…Come Grow With Us!

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Turkeys’ Snoods growing in


These “hangy things” on the males’ heads are called snoods. It’s another benchmark for us that the turkeys are growing well and are well on their way to being ready for Thanksgiving. Of course my number one way of knowing they are coming along well is that when I pick them up these days I really need to use two arms and bear hug them to carry them back to their home. They are getting heavy!

It’s not their favorite thing, getting picked up, but you know what they say about turkeys… they aren’t the smartest birds.  You could say they lock themselves out of their house… nearly every day!

I suppose sooner or later they will get heavy enough that they can’t fly over the fence. Then they won’t be able to forget that they can fly back. So they won’t need to have freak-outs and start crying. I think I will appreciate that, but also I will kind of miss picking them up, too.


The Circle of Life

Our chickens have all gone to butcher now. Our first batch left in August and our last one just  recently.  Butchering animals is something that has always commanded a deep respect from those tasked with doing the job. Human cultures have traditionally used all the parts of the animal, out of respect and necessity. Raising animals for the express purpose of eating them had, until recently, been a part of everyday life during most of our history. Very few people now understand what is involved with caring for the well being of animals. While they are with us, we make life as conducive to their natural behaviors as possible. We give them clean ground to walk on, plenty of forage in the form of bugs and seeds, and of course other chickens to socialize with. They depend on us for everything , and in turn we depend on them to provide us with nutrition. They are vulnerable, and bertrand farm is a very natural setting, which means that there are a number of predators waiting to harvest a chicken for themselves. We have  had several run ins with a family of hawks, luckily our chicken tractors are sturdy and provide excellent protection from all the elements. They are pampered, which is why they will be so tasty. We are cooking up one tonight. Here’s to the circle of life.

See the chickens transported to butcher.  This video stops before the actual killing.

Chickens are slaughtered in this video(use discretion please).

Now see how the chicken  is cleaned and butchered.

Our pigs get their own orchard!

Look how happy these guys were to see 15 new fruit trees getting planted around their new home.


The new pig and goat pens that were constructed as part of the swale and animal habitat upgrades are getting closer to meeting our goals for sustainability and permaculture.  The fruit trees will grow up and hang over the sides of the pens that the animals will rotate through.  The trees will provide shade, delicious fallen fruit, and a better ecosystem for our animals.  The trees are planted on swales that were built into the land.  These swale berms have already proven themselves very successful at holding rain water, building healthy topsoil, and growing healthy pig pastures.  We are confident that the trees will do very well here.  In this picture you can see a peach tree and some very curious onlookers.

Charles the Cat, Apple Guardian

If you’ve been able to visit the farm this summer you probably met Charles the cat. You may have even said something like “good cat” or “what a nice cat” when you saw her.

I have news for you.

The cat is a brat.  Particularly if you like birds and all the benefits we get from the songbirds who nest in our orchard.

Whether you choose camp cat or camp birds, this video clip is pretty humorous.  Don’t worry, the birds’ nests were past the eggs and babies phases for the year.

Maybe Charles is just protective of the apples?

Pigs new pasture

Our pigs  go to butcher as they reach their prime size, up to 300lbs, We generally believe anything around 275lbs is ready. The first two pigs to leave last week were actually just over the 300lb mark and were said to be perfect specimens by our slaughterer and butcher. The larger pigs you see in this clip are headed out this week.

If you are interested in learning more about why pasture raised pigs are the best way to go, check out Micheal Pollen’s latest book, COOKED.

This chicken did not want his photograph taken

Imagehis ImageImage

Our chickens are ready for butcher.

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