Monday, July 20, 2009

Growth...!

Zhenerbee Farm has been hard at work since launch day. The incubation of our chix went well, and our chicken coop was designed and built in a short period of time. We will post pictures of these events shortly. Our farmer in training has learned quite a bit about care-taking for animals, and there has been no hesitancy to jump in to the work flow. We originally had eight chickens, and later went back to secure six additional chix. As of last week, that number has dropped to eleven, due to a hungry coyote that is wandering the woods surrounding our property. Farmer Zhen is outsourcing this issue to someone inclined to handle the matter appropriately... namely Dad. Again, stay toon for details.

It is interesting to note that the issue of death was engaged quite directly in our four year old farmers consciousness. At the prospect of having to handle "big mean roosters", Zhen immediately drew his own conclusion that "we are going to have to eat the roosters before they get too big then". When circumstances required us to explain the demise of three of his chickens at the hands of the coyote, our farmer responded matter-of-factly with the understanding that "we are not going to get to eat those chickens I guess". There seems to be a comfort level with the circle of life in our four year old farmer; something of a prerequisite I suppose.

Additionally to the chickens being raised for their eggs, we are composting their waste for fertilizer that will be used in the gardens that are also part of Zhenerbee Farms. This year we are having quite a harvest; our zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cantaloupe, peppers, radishes, beans, horseradish and jalapeno peppers have produced quite a bit of table ready goodness. Our 70-30 mixture of soil and cow manure was tilled with some perlite to retain moisture in our raised beds as well as some lime and organic fertilizer to maintain the proper growing conditions. Zhen has been involved in starting our crops from seed, shoveling soil, mixing soil, planting seedlings, watering the crops, and laying out which crops would be placed where in the garden based on expected sun exposure and shade patterns. His knowledge and comfort level with farming has really increased in a short period of time.

What began as a quest for a toy, and a means to earn some money to buy that toy has been transformed in a matter of weeks into a passion. Our young farmer returned from a trip to the Lego store yesterday with his Nanie with a Farm Kit, complete with barn, tractor, silo, and various other elements which he diligently sat at for a couple of hours constructing himself, following the directions page by page. The skills that a farmer requires for success are really wide ranging, and this experience of allocating resources and skills to a four year old farmer in the making has already returned some practical dividends. We can see growth ahppening right in front of our eyes, and I believe we are establishing the foundation of a life-long perspective about how money is made, and how much power you have over the nature of your own life. Its not mission accomplished yet, but things could not be going any better at this stage of the process.

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