St. Olaf Garden Research and Organic Works


A few pictures of what has been going on lately...

Now that things are starting to settle down at the farm we've gotten the chance to try some new things: Lately I've been trying letting a few of the chickens run around freely. At first they were a little reluctant to leave the safety of their coop, and when they did leave they would not venture far. After a week or so of this they became a bit more aggressive in looking to escape the coop. Luckily, those brave enough to venture off are very habit forming, and don't like to be away from the rest of the herd for very long. The chickens have almost doubled in size since we first got them, which is really no surprise considering how much we spoil them. On top of their basic feed, the chickens have gone through an entire ant mound, handfed worms, and plenty of fruit and vegetable scraps.

The baby sheep have adjusted nicely to their new homes. Moses, the most outgoing of the three, has been getting into playful head pushing/butting contests with Moe and me. The other two, Martin Luther and Wendell, have really warmed up to human contact and enjoy our presence.

Finally, we've been observing how different plants grow in either pure mulch or dirt with nothing added to it. As far as results go, the plants grown in dirt started off significantly better. But, in the past week the mulch plants have made a push effort to catch up, when we know the final results I'll post them along with the pictures. I've also started another experiment to test how a combination of the two stacks up, more to come later...

Farm tasks

The lambs have arrived!!

Jessica, Brett and I drove out to Bywater Farm near Amery, WI on Sunday to finally pick up our lambs. The dark brown one is Martin Luther, the fellow with horns is Moses, and the spotted one is Wendell, named after our hero Wendell Berry. Martin Luther and Wendell are wethers, or castrated males. Moses is a male. The whole drive back we enjoyed the baaa-ing of our three new buds from the rear of my minivan!

Gary and Ginger, the owners of Bywater Farms and the wonderful folks who sold us the lambs.

We fitted the three lambs with harnesses which makes it easy for us to transport them from their pen in the barn out into the fields where the fresh green salad buffet is.

The STOGROW guys bond with the three new guys.


Today was hot, hot, hot.
With humidity, a clear sky, and relentless sun, farming turns from a pleasant pastime into a whole other beast. So today, Day and I dropped our shovel and rake for something different: shopping! And we had good reason to pick up a few new things, with fresh members introduced to our humble farm just last night.
Lambs! Three sweet, lovely little male sheep (mutton?) now call our barn and grasslands home. Oh, to be a lamb and have the world as your salad bar. We've named the black fellow Martin Luther, the mottled one Wendell (after Wendell Berry) and the lighter, fluffier one with horns Moses. I believe that in accordance with some translations, there is a biblical reference to a horned Moses.
The threesome is now outfitted with harnesses and leashes, as well as cables to stake them out in the grass and clover. They bleat like the dickens, and sound a little too human with their wide vocabulary of B-A-A-AH to BLA-AURGH to MEa-ruGH. The question is, are they too cute to be eaten? We shall have to see.
Our plants are looking really lovely. The peppers are getting darker as they soak up the hot sun, which for Day is a relief from last year's sickly pepper crop. The tomatoes are getting bigger by the day, and you can almost see our transplants in the green house inching up from the soil. This morning, Rob and I saw a few sunflowers poking their way up, and by 3pm they were nearly all a thumbnail high! The only drawback to this weather is the issue of watering; we have a few new sprinklers from our shopping expedition which we hope will lessen the load.
After fussing over the lambs and tinkering with the sprinklers, we completed a few indoor tasks away from the intense heat. Nails were pounded, wheelbarrows were fixed, and a sweaty good time was had by all.

Mouse Graveyard

We found this mummified mouse (along with about 7-8 others) in some tires we found in the barn.

Recent STOGROW pictures