Friday, November 5, 2010

Homer on the local news!

Homer met up with a reporter from the local news this morning..here on the farm..in the dark..it was even early for a farmer!

http://www.fox43.com/videobeta/365b4686-4c5d-437c-a6b0-090470289557/News/11-5-ORGANIC-TURKEY-FARM?ref=nf

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkeys!


We are gearing up for Thanksgiving. The turkeys bark like dogs when they have run out of grass, and Homer is now moving them 6-7 times a day..they are scratching and eating like crazy out there!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

honey?

not certain. but don't think the inside of the hive should look like this..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

men at work


Our interns from Denmark, Mark and Jakob, have been building a structure that will house future interns and a composting toilet. It faces due south, will be filled in with straw bales and roofed with a continuous coil of copper tubing..that will help heat water and the space. All a theory right now! Built with timbers salvaged from houses being dismantled in Baltimore, estimated to be 200 years old.

Friday, October 1, 2010


With temperatures at night in the 40's predicted for the upcoming week, it is time to close the hoophouse back up. Homer removed the rain barrels, added the plastic sides and will (as time allows) plant carrots inside and add the rain barrels as water/heat retention for the winter months. Tons of tomato plants inside. Along with the guinea hens, who we hope are eating their weight in horn worms!

Monday, September 20, 2010


We are in the process of becoming certified by The Food Certification Alliance. They visit the farm and examine all that we do: how we manage our livestock, where they come from, where our feed is sourced, what we plant, what we put on it, what happens to our water, our animals waste; how we deal with employees, what environmental impact we have..it is very comprehensive. And when this idea was introduced to us we were fed this beautiful lunch, sourced locally and beautifully prepared and plated..delicious and beautiful! We look forward to the certification, as it means that not just our claims but confirmation from trained inspectors.

Friday, September 10, 2010

cool..

Finally, we are not broiling here on the farm. We have central air in the house but do not use it. Seems like the times we are away or cannot hear are the times awful things happen to our livestock and our vegetables. So we sleep with windows open as much of the year as we can. The results?! Overheated farmers! It has cooled off and water consumption is down dramatically, Homer has even left the farm to attend cookouts and dinners with friends, and work on the vegetable/flower beds is well under way. This time the drip tape is going down with the compost on the beds. This summer we had 4 weeks with no rain, 1 day with 6 inches of rain, and another 3 weeks with no rain. Drip tape has turned out to be essential but was not in place. We will not make that mistake again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

duck eggs!


We have a few now! Our Buff ducks are laying eggs! Two females are laying eggs..and one lays blue eggs, the other tan..Homer found this nest on the ground today..

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

next stop, Mexico!



Our mob and move method allows us to manage all that we do on the property. This week, butterflies on the milkweed, so many it looked like the field was moving, we had to go investigate! Both orange and yellow..and they go all the way to Mexico now?! I would not want to drive that, let alone get there under my own means!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

apples, peaches?!


it is raining here right now. A nice, steady, low fanfare rain. No lightening, no thunder. zero winds. Just a lovely, soaking, steady rain. The rain that farmers dream of: no damage to vegetable plants or fruit trees, but a lovely drink of water from the sky for all of these thirsty plants.

This photo shows the apple trees (planted by previous owner) and some of the chicken pens. The pens are crossing the field behind the hoop house, so the birds are back there hunting for those pesky bugs that will eat an apple crop if left unchecked. We get beautiful apples, the birds get a little extra protein, no sprays happen..we love this!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010

After a couple of days of welcome rain it is back to being as hot as the hinges here. The vegetables beds are responding to the heat and rain with abundant growth..we are entering the phase where everything needs daily checking..things grow so fast! Turkey Trotters are built, chicken pens are filled and moving daily, cows fat and sassy, guinea hen are annoying the neighbors with all the noise they make, geese are protecting all from the hawk and the fox and we are eating like king and queen, so much good food! maybe too much for me..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

markets!

We are in the following farmers markets, hope to see you at one of them soon!

