Author: ingoodheartfarm

blog, farm updates, new year

Bringing the blog back.

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As you can see, we’ve revamped the site & I’m digging the new look & feel. But I am working with quite the learning curve. In some circles, I’m practically a luddite. So please bear with me. I don’t often have the time to blog plus farm & be a mama & so on, but I do write weekly farm updates to our CSA members & I figured I’d post some of the older ones here & can start adding them on as they’re written when we begin the Winter CSA season next week.


Our CSA Share: 1.9.15

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Check out CSA member, Deirdre’s, ideas for last week’s CSA share. Yum!

Grabbing the Gusto

Now that the holidays are over, our CSA from In Good Heart Farm is back. Yay! Take a look below at what we got this week.

Our CSA share this week | Grabbing the Gusto Our CSA share this week | Grabbing the Gusto


If I pick up scallops at the seafood market, I might make something like this recipe from Cooking Light: Sea Scallops with Sautéed Tatsoi and Bacon.

Otherwise, this idea intrigues me: Swiss Chard Salsa Verde from Bon Appetit. I’ll replace the chard with tatsoi. They recommend putting it on fish, chicken or pasta. I can do that.


I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for deconstructed cabbage rolls lately. I love this idea because I’ve never been inspired enough to make cabbage rolls. If I go this route with cabbage, I’ll start with this recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Black radishes | Grabbing the Gusto Black radishes | Grabbing the Gusto

Black Radishes

Underneath the dirty-looking, rough skin of…

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Sign Up for 2013 Spring CSA is now OPEN! 
Sign Up HERE

CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between us. By making an investment in our farm with a CSA share, you become a seasonal farm member who shares the rewards and risks of the harvest season with us, your farmers. This makes you a co-producer. Your investment allows us to afford annual start-up costs, to pay ourselves fair wages, and to share the risks of growing food. In return, we provide you and your family with fresh, healthy, local vegetables, fruits and eggs. Our food not only tastes better and keeps longer, it also helps us all nourish local agriculture, economy and environment.  Taste the difference!
Members Receive:
  • About two grocery bags of 7-10 seasonal sustainably grown vegetables and herbs (more for large shares)
  • A weekly email with produce information, cooking and storage tips, recipes and segments about life on and off the farm. 
  • Access to an online recipe sharing site. 

Members Also Enjoy: 
  • Convenient pick up locations and times throughout the week. 
  • Access to our farm for volunteering, exploring and relaxing. 
  • Invitations to on-farm events, such as our annual OktoberFEAST and Spring planting parties. 
  • Making new friends who share your interest in good food and good farming.     

Join In Good Heart’s CSA by purchasing a share at the beginning of the season. You then visit the weekly pickup site to pack your own vegetables from the harvest table. We will post a guide at the stand explaining what each share contains that week. You will bring your own bags and pick out the produce for yourself “market-style”. The Spring CSA harvest season runs for 16 weeks from April through July.

Pickup Sites & Times: We have three weekly CSA pickup sites.

  •  Raleigh pickup is Tuesday evenings from 4:30pm to 6;30pm at the Five Points CSA site, 1911 Bernard St., Raleigh 27608.
  • We also we have On-Farm pickup is from 4pm to 7pm on Wednesdays at 1000 McLemore Road in Clayton, NC 27520.
  • Finally, we offer limited pickup every Saturday morning from 8am to 12pm at the Western Wake Farmers Market, 1225 Morrisville Carpenter Rd, Cary 27519      

Share Sizes: We offer three share sizes.

  • Our Large Share ($480) is a suitable amount of produce for a large household of 4+  people, or a couple of hungry vegetarians, to eat for a week. 
  • Our Regular Share ($320) is a suitable amount of produce for a small household of 1 to 3 people, or 1 hungry vegetarian, to eat for a week. 
  • Our Small Share ($200) is the same size as the regular share, but the pick ups are every other week rather than weekly.
Full Year CSA Discount:
We are offering a 5% discount for folks who would like to pay for their Spring and Fall shares in full early in the year. Please inquire for more details.

