Andrea Filippone and T Fleisher, Pottersville, NJ
Open Days Garden: Jardin de Buis
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In My Garden, May 5, 2020
"Everything we do on our 26 acres is done sustainably, and organically. We compost, we do not use chemicals or fertilizers, we have solar energy for the house and greenhouses. We have amazing vegetable gardens, which we anticipate keeping us full of fresh organic vegetables all season long. So it makes sense to add chickens to the picture. We add the manure to our compost and enjoy having fresh eggs. We also enjoy having this new brood of animals.
"When I first purchased this old dairy farm, which had been abandoned for 30 years, I imagined bringing back part of the farm. I started researching all types of animals to raise here. The restoration of the four existing structures became too big a challenge, however, so I had to put having chickens and other farm animals to the wayside.
"Now with the quarantine, we figured this would be the best time to start raising chickens. I began looking at all different types of structures to house hens. Then I researched where to get chicks, but to my amazement, I learned that it would take six months before a chick could lay an egg. How difficult is it to get mature hens? Very difficult. I abandoned the project.
"Then a friend heard that I was looking, and she knew of someone who had to get rid of their chickens—and voilà—I was back to having chickens, but in just four days!
"So it was back to the drawing board, simple design, reusing materials we had around, a box essentially that could be made into a tree house."
"We had just taken down four cherry trees and saved the roots, trunks, and all the branches because they had such beautiful lichens on them. Now we figured we could use them to finish the chicken coop.
"With a few delays due to rain and cold weather, we built the box for the coop and then painted it and applied the right branches. Eventually, we will grow roses, clematis, and gourds on the pergola.
"Now we have our chickens! This is the start of our farm animal menagerie and part of our continued goal in making this a fully sustainable farm."
In My Garden, April 28, 2020
"All the recent rain made everything a mud pile. We are on clay soil, so it takes a while to drain. This time of year it is always soggy underfoot. It's been hard to finish and paint the new chicken coop, but here's a bit of what's happening around the house and yard."
Entryway to the solar greenhouse
Inside the greenhouse: potted plants, closeup of cycad, vegetable seedlings seen through cycad
Bringing specialty plants in to enjoy at the table: cobra lily (Arisaema fargesii) and cut flowers
"Today's [April 26] kitchen table"
In My Garden, April 21, 2020
Building a new chicken coop (and gathering the ingredients for a soufflé):
Andrea Filippone and "T" Fleisher
"When I first purchased this old dairy farm, which had been abandoned for 30 years, I imagined bringing back part of the farm. Now with the quarantine, we figured this would be the best time to start raising chickens."