Another week has rolled around. The garden is producing well. The zucchini and summer squash have kicked into gear. Any new recipes are always welcome. Remember to look at the side index of our blog to see past postings with recipes. Cucumbers will be the next new addition to the pick-ups.

Some of you may be wondering about the saga of the laying hens…as you may have noticed the layers have moved up to the north end of the farm again. After Ken spent the better part of a week building a special hawk proof movable hoop house we found that the laying hens didn’t like it and they essentially quit laying eggs. So…we moved them back to their old hen house and put up an electric poultry fence around it. In order to give them more free range we took down the fence, as we have done in past years, as soon as we did that we lost a hen a day to the hawk. So…we put them back into the fence that was good for about a week, but then the hawk decided that the fence wasn’t a deterrent after all and we lost two hens in one day. I guess the hawk was making up for lost time. Now we have moved them up near the house hoping that the proximity to the activity in the yard and maybe Caesar, our dog, will keep the hawk away. However, Caesar seems more interested in mice when he isn’t flaked out sleeping in the pick-up room.

The portable hawk proof hoop house is now housing a meat chicken pilot project. Anna, our senior apprentice decided that she would like to try and raise some meat birds this year for our own use. Since the day old chicks arrived Anna has been their mother hen and has done a fine job of nurturing them along. After spending their first three weeks in the workshop with a heat lamp they moved out to the hoop house. All was well for over a week until the chicks piled up next to the edge, pushed out the aviary netting, touched the electric fence that was put around the outside to keep the raccoons away at night and three died of electric shock in one night! So…we now have a secondary fence inside to keep the chicks from pushing into the electric fence.

The next time you buy free-range chicken and or eggs you can wonder how the farmer kept away all the other creatures that love chicken and still managed to have free-range chicken!

Erin and Liam Harder are pictured with Ken as the meat chicks are on their way from the workshop to the hoop house.