The Farm Report

      13 Comments on The Farm Report

As part of last year’s big garden-and-chicken-yard project, we created “chicken moats” around the garden area. The chickens can run around in the area between the two fences, which gives them access to a fresh supply of bugs – and of course keeps said bugs from eating up the garden.

The chickens are quite enthusiastic about scavenging in the moats. Hawks are quite enthusiastic about swooping down to kill chickens (as I witnessed once), so we draped nets over the moats. The nets do the trick, but they’re low enough to ground to make it a pain for Chareva to walk around in there. It’s even more of a pain for me, since I’m four inches taller than she is.

Chareva told me she had plan … and somehow I just knew it would involve cattle panels.

Yup. With the book and all, we don’t have time for a big spring project. But she pointed out that we could create arches over the moats and cover them with a net.  Then she can plant squash, beans, and other climb-the-fence plants right up against the panels on the garden side.  She has visions of beans hanging down inside the arches, just waiting to be picked.  So we installed some panels on Sunday.

She already has the net, which we’ll pull tight over the arches and connect to the fences. Then we can walk around in there without ducking and pluck those beans and squashes. Meanwhile, the chickens can still roam the moat without becoming dinner for hawks.

With my part of that job done, I spent the rest of Sunday enjoying my first Dog-Tired Satisfied chore of the year: cutting the grass in the back fields.  Here’s one them.

The mowing job took four hours. Fortunately, the weather was perfect, right around 60 degrees. As always, I listened to a book while mowing. My current audio book is Fooled By Randomness, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Several of you mentioned how much you enjoyed his books and thought I would as well. You were right. Great stuff, and although he mostly relates the concepts to financial markets, I see how they apply quite nicely to science as well.

Now and then Taleb comments directly on science and medicine.  It was interesting to learn during Sunday’s working/listening session that four out five doctors failed a quiz to test their understanding of medical statistics.  No wonder so many doctors think statins are wunnerful, wunnerful drugs.

So thanks for the recommendation. Listening to an enlightening book makes working myself into a state of Dog-Tired Satisfied even more satisfying.


13 thoughts on “The Farm Report

  1. Lori Miller

    IIRC, the part about the doctors failing the statistics quiz came from Calculated Risks by Gerd Gigerenzer. Another interesting book, and the author is less esoteric than Taleb.

  2. Howard Lee Harkness

    “She has visions of beans hanging down inside the arches, just waiting to be picked.”

    By the chickens. Chickens will eat anything they can reach, which will include the bean stalks near the ground. I would be surprised if you get beans to grow up the fence more than a couple of inches before the chickens clear them out.

      1. Elenor

        Mosquito “fencing” (or rat fencing or some other ‘smaller than a chicken head’ fencing) — between the moat fence and the base of the bean vines, secured up well above the height of a chicken head! Any leaves or beans dumb enough to grow “in” will be harvested by a happy happy chicken, and the rest will reach for the sun!

  3. Tom H.

    How do you listen to audiobooks while mowing? Do you have a really quiet mower, or really good noise-cancelling headphones? Or should I buy stock in Beltone?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I have earbuds with rubber padding. That blocks some of the noise. Then I place my gun-range headphones over those. Barely any mower noise by that point.

      1. JillOz

        Mowers should have an option to be bought with a silencer!

        Your farm is looking really good, Tom, hard work is paying off.

        Another health professor calling for legislation and sugar taxes cos obesity is only ever caused by food etc. What do you think? I have several problems with it but too tired to specify here right now.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Another well-meaning prof who doesn’t grasp that people don’t overeat out of ignorance.

  4. Kelly

    Hey Tom,

    I love your farm reports. Keep ’em coming! I recommend listening to “I Must Say” by Martin Short. It’s funny, interesting, and the best part is he does the reading for it too. I think you might like it.

  5. Kathy in Texas

    Man, those cattle panels are almost as versatile as duct tape! Chareva thinks like I do – see a problem and design a solution. Doesn’t always work as planned (chicken tractor?), but there’s always another angle. Tell her for me “You go, girl!”


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