A day in the life of a farmer is unpredictable at times, but one thing remains constant: chores! Every morning I have morning chores and evening chores- these little things done consistently every day make a big overall impact in the lives of the animals on the farm and in the wellness of the land.
I start farm chores first thing in the morning. The very first thing I do is check on the egg layers and open up their nest boxes. We close them each night to keep their nesting boxes clean. Next, I feed and check on Griffin (our Great Pyrenees that protects the chickens), he is always happy to see me! After checking on the egg layers, I go to the meat chickens (or turkeys if it’s their season). I move their broiler pens the length of themselves to provide them with fresh grass and insects for the day. After the pens I top off their water buckets and fill their feeder. Lastly, I check to make sure the cows have everything they need in their current paddock.
Every evening I go out to the ‘egg-mobile’ to collect the day’s eggs. Collecting them every day keeps the eggs cleans so that the chickens don’t end up cracking an egg inside the nesting box. At the very end of the day I do my favorite chore: moving the cows to fresh pasture! Providing the cows with fresh pasture each evening is good for the cows and for the grass. This practice keeps their grazing area clean, gives the cows a fresh ‘salad bar’ each day, and allows the grass to not be over-grazed.
These daily chores may seem inconsequential at times, but they are the backbone of sustainable farming. Daily management is the key!
T he shade mobile is one my favorite tools that we use in the healing process of restoring our pastures. Allow me to explain.
As we all know, especially this time of the year, it gets HOT in our part of the country. Just like people, our cows have a hard time dealing with the heat. Their main tactic in beating the heat is to find shade and stay there as long as they can throughout the day. The only problem with this is that most structures that provide shade are fixed immobile objects that lure our cattle off of our pastures to lounge in the same place day after day where grass does not grow. To keep this from taking place, on our farm we fence out all of our wooded acres. This leaves our cattle on pasture 24/7/365, allowing us to capture the use of all of their manure and urine. This is a GAME changer folks!
Now this is where our shade mobile comes in to play. Since our cows cannot retreat to the woods during the day we provide them with shade via our portable shade structure, or as well call it, “the shade mobile”. The use of the shade mobile goes beyond just keeping our cows on pasture but it allows us to be very precise about where in the pasture we want the cows to hang out and where their manure and urine will be collecting. What this looks like on a day-to-day basis is this: as I move our cows in the evening to a new paddock bringing along the shade mobile, I look for the most infertile piece of ground and park the shade mobile over that patch. This may look like a spot where the grass is thin or maybe a place where briars have taken over. In the case of the thin grass the cows would not have spent much time here, as there is nothing for them to eat. Instead of leaving this spot void of manure we concentrate it giving that specific patch a kick-start to growing grass. As for parking it over briar patches we are able to have the cows stomp down the briars allowing more desirable grasses a chance to regrow.
All right folks, I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea here. Once again, management is the key, not poisonous synthetic fertilizers and herbicides.
D ear Coverall Friends and Family,
I am excited to announce that our new website has been launched and is awaiting your visit. It has been quite some time since we have reached out to everyone.
Let me take a minute to give a quick update as to what is happening on the farm these days. For some of you, the last time we spoke was last summer when I was headed off to intern at Polyface Farms in Virginia. I can proudly say I successfully completed their intern program and gained tons of valuable knowledge and experience. After returning home last fall I began working with our neighbor, Joey and Ramona Loudermilk, along with their daughter and son in law Jenny and Daniel Hord to help get their farm off the ground. After many exciting conversations we pulled the trigger on a wonderful partnership joining both farms together as what is now known as TurnTime Farms.
We still have the same mission and use the same practices that we implicated within Coverall Farms but at an accelerated rate. We are excited to announce we will be offering our very own TurnTime Farms grass-fed beef, pastured pork, as well as our pastured poultry and eggs that we have had in the past. We have been wide open this past fall and winter with big projects such as installing miles of fence and water lines for grazing our cows, building chicken tractors, and designing our pig paddocks. We are excited to finally have a chance to share what has been going on at the farm. We would like to invite you to check out our website, follow us on instagram, like us on facebook, and above all come out to the farm and see first hand what we are doing.