The Chicken Tractor Completed

The Chicken Tractor Completed

Previously, I’ve discussed reasons for building a chicken tractor and putting the pieces of our own chicken tractor together. Now, here is the grand finale!

After more than a month of building, readjusting, cutting boards to fit wonky angles that resulted from decisions at the very beginning of the project, and thinking about what would make birds happy, the chicken tractor was finished.

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It has sliding doors, FlexSeal on the plywood roof for waterproofing, and a sheet of vinyl panel for the floor of the coop and nesting box. I don’t need to duck my head when I walk through the door, and the feed, water, and ramp move along with the chicken tractor on moving day without any extra effort.

It looks just like I envisioned it would before the project began. Continue reading “The Chicken Tractor Completed”

Life as a Farmer and Writer

Life as a Farmer and Writer

I had some time to ponder blog posts while I dug up moldy straw and pulled posts in the barn this morning. I’ve been deep cleaning (or attempting to deep clean) throughout the summer. The space has a lot of potential, and the particular area finished today is surrounded by plywood boards and previously provided protection for farrowing sows and their piglets or ewes and their new lambs.

Chickens are currently the only barn inhabitants–that is, the only non-pest barn inhabitants. There are plenty of raccoons and snakes and mice. But the chickens are the only ones that are intentionally fed and housed.

These pullets are housed in a fortress — not a true fortress in the medieval style, but a coop I bought at Tractor Supply Company and put together, stumbling through the drawn directions. Two pieces of plywood and a piece of hardware cloth are wedged underneath the coop to prevent anything from digging in the soft ground underneath the coop and entering the chickens’ home. So far, it’s worked (knock on wood).  Continue reading “Life as a Farmer and Writer”

Thoughts on Letters to a Young Farmer: Addressing Common Assumptions About Agriculture and Farming

Thoughts on Letters to a Young Farmer: Addressing Common Assumptions About Agriculture and Farming

I recently finished the book Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future, a birthday gift. It’s a collection of essays from the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, located near New York City. The essays were written by people who are connected (or loosely connected) to agriculture in some way, most of them located on the Coasts. Surprisingly, the first several essays actually discouraged me, a strange beginning for a book professing to inspire people to become farmers.

The essays made several assumptions:

  1. Farmers are victims of everything around them, including weather, businesses, government agencies, universities, and agricultural media.
  2. Farmers must know everything about everything.
  3. Farmers will be poverty-stricken their entire lives, but it’s worth it because they work with the soil.
  4. All young farmers will farm organically.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Letters to a Young Farmer: Addressing Common Assumptions About Agriculture and Farming”