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We are so glad that you'll be joining us this spring for the Piedmont Farm Tour. The tour runs on Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 5pm and includes approximately 40 farms. More information about this annual event is available on-line by Googling: Piedmont Farm Tour.
Bring your coolers, there will be plenty of Cohen Farm Beef, Pork and Eggs for sale here!!
As you're driving up, look left and you'll see the deep green of volunteer organic spelt, an ancient grain enjoyed by many people unable to tolerate modern wheats. It was an entire field of spelt last year that was planted and harvested for Box Turtle Bakery to mill into flour. The seeds that remained in the field returned this year as "volunteer plants". Hairy vetch and Austrian winter peas were planted as green manure cover crops; they'll be turned back into the ground in May. To the right, barley. Its already matured and will turn completely golden by the time its harvested in June. We raise all our own organic grain for our animals, and the barley from this field will be ground for feed. All of our grains, hay and pastures are certified organic by ICS.
As you continue up the drive, you'll see an old wooden structure: the last of the tobacco barns left on the property. A number of years ago we needed to decide if were going to save the barn, or let it go back to nature. Kip Johnson restored the barn to its original look. The walls are original, as are the tobacco hanging poles inside the barn. I now use them to hang garlic, as it is cool and well ventilated with a dirt floor. The stone foundation has been replaced with cement. Circa 1860.
Look left and beyond the garden, and you'll see the new mobile chicken house built by Josh Laramie. It houses 72 hens and 3 roosters. Its sturdy enough to be moved into the cow pasture once we need the garden space, and high enough off the ground to let the chickens move around underneath in plenty of shade during the heat of the day. The ventilation keeps it really cool provided that the low side of the house faces west.
Next comes the orignal brooder house, circa 1860. The small chimney coming out of the roof vented the wood stove that kept the biddies warm. Someone would have had to stay with the birds for most of the time right after hatching; a problem with the stove would have cost them the entire flock of biddies. Right now you'll see a great variety of hens and several different roosters. They lay their eggs in layer boxes inside the house, and rest on roosts that are angled so that they are not directly on top of one another while sleeping.
Next up: more chickens, everywhere!! 60 Barred rocks and their roosters...Buff Orphingtions, Aruacanas, wild game birds and their forever hatching chicks! And some really beautiful roosters!
Ahhh...the pigs. Very curious animals; if you stand still, they'll come right up to you. Please watch the kids as the electric wire is hot. The 3 sided shelter is another old brooder house, circa 1860. The animals come and go between pasture and shelter all year round. In the winter, deep straw bedding keeps them warm and in the summer I keep their self-made wallows filled with fresh water. Pigs do not have sweat glands, and need to be able to find relief from the heat. They don't mind the chickens running around them...the pigs root for grubs and the chickens keep the fly population at bay. The present group of 10 pigs arrived here on April 16, 2012
There is lots more to see...farm machinery used in getting up hay, the combine we're still working on that will get up the grain, the mill that grinds the grain into feed that the animals can use. Depending on the number of people, kids will be able to help collect eggs. (You may want to bring some plastic supermarket bags to tie around their shoes, as a lot of whats in the coop you don't want to bring home.)
And then, there's GUSSIE !!!
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU HERE!!
ESTA AND MURRAY