Turkey in the Straw

We haven’t had green grass for a few weeks now, so when the chickens and turkeys discovered the volunteer barley growing in the high tunnel they were excited! This was not planned; a combination of my combine not getting all of the grain out of the straw and me getting the straw mulch on early enough and having mild enough weather to make the barley sprout. It’s actually a great idea that I plan on continuing in the future.

Solar Greenhouse Update

Construction on the solar greenhouse continues between other projects. We are in the middle of installing the 20 tons of rock into the base of what will be the growing beds. The perforated pipe is for delivering warm air that is distributed to the rock bed from the peak of the greenhouse where the air temperatures are the warmest. The idea is to warm up the large mass of rock during the day and have it help maintain growing temperatures during the night, a very useful arrangement in our climate.

The Good Dirt of Thanksgiving

First of all, I would dare say it’s probably a first to be plowing in Star Valley on Thanksgiving. I remember two years ago it was -25 F on Thanksgiving. So these are the bonus days that help me to get caught up on things that I need to get done. The plowing could have been done earlier but it has been so dry that I decided to wait and the recent moisture made the plowing much easier.


The use of the moldboard plow has been the topic of discussion in the sustainable agriculture crowd. The argument is that it is to disruptive to the soil and the life in the soil, particularly earthworms. On this particular field I decided I had no option other than the plow because grass had overtaken the alfalfa and the only way to get rid of the grass is to plow (or use a non-selective herbicide which I don’t want to do). By using other management techniques like growing cover crops and/or green manure crops I plan on working to increase soil organic matter and thus encourage soil biology.

See the plowing video at

In memory of the turkeys…

Most are sufficiently removed from the farm setting that having an animal one day and not having it the next is not part of the reality of eating a nice meal that includes meat. For our 10 heritage breed turkeys and some of our stew hens the coup de grĂ¢ce is now a fate accompli! Karen vows no more turkeys. They become too much a part of us and it’s too hard to part with them…

We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and don’t forget to give thanks for the turkey!


Winter Has Arrived (or the farming party is over)

Although this is not our first snow of the season, this is looking quite serious. Not to complain, we have had several unseasonably warm November days as of late. I was layering up in the mornings only to be down to a t-shirt by mid-day. It’s no coincidence that with the snow comes more time to focus on other things, like creating and maintaining a new blog…