Farm Updates: Performing A Chicken Necropsy and Complaining

Howdy-

It’s been a fat minute since I updated y’all on the farm happenings! I plan on getting back to regularly writing for the farm blog and especially on returning to the more informational posts this month. In the meantime, here are some updates:

The biggest and best changed that has occurred since I last wrote is that there have been two more sets of hands helping out at the farm! It is truly incredible how much faster (and in a much more enjoyable manner) things get done when I am not working alone. Together, we have been able to start focusing more energy on the West Side of the farm, which was looking bedraggled at best and decrepit at worst after a summer of extreme heat and broken irrigation.

I have slowly started to sow fall crops, proceeding warily because another heatwave seems to strike every few weeks. As I write this, it is mid-October and most days this week are going to be 96 degrees; the list of things I would do for a few cold, rainy mornings is of a very considerable length. Thus far radishes, beets and fava beans have begun to sprout, and we put kale, microgreens, radicchio, cauliflower and bok choy in the greenhouse last week.

Almost a month ago, the 4 new chickens arrived via overnight shipping. I was instructed to pick them up at the closest post office and anxiously tracked the package for the few days. After driving to many post offices and being greeted with many confused looks, I figured out that they had been delivered to the Pomona College Mailroom and brought them to their new home. I had built a sort of haphazard run for them to quarantine in for a month before being brought to the actual coop and for the first week, every morning that I came in there was a coyote sitting outside the run watching them, which made me quite nervous. Luckily, there has been no chicken deaths by coyote but unfortunately, one of the new ladies died from a bacterial infection that we suspect she came from the hatchery with. I am holding off on naming the rest of the chickens until they make it safely into the new run.

Approximately 10,000 people call the farm phone each week asking if we have apple picking. No but seriously, at least 10-20. I don’t know if the people of the Inland Empire are hankering for some fresh, fall apples extra hard this year or if this used to be a thing that happened at the farm? With the fast turn-over of the farm manager position, quite a lot of information gets lost, so it is always interesting (at times, extremely frustrating) to put together the pieces of the past. Many callers are particularly fond of asking if they can still come after I tell them that the farm is closed to the public during the pandemic; it is no wonder that covid cases are still rising in the United States when we’re all moving through the world with this sort of self-exceptionalism (which I have many a time caught myself enacting).