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  Farming Lightly
Farming,  lightly
Our goal on the farm  is to provide for our needs, while maintaining a biological balance. For one thing, we try to disturb the terrain as little as possible. We use a rototiller to prepare soil for the Daylilies, Garlic and vegetable gardens. We have not needed a heavy tractor with plow and harrow. Weeds are controlled by a complex crop rotation, and with hand tools — not with herbicides. "Crop protection" and "crop production" materials became so convenient and economical during the past half century that only one or two acres in a thousand remain today free of manufactured agrichemicals.

Pesticides can be life threatening to man and animals, as well as to insects, diseases and weeds. All of the many hundreds of chemically complex pesticides are toxic and poisonous to some living organisms — that is their very purpose — and it has been impossible to prove them all safe for human exposure. Because we eat, drink and breathe right here, we have to keep pesticides off the farm.

Our animal manures come from our own barn when we clean out the sheep pens and chicken coop. These manures are composted with old Daylily leaves and roots, squash vines, and all manner of weeds. After a year or so, this rich black material is all we need to get luxuriant growth in the Daylily, Garlic and vegetable areas. And with its use, the soil improves from year to year. We also till under several green manure crops like winter rye, oats, and buckwheat.

Our membership in the Northeast Organic Farming Association (CT NOFA) keeps us in touch with like-minded gardeners and farmers.

We grow an important part of our own food in several vegetable gardens. The apples, raspberries and blueberries produce a real abundance, and the young pear and plum trees yield well some seasons. Native Americans lived on these very fields off and on during 40 to 50 centuries, hunting and gathering at first, farming more recently.

We help to preserve the country's agricultural heritage by growing some of our own seeds — squash, many beans, tomatoes, beets — believing that we should use seed strains adapted to our own farm rather than those of international commerce. These non-hybrid strains come true in our home and market gardens year after year.

Early spring is when the lambs are born. Some white, some black, they chase each other around the barnyard — what a sight! By cross-breeding Cotswold, Romney, and Finn, our fleeces are now soft, fine, and lustrous, in lovely shades of near white, gray, and brown. Diana spins, weaves and knits some of the wool and the rest is sold to handspinners.

The farm provides our livelihood and by treating the land lightly, with respect, it will continue to provide for many generations to come.

About Us | Firewood | Organic growing | Lee Bristol | Other farm activities | Farming lightly | Sustainability

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