Polyface Farm Summer Internship: Week Twelve


| 9/9/2014 10:27:00 PM


Tags: Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm, farm apprenticeships, fencing, livestock guardians, guard dog, forestry, Virginia, Kristin Kilfoyle,

Monday, August 18th

Hammering

This week’s morning chore was to feed and water the broilers after they’ve been moved. I used to carry buckets that were about half full of water but I’m pleased to report I’m now up to ¾. Woohoo. After breakfast, it was back to turkey processing. We did another 135 turkeys and were done by very late morning.

Once the birds were done, we headed over to the rental farm we were working on last week to finish putting up the fence. The posts were in and it was time for the wire mesh to go up. We attached the wire to a tool called a fence puller and the tractor was used to pull the wire taught while we all pounded staples into the posts to secure the mesh. I was never known for my hammering finesse, which led to Joel coming over to ask what exactly was I doing. I believe he said it looked like I was trying to hit a baseball, but my swings were too small, so maybe he was referring to bunting. I was a bit sheepish that my hammering was so bad that he came from fifty yards away to see what was going on, so I don’t exactly remember what was said. Either way, I got a hammering lesson and it turns out I wasn’t using my wrist enough. After my lesson, I had what Joel referred to as a “hammering breakthrough” and the rest is hand tool history.

After a late lunch, I helped box up the birds then worked in the freezer with Eric, our apprentice manager, to stack the turkey boxes. It is getting to be a tight squeeze in there with all the turkeys so he needed someone who didn’t mind climbing over boxes to move things. It’s nice to get the turkeys all situated and prepped in time for the pre-Thanksgiving rush.

Tuesday, August 19th

After feeding and watering the birds, we set out to do more chipping and firewood stacking at one of the properties Polyface is renting. It seems like we do a lot of chipping, which we do, but it is an important part of creating and maintaining pasture. At several of the rental farms, we are trying to create and/or expand pasture areas and with all the available intern power, we have been focusing on these projects.

Later that afternoon, we went to watch while Daniel and apprentice Jonathan installed a cistern at one of the other rental farms. The issue we were having with this particular parcel is that when the cows would drink water, the existing well was not pumping fast enough to refill in time. The cows would get tired of waiting and knock over the trough, which is annoying and means they would have to wait while we right the tank and fill it before they can drink. The cistern will store the well water in the event that the cows drank the trough dry and will keep everything full and running as it should.




dairy goat

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