Payment and Sign Up: 

Please make checks payable to In Good Heart Farm and mail to: 
1000 McLemore Road
Clayton, NC 27520
You may pay by mail with check or in person with check, cash or card. Your early and full support is important to us. Members who pay in full by February 15th, pay the flat membership fees above. However, we realize that some of you may not be able to pay in full or before February 15th. As such, we offer a payment plan and a late sign up fee of $25 (details are contained within the sign up form). 
To sign up for our CSA, please fill out the form here and send along your payment.  

Sharing with others: Some members find it enjoyable to split CSA shares with other families & friends. We also like to share food and enjoy such arrangements. If you choose to split a share, please let us know at the beginning of the season so we may avoid confusion.
Communication: Our main mode of communication is email. We will send you weekly emails usually at the beginning of the week. Our emails usually include farm updates, a list of that weeks veggies, a copy of the weekly newsletter, and any notifications regarding pickup.
Please email us at if you have any questions or concerns. 

In Good Heart Farm

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To say that the soil is in good heart is to say that it is healthy, in good cultivation, & in good spirit. To say that a person is in good heart is to say that they are cultivating wisdom, courage, & good spirit. Ben & I felt that our farm name should represent our vision & we couldn’t think of a better representation of what we want to do & what we want to be in our world than In Good Heart.


Fall/Winter Shares Available

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Sign Up for 2012 Fall CSA is now OPEN!
If you are interested in joining our Fall CSA this year, please take a look at the Fall CSA brochure here. If you have any questions, please send us a message at
Here’s a quick breakdown of the info contained within the brochure: 
– our CSA runs for 10 weeks beginning in October
– we have three drop sites (Western Wake Farmer’s Market in Morrisville, Five Points in Raleigh, and the Farm here in Clayton)
– we have three CSA share sizes: small, regular and large
Cool season vegetables you will likely receive in your Fall shares include (there will be multiple varieties of these veggies e.g., kale: winterbor and red Russian kale, radishes: watermelon, French breakfast, Easter egg, and black Spanish, etc. – so there is more variety than this list lets on): 
– kale
– collards
– arugula
– chard
– spinach
– sweet potatoes
– winter squash
– radishes
– lettuce
– turnips
– broccoli
– cauliflower
– fennel
– bok choy
– cabbage
– napa cabbage
– tatsoi
– beets
– carrots
– rutabaga
– scallions
– leeks
– herbs 

If you are interested in joining our CSA, please print out, fill out, and mail the brochure to 
In Good Heart Farm
1000 McLemore Road 
Clayton, NC 27520
Please make checks payable to In Good Heart Farm. 

