Friday, June 12, 2009

Summers First Harvest

The time has come for us to collect and eat the first fruits (or vegetables) of our labor. Mom and Sam and I have been working the family vegetable garden diligently lately. Though it is no model garden or anything you may see featured on HGTV anytime soon, we are quite proud of it. It is definitely an improvement over the past few years. This season, it appears that the green bush beans (I'm sure there is a more official name) are the winner of the first to be edible contest. These perfect, bug-scar free, beans are on the menu for Sunday dinner. I can't wait to have them sauteed in a little olive oil and fresh garlic or just plain boiled with a piece of bacon.

Next up in the garden is likely to be some tomatoes. Several of the eight varieties we planted are starting to show a little color. Some of my jalapenos are putting on a little weight as well. Stay tuned.......

Tomorrow: the livestock auction. The should be an interesting post on that forthcoming.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The First New Livestock

Although it is the plan to delve into other types and quantities of livestock here on the farm, a few laying hens seemed like the easiest way to get my feet wet. Over the course of two days, I built a small chicken tractor (movable coop) almost completely out of scrape lumber from around the farm. All I had to purchase was the chicken wire, wheels, and feeders.....and of course the chickens. Once the tractor was complete, I couldn't wait to put something in it. So, thanks to a tip from Mecca & Adam (see Turtle Bend Farm's blog), I drove to Hiram Georgia and picked out two Rhode Island Red pullets and two Buff Orphington pullets. As they are only about three months old, I probably won't see any eggs until early fall, and then only for a short time before they stop for winter.

Hopefully, this summer, I will also be able to construct a simple enclosure to raise some broiler chicks. I'd like to do just enough to fatten up and put in the freezer to get through the winter not buying any store-bought chicken. By next spring, the plan is to build and fill several large movable coops to house several hundred, free-ranging meat chickens. For now, the plan is to get one or two more laying hens (probably barred rock) and a rooster for the tractor and build them some sort or larger perimeter fence in which to range.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Referbishing of a Farm

The idea of this blog is to chronicle the reinvention of Bennett Farms in Rockmart, GA. I am of the fourth generation in my family to make use of this beautiful property, but the history of this homestead goes back much farther (more on that later). For the past ten years, the only agricultural use of the property has been hay production, but plans are underway to greatly expand the diversity and output of the small family farm.

The bulk of the aforementioned property belongs to my grandmother, Mary Ann Bennett, and is operated through a family partnership, of which I am the primary laborer. Other extended family members own other parcels that were part of a 1,000 acre purchase made by my Great-grandfather, R.O. Jackson Sr., in 1941. Some of the ventures currently happening on those properties are likely to get some attention here as well.

The labor that goes into maintaining a nearly 400 acre spread in the foothills of the Smokies can be a full time job alone, but the expansion of its usage will take many months and years. The exact path it will take is yet to be set in stone, but many ideas ans projects are underway. As these projects, both personal and for the farm as a whole are underway and completed, they will be documented here.