Polyface Farm Summer Internship: Week Sixteen

| 10/2/2014 8:46:00 AM

Monday, September 15th

This week I was assigned to work with Joel Salatin as he does his morning chores, namely moving the Eggmobile and checking on the cows. To refresh your memory, we have two mobile laying hen shelters here at the farm; the Feathernet and the Eggmobile. The Eggmobile birds are entirely free range and sleep in their coop at night while the Feathernet birds are enclosed using an electrified netting system. Due to this extra protection against predators, the Feathernet girls can sleep wherever they want, thank you very much, provided it is inside their net.

After breakfast, I worked with Eric, our apprentice manager, and fellow intern Chris on installing some PVC gutter systems on the Carbon Shed. At one point, the Carbon Shed was basically a roof to cover Polyface’s fresh wood chips and compost piles, but over time, walls have been added to it. We recently installed some metal siding and Eric wanted a gutter system to direct rainfall. I have never really done anything gutter related, so it was interesting to me to see how quickly all the pieces came together and how versatile the PVC components were. I hear they are relatively inexpensive as well, but I’ll have to do my own research when I get back to New Hampshire.

Tuesday, September 16th

Tuesday involved several projects, one of which was pouring a concrete pad for the sawmill. Prior to this point, the farm’s sawmill had sat on the ground, but its ideal placement is on a level concrete surface. This was fun as all the interns were there, even if there wasn’t something for each of us to do. (All I did was watch and take pictures.)

Once everyone was rolling on this project, intern Greer and I went with apprentice Jonathan to move the pigs into one of Polyface’s acorn glens. In the fall, Polyface makes sure to move all the pastured pigs into these glens as the pigs LOVE acorns. The move was pretty straightforward. The paddocks were pretty near each other so all we had to do was create an alleyway between the two using a strand of poly wire and some metal stakes and open the gates. Greer called the pigs in using some grain as a reward and Jonathan and I followed behind to make sure nobody was left behind.

That afternoon, our apprentice manager let us know that there was a catchment pond being dug at one of the farms Polyface is renting if we’d like to go see. Where Dan and I are planning to add some farm ponds to our farm back in New Hampshire, I really wanted to watch. There is a spring on the property that the Salatins thought would be good to capture and between them and the excavator they hired, they worked out a dam location and a spot to dig the actual pond. I have been saying all summer how I have a newfound love and adoration for machinery and all it does for us, and this was another time. The pond was started Tuesday morning and was completed the following morning. I can’t imagine having to dig a pond by hand.

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