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A beautiful, sunny Saturday brought approximately 30 people to Maria and Joe von Frankenberg's farm in Elmwood. Topics of interest in the morning session included livestock housing and husbandry, manure composting, biodynamic preparations and hay handling and storage. The afternoon tour was a hay wagon ride to the fields to view triticale, barley, mixed grain, new alfalfa seeding and red clover underseeding.
On the tour through the barn, the use of Basic-H as a fly repellent for the cows was particularly interesting. The surfactant is placed in a suspended pail with lines running to nozzles placed on what looks like a stable broom brush. The cows come in from the field and walk under the brush to sooth their backs and to receive some Basic-H solution.
Their is nothing peculiar about the way the von Frankenberg's feed their hay. The majority of the hay fed is round bales with some bales bagged as silage and others stored inside as dry hay. What is interesting is Joe and Maria's round bale storage shed is an old barn removed from its foundation on a neighbours' property and transferred to the Circle Sun Farm. Joe's fascination and genuine respect for the workmanship that went into those old barns encouraged him to transport and secure the barn on his property and for considerably less than that of a new structure. Joe's new storage houses over 600 round bales and the heritage, intense labour and resources that went into the original building have been retained.
Lunchtime was a chance for visitors to try a refreshing mixed peppermint tea and lemon balm drink, mingle with other visitors and to admire the family's well-kept vegetable garden. Joe's abilities go beyond the farm work, as his talent with a paint brush was evident from the many landscape paintings that were displayed. Overall, the tour was met with lots of interest and questions generated from the visitors. Many visitors brought their own experiences to share with the rest of the group making the day a very informative event.
Copyright © 1993 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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