Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Hopefully, we will all be able to look back at this post a few years from now and remember this period of time as one where we overcame the fear, anxiety, and illness spread by COVID-19. Lavender Sky Farms is a boutique farm that is run and maintained by the Gonzalez and Gaeta Families during their spare time. Each of us has a full time job in addition to operating our lavender farm and so when much of the New York and New Jersey area was shut down, we found ourselves here with limited work access and hours.
Thankful that we have this hobby farm to dedicate our time and energy to, we decided to focus on some projects that we had been thinking of but not gotten around to. One of which was planting a vegetable garden and nurturing the lone apple tree that has produced every year but was sadly overgrown and in need of some love.
We gathered the seeds from all of the fresh vegetables we'd bought at our last run to the grocery store in the hope that we would be able to avoid or limit further grocery store runs. Our hope is to be able to grow heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, cilantro, basil, potatoes and carrots using the produce and plants we had available in the house. Now our planting season usually does not begin until June, but we are optimistic with the unseasonably warm winter we had this year. We have planted a few to try outside, we are also harvesting seeds for growing inside to hopefully increase their chances.
We also expanded the chicken coop by providing our girls with a large outdoor enclosure.
Our birds are truly free range, we let them out in the mornings and only lock them up again in the evenings to protect them from predators. However, we have to admit that this is only when weather permits and they have spent many winter days snowed in. The new outdoor enclosure has a covered roof so that they will have a yard no matter what the weather brings. The one half of the roof is made of metal and the other half is made up of thick clear plastic allowing plenty of sunlight to still enter their new yard. Two sides are also covered in clear plastic sheeting to protect the girls from the wind that comes off the field in the winter and also to prevent rain and snow from entering. This is removable so we can allow plenty of summer breezes in when the weather is nice. We hope that they enjoy this new enclosure, though we still let them out as much as possible during the day.
Also due to their free range lifestyle, some of the girls have found interesting places to lay their eggs. While Celia Cruz, the leader of our flock, lays in her nesting box inside of the coop, some of last year's chicks have gotten more creative. Our lone Welsummer chicken lays her eggs in an old planting basket in the corner of the garage. Her eggs are the smallest and a pale green color. Our other chick from last year lays in a pile of netting in one of the barn's stalls. We discovered both nests by accident and each bird faithfully lays in their respective spot each day. Unfortunately for our Welsummer, we do spend some days in the garage organizing or gathering equipment to use - though we try to give her some privacy when we see her prancing about! She loses patience quickly and has been known to cause a ruckus and knock things over if she cant get to her nesting spot and have some peace. All of our girls like to lay undisturbed in peace and quiet and they are not shy to let us know when they'd like us to leave.
When we aren't trying our best to work remotely, we've been tackling projects inside as well. Co-Owner Manny has finished the trim detail on the storage cabinets that were added to the kitchen last summer and rediscovered an old trunk we had in the garage. He and Amanda have been cleaning, sanding, scraping, and cleaning some more to bring back some of this old trunk's beauty. Manny relined the trunk with wood leftover from the kitchen face lift and they hope to use it to store baby gear as Amanda and Joe are expecting their first baby in August. To welcome the newest member, they've also set up a cradle.
We hope that everyone else is doing well and catching up on their own home projects during this time period. We have been very fortunate in that we can spend plenty of time outdoors, collecting and splitting firewood, walking the fields, and working on our projects. While the rest of the world might be going stir crazy our animals are very happy. The birds are taking advantage of our cooking scraps, now that we are cooking much more than normal, and the dog is thrilled to spend most of every day outside overseeing the work and chasing his tennis ball. If you are stuck inside or just need a calming oil, we are ready and able to ship them to you! Deep breaths and hopefully we will get through this soon!
And a few months later we collected all of our harvest in the garden...including a snoozing baby.