Polyface Farm Summer Internship: Week Seventeen

| 10/10/2014 10:56:00 AM

Monday, September 22nd

Monday was a fun day. Fellow intern Erik and I were assigned to move a herd of cows at one of Polyface's rental farms. Erik had been assigned to move this herd daily while the apprentice whose responsibility this usually was went home for a wedding. He ended up enjoying it and did a really good job, so the staff at Polyface allowed him to continue caring for this particular group for the rest of the time he was here.

When we arrived to move the cows, we noticed they were out of water. At first, we didn’t know quite what to make of it after doing the preliminary check of things, but since the cows were thirsty, we decided to move them to a corral they had been in the day before that had a partially filled water tank still in it. That ended up not being enough water, so we looked around and found some concrete troughs that this rental farm’s former cattle farming tenants had installed previously on different sections of the property. Thankfully most of these had some water sitting in them, so we moved the cows to each one. It took a few hours of shutting the bovines around to get everyone a drink, but this herd was very cooperative and the whole operation—for being born from a problem—went very smoothly.

During all the moving of the cows, Erik and I had determined that the water pump had broken. We called our Apprentice Manager, Eric with a ‘c,’ and he came by and fixed it. I am not particularly well versed in all things motor, but Eric said it was the relay in the pump that had stopped functioning. After the pump was fixed, Erik and I set up new fencing, took down and moved the old water troughs and changed the battery on the fencing. Since we ran so late with all the water problems, we were granted a dispensation to get a very late lunch at Five Guys (yay) and headed back for evening chores.

While it is generally best to avoid problems, Erik and I were talking on the ride back to the farm about how solving an issue like this is fun. To me, it seems that business, farming and life in general seems to involve putting out a lot of fires. Challenges arise and you fix them as best you can, as quickly as you can and for as cheaply as you can because something else is just around the corner and you better be ready. Instead of dreading it, I find if I just accept it and try to enjoy it when I can, life is much more pleasant.

Tuesday, September 23rd

My morning chore this week was to be on the projects team, and today’s project was to unstack and put away the chicken crates from Sunday’s interstate 1,000 bird delivery. I ended up doing the buying club load up after breakfast, which lasted the rest of the morning. I knew I was being a bit of a buying club hog and that I shouldn’t do it next week (I love doing it. It’s fun.) so it was a bit of a bummer to know this was my last one. I just love to see what people order. I’ve been trying to keep mental notes for my and Dan’s farm back at home (Sugar River Farm in Newport, N.H. Come visit when I get back!) so I’ll know what is marketable and see if there is any seasonality to what people order. It seems chicken wing sales increase around football season… big surprise there!

10/20/2014 5:53:47 PM

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10/20/2014 5:52:38 PM

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