Tuesday, Lauraville 4-8PM
Wednesday, Carlisle 3-7PM
Thursday (every other) GBMC 2:30-5:30PM

yahoo!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

rain..please!

off to water everything..no rain in days, the rain barrels are empty we are pumping water from the well and hoping we get a nice even day of rain soon..or even a 10 minute thunderstorm..please!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

water..

it is hot, must go water everything animal and vegetable, fruit & pond!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

tomato..or 3!



They're small, they're green and there are more than 1! Our first tomatoes are growing! Glacier variety, here is what we hear about them..
"This is not the best market variety because the fruits all look imperfect. That said, the value of this variety for home growing should not be overlooked. These heavy yielding plants produce great tomatoes with real tomato flavor for salads or slicing. Your kids will eat them once they are cut." -Cricket Rakita

Saturday, June 5, 2010

chicken!

We tested our cool new, all stainless steel processing equipment last night. So now we will have chicken every day..from now until early November.

And yes, I still have a kitchen that needs updating, but have the coolest processing equipment on the block! ok, it is the only processing equipment and there isn't really a block..

Thursday, June 3, 2010

clearing walk ways


Our laying hens are constant foragers..hard at it the entire day. They do stop and rest during the hottest part of the day..and then back at it again!

Today they are in the garden, clearing the walkways between the garden beds. After they work this they will head back to under the fruit trees, clearing and fertilizing the ground around what is shaping up to be a good fruit crop. And then the most delicious eggs!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1 2010


Oh my has it gotten busy! As of today we have 1,000 poultry on the farm, 10 head of cattle, 3 pigs, an assortment of waterfowl and almost an acre of vegetables to weed, water and pick. Not much time to write, or think, these days!

and last night these appeared in our front yard..Homer herded them back home and closed the gate..owners not home, livestock always gets out when that happens!

Friday, May 21, 2010

vegetable growth

finally, the frost free date is behind us..everything goes in over the next few days..melons go in another couple weeks, when it is hot at night too..and today we saw a few flowers in the pea patch, peas to follow soon!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

gosling!


Our broody hen, sitting on 6 goose eggs for the last month (and yes, she was "spread thin") has hatched her first gosling! Homer went to feed her and turn the eggs, and when he picked her up another head appeared..poking out of one of the eggs! Here is a photo of the still soaking wet gosling, in a few hours will be dry, fluffy and wobbling around!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

organic?!

not what I think of as organic..and why our poultry live on grass, move daily, get a custom blend ration that is free of these kinds of "organic" materials..I mean, what is an "allowed synthetic"?! nothing any of my birds want to eat!

the USDA National Organic
Program is only loosely enforcing animal welfare rules that require organic
poultry farms to allow their birds to have access to the outdoors and
"exhibit their natural behaviors." This has resulted in a wide range of
farms being certified organic; everything from lush green pastures
where hens roam free, scratching in the compost and nibbling greens, to
giant sheds with tens of thousands of grain-fed birds that never see the
light of day.

At its April 2010 meeting, the National Organic Standards Board had an
opportunity to reform organic chicken and egg production by outlawing a
synthetic feed supplement called methionine that confinement poultry
producers have used as a crutch to help them scale up and keep costs down.

Unfortunately, despite thousands of letters from organic consumers who
understand the nutritional and environmental benefits of pasture-based
organic systems and are concerned about animal welfare and synthetics in
organic, the NOSB voted to keep methionine on the list of allowed
synthetics.

Friday, May 7, 2010

the Mitchell family visits

video

after moving chicken pens, chasing the laying hens, moving cows to a new paddock and zipping on the zip line..the Mitchell kids take a little time with Homer..