Guest Blog: Life-Changing Vegetables

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 Here’s a guest blog written by our friend & CSA member, Emily Estrada (we love her enthusiasm!!!):
If I were to ask those who know me well for an adjective that best describes my personality, I suspect words such as dramatic and theatrical would be used often.  I’ve made my peace with this and can admit that from time-to-time I have, in order to (try to..) captivate an audience, presented certain things in a dramatic, theatrical and maybe on occasion, even exaggerated manner.  However, when I write that becoming a CSA member with In Good Heart Farm has been one of the most life-changing decisions I’ve ever made, I assure you that I am not being dramatic, theatrical  or exaggerating in the slightest.  On the surface, one may think, “Really?  Really?!?  Having a vegetable subscription has changed your life…?”  Yes – that’s exactly right – joining the CSA in spring/summer 2011 changed my core, and even deeper, challenged what I thought I knew about myself.  Before you dismiss me, read on. 
            The most obvious (and I suspect common!) change is simply that I eat many more vegetables now.  Before the CSA, I would honestly go days…weeks…and maybe even….months without eating a fresh vegetable.  Today, I average about four servings of vegetables per day (and in some weird way, increasing my vegetable consumption has lead to an increase in my fruit consumption…who would have thought?  It’s like this is the type of food my body was designed to consume…weird  J ).  I was 28 when we joined the CSA, when, up until then I had always resisted eating vegetables.  Think about that: over two and a half decades of thinking one way (1.  Veggies are gross. 2. We’re “suppose” to eat vegetables but could never actually taste good.), changed so quickly by being a part of the CSA.  Actually, it’s best not to think about it; when I do, I become angry.  How is it, exactly, that I resisted eating vegetables for a very long time – without ever even considering how great they could taste (and make me feel!)?!?!  That’s not rhetorical – I think I have some answers.  First, I was not raised in a veggie-centered family.  Although we are all much more concerned with healthy eating today, this definitely wasn’t how it was back in the day.  Growing up my palette much preferred battered, deep-fried meats and (limited) vegetable items.  Thus, as a grown up, eating that type of food feels normal.  Second, moving beyond my family, I recently caught a few minutes of a cartoon on Nickelodeon when my nephew visited us.  In the segment I watched, the “punishment” given to a kid (or baby fairy, actually) was to eat beets.  Beets?!?!?  How, exactly, is that a punishment[1]?  And, more importantly, what message are we sending our children when we tell them eating beets is a form of punishment rather than the wonderfully root-y treat they are?  My point is that growing up in a family that was not veggie-conscious coupled with living in a society that tells children vegetables are gross, and that instead, they need to pick up a bag of those ever-so-cool triple-dipped toxic waste flavored cheese puffs, left me veggie-disillusioned for the majority of my life.  As a CSA member, my wonderment and absolute amazement towards vegetables has been restored.         
Change #2:  I’m eating more diverse types of vegetable; joining a CSA probably introduces many new and exotic vegetables for even those that have been life-long produce lovers.  The more adventurous vegetables I’ve tried through the CSA for the first time include: kohl rabi, leeks, fennel (OMG – fennel – I still get chills when I think about the first time I had it; I was seriously angry that this wonderful, joyous product only entered into my life when I was 29!!!  How did I live before it??), purple potatoes, garlic scape, and Daikon radish to name a few.  But, to express even further the change brought about by the CSA, let me also list the more traditional veggies I tried for the first time with the CSA: broccoli, cauliflower, any type of green (collard, swiss chard, kale (again – OMG – kale chips??  An existential question of the vegetable variety:  can a life before kale chips, really be considered living?), beet greens), beets, cabbage, carrots (alright, yes, I had baby carrots before – but they were those little tooth-pick shaped carrots that somehow get widdled down to stumps…I’m talking about those amazingly beautiful purple, yellow, orange, and white ones that look as though the ground was actually their home at some point), and radish.   Before the CSA I was, flat-out, unequivocally a Grade A weenie when it came to trying all food, but in particular veggies.  The CSA has made me braver[2].  I love getting a vegetable that I’ve never eaten before; even better if I’ve never even heard or seen it.  Almost every week I play the “Name That Vegetable” game with family back in Texas.  I send a picture of the veggie and they submit their guesses[3].  In short, the CSA has made me not only a much more frequent fresh food eater, but a more adventurous one.  I now know first, what the heck kale is, and secondly the difference between Red Russian and Winterbore varieties.  Same goes for radish – I can spot and describe different varities.  Same goes for potatoes…and on and on.  Five years ago, I never would have thought that this discovery and knowledge would have entered my life.  Thank you CSA! 
The last, and in many ways, deepest transformation the I’ll write about concerns the  realization that food is so much more than I ever thought it was.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve always known that food tasted good and, because of this, can make me happy.  But by saying that food is so much more than what I could have ever imagined, I mean that the CSA has helped me realize the natural and social connections betweens the food-production earth, the farmers that cultivate the food, and me – the being that consumes it.  I’ve often joked that until I met Patricia and Ben, I thought vegetables came out of the ground in a can filled with a water solution, is because when vegetables did make an appearance in my family, they usually came from a can.  As such, I cannot express in words the wonderment I felt the first time I saw a carrot pop out of the ground; my life changed in an instant.  Seeing that carrot come out of the ground reminded me that in many fundamental ways, I depend on the earth and, likewise, when treated properly (as Patricia and Ben very much do) the earth depends on us as well.  Because of the modern-day industrial food production systems and messages that we’re surrounded by, it’s easy to forget how food connects us to the natural world and, what’s more, it’s easy to ignore the relationship we have with food, the earth, and the food producers.  Gaining this knowledge – the knowledge that my time on earth is connected to a much larger phenomena – has helped me gain a new perspective on life.
               It’s weird to admit, but one of my favorite things to talk about are vegetables.  When a friend joins the CSA, it’s all I can do to stop myself from wanting to know how they’re going to store their veggies, how they are going to prepare them, and how they tasted.  On the first day of pickup this season, I wanted to take a picture as in “First Day of CSA!” in the “First Day of School” sense.  Next go-round, I think I may actually do it.  

