities. Enjoy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Second school field trip. Not exactly higher education.More like touchy education, holding the chickens, patting the timid sheep, chasing baby chicks. It's a start.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So here are Wheler and Buster. Wheler is the an old Great Pyrenees, and Buster is a duck.I got Whe;er as a rescue dog a few years ago to guard the chickens. I was told he was 11, but he was actually 14, so now he is 16. That is old for a Great Pyrenees, but he seems to be content, lying around and looking at the sheep and chickens. I don't think he guards much. The duck was dropped off at the farm a month age. Now, he and Wheler are fast friends. They wont go anywhere without each other. The duck usually fowwows around, but I am sure they enjoy each others company.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In the process of purchasing a ram. I need one with a good temperament (don't want him chasing me down), good wool, and good sized cojenes. Hope I find just the right daddy. I will post pictures of the winner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Well, fall is certainly here. The garden is pretty much tilled up and planted with winter rye. There are few sad looking row covers with cloiflower, cabbage,beets, broccoli, turnips and sugar snapp peas inside. Not wure they will go beyond childhood before the winter sets in. Mother hen still takes her chicks outside even with the chilly wind, although you can see they like to stay close.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cut down and tilled Gamma's old black raspberry patch which was thorny and gave us small, seedy, bitter blackberries. I didn't think she would mind. Plan to put in thornless, raspberry bushes that make big,sweet raspberries. Fertilized and deep mulched the 35 blueberry bushes with wood chips mixed with sheep poop. Did you know that sheep droppings don't smell...just like rabbit turds. Next year will be the blueberry bushes third year and can harvest their fruit next year. Also, the sheep got their annual shots and tasty de-worming paste.They say it tastes like cinnamon. Soon will be getting a ram (1-2 weeks) so, if he performs, will have 4-8 new lambs. Making babies is the fun part isn't it?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just for the heck of it, a good friend has made a short promotional video of the farm. Here is a link to a preliminary copy. See what you think. Maybe it would make a good infomercial.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We shear our sheep for their fine wool. Hope eventually to do all the processing (washing, carding, roving and spinning) on the farm to avoid the high cost of processing and maybe make a little money. The real money is in the meat but I don't like to kill cute animals.

We also have a few Shetland sheep. They don't make much money but are nice to look at, especially when they lamb.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The main deal at the farm is raising free range, pasture raised eggs. Once you try them,, you will never go back to store bought, factory eggs. We started with 25, went to 100, then to 300, and next year we will have 500 layers. Chickens are great. They are nice to have around and I believe they are happy.

Instead of bombarding folks with thousands of photos, I thought it wold be less painful just to give one or two and explain briefly what it is. The photos below are the old homestead, 70 Fort Hill Rd. in Groton.This was last winter, but heck, winter is almost here, and it's the best shot I have.The big barn in the back was built by Calvin Burrows for horses in 1899. The house was built for people (short people)by Silas Burrows (a cousin) in 1784. You don't want to know wha the heating bills are.

I thought I would send a few pictures of the farm. Many have already seen some of them, but thought I would start with pictures as they are worth a thousand words.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Groton Family Farm - LocalHarvest

This is the first entry in a new blog among a trillion other blogs. It will attempt to cronicle the goings on at the Groton Family Farm in Groton , CT. with as few words as possible. I will try to make it interesting and informative, avoiding too much rambling, bad language, personal perseverations, or petty complaints. The blog will mostly be for my own benefit so feel free to skip on to the next blog. I am not very good at meditating or thinking things through so I will be using this blog to gain my own personal encouragement and direction.

To be brief, the Groton Family Farm was started by happenstance. Not, perhaps, the best way to start a business. In fact I did not start this project as a business. Our family, or rather my five brothers and sisters, brought our ailing and failing parents down from their big, or should I say huge, house in Brookline, MA to the old homestead in Groton, CT where my father was born. This was the house in which my father was actually born in 1918, and in which his father was born in the late 1800's, and where his father's father moved after the Civil war, when he bought it from a relative who's family owned since it was built in 1784.
I digress. So we brought our parents down here for their last years as they were blessed with either Alzheimer's (father) or Parkinson's dementia (mother). The additional purpose was to turn this old family homestead with 5 acres of tillable land and a big barn into a small farm working farm for the sole purpose of getting the taxes reduced. This was four years ago. Dad has since died and Mom is still hanging in there, god bless her, and the farm now has grown to 400 free range, pasture raised eggs laying hens, nine Shetland sheep, and a 3/4 acre vegetable garden. For these last four years I have worked with a healthy negative cash flow. I am now at the point where I have got to figure out how to make this place sustainable instead of loosing gobs of money, I need to make the farm pay for itself as well as generate a little profit. And thus, the reason for this blog. Maybe I can figure this out as I write as I don't seem to be able to figure it out in my head. I will try to make each entry as brief as possible and not be totally self-oriented but to offer some tidbits to those who might be interested in trying this crazy business themselves. I still believe this way of life is well worth it on many levels, in spite of the low valleys and the high peaks.