Inside the Scramble of Restoration Agriculture

“What is that in Hop’s Mouth?” After developing a reputation for being a bit soft and trying to sneak into the farmhouse at every opportunity, Hop earned her keep this week

hop and her weasel

by killing what we think is a young weasel or ermine. It is in the freezer so our neighbors Rodney and Theresa Elmer of Mountain Deer Taxidermy can identify it for certain. Either way, the rather adorable beast who could have made quite a scramble of our eggs and eventually flocks. Hmmm, litter size can be up to 12? Puts a damper on the excitement for the hens going out to the back field this weekend!

But out they must go! Next week Andrew is scheduled to prep the near hoop house for tomatoes and peppers. Between then and now the “bedded pack”, with its captured wealth of a winter’s worth of pig, goat and hen pee and poop will be moved out to a windrow-shaped pile, wet and advanced to 140°F.

Speaking of black gold, Andrew and Josh got a great start on amending  the crop beds for this year before a bolt gave way on the steering shaft of the tractor. Luckily the tractor had performed well through last week’s splash of action in the orchard when we teamed up with Nicko Rubin of East Hill Tree Farm to plant 24 apple and pear trees and hazelnut hedges. The 75 nut shrubs are part of Nicko’s collaboration with Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm in Wisconsin. The project aims to increase yield through propagation of disease resistant plants. Many of you will join us with interest in Mark’s new book Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers.

Chugging away in the background of the entire week was our chervil eradication effort! Josh Gerdes, who finished high school early and has joined the team has been relentless in his digging, the only known way to stop this central Vermont menace. In the long term we hope the shade of the hazelnut hedge will help us guard the property from its advances. For the here and now we are glad Josh is here and we hope the fight doesn’t wear him down in his early pursuits of farming.



We are always bolstered by positive energy from our neighbors. We were especially thrilled this week that Liz Butler chose the farm to host Roy’s 75th birthday. We so enjoyed catching up with many neighbors and as the evening wrapped up their kids and grandkids expanded the celebration to include Liz and Roy’s upcoming 50th wedding anniversary.


The group floated 50 candles and a chorus of frogs amplified the celebration! Inspiration for us all.