Summer Markets

Our availability is the following:

Tuesday 4-8 Lauraville Farmers Market
Wednesday 3-7 Carlisle Farmers market
Friday 9-2 Harrisburg Farmers Market
Saturday 8:30-10 Chevy Chase Buyers Group drop off
Sunday 2-3 Towson Buyers Group drop off

most other times we will be at the farm if you want to stop for pasture raised chicken & eggs, to order a pasture raised heritage breed turkey, or to pick up fresh picked vegetables!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homer's Birthday


May 5, Homer's birthday..and the peach trees have fruit all over them..the chickens help by scratching up all the bug eggs in the ground under the tree..and leaving their waste, which turns out to have almost identical chemical composition to the "fertilizer" sold in bags in stores!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

beef 2010..sold out!!


all our beef shares are sold out! our 4 legged mowers are shown here, cleaning up the back yard.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

baby tomatoes!


You cannot see them. But snuggled into the ground, under those squares of protection and in between the straw are the tomato plants. Glacier, Sophie's Purple Ball and Mortgage Lifter are happily growing under there, ready for warm weather to kick in!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Homer defies gravity


tons o rain! We are wishing we had 40 more rain barrels! We have saved 2,000 gallons of water in the last 24 hours. Via a system of drip tape, duct tape, valves and piping, Homer has figured out how to use water pressure to water all 40 garden beds. And as shown in this picture, to defy gravity!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pitt Geese


Our first flock of broilers has been moved to their field pens. And the geese are standing guard to make certain nothing gets to them. Those geese might look docile but don't let them fool you, they are fierce! Where do you think the term "goosed" comes from?!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pulled Pork


Homer is moving the pigs in a pen so they plow up our garden beds. See picture.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sunnyside Farm Update April 2010


Hello!

Taxes are filed. Beef cattle are in their paddock, already getting used to moving every day. Broilers will be ready to eat beginning in June, we have a brooder full of them and will have them available daily from June through early November. Our pigs are rooting in what then becomes our vegetable beds..and the peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes are sprouting. Apple trees are in full blossom and smell heavenly. The honey bees are busy flying from flower to flower..along with hundreds of other pollinators. We have eggs in abundance. Spring is here!!

I'll be attending the following events over the next week, and will have eggs and honey if you would like them. And the opportunity for you to order a side of beef, a heritage breed Thanksgiving turkey, an egg or chicken share.

EcoFest at Druid Hill Park, Saturday April 17
Earth Day at Irvine Nature Center, Sunday April 18
Earth Day event at GBMC, Thursday April 22

and check out our website: www.sunny-side-farm.com
and my blog: http://sunnysidedru.blogspot.com/

Come visit, it is really looking like the farm now. Bring a picnic and we will lock up the geese so you can enjoy. And we have a guest room if you would like to use it! And acres for camping out..

Dru Peters
Sunnyside Farm
1865 York Rd
Dover PA 17315
410-336-9735
www.sunny-side-farm.com
http://sunnysidedru.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

city bound

Tonight Michael Pollan is speaking at Goucher. We were lucky enough to get tickets, and are feeling the need to get there an hour before he is scheduled to speak..since we were shut out the last time he was in Bmore! Dinner with Molly and Andrea tonight, a pickup of some wicker furniture, a meeting with the honey man and seats with Claire. Just as soon as we batten down the hatches here we are moving on.

Friday, April 9, 2010

where's the beef?!


12 lucky head of beef get to live out the rest of their lives on our property. shade, water, kelp and all the grass (and whatever else is growing on our property) is what they get to eat. Daily moves to a new paddock, longer than a month before back over the same piece of grass means we will get native dung beetles, tons of worms, native fly catchers and lots of butterflies, birds and more. Snake found in the greenhouse today..perfect, they catch rodents and do not eat vegetables.

Friday, April 2, 2010

bless our webbed feet

This funny little water feature was here on the property when we moved in. Filled with trash, debris, dirt and all sorts of things growing from it it was a sad sight. Visitors scoffed when Homer said he would fix it and have a little pond here. A bag of something cement related I picked up at the hardware store (for $8) and about 2 hours work and we have a pond! Our Buff ducklings are so happy, they splashed around all afternoon yesterday, in and out of the water. And yes, the hose you see in the picture is our current water supply.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

all in a line

Now Homer has all 40 rain barrels lined up..and it is raining. One inch of rain will fill all 40 with a total of 2,000 gallons..that will then be gravity fed to the beds. 40 barrels, 40 bays on the greenhouse, 40 growing beds.
Notice the valves at the bottom of each rain barrel..soon there will be drip tape to the growing beds from there. and the orange and silver object at the end of the greenhouse? the Row Toe Tiller Homer designed and built this year, pictures to come..