[1]UNLESS they ate so much of the AMAZING Raw Beet Salad recipe Wake Cooperative posted on facebook and got a belly-ache like I do, but that’s only because it was super-yummy!
[2]And not only about trying vegetables.  For, I’ve recently discovered a fondness for shrimp – LOVE them.  The old Emily would never even entertain the idea of trying shrimp. 
[3]Admittedly, these submissions tend to be more comical than serious.  The garlic scape elicited a response of “Freddy Krueger herbs” and…well, I won’t tell you what they came up with for Daikon radish.  J   

Productive Sunday FUNdays Ahead!

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Seedlings in the tunnel (thanks to Cate, Allie & Brandi for helping us seed these flats!)
As you know, there’s always work to be done on the farm and now is no exception. We’re working on getting our fall cover crops planted and our fall produce seedlings in the soil. We’ll be transplanting LOTS of goodies including, Brussels sprouts, green and red cabbage, white, yellow and green cauliflower, collards, kale, purple and white kohlrabi, mustard greens, napa cabbage, tatsoi, broccoli, beets, radish, and rutabaga. Many of you have expressed a desire to help us out on the farm  (many of you have already helped us SO much!) and we thought it might be easier – and more fun – if we had something of a planting party again. Only, this time around it’s a bit more difficult for me (Patricia) to get a whole lot of food together for our post-labor feast, given the new baby and his lack of desire to participate in baby wearing just yet. So, we were hoping that folks could pack a small picnic if they wanted to and we could provide some snack food (e.g., chips and salsa, cut up fruit, cut up veggies, etc.). Anyway, the best time for us to have folks out – and we think the best time for y’all – is Sundays. So we’d like to open up the next four Sundays to planting party time – productive Sunday FUNdays, if you will.
We’ll start around 4pm and spend a few hours each Sunday (8/19, 8/26, 9/2, and 9/9) transplanting seedlings and then we’ll hang out together in the shade enjoying snacks, personal picnics, and refreshments (a nice glass of wine or a good beer are definitely encouraged if you’re into that sort of thing J). If you think you would like to come out to help transplant, please shoot us an email, let Ben know when you see him at drop, or give us a call (919-800-8898) so we know when to expect you. If you’d like to bring out friends or family, please do – the more the merrier! Of course, dress appropriately (comfy clothes and shoes, hats, sunscreen, etc.) and bring a water container of some kind.
So, if you’ve never been out here, it’s easy. If you’re coming from the Triangle, just take I-40 East and get off at Exit 312. The Google map directions take you the rest of the way. Our address is 1000 McLemore Road Clayton, NC 27520. When you pull into the driveway, please park so that you do not block anyone. You will see a pretty white and green farm house and you’ll see a trailer. Beth, Eric and the kids live in the house. We’re in the trailer (our mailing address is 1000, but our physical address is 980) – but we’ll probably be outside when you show up. If you have any questions, give Ben a call (919-800-8898). 
We hope to see you some Sunday afternoon!
blessed, cooler, CSA, friends, potatoes

Ramble On

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Here’s the farm update from the CSA newsletter for this week (Week #4 May 14, 2012). 

