Home / Slow Food / Farm Update / First Week Of Farming on Devon Point Farm
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Published on April 22, 2012, by in Farm Update, Photos.

“Farming is hard work.” A sentence I have heard dozens of times, from dozens of people. When I tell people, “I am going to work on a farm,” it is their immediate response. After my first week working full time on a sustainable farm, I can now say from experience, that farm work is indeed hard.

We work back-to-back 12 hour days Monday through Friday, and an 8 hour day on Saturday. We are up with the sun, and work until it starts to get dark. The tasks we do are hard on the body, and the stresses of farm finances are tough on the mind. I have worked muscles that I have not worked in years, and some that I didn’t know I had. Riding a bicycle across the country is a cake-walk when compared to what I have done this week on Devon Point Farm.

With all the hours in the sun, with the sore muscles, and the dirt that never seems come out from under my finger nails, how do I feel about farming? Three words… I love it. I have never been so happy to be worked so hard in my entire life. Since being on the farm, I have had nothing but healthy food, fresh air, and rewarding work. I have seen animals give birth, plants spring to life, and experienced the observable rewards of my hours of toil in the fields.

Everything I do yields a satisfying result. We will work for hours bending over planting thousands of seedlings, working to the point where we want to scream with the monotony of the task, and the back pain from bending over. Though at the end of the day, we are able to look back and see the fields we have planted, imagine the healthy food that it will provide for hundreds, and the nourishment it will provide for our own bodies. We do all this while having a positive effect on the environment, without using any chemicals, and forging life-long relationships with the earth, and our fellow farm workers.

Here is a photographic “week-in-review” of our first days on Devon Point Farm.

devon_point_farm sunrise

Up with the sun every day for an early breakfast, and morning farm chores.

life is good pancakes

Each morning, Patty (our farmer) makes pancakes from the crew. Whole wheat, multi-grain, and cottage cheese pancakes, filled with last-year's berries that have been frozen over the winter.

red male robin

While enjoying pancakes and coffee before starting work, we sit and enjoy watching the birds at the bird feeders outside the windows.

hay bale

Morning chores consist of watering seedlings, feeding the baby chicks, feeding the grown chickens, mucking out (guess what THAT'S code for) the calves stalls, and then giving them calves fresh water and hay.

watering seedlings

Fish emulsion is mixed with water to help little seedlings grow.

red devon calf

Meet Trillium, one of the calves in the farm. She's a little over a year old and a total sweetheart. She shares space with Rachael, my favorite calf. I once saw Rachael chug four gallons of water, no problem. I was impressed... Until I had to change the hay for her bedding. These calves are called "yearlings" as they are all around a year old.

red devon newborn calf

New born calves are tagged to keep track of who's who. This babies' name is Grady. In this picture he's only one day old.

red devon cow

Grady's mom, Ginger, watches and moos as we work with her baby. She's a protective mom and known on the farm for having a touchy disposition. She didn't bother us though. She must have known we were just looking out for Grady's well-being.

seedlings

Here we are "de-douping" seedlings. If two seeds grow in the same tray, we separate the two shoots out to make two separate plants.

 

white cabbage

When the seeds have grown large enough, we transplant them in the fields. These white cabbage were started weeks ago.

transplanting seedlings

Here, Tara (left) and Abbey (right) transplant seedlings into the fields.

devon_point_farm fields

Throughout the summer, these rows will turn into a bounty of fresh food.

black plastic mulch

Farmer Erick runs the tractor (his "Mercedes") with the mulching attachment. He hates using the black plastic mulch, but it the only way the farm can survive and grow the amount of food necessary. Erick is very conscious of the environmental impacts of everything on the farm. I have learned a lot from him in week one. Every decision made on the farm has been thought through from every direction by Patty & Erick. There isn't anything that happens by chance (except the weather).

tractor envy

Here's me with tractor envy.

barn construction

Part of my work this week has been helping Brian, our carpenter, finish the employee break room/office area. The space is being created to comply with the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) regulations that require such a space for employees.

laying flooring in the barn

My job was to lug the 2 tons (4,000lbs) of vinyl flooring up two flights up stairs, then help install it.

sustainable eggs vs store eggs

At the end of the day, this is why I do what I do. On the left is a real farm fresh egg, and on the right is a store bought egg. See the difference? The farm eggs are a brighter orange, stand up taller, and taste so much better. Our chickens eat bugs, grass, and grain. They are constantly running around the farm, free to roam wherever they want. The proof is in the eggs. For the record, I did not do anything to this photo except crop it. I did not play with the colors at all. It is what it is.

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