Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Barnyard Renovations

Pepper th bunny 2010At the Farm, the holes that Pepper the bunny digs are finally covered and fairly inaccessible with the recent snow. There will be a thaw and some melting that will allow the holes to emerge and Pepper will dig again. She also has little reason to dig beyond the parameters of her rabbit yard, for there are plenty of undesired animals who exist beyond the fence.

goats Bella & LIbbyThe two, friendly goats next door, though, would welcome her and perhaps even bring her into their little house for shelter if need be. Another reason for Pepper to stay within her friendly confines is the kind care giver that is building her a new home. With all the digging, all the frost heaves and slight erosion that exist on a little hill and berm, Pepper’s hutch could use a makeover. So the hard-working, once-a-week caretaker is taking great care to design and construct a new hutch, complete with an ADA ramp, if need be, porch and a covered area for sleep and a spot to store her copies of The Runaway Bunny, Watership Down and of course her beloved, dogeared copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. It has been at least ten years since Pepper has had a new home structure. No home improvement cable show could fabricate such a sound home. She also is the recipient of a new gate that will keep her safe and allow for the staff to easily open, duck in and lure her with hardy parsley or soon to emerge dandelion greens. Pepper, whose jobs on the Farm are to be cute and yield compostable bunny manure, is all set as she can spend winter adjusting to her new digs.

hens 2Up the hill a bit, the chickens in the upper coop and yard have also benefited from Dan’s skilled work. New, solid wood, double layers of chicken wire and stability allow those ole birds to freely roam in and out of their volunteer Dave Beal reinforced chicken house. Across the driveway, large blue tarps are held down by 1″ by 2″ pine boards, so that the roof can be fixed and the beams and lollies firmed to support the nee horse barn and current tractor shed for another 200 years. For in that tractor shed, there are large and small machines that keep the farmer busy these winter days as he applies learning hours to upkeep and maintenance so the machines will better run and work come the growing season.

And now great time is also spent taking care to construct new doors to the propagation greenhouse, for in three weeks or so, the farmer will warm soil, put cut wood into the stove and start sowing seeds in new plastic and old wood trays. The new doors will help keep in the heat, as the second layer of plastic and the upgraded blue Bergsten wood stove needs help so the seeds stay warm and the heat stays in the hoop house.

The long list of tasks would astound you, as this is an old Farm with many nooks and crannies needing tenderness and love. As spring approaches, we must proceed with one or two projects at a time. And everyday the animals are there waiting for attention and due diligence. The Farm is grateful for its animals who make for great visitors and for those who keep those animals safe and sheltered. So dig and read on Pepper, for there is a hard working contractor out there making sure you have the wherewithall to do so.

© 2016, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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