People and Animals
I grew up in Paris, France, nowhere near a farm, and staying away from all cooked vegetables, and the only farming I knew of was endless wheat fields in my grandfather's farm in Tuscany, and making hay at my mother's family's farm in New York. Even as a child, I always wanted to be outdoors; in school I counted down the seconds to recess, and routinely escaped from home to play in the nearby park. When I was sixteen and a student at the Mountain School in Vermont, the world of homestead-style organic farming was opened up to me, and I knew then that I would grow up to be a farmer - I'd be outdoors in all kinds of weather, and could get my clothes as dirty as I wanted!
In 2005, after years of volunteering, apprenticing, and working at all sorts of farms, I finally started my own farm on my family's land in New York state and have had dirt under my fingernails ever since.
Louis; Carpenter, Musician, Painter, and Site Archeologist
Louis joined the fold in 2006 and has contributed significantly to the farm by lending his expertise in framing (for various chicken coops, chicken tractors, and greenhouse end-walls), music (keeping the hens entertained and the crows at bay), fine arts (capturing the flower labyrinth in all its splendor), and metal detectoring (finding various tools – and rings – dropped in the weeds or compost).
The chickens earn their keep in the garden by trimming the grassy walkways, fertilizing beds, and controlling the Japanese beetle population. They spend some time in chicken tractors, some time in protected runs, and free-ranging in the winter.
Over the years, the flock has included Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, Auracana, Hamburgs, Buff Orpington, Black Australorps, Speckled Sussex, Cucoo Marans Copper Marans (whose eggs are almost purple), Faveroles, Welsummers, a pair of ducks and a pair of Toulouse geese. This motley flock lays a spectacular mix of eggs ranging from pearly white to dark chocolate brown to blue and green - with perfect omega 3 and 6 balance.
Mila; Resident Mutthound, Squirrel and Woodchuck Chaser
Mila is charged with vermin control, and has so far kept some deer out of the garden, and has eaten a few baby mice. She can hopefully continue in this vein, and help keep the gardens deer, squirrel, mouse, and chuck free.
She is an especially effective landscape fabric weight on windy days.
She also loves children and the chickens.
Photo by Erika Stephens
Louis, fewer few years back
Mila the Wonder-Lump
Vigilance is key. N.b. the deer tracks on the landscape fabric.