Mid-summer farm life

There’s rarely a dull moment in the life of the farm. That may be an understatement. Of course, some days are busier than others, but in general we’re kept busy with a myriad of diverse and interesting projects and chores. As our apprentices are finding out, while the rhythm, ritual and routine on the farm remains relatively the same day-in and day-out (these are our “Three R’s”), no two days are alike. And that’s what keeps this lifestyle fresh.

This time of year, we’re in a full-production mode and nurturing the diverse life on the farm: pastured poultry, eggs, turkeys, hogs, milking goats, harvesting, planting, suckering tomatoes, irrigating, composting, weeding, sickle bar mowing, weed whacking, haying and so on and so forth. This year, we’ve also engaged in a focused regeneration effort to enhance the biodiversity on the farm by planting dozens of trees and shrubs in various swales around the farm.

Some new plantings as part of our regenerative effort on the farm. We have spent a lot of time planting willows, cottonwoods, chokecherry, caragana, dogwood and apricot in various swales around the farm.

We are often asked if we’re still offering CSA shares as part of our marketing efforts on the farm. The short answer is “yes.” We have various CSA programs currently underway. Anne is one of the growers providing fresh, organic produce for some 30 CSA boxes for disadvantaged households in the Telluride Mountain Village. We also have about 10 CSA produce boxes that are assembled every week for customers throughout the region, coupled with another 30 CSA members who receive farm fresh eggs, pastured chicken, bone broth and liver pate, delivered every Friday to distribution points throughout the east end of the county and Ridgway. You can also find our products at the Telluride Farmers Market every Friday, and our pastured chicken is available at Laura Parker’s High Desert Seeds farmstand in Ridgway. Also look for our products at Norwood’s Fresh Food Hub and through the Fresh Food Movement. Allreds Restaurant has our chicken on their menu (it’s absolutely delicious!!) and Floradora uses our eggs in their Sunday brunch offerings. Check ’em out!

CSA boxes are assembled every Monday afternoon for distribution to needy households in the Telluride Mountain Village.

Summer is not complete without the onset of the North American Monsoon, which arrived a bit late this year. At times the storms have been ferocious, providing us with torrential downpours, windstorms and lightning and thunder. Already, numerous small wildfires have sprung up throughout the region, but have not resulted in anything threatening. The rains are very welcome in this high-alpine desert.

A torrential downpour that resulted in 1″ of rainwater in less than 30 minutes, causing minor flooding throughout the farm.

A big part of regenerative agriculture is incorporating livestock into the farm operation, something we’ve practiced since the farm’s humble beginnings 18 years ago. Livestock are essential for enhancing the health of grass pastures, feeding micro-organisms in the soil with their fertilizer, providing a nitrogen source to our compost pile which later becomes a soil amendment in the garden, and generally mimicking what Mother Nature has always provided: bio-diversity. Of course, the health benefits of eating grass-fed meats and animal fats are indisputable.

Turkeys are pastured raised in the same 2-acre intensively rotated pasture along with chickens (broilers and egg layers) and, in the early season, cattle.

The bio-intensive garden is masterfully and tirelessly worked by Anne LeFevre, who is here with her two boys for the third consecutive year. This has been a challenging growing season (aren’t they all at 7000′ in Colorado?) because of the endless winter, a cold spring and hailstorms that have conspired to destroy anything in their path. Nevertheless, the harvest goes on!

Anne (r) and Chris, a WWOOFER this summer who is attending University of Vermont, bring home a part of a very successful garlic harvest.

The wetter than average winter, coupled with ample water irrigation supplies, have resulted in a substantial hay harvest throughout Wrights Mesa this summer.

A recently mowed hay field on the farm. Yields are up this summer!

It’s not all work all the time on the farm. We manage to find time to cool off in one of our spring-fed ponds during the dog days of summer.

Elias takes a break on a warm summer afternoon, and checks out the surf in our swimming pond.

And yes, we try to make it up into the high country for some excersize and peak bagging. We came across this beautiful wildflower in a recent outing.

A Mariposa lily, prevalent this year in the high country. Possibly the prettiest wildflower in the state? That, of course is subject to debate.

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