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Ramble On
Last week was a nice cool week again and yesterday brought us more rain –  with more to come in the next couple of days. This is great for us and for the farm – although it does mean we have to pick the summer squash and zucchini more often (as the rain bulks them up quickly). We managed to get a lot of our tasks accomplished last week between the days at market and CSA drops – but we do still have some left over items to try to tackle this week, including thinning the green bean plants and building the high tunnels.
Our friend Liese came out to the farm Thursday evening and helped us harvest all day Friday and attended Western Wake Market with me on Saturday. She’s coming back to the farm with me this Tuesday and she’ll be spending the week helping us attempt to get caught up with farm tasks. Our friend (and intern), Meredith, came out Friday before she had to go to work to help us harvest as well. And – Saturday our friends Andy and Craig came out to help Ben put the roof on the lean to building (it’s what the walk-in cooler is going to be built under)! We are SO, SO, SO blessed to have so many supportive people in our lives! The farm may be managed mostly by Ben and I, but we couldn’t do any of it without the help and support of our friends, CSA members, and market customers. You are all truly co-producers and we are extremely grateful for your efforts!
As I type, Ben is hilling up potatoes. The plants are blooming and need more soil around them to grow more effectively. After that, our friend Craig is coming back out (he took two weeks off work and is spending some of that time helping Ben try to get the cooler up and running out here). Ben and I harvested all of the squash and zucchini that was up to size this morning. We have four 240 foot rows of summer squash (that’s almost 1,000 squash plants!), so it takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the two of us to harvest. If we don’t keep up with them, particularly when there are rainy days, they get huge and too bitter to bother with (except maybe large zucchini for zucchini bread). We then wiped the sandy soil off each of the squash and graded them (according to size and as “seconds”) to store them in our current cold room (this is the room CSA members picking up at the farm go into). After that, we washed all of our market bins. As we’re bringing more items to market, we’re using more bins, so this chore has grown rather lengthy as well. It takes Ben and I about 40 minutes or so to wash all of the bins and lids if we do it together.
Tomorrow Sean Barker, of Part and Parcel Farm, is coming out to check out our operation. Being a farmer, he understands that while we love having folks out to the farm, pretty much the only way it’s possible for us to visit is if someone works with us – so Sean offered to do a couple hours of work with us during his visit. We’re very much looking forward to speaking with him about what we do and learning more about what he’s doing as well. It’s always nice to talk with fellow farmers. Also, tomorrow, CSA member and friend, Charlotte, is coming out in the afternoon to help Ben do some much needed transplanting and hopefully also stake and tie up tomatoes. The first round of tomato plants are getting pretty big! Of course, I’ll be headed to the Five Points drop to meet folks for the CSA pick up between 4:30 and 6:30. Please remember that while I am completely capable of doing all sorts of farm and off-farm tasks being over 8 months pregnant, I cannot pull out the tent and set it up by myself (it’s just too heavy and cumbersome) – so, if you’re the first person to drop and you’re willing, I’ll need your help with the tent. It’ll only take a couple minutes. Thanks, Michelle, for helping last week! J
Alrighty! I suppose I’ve rambled enough for now. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. We’re here to help! Thanks for keeping up with us and please let us know how things are going with you. If you have anything you would like to share in the newsletter (e.g., how you use your weekly shares, how you feel about being part of CSA or this CSA in particular, what your thoughts are on the environment and health, book recommendations, etc.), please send it our way ( I could certainly use the help writing the newsletter and I think y’all might like to hear from folks other than myself for once! J
CSA, farm tasks, high tunnels, rotovator, Spring, Summer, time

Farm Time

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Below is an entry from last week’s newsletter for the CSA (Week #3; May 7, 2012). Read on if you’d like to know more about what Ben and I have been up to out here. 
Farm Time

The habit of looking to the future and thinking that the whole meaning of the present lies in what it will bring forth is a pernicious one. There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the parts.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, Conquest of Happiness
Whew! It feels great to have received some good, drenching (and cooling!) rains! Last week was quite the hot and humid time. Tuesday and Wednesday in particular, I had to give up working outside much past 10am. Instead I chose to do paperwork inside and run errands with the car (which, unlike the truck, has air conditioning).
This week we broke down and transported the high tunnels we originally built in October last year for use for the fall and winter crops to the spring and summer fields. We’ll re-build the tunnels to use for some of our summer crops – especially tomatoes. Monday, CSA member, Charlotte, came out and helped us transplant tomatoes and peppers. Ben direct seeded green beans, dill, and radishes and cultivated the spring garden. In the process of prepping a bed for tomatoes, he managed to get some row fabric (which he used to cover the closest crops to the tractor to keep them protected from thrown soil) caught in the tractor implement (the rotovator). Not only did we lose about 250 feet of row cover, we spent quite a lot of time working to get that stuff out of the rotovator so Ben could finish prepping beds. After quite a lot of frustration, we triumphed over the mangled row cover and high-fived each other for getting through it! 
Last week, we also managed to keep ourselves pretty busy with our daily chores and weekly harvest, wash, and CSA drop/market days. If you came out to the farm today, you’d see that our “lawn” is in desperate need of being mowed and we have every intention of getting to that task someday – it’s just such a low level item on our already lengthy regular daily and weekly chores list. Our spare time is spent working on the tasks on our weekly to-do quadrant. This week we have a TON of transplanting to do. Also, the weeds are catching up on us and we need to get out there and hand weed and cultivate (with the wheel hoe and the tractor, depending on the crop). We also need to go ahead and thin the green beans and stake the tomatoes. I don’t know about y’all, but we can see July just over the horizon! We’re also going to finish the transport of the high tunnels and re-construct them this week. And Ben needs to get on that tractor and put in the cover crop on our fall/winter field as well as the new, big field we added on this year. It’s going to be another whirlwind of a week! See you soon!

