What's Happening at Stonecrop
You know what might just be the trickiest part of raising livestock over the winter? Water.
Imagine us here at our farm with our flock of laying hens and 4 different herds of pigs out in the fields. It's relatively easy for us to bring organic grain to the animals once or twice a day, after we get bundled up and shovel a little snow. But in the wintertime, when the temperatures drop, the portable waterers, water tanks and spigots freeze solid and this means we don't have water where the animals are.
In previous years, we carried buckets of water from our basement to our animals 2-3 times per day. And, if this sounds terribly inefficient to you...it is! It takes a lot of time and it also wears on our hands, and our backs, and our spirits.
We've always known that if we were going to be able to keep doing what we love most in this world (FARM!), we needed to figure out a better system for water over the winter. But, after our barn renovations this year, it just wasn't in our budget.
That is, until a customer of ours, who we named our Fairy Godmother, told us this summer that she wanted to help finance a project on the farm! To be honest, we thought she was joking at first. I mean, who just offers to give money to a farm!?
We thanked her profusely and then tried to politely refuse, saying that we couldn't accept such a generous gift. But for months, she shared how our farm was giving her joy and kept asking us when we were going to tell her how she could help. It seems strange to write this, but it was actually really (REALLY!) hard for us to accept her gift. But, after talking with family and doing a lot of soul searching, we eventually realized what was stopping us from saying yes (our pride and fear of being vulnerable) and accepted her offer.
Greg immediately got busy researching and drawing up plans. We wanted to use her gift wisely and needed to design a structure which is movable (since our winter paddocks move from year to year), economical, and gives us more days with flowing water...while keeping the animals on pasture where they belong. We wanted it to serve our laying hens first and foremost (since our Fairy Godmother is a vegetarian!), but have some duel purpose for when the temps were super low and the pregnant sows are delivering.
Farmer Greg came up with a grand plan and it is AMAZING! It gives our hens more sunlight and more warmth (which will help mitigate the drop in egg production over the winter) and it will help prevent our water from freezing for most of the winter.
We are happy to report that as of this week, construction is finally underway! How amazing is this?
Greg and Jenney
PS- Don't you just want to give our Fairy Godmother a hug or shake her hand? We can't share her name (we've sworn to secrecy) but, we want to invite you to send her a message of gratitude! It can be a few words, a poem, a full letter, or even an emoji! Just hit reply to this email with a message for our Fairy Godmother and we will compile all the love-letters and send them to her this week so she knows how amazing she is and what her gift means to our community!! I think this will fill her heart with even more joy, which is what this holiday season is all about, right?