Hello there! Just dropping by with your monthly update from our farm. Things are a bit crazy around here, but crazy for us usually means busy so we will take it!
Both July and August are full on planting months for us. We keep a farm calendar and a poultry calendar year round to help us plan crops, farm chores, track pests, chart egg patterns, and harvests for both plants and animals.
Around this time of the year it’s a bit tricky because of all the heat so we’re up early and back out late. It’s like full time work with part time hours. Does that really exist? Yes it does and we’ve almost got it down. A typical day on the farm looks like this:
Up early before the heat sets in.
Coffee and food if we didn’t press snooze too many times.
Seek and destroy any pests.
Prune what needs it.
Weed and fertilize beds according to schedule.
Harvest then irrigate if necessary.
Record, record, record.
Feed and water all animals.
Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well since we can only get maybe half of this list done before it gets hot, we usually go back out in the evening to finish. There are those times when we work in or through the heat, but that’s only when absolutely necessary.
Our priorities are harvesting and watering early along with caring for the animals. On those super hot days, the animals get water throughout the day so even if we finished our list early, someone has to go back out to make sure the animals are hydrated.
A goal of ours is have just about everything on automation during the hotter months if not year round. With the continued support of our community we hope to reach this goal. Farming can be very laborious at times so finding ways to be more efficient helps us to farm smart and continue to love what we do.
So what’s “growing on” in the month of August? Lots! We’re on our second round of Summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and more. Plus we’ve planted Winter squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, just so many things for Fall. We have to feed ourselves, our Kith & Kin CSA members (which is filling up quick…join now) and many of you guys too.
In case you missed it, two GREAT things happened in the month of July! For starters our farm became Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)!!! We could not be more excited about being a part of this beautiful program.
If you’re unfamiliar with CNG and what this certification means the “quick and dirty” version is that we are committed to growing clean food, from true seeds. Food that is clean AND safe! Now you guys know us, and Hawkins Homestead Farm has ALWAYS farmed “clean,” but now we have another certification to back us up. Check out the link here to find out more. Along with Bain Home Gardens, we are proud to be the only two farms certified in our part of Alabama. Our hope is that more farms will join us as well. So if you have a favorite farmer, ask them about their growing practices, and invite them to stand proud as a CNG Farmer.
Ok onto the second GREAT thing. It’s so important to me to continue to grow in my knowledge. Plus I love sharing and teaching others how to grow their own gardens. Naturally this led me seek out others who are like minded and the result was that I joined the Master Gardener program for our state. I’m so happy to tell you guys that I achieved my certification as a Master Gardener for the state of Alabama!! It’s super exciting! The people I have met and the things I have learned already have opened my eyes wide and I look forward to gaining more insight on what works in our state. Of course, I’m no expert by any means, but I am so enjoying learning and I’m happy to help all that I can.
In chicken news, Farmer Brandon says that we’re about a month out from harvesting. Thank you everyone for your orders! We have been bulking up on chickens because well you just never know with how things are going in the world right now. So we have meat for our freezer and we’ve also been supporting and purchasing from other farmers too. We invite you to do the same. Local farmers feed Alabama! We’re here for you.
The turkeys have sprang up so quickly it seems and they have settled into their home nicely. Soon they’ll be old enough to get lots of garden goodies.
Last, but not least Piggy news is that he is truly a pig! He brings us so much laughter and as our farm grows, we are hoping to be able to add pigs as a permanent part of it.
Now I’m not saying that we will be offering pork, because we’re still in the learning phase, but last year I had a visit from a sweet little boy who came over with his boots on and everything and said “real farms have pigs.” He had fun with the chickens, but I think he was a little disappointed. Now that we’ve been raising Piggy I think understand exactly what he meant by that now! Pigs are a truly great animal to have on the farm!
Just like our chickens we want to raise heritage breeds from good stock and our research has shown that they’re not cheap by any means.
Brandon and I don’t eat pork, but we like to look at all meats in the store and if you can get pork chops for $2.00 a pound and there is a profit, that pig could not have had a good diet or a good quality of life. Just some things to think about because if the quality of your food didn’t matter to you, you wouldn’t be here right now.
Someone told me just today that “you get what you pay for” and that is so true. We applaud and support those farmers who are focused on the land and the quality of life their animals have. We know you do too. Thank you!
What you may have noticed about the segment this month is that there are no pictures. Why? Well because everything is in turn over mode and there isn’t that much to see!
Not to worry though, next month there will be pictures and updates galore. Please stay safe. Stay healthy. Follow the state mandated order and wear those masks. I’ll look forward to speaking with you again next month. Until then……