The blog of Hope Grows

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Exciting farm developments!

Two of our projects took big jumps forward in the past couple days.

1. We have located 2 Berkshire pigs and are picking them up tomorrow! Berkshires are supposed to have the best tasting meat of any pig, much more on them later.

2. Our friend Danny finished tilling and making beds for our 1/4 acre garden, which was a huge help since our other option was to use a walk behind rototiller.

We finished after dark today so no photos but I'll post some tomorrow. Piggies will arrive late Wednesday so their debut will have to wait until Thursday.


Friday, March 26, 2010

2nd Annual Egg Festival Next Saturday April 3rd!

It's hard to believe its already been a year since our first Egg Festival. Folks had a great time last year and we're looking forward to doing it again. I've posted a few of my favorite pictures from last year at the bottom. Hope to see you there!

Here are all the details:

2nd Annual Egg Festival and Farm Tour

$5 per person - kids 12 and under get in FREE!!! Includes access to all Egg Fest activities and refreshments. See schedule below. Please bring your own basket and remember to wear closed toe shoes.

How do you sign up?
Comment on this post, email us at or give us a ring at 912-863-6436

Wanna volunteer?
Help us make this event spectacular! Volunteers needed for booths, games, and other essential roles. You’ll be handsomely rewarded with a strong sense of community and a farm gift certificate. Call us at 912-863-6436 to sign up.

Egg Fest and Farm Tour Schedule
Saturday, April 3rd--3 to 5:30pm
Rain Date: Sunday, April 4th--2 to 4:30pm
(We’ll contact you to confirm date/time change in the event of rain)

Egg Fest Begins! (3:00)
Pet a chicken, paint your face, decorate eggs, pin the tail on the rooster, or poke around on your own.

1st Farm Tour: The Real Dirt (3:15-4:00)
A 45 minute tour with Arianne & Elliott, your friendly local farmers. We’ll cover chicks, pastured broilers, pastured eggs, free range pigs, our new “ecoganic” garden, and blueberry production.

Egglympic Games (3:15-5:00)
Compete in one or play them all: Egg and Spoon Race, Egg Toss, Bocce Egg Roll, Egg Relay Race, Egg Eating Contest, and more! Kids and kids at heart welcome.

2nd Farm Tour: The Real Dirt (4:15-5:00)
A 45 minute tour with Arianne & Elliott, your friendly local farmers. We’ll cover chicks, pastured broilers, pastured eggs, free range pigs, our new “ecoganic” garden, and blueberry production.

Epic Egg Hunt (5:15)
Hunt real eggs and other treats in our pecan orchard!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Broilers: 5 weeks and growing...

Here they are celebrating their 5 week birthdays at the early morning salad bar. Note that we switched to Plasson bell style waterers. They're recycled from a commercial chicken house, and can be attached simply to a 5 gallon bucket reservoir on top of the coop. Much less strain on the back, and they have more capacity than the galvanized waterers. Two per pen filled with 100 birds should get you through the day.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

And they're off...

We've been working hard these past couple weeks to get our layers out to pasture in their modified coops, which are much more space efficient and farmer friendly than the original design. Thwarted only by a 24 hour stomach bug (we're still learning to accept and expect such monkey wrenches in our plans), we finally got them out this morning. It's hard to see it in the picture, but all the ladies are smiling, enjoying the fresh delicate spring growth in our orchard. As farmers, vistas like these--heritage birds grazing on verdant pastures--make our hearts swell with pride and our stomachs grumble for those marigold yolks.

Also, here's a look-see at our 4 week old broiler guys. They look a bit caged in here, but our pens are more for keeping predators out than keeping the birds in. Because they grow so fast, and prefer to sit rather than roam, they're easy prey. Accordingly, we've built moveable fortresses that give them access to pasture without allowing the hawks a bite of their tasty ba-donk-a-donks.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pastured chicken farming...not for the faint of heart!

Think you got what it takes to raise the best chicken you'll ever eat? To make meat this good, 'round the clock dedication is required--which occasionally looks like crawling around on your hands and knees in a poultry pen, scooping chicks out of 4 inch deep puddles. The picture below was taken just after a spring rainstorm when I, Arianne, had to put on my big girl pants at 11:00pm and take one for the team--the chicken team--lowering myself into a slurry of floating manure and grass to shepherd 300 confused and soaking chicks to islands of fresh, dry hay.

We raise the birds on pasture--which means they get access to fresh air, sunshine, grass, and bugs--to create the best meat you can eat. But until Elliott gets that bubble installed around the farm, we--and the birds--are at the mercy of constantly changing environmental conditions. This requires us to be responsive and available most of the time. It's a huge commitment, but the payoff is delicious.

Two tough turkeys--wet, dirty, with bloody knees

- Arianne

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lord of the Wings

With much pride, tonight Corwin and I proudly release the "Lord of the Wings" to the public. This tour de force film makes you laugh, cry, and become confused. It may be snubbed by the snooty Academy but there is always the Golden Globes.

With no further ado. The "Lord of the Wings"


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's Been Going On

After a very long winter, spring is finally springing on the farm. We are loving it and working hard to be ready for the new season.

The pear tree is the first to blossom and it has really popped in the last couple days.

We are getting set to move all of our birds onto pasture from their winter quarters and to do this we are retrofitting our old coops. Gone are the cursed solid floors to be replaced with slats (no more shoveling poop!). More on this later.

Just a bad picture of me in my opaque sunscreen, great for your next trip to the surface o fthe sun.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Broilers - 3 Week Birthday - Out on Pasture!

Oops, missed their 2 week birthday, I don't think they noticed. They went out to pasture Friday and are loving it. They proved to be very tough little guys, braving 30 degree cold with no problem. They are coming along nicely and will be ready for sale at the Egg Festival and 1st Statesboro Market.

- E