Polyface Farm Summer Internship: Week Three


| 7/7/2014 9:21:00 AM


Tags: farm apprenticeships, Polyface Farm, Joel Salatin, summer internship, Virginia, Kristen Kilfoyle,

hay loftHi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your week and are enjoying reading about my exploits at Polyface Farm. This past week was pretty much devoted to hay. We have made so much hay, 1,300 bales on Monday alone and many more the rest of the week. I didn’t get a hard tally on the total number of bales, but I can assure you, it was a lot of hay.  I’m also not so tired anymore. Daniel said it would take a few weeks for our bodies to acclimate and he was right. (Daniel is always right.)

Monday, June 16th

Starting this week, we were assigned a certain chore for the entire week. I was assigned to work with the turkeys (currently the object of my affection) and the pullets at the feathernet. We move the turkey and the pullet nets every three days so the birds can all get fresh forage. Moving the feathernets is pretty straightforward. We set up a new net, open the old one, let the birds in and pull in their shelter with the tractor. The turkeys have a roosting/shade structure called the GobbledyGo and the pullets have a mobile coop. After moving the nets and getting everyone fed and situated, we headed to breakfast. I then spent the rest of the day helping Polyface’s garden manager work in the various hoop houses and garden beds. We weeded, weeded some more, and then weeded some more. I was happy to work in the garden for the day though. We always are eating vegetables from the garden at dinner, so I enjoyed tending to them. It was a big hay day for everyone else. A lot of the interns spent time either on the hay wagon with the baler or unloading the wagons and stacking the bales in the loft. I ended up joining those unloading bales around 3pm until chore time. For evening chores, I went with Greer, one of my roommates and the one who takes most of the photos I am in that I post here, to gather and wash eggs for our evening chore and then headed to dinner.

Tuesday, June 17th

Since we had moved the nets the day before, my morning chore was spent just feeding and checking on my turkey and pullet friends at their respective feathernets. The corral project was still ongoing, so after breakfast we built wooden gates needed to complete the project (using Polyface’s own sawmilled lumber), stacked more hay and I backed up the tractor for the first time with one of the apprentices. There was a film crew onsite while I was having my tractor lesson and I remember fervently hoping I wouldn’t crash the tractor into the barn or something catastrophic of that nature while they were filming me. Don’t worry, I didn’t.

Feathernet

After lunch, I went with one of the contract farmers to help set up cross fences for some new herds of cattle he’s expecting the next week. I really enjoyed being able to tag along for this trip. It was good to be able to practice one on one Polyface’s method of setting up wire fencing. Once I get better practiced in their method, I’ll take some photos and do a little how to here in the blog. This took a few hours and by the time I got back, everyone else was on hay, either loading or unloading, so I did the broiler and egg collecting chores while they wrapped up their hay duties. It’s nice to be part of a team; you always know someone is doing what needs to be done in some way or another.

Wednesday, June 18th

Wednesday is processing day for us here at Polyface. Last week, we processed birds on Tuesday, but that was a bit of a fluke. After feeding the turkeys and pullets (and myself), it was time to report to the processing shed and get to work. I was on the gutting station again this week and am pleased to say I had a much easier time of it than my first go a few weeks ago. We were able to process and package about 230 birds in a few hours, which seemed fast to me, but I’m assured we’ll be even faster in the next few weeks.




dairy goat

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