Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery

Certified Organic Hard Ciders and Apples

Around the farm

A little update on our animal companions. The sheep are enjoying eating fresh grass after a winter of hay. Our family group - mama Blondie and her daughter Fifi and son Gimble are going to be ranging around the property, with their range house and moveable electronet fencing. Gimble gets out of the 5-wire fence we have around the main pasture, so he can’t be in there, but the electronet keeps him safe. The llama Fern and the remaining sheep will stay in the main pasture, as the llama needs access to the barn to get out of the sun. We block off portions of the pasture and move them around in that space. Our year-old Red Star chickens are laying up a storm, as are many of our older hens. Even the 5-year old silver-spangled Hamburgs are laying still. They are really amazing birds, too bad they are so good at escaping from fences. We bought chicks from McMurray’s hatchery, Red Stars once again. Chickens must be a booming industry right now, by the time I ordered chickens at the end of March, Red Stars were the only breed we could get early enough to start laying this fall, and we had to order them separately from the meat birds. We ended up splitting orders with other people so we shouldn’t be too overrun with chickens. Some of our older birds will be living around our trap trees this year, hopefully eating lots of pests and reducing pest damage for future years.

Our gardens are pretty much ready for planting, which will happen over the next few weeks. The crops I have already planted - wheat, lettuce, carrots, beets, chard, peas and a few potatoes for summer eating - are all coming up. Unfortunately we have some herbivorous visitor, probably a rabbit, that is chomping chard and pea plants as fast as they put out leaves. Time to pull out some of the hardware-cloth cages we put around the trees in the orchard and set them over my plants.
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