Sunday, July 14, 2013


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Finally, a (somewhat) normal week. For Donald it was back to work at his regular jobs and for Debbie it was time to run errands, and take care of the house. For the kids, it was essentially a normal, summer week.

Debbie attended her Beginning Farmers and Ranchers class at Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Saturday. As always, she enjoyed the class, interacting with the other attendees and the great instructors. It was a long class, going from 9 am to 6 pm. She got some good ideas from the introductions, which is always a good sign. Class covered insecticides, insect pest management, plant diseases, and post harvest handling of crops, as well as business planning, learning that it is better to make mistakes on paper, though they will happen in real life (something Debbie is already very much aware of) and business management. They also learned to research and document assumptions, and that you need to include budgeting for education, as well as other items, when pricing products. They covered pesticide (organic, of course) safety handling and personal protective equipment (PPE). Pesticide is used as an umbrella term for such items as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, as "cide" means "to kill". Also discussed were the new OSHA standards for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), which will be called Safety Data Sheets in the future, and will include universal symbols. Debbie also learned that there are different characteristics between fruits and vegetables that need to be considered during the harvest period, being reminded that they are all alive during the process. It was interesting to learn that you do not mix fruits and vegetables in storage. After classroom instruction and discussion, demonstrations were conducted, including PPE, different types of sprayers and nozzles. She was tired and happy when she finally got home.

Also on Saturday, Donald expanded the chicken pen to give the chickens more room as well as more opportunity to graze growing grass. We are quickly running out of backyard. He also cleaned under the hen house, a chore that we try to do at least every other week. The droppings all go into a compost pile.

New Chicken Pen Expansion
For cost savings and ease of installation and relocation, Snow (or construction) fence material was used. The chickens will only be allowed to graze in this area certain times and/or days, and will not be in the area when there is no one to watch over them. We hope that this will stop some of the escapes and provide better living conditions.

We now have a new dilemma. Some of our hens are "pen-hopping". We have at least one hen that flies out of the main pen and, after grazing on the loose for a little while, flies into the breeding pen. She may end up getting stuck in the breeding pen as we may replace one of the ones in the breeding pen with her.

Our turkeys are becoming quite comfortable roosting in the trees. One night Danielle and Adam counted 10 turkeys in the trees.

How Many Turkeys in the Tree?
You will probably need to get your magnifying glass out, but can you count how many turkeys are in the tree? They have become like college students, trying to see how many people fit into a telephone booth, only they are trying to see how many turkeys can stay on one branch.

We are happy to report that our work on our ReThinking Baker Heritage Farms plan seems to be having a positive affect on our personal and farm lives. We now understand that we cannot do everything at once and have reduced our stress levels substantially. We are finally enjoying the farm and appreciating it much more. Our current goal is to revisit our time resources allocations due to Donald adding a new part-time career and our need to begin thinking about our long-term retirement plans (no, we are not thinking about retiring from the farm, the farm will be our retirement plan, as well as a new and hopefully productive church life).

Update: Posted this blog before we included some important news - one of our hens laid the first Baker Heritage Farm egg - the Incredible, Inedible, Egg. Yes, Danielle found the first egg in the hen house on Saturday. It was small and broken, but it was a good sign.

For now,

Blessings to all from:

Baker Heritage Farms

"The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever." Psalm 37:29

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