Autumn is creeping ever closer as we move through the days of September. Crisp and cold winds reinvigorate the physically exhausted body of the farmer. In one last flash of color, our rolling hill terrain acts as an easel for God’s spectrum of colors. We are reminded of the white blanket of winter that is only months away.
In a natural approach to farming on pasture, fall signals the end of production for our meat birds. Raising birds on pasture is a seasonal event and we have decided to only raise meat chickens outside. We’ll be taking the same approach with turkeys and pigs next year. In our first attempt at bringing pastured chicken to the people of the Restigouche region, we sold 170 chickens between the sizes of 3 and 7 lbs. Next year, we plan to raise 2 cycles of 250 chickens on pasture in their portable chicken tractors in order to provide more healthy meat for your deep freeze and reach a larger customer base. A primary goal of ours is to start small and gradually grow bigger within our local economy.
Our laying hens are nearing laying age. Within 2 – 3 weeks our pullets will start to drop their eggs. They’ll stay outside for as long as the weather will allow it. However, we’re currently working on building a run attached to their winter housing so that they have ready access to the outdoors during the winter. We’ll be sealing air gaps and putting shingles on the new chicken barn now that hay season is over and operations on the farm are beginning to slow down. Getting ready for winter becomes an operation in itself.
Meanwhile, the growing season is still not over. Our chickens and cattle are still on pasture and our vegetable gardens are still providing fruit. You can find yellow beans, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, beets, cayenne peppers, and other vegetables at our booth at the Restigouche Farmer’s market. They are organically grown products by Jonathan MacCurdy of Nature’s Estate Farm.
Recently, MacCurdy Farm purchased a book called, “The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way” by Michael Phillips. Our brother farm, Nature’s Estate Farm, has already established strawberry and raspberry plants. MacCurdy Farm has decided to re-establish an orchard on the farm. Years ago, my grandfather decided to clear-cut the orchard as it had become unmanageable so we hope to bring that sense of life and apple blossom color back to the farm. Not to mention, provide apples at the market, make apple cider, feed apples to our pigs next year, etc.
For many, the onset of Autumn brings about a feeling of impending loss of heat and sunlight. However, for those of us who live in seasonal climates it should be treated as a separate entity with its own characteristics, which is filled with opportunity. Take a walk in the woods to enjoy the splendour of nature, do some work around the farm or house, reap the harvest of your summer gardens, start a fall project, or simply breathe in the crisp cold air.
Finally, if there are any of you out there who would like to make a visit to the farm with your kids so that they can see the livestock or just get out into the country and enjoy the fall weather, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We only ask that dogs be left at home as we allow some of our egg layers to free range. Hope to hear from you!