Nelson Mandella and new friends

new life

OK so it’s not enough for me to have 500 chicks in the brooder? I know I’m pushing the edge a bit here at Buxton but each season I just have to let a few hens go broody.  The process is fascinating. The momma hens are fiercely committed to mothering and watching them foster their little ones is spectacular. This particular hen sat on 15 eggs and had success hatching 2 chicks. That’s not bad considering we have 2 roosters with hundreds of hens!

The little ones watch every move mom makes with precision. I place their pen right outside our kitchen window so I that I can keep a close watch on them all day as we go in and out of the farmhouse, do dishes, and cook.  Sometimes it’s the best part of the day!

Nelson and Mandella, guard geese

We added two additions to the farm this year. (Only two).  When you live on land as broad as Buxton it’s tempting to bring in all kinds of hobbies and animals. But we know better. Bees and guard geese were this season’s additions.  Nelson and Mandella have been doing a fantastic job with aerial predators as they guard our turkeys. These two boys are inseparable. Chinese Geese. The turkeys trust fully and run for cover when nelson and mandella alert them to hawks and eagles. They have acclimated to their new job with ease. We appreciate their contribution on the farm.

Trevor Jenna and Jake at Bath County Farmers Market

Each season we invite a few  wwoofers(,willing workers of organic farms visit Buxton and work with us. This is a wonderful organization for people who want to participate in a work trade exchange. You can wwoof your way across the country or wwoof in other countries. We had a great time on farms in Italy several years ago. Great way to travel and get to know local communities.

Jenna at Hot Springs Farmers Market

Jenna is a culinary student  from Louisiana. Jake’s an agricultural student from Massachusetts. He came to us after hiking the Appalachian Trail. They’re both excellent workers with a authentic  sweetness about them.

This past weekend we helped some friends with their produce booth at the local farmers market. Cathy and Don and Michael provided music at the market while we tended the booth.  They consider themselves “front porch musicians” and call themselves “Better Than Nothin.” It was a beautiful Saturday! And so nice to be off the farm surrounded by friendly customers and sweet songs. Our hoop house tomatoes were a hit, we sold out!

“Better Than Nothin Band” Hot Springs Farmers Market

Jenna on chicken processing day

It’s so wonderful introducing eager young people like Jake and Jenna to the Polyface model of farming. They’re a perfect addition to the energy we embody at Buxton. In the short time they visit they acquire a feel for how things work.  We love listening to their ideas and vision and we certainly appreciate  helping hands. We’re so fortunate!


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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."

4 Responses to Nelson Mandella and new friends

  1. Leilani says:

    Great pictures. I love Nelson and Mandella! Integrating geese as arial protection is an excellent idea. Never heard of woofers before, what a cool setup. We don’t have any roosters with out laying tend yet but have discussed it.

  2. Brie Aronson says:

    What great goose names, love it!

  3. Marilyn Wilkie says:

    Great glimpse into your slice of life Grace. We had two sets of geese at different times. In the 80’s we had Gus and Gerty. We raided them in our half bath and it smelled for a year. They were truly watch geese. We had wide decks on two sides of the house and they would come up to the sliding glass doors and call to us. When they started pulling the weatherstripping out of the doors though, we had to board them off from the steps. The dogs were terrified of them and sometimes we were too. Later we had Herman and Mellville when we moved. They came with the house. They were old at the time and it was sad to lose them. My husband says no more geese…I guess he is right.

  4. I would really like to try setting some eggs under one of our broody hens. With only 1 rooster to the 50 hens, I’ve never figured on good odds for fertile eggs, but if you got 2, with your odds, well then…our tour guide in Italy last year was a WWOOFer in the off season, goes off to Tuscany and the south of France for the winter to do harvests etc. It’s a great job pairing in terms of seasons and she loves it.