Last week I talked about our recent challenges with predators. We have taken several steps in the past week to try to fix this issue. First step was rearranging our mobile chicken coops and fencing to try to deter flying predators. We want to lay things out in a way which would make it difficult, and thus less appealing for a hawk to fly in and take off. That so far seems to have worked. Step 2 was how are we to deal with ground predators. This includes possums, weasels, skunks, and foxes. After a lot of research, we decided on a guard dog7mdash;let me introduce you to Zeus. He is a Great Pyrenees puppy, and will grow to be about 130 lbs, so a big dog. Great Pyrenees have been used for centuries to guard livestock. Zeus lives where he works, which is how guard dogs are trained. The chickens, and other livestock, are imprinted on the puppy, so as he gets older he sees them as part of his pack, and thus protects them. Often times, just the sounds and the presence of a guard dog is all it takes to deter ground predators. Again if it is not easy, it is simply avoided.
Other news on the farm…we have finished getting the tomato stakes in. All of our spring plantings are planted. Things do not slow down much on the farm. We are busy monitoring the plants for pests, watering all of the produce plants, stringing tomato plants (→which is the same as trellising), moving the animals to new grass, plus we are working on redoing our fence on our pasture to again protect the flock better. Lot’s going on!
We have reached the peak of the strawberry season. This has been overall a pretty good year for strawberries… which is a pleasant surprise, as at one point in early May, when we had those sudden cold temps, there were concerns that farms would lose there entire berry crop. ::phew:: We have strawberries on the menu next week, and will be available the week after, but next week might be the last week for ordering flats, so if you were thinking about it, get those orders in early!
What’s next, you ask? Following strawberries, we should have some delicate raspberries (both red and black), followed by the biggest and sweetest blueberries you have ever had. July 4th week is the the target week for our first batch of sweet corn. Stand by!