The first distribution from the CSA garden took place this week. Bags included baby beet greens, arugula, Asian stir fry mix, spinach, radishes and komatsuna mizuna bunches.
There are now three litters of piglets exploring the barnyard. It has been fun to watch the variety of "first encounters" between the piglets and all of the other animals. There is usually a bit of sniffing and snuffling but it never seems to take very long for mutual acceptance to occur. Watching a piglet get nose to nose with the donkey Jethro was pretty funny. A little tentative contact and a bit sniffing and snuffling seems to occur and then within moments there appears to be some kind of mutual acceptance and the space is shared quite happily. The third litter is younger and just starting to explore freely. They have not yet discovered the other piglets but that should happen shortly and then look out world!
After three years with few predator problems, the tide has turned and the local coyotes have discovered a taste for lamb! In a period of seven to ten days I lost four lambs and a young Gotland ewe. It is tragic and disheartening. Coyote problems seem to be on the rise in other areas so we are not along but this does not make it any less frustrating. The lambs have now been weaned so that I can keep them close to home. Losing a ewe was a bit of a shock, I thought that the sheep themselves would not be at risk. We are working on reducing the local coyote population so that the ewes can go back out on the lease pastures where the grazing is better but I will have to continue bringing them in at night.
For those who are interested, I have put together a list of sale rams (both yearlings and rams) and also posted photos and pedigree information on the Ranfurly Farm Bluefaced Leicester and Gotland sheep blog. Check it out!
The FOOD FOREST PROJECT
Tim and Mike have been talking about adding shelter belts along some of our property lines for at least a year. Over the winter, the project has evolved and the shelter belt has now become a "food forest" composed of nut and fruit trees, and various fruit bearing shrubs and bushes. Fences were completed two weeks ago and we have been waiting for some sunshine to complete the task of planting trees and shrubs and bushes. A small window of opportunity opened this week allowing Mike and the interns to get the first plantings in the ground. Planning and selecting items to include has been quite a process and I will ask Mike to provide more information for sharing.