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

DOUGLAS ADAMS, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
broccoli, cabbage, Charlie the dog, chicken tractor, farm entertainment, groundhog, growing like gangbusters, summer squash

Farm News

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Here’s an entry from our Week #2 Newsletter for CSA members. 
Ben and I took our usual Sunday stroll through the garden today and it looks like everything is about to go gangbusters on us! The cabbage is beginning to head up, the squash is fruiting and blooming up a storm, the garlic is producing scapes and the leaves are starting to go yellow/brown (which is an indicator of when it’s ready for picking), the broccoli is full of baby crowns, the potatoes are starting to bloom, and, of course, the plethora of weeds are thriving as well! This week we’ll harvest scallions, tat soi, lettuce, strawberries, arugula, herbs (flat leaf parsley, dill, cilantro, and garlic scapes), kale, chard and beets for y’all. We picked the kale and the chard pretty hard last week, so we’re going to offer you the option of kale, chard, or beets for this week – which we’re calling the “choose 1 option”. Remember, the early bird gets the worm – so if you reallywant one of those things, it’s probably best to come to the pick up site as early as you can. We’re also going to offer the herbs as a “choose 1 option” – you get to pick between cilantro, dill, parsley and garlic scapes (or – if we have enough garlic scapes to give to everyone, it will be an added extra and you pick between the others). 
Last week was a good first week of getting into the swing of spring things. We had a good first market at the Raleigh Downtown Market. We met quite a few nice, new folks. We even met one of our neighbors. We also had a nice time meeting new CSA members this week and catching up with returning members. Everyone’s excitement has been infectious and has given Ben and I a much needed second wind to get more summer crops in the ground and get the cooler under way. Before we know it, it’ll be June! In between harvest, washing, boxing, and delivering to CSA drops and going to markets, we’ve managed to get some more things done on the farm. CSA member, Charlotte came out this week to help us cultivate, hand weed, and transplant tomatoes. I seeded up pumpkins and more tat soi and Ben direct seeded more mesclun and cilantro. Ben spent some time replacing the bearings on the disk harrow and disked up ground for late tomatoes and peppers. Earlier in the week, he got a truck load of compost from the city of Raleigh and spread it and then finish the beds to prep more ground for summer produce. Friday, our friends Tarah, Meredith and Meredith’s friend, Liz came out to the farm to help us harvest for Saturday’s markets and CSA pick up.
This is the chicken tractor for the “tweens”
Life on the farm means we work a lot, but it also means we’re often entertained. The not-so-baby chicks (I think they might be “tweens”) have provided a personal comedy show for us each evening this week. Ben put a few roosts in the chicken tractor and they all try to roost on the highest one. They wind up jumping on each others’ backs and struggling to push each other off the roost and start all over again. Fittingly, it’s kind of like they’re playing chicken. Charlie, our dog, also provides quite a bit of entertainment. He likes to hop in tall grass like a gazelle – and no matter how many times he does it, it makes us laugh. He’s an awfully goofy dog. He also managed to get into it with a ground hog a couple weeks ago. I had no idea ground hogs were so tough – Charlie finally met his match. By the time Ben and I were able to figure out what all the commotion was about, we saw a ground hog attached to Charlie’s face (more specifically, he had Charlie by the nose). There was quite a lot of blood for a couple minutes or so, but the ground hog and the dog left that match relatively unscathed. Charlie may have a scar on his nose and hopefully, he’ll learn his lesson not to mess with wild animals – or ground hogs, at least!
Well, I guess that’s all for now folks! Thanks for taking the time to read this and find out a little bit about what’s going on the farm. Let us know how you’re doing too!