What To Look For
As your walking around the farm, there are some unique features to look for...
Pigs: The shelter is a 3 sided dirt-floor shelter available year round, with unrestricted access to the outdoors. In the summer the pigs burrow down into the dirt to stay cool, and the shelter protects them from sunburn. In the winter there is lots of straw bedding to keep them warm; the building protects them from drafts, and keeps them dry. When we first get the pigs we confine them to a small area, as they are comparatively tiny, and vulnerable to coyotes. During the summer, we make sure that their mud wallows have plenty of cooling water in them. Pigs have no sweat glands, and they need the mud to draw off heat. The grass patch that you see here will be totally flattened by the time this years 2012 farm tour starts. The pig in the middle is from last summer, about half-grown.
Chickens: There are 2 mobile houses, and 4 stationary ones. The stationary houses all had other uses at some time. The smaller aqua mobile house was built by Allison at Chapel Hill Creamery; it turned out to be more than they needed, and we were glad to have it here. We use it for meat birds, which we raise only during the colder months; too many flies for us to home process the birds during warm weather. The large yellow shelter was built by Josh Laramie on the frame of an old trailer, and has worked out really well. The important thing to look for: lots of ventilation! Chickens can take the cold as long as they are protected from drafts, but the summer heat and sun can be brutal. This mobile house is high enough off the ground that the birds can get underneath comfortably for shade, and is large enough to throw a significant shadow. As long as the low side faces west, the inside of the house remains shaded with lots of cross-ventilation.
When you are looking for animals, keep in mind that they are not fond of heat and strong sun. We try to provide as much shade choice as we can. Even the stationary chicken houses have outdoor shade access with cross ventilation. As of now, the birds go pretty much wherever they want, so please be careful driving.
Garden: we grow great produce! Just not very much of it. Our focus is on hay, grains and raising animals which puts the garden at a disadvantage. This 2012 season in particular...I'm not sure that you'll see a single plant in the ground this farm tour. The soil is in great shape after 40 years of organic care so what we grow is pretty good, but its not at the top of our list of things to do. Especially when so many of our neighbors grow beautiful produce. Alot of the market producers have greenhouses for starting their own transplants. We do not raise our own plants; we obtain our plants from 2 great neighbors...Sun Meadow Greenhouses, and Backyard Edibles both of Pittsboro. You can find Backyard Edibles Saturday mornings at the Chatham Mills Farmers Market, and Sun Meadow Greenhouses at the Carrboro Farmers Market. We're looking forward to showing you our farm!