Saturday, March 27, 2010

we were told we would need drip tape, pumps, an irrigation pond. Instead Homer covered the greenhouse, bought drink concentrate barrels, tapped them, installed gutters, punched holes at each of the barrel sites..Adam helped get the taps into the bottom of the barrels and here we are, no power for regular use of rain water. Our tomato plants are still seedlings under grow lights in the basement, Homer is building the infrastructure by digging holes, putting in compost, rigging up water system so we are ready when the seedlings move outdoors.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tonight it is expected to be 30 degrees here. An opportunity to lose all that we have started. Homer has used the interior of the greenhouse for storage of a number of items: buckets that we use to collect turned produce from Steve at Planet Produce, rain barrels that Darin and Ashley at Herring Run Watershed encouraged us to use, and the item we will use tonight: row crop covers! On 1,000 foot rolls tthe crop covers weigh next to nothing and we have no idea how it works..but the seedlings stay alive and above freezing under there. The other roll is paper. We use that to put over the beds the pigs have rooted, water the paper down and than add 2-3" of compost on top. And then in go our seeds, and are they happy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

holes


Homer is hosting folks from Kayam Farm today. They have had a small flock of laying hens (and last year we conducted a pen building workshop there..and Jakir helped with turkey processing the year before) and are looking to add more this year.

He has been digging holes inside the greenhouse. After removing all of the poultry from the greenhouse it is time to grow in there! Each hole will house a tomato plant that will grow through the house gets really cold at night..we think we might still have fresh, dirt grown tomatoes at Thanksgiving. Along with spinach, carrots, and potatoes from the farm..and pumpkin for pie..yum..

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

sun!


Today the sun is out, the air is mild and the ground is getting muddy. It is scheduled to be sunny for the next 5 days at minimum, and is resulting in a bee hive of activity here! Homer has set up in the basement of the house a seedling growing station. Plenty of grow lights and heating pads make for a warm and light filled spot for our tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. We are growing a variety of tomatoes this year: beefsteak, cherry and paste..4-5 named varieties of each. It is tough to have too many tomatoes, as we love to can, dry and eat fresh for as long as possible. Adam is here helping Homer get the greenhouse ready for the same plantings out there, then we will see the best spot for starting.
We decided it was important to clearly identify each variety we are growing. Homer picked up a bunch of 2x4's at the store, all were in the discard bin and cost close to nothing. He ripped them down to square, cut a pointed end and then painted them. We will add the names of everything we are growing so the they can be clearly marked and easily moved. It did not occur to me that a plant marker could be a work of beauty, but this certainly is!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13, 2010


Had wonderful farm visits this week! Tuesday Katie Maunz visited..a sunny, beautiful day! She helped repair the stockade fence, move the pig pen, cover the 40 yards of compost, and stack the feed delivery in the new feed bin Homer constructed. Such a sweetheart, lovely to have her visit.

And from my running in Rockville days, Charles Angelo, Nancy Jo Snyder and Charles' older brother Lou Angelo visited on Friday. Chilly, rainy and windy they braved the long walk to the greenhouse, moved chickens, pigs, collected eggs, dumped slop, fed bread..and then we had a wonderful lunch of just gathered eggs, along with onions, mushrooms, spinach and cheese. Homer here just in time for a bread delivery. Lots of stories and laughter with this crowd, how I love spending time with them, what a joy! Future party plans were discussed..in better weather we hope!

