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Other happenings in and around Southborough.

 

The Ever Expanding Garden

Monday, July 4th, 2016

 

We’ve had some great weather for growing so far …… but only if you have water. Very dry through May and June. Permaculture systems temper the need for water but the garden beds definitely still need it for crops to thrive.

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Lots of stuff happening in the gardens, here are beets almost ready.

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There are a couple small zucchini starting, we’re expecting a big crop soon.

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Here’s more Zuccini with cucumber plants in front and sweet peppers behind.

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I thought I’d try sweet potatoes this summer, I planted 25 slips.

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Some lettuce just getting started.

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Bush beans here.

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Asparagus doing really well.

Breakneck Hill Farm Continues to Evolve

Friday, July 1st, 2016

“..yet my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted, and thoughts ran into me, that words and writings were all nothing, and must die, for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing,”

Gerrard Winstanley 1649

Gerrard Winstanley was an activist in the wake of the English Civil War where King Charles I of England (the guy Charlestown is named after) lost his head (literally). Winstanley took a group of the poorest people to the common land on St Georges Hill where they built a small community and farmed the common land.

While many people talk and write about their beliefs, it means nothing if we don’t act. I have always believed that I must own my stay here on Earth and I must leave the parts I have control over better than when I found them. I must reduce my impact to this finite planet. And I must share with my community.

My original vision was for a larger farm but there are many examples of people raising significant amounts of food on just a few acres. That is my dream and goal. And it will include everyone who wants to be a part of it. I will reach out to communities where food security and quality are not taken for granted. As the Cow Fund finishes the process of dissolving, we will continue to disperse the funds generated from the sale of the last cows to hopefully help to inspire young farmers to look at how they can change the food system.

To this end, three organizations we are supporting that are making a difference in both Boston and Worcester. Over the course of the year you may see members at Breakneck Hill Farm helping with the management of the animals and the production and harvest of food.
Please consider making a donation to them.

Urban Farm Institute, Boston, https://urbanfarminginstitute.org

The Move, Boston, https://farmvolunteer.org/themoveteam/

YouthGROW, Worcester, http://www.recworcester.org/#!youth-grow/c1thu

Here are some pictures of the YouthGROW farm in Worcester.

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Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported this adventure.

Paul Bourdon

Cow Fund Donates Money and Beef

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The Breakneck Hill Cow Fund made our first two donations as we close down operations. The two non-profit organizations receiving the $2000 donations were both hosted by the Cow Fund at Breakneck Hill Farm in 2015. The Urban Farm Institute who came out to Southborough twice last year, trains young people in urban sustainable farm methods. They run a number of small scale (less than an acre) farms in Boston. They will put the money to work on farm supplies. The Cow Fund also donated a cow to them. The beef will be distributed to underserved residents of the Roxbury community. The second organization, The Move also trains young people by taking large groups from inner city Boston to farms to help out with various projects. They came out in October with a group of about 40 and with the help of Cow Fund volunteers we ran a number of different projects. Their major expense is a bus to transport such a large number. We plan to continue and expand the relationship with both organization at Breakneck Hill Farm. While activities on the conservation land will be limited to the orchard, production at Breakneck Hill Farm will be intensified and all the extra food produced will be donated to the Urban Farm Institute.

Two members of the Urban Farm Institute picking up the beef of the donated Cow Fund cow.

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New Raised Bed

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

In New England there is no shortage of rocks. There is a shortage of soil though. One solution is to build raised beds. Using wooden forms presents the problem of what type of wood to use. If you use untreated wood, the boards will only last a few years. If you use pressure treated there is a certain toxicity that must be accepted. By using stone to build the beds we solve two problems. We’ve removed the stones from one place they were unwanted and we create a raised bed that is rot resistant and very flexible. This space was some of the worse soil on the property. By raising the soil by 6-8 inches we’ve now added about 200 square feet of growing space. In addition to the cow and chicken manure that has been added to this new bed, I planted black locust trees behind it. Black locust is a member of the pea family meaning it is a nitrogen fixer. Not only during the short growing season a pea might have but for most of the year. Black locust is also one of the most under-utilized woods. It is very strong and one of the most rot resistant woods that grow in this climate. At some point the trees will be harvested and used for other projects. Permaculture is about utilizing local  and multifunction resources.

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Chickens Still Foraging in February

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

These Red Dorking Hens are enjoying the beautiful spring weather in February. They will continue to eat weed seeds and bug parts as long as the ground is accessible.


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Pigs Eat Turnips

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

I have been supplementing the pigs grain ration with turnips (among other things) which I grew last year and couldn’t seem to get preserved before the hard frost hit. They froze in the ground but with the return of warm weather I’ve been feeding them to the pigs who don’t seem to mind one bit.

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It Really is Winter

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

We’ve had a pretty easy winter this year (thank you el Nino). Here is a very picturesque scene from one of the few snow storms we’ve had.

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Cows Moved, Cow Fund Gets Help From Our Friends from Boston

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

12294656_324893684301772_7349358830723890849_nMembers from The Move and Urban Farm Institute made the trek from Boston out to Southborough to help move the cows to their winter quarters at 61 Breakneck hill Rd and then stayed to help take down fencing. Both organizations help to train young people to grow and connect with their food and live healthier lives. We hope this relationship will continue after the Belted Galloways are gone. Breakneck Hill Farm will continue to expand its capacity to produce food on my 2.5 acres using ecologically resilient permaculture systems.

https://www.facebook.com/urbanfarminginstituteboston/photos/pcb.324894617635012/324893684301772/?type=3&theater

 

Cows Moving Off Pasture for Last Time

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

The Cow Fund decided to make Nov 22 the last day on the pasture. We’ll be moving the cows and taking down some of the fencing. Come join us. We’ll be joined by The Move and the Urban Farming Institute,

https://urbanfarminginstitute.wordpress.com/

The Cow Fund would like to give huge thanks to Kendall Sweeney who produced this beautiful video along with being a senior at Algonquin Regional HS and producing many of the senior pictures for her class is also captain of the (as far as I know) undefeated girls soccer team. She will continue to be involved as I concentrate on developing a permaculture farm at Breakneck Hill Farm (across from the conservation land).

Please feel free to stop by and see how this project is progressing.

The Move to Visit Breakneck Hill Farm

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

The Move is an organization that connects young people from Boston with farms and the food system. They travel to various farms both in Boston and in the suburbs. They will be coming to Breakneck Hill Farm on Oct 17 at 9:30 AM to help with a number of projects. We will be moving the cows and taking down the fence on the Back Pasture. We will also be getting the barn and barnyard ready for the cows to come back to in November. I am hoping to secure an oak log to split into rails if not we’ll be finishing some rails and setting up some home made split rail fence. Please stop by and say hi if your in the area. We’ll be serving grass-fed burgers for lunch.

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