…Come Grow With Us!

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Some of my best friends are turkeys, guinea fowl, and sheep

We had some fun taking time to appreciate the barnyard animals on a warm, lazy sort of day.  Watch to find out why our old guinea fowl has a new reason to smile and what the sheep look like when they first wake up!


Big Changes – Water Conservation Through Earthworks

Having the pipeline run through our property has not been all bad. A silver lining was there after all. Because our production was reduced and kept primarily in the front of our property we were able to explore some permaculture practices that Bertrand Farm has been wanting to install for some time but could not have afforded to take a season of production off to complete. We decided to take an opportunity to reshape the operation in a major way. Part of transitioning to a farm system based on permaculture is to provide for our plants and animals using on site resources. The key point for all of our living friends is the availability of water. Traditionally we are using electricity to pump water through hoses and pipes for crops and animals. In this way we were working against the force of gravity, pushing water in the opposite direction that it naturally flows. We want to work with natural forces, another principle of permaculture, as part of a model of sustainability. How do we work with gravity to collect, store, and distribute water? One system we settled on that has been shown to be very effective is something called a swale. Swales are akin to a ditch, except instead of being cut following the slope of a hill, they are cut across a slope on an even elevation. By doing this we are able to intercept the flow of water, store it, and distribute it slowly to the area below using no energy.  Instead of drawing water upwards quickly, we are letting it filter downwards slowly. This method will support our crop areas, as well as animal pastures and create an environment that stores carbon, water and nutrients.

This is so exciting, check it out:

Re-Purposing: Re-using old fencing in new projects

We’ve had a very busy week getting ready for major pipeline construction through the farm.  Since much of the barnyard area will be disrupted, we have had to decrease the size of the yard available to the animals and create a safe and comfortable zone for them, away from the dangers of the construction.  In order to stay green, we took down the old fence, rather than letting the construction company destroy it.  This way we had materials to create our new fence with and extra wood for future projects.  In this video Theri explains more about fence deconstruction, re-construction, re-purposing, and the news from this week’s changes on the farm.

Ode to the goats… sentimental and silly

Take a minute to sit back, relax, and watch our very charming goats with Richie, our resident goat charmer.

Gobble Gobble!

What’s better than green bean casserole?


BuImaget it sure helps to put a bird on the table to keep all those pesky relatives from eating all the green beans.  🙂

Our turkeys are going to be huge by the time Thanksgiving is upon us… in just 108 more days!  They are growing very well and have transitioned from their chick coop to a sheltered pasture area and now roam free-range easily.  They make the rounds with their friend the guinea fowl multiple times a day, finding all the best eats.

Here is picture showing off how well their new tail feathers are growing in as of today!

Missing John S. (OR taking funny photos of farm animals)

This week we said our sad goodbyes to intern John.  He finished his 12 weeks of training here and has moved to Maine to work on an organic farm there.  Although we are happy knowing he is off on a great new adventure, we still miss him quite a bit.  John was our farm musician, a great friend, and one heck of a cook.  We all have re-adjusted to life sans John in different ways.  Here are some of the results:

Poor Charles doesn’t have the same protection from the natives.


DSC00640 (John’s befriended farm cat Charles)

she tried to make her escape, but Patsy put an end to all that

so now she finds inner peace and solitude on the mat


I have tried finding creative ways to fill the John-shaped void, or at least the hoodie he left behind.  Just goes to show you, you can dress up a goat, but you can’t make him sing.


We are reminded of you often John.

Good Luck  in  your agriculture endeavors and Thanks for a great Summer!

Hornworm Update!

Dear friends, I have an important update for the Bertrand Farm Circle.  Recently some young visitors helped me pick caterpillars off tomato plants.  Their hard work saved those plants, and we have beautiful tomatoes, too!  While we were busily picking off the caterpillars (which turn into yellow swallowtail butterflies), we found a beautiful, but destructive, hornworm.  We decided against feeding him to the chickens (as we did with the other caterpillars), and to keep him for observation.

As promised, I have pictures and an update on how our tomato-munching friend is.


He’s doing really well!  As you can see he’s doubled in size and goes through the tomato cuttings we give him very quickly.  Below is a two-part video of his daily habits.  The first part you’ll see is of this weird “dance” he does when I put new food into his home.  I think it his way of trying to latch onto a new branch.  The second part of the video is of him crawling up the side of his enclosure’s wall.  Enjoy the video and thanks again for the help in relocating him to a place that suits his lifestyle and ours!

Harvest day through the eyes of the pigs and goats

Please enjoy this video of how the farm animals  enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Soil Superheroes


There are many forces at work to make our fruits and vegetables healthy, full of vitamins and minerals, for us and our livestock. These superheroes are the soil food web which is so important in organic farming. Our health comes from healthy soil!

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