Today is final tax paperwork for me. Homer is building the basement plant starting spot: we now have heating pads for under and grow lights for over the seed starting area. We will start some seeds (tomato, cucumber, pepper) here in the house and start the same in the unheated greenhouse under row covers and see which do better. And if all grow we will have lots of plants to get going!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

warm?!

Warm enough for the chickens to exit the greenhouse and get back on grass! The birds have done an amazing job clearing out every blade of green stuff that was growing under cover. Homer tore up the space, getting rid of all the green stuff, and the hens finished off every little thing. Including things we are growing on purpose when we forgot to put the covers back on the planting beds. Grass is peeking through everywhere on our 13 acres and before we know it we will need lawn mowers..cows in our world! Thinking about getting unwanted Jersey bull calves from Keswick Creamery, a local grass fed dairy who has plenty of bulls!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, 2010


We have green things sprouting! In the coldhouse, under plastic Homer planted lettuce, spinach and radishes. And all have sprouted! Salad for sale soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16, 2010

All poultry remain in the greenhouse. There have been some chicken fights out there as the flocks are mingling. Cold and windy today, but the predicted snow has not happened. As the snow melts it would be good if the roof and gutters stay intact, as we have a lot to do thid year to prepare for the growing season. 10+ turkey pens need to be built, all of the chicken pens need to be reassembled, compost spread, seeds planted, watered, etc. C'mon warm weather!

This Friday we will talk to the 5th graders at Berkshire Elementary School about Sunnyside Farm. Also found out today we can register the name here in York County, and will file that paperwork today. Then go open a checking account, see about getting set up for taking charge cards, schedule appointment with accountant..

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Snow predicted again. and in "significant amounts". We have a path way tamped down in the snow to get to the greenhouse, where we have most of the poultry. But the driveway..thank goodness for 4 wheel drive, we have been using it!
Planned out the vegetable seed purchase. Trying to get as much as possible from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange before they run out: their organic, open pollinated vegetable seed stock is just what we want to use. And supporting this company that keeps the old vegetable varieties is exactly what we want to do. And so do many others, because they do run out! By mid-March we will set up our plant incubator..peppers, eggplants and tomatoes will start there followed by artichoke, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage & cauliflower.
Next week we take delivery of 6 Buff Ducks..an American breed that will grow to be a tan color, solid duck. We are scheduled to receive 5 females and 1 male. Duck eggs, and maybe a few babies are in our future!
We woke early this morning to the fox calling. Got up to discover foot prints around but no access gained to our birds. This deep snow has every animal out of sorts, and this is the time of year the fox really turns to our flocks to sustain themselves. From now until things really thaw out they will be howling outside our windows. Time to reinforce fences, make certain electric is always on and maybe set some snares..

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

organization

Cleaning up the office, getting files ready for taxes, updating records. Next I think I'll drop a brick on my foot..about the same level of fun.

Snow again?!

Predictions of another 12"+ of snow. We can't move the chicken pens because the snow is already too deep, so it is an emergency transport of the birds into the covered greenhouse. They can withstand a few inches that melts within a few days, but weather forecasts show subfreezing temperatures for another week or so. So under cover they go! We are using empty storage tubs to transport them, slow going across the snow..heavy and clumsy. And the birds are at the furthest point on the property from the greenhouse. Will be moved before snowfall.

Monday, February 8, 2010

February 8, 2010

Tax filing needs to be done, along with registration with the state for the company and the vehicles. Glad it is a snow day and everything was canceled..I can catch up!

Homer has gotten the cold house (unheated greenhouse) under cover. It is warm as toast out there during these sunny and bright days. We are guessing the sun reflecting off all of the snow piled around it helps produce more solar gain and insulate. He is in there in short sleeves and shorts as he works to complete building the salad bar tables. Spinach, lettuce and radishes will be in dirt by the end of the week. We will use dirt to grow, not hydroponic!

Spent 2 days at the PASA conference. Learned lots, met other farmers and people who care about what they eat, how it is grown/raised and where it comes from. Learned about turkey genetics, business plans, no weed gardening, growing rabbits and more. So inspirational!

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