Quarantine on the farm


No surprise that we all have been a bit “cooped up” recently with the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

Though it has made commerce interesting when headed into town, I’ve decided to look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn some new things.

I’ve also been validated in having a farm and knowing some of the lost arts. Sewing, canning, growing your own food, baking and cooking have their definite perks in a stay-at-home period of time.

Shortly after the local stores were wiped out from toilet paper — you guys, I still don’t understand that one — people next turned to emptying the shelves of milk, eggs and bread as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

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It didn’t take long before I began being contacted by people, who I hadn’t heard from in years, asking the popular question, “Do you have any eggs?”

Once again, the mighty chicken shines through.

If there has to be a time of the year where there has been a run on eggs in the stores and they are out, spring and early summer is the prime time for laying hens in the flock.

I’ve been fortunate there have been more than 20 eggs collected every day the past few days, and I’ve been able to fill most orders within a few days. That being said, the eggs in my henhouse are disappearing almost as fast as they can be washed and packed into cartons.

I’ve also discovered something else in this whole time of sparsity. The hatcheries that usually send chicks out to a few folks every spring and fall season are now running low on their supplies of laying hens and chickens. It appears we are returning to a time that used to exist in the past. People are turning back to being self-sufficient and learning how to grow their own food again.

I’m fortunate to be able to speak to my mom and dad every few days, and as I was talking to my mom the other day, I mentioned I believe people will be growing more gardens this year than they ever have.

Perhaps because they have extra time from being quarantined at home, but maybe perhaps they realize they could provide for their own families and themselves by growing the food right in their backyards.

Back in 1917, growing gardens and keeping chickens was considered patriotic. Times were tough, the economy was suffering and people were encouraged to grow their own food.

Fast forward to 2020 and I believe we are about to enter another era of people realizing we can’t “always get what we want” (to quote a Rolling Stones song) and we can fix this by growing a small garden or keeping a few hens around to provide fresh eggs.

None of us know when this whole event will truly be finished, but I believe if we use this time to better ourselves and our community, we will make it through this. The experts say it takes 21 days to keep a habit, and I know we will have this amount of time in this event, if not more.

Me, I plan on growing more chickens and adding to my flock this year. You might even find me with a successful garden this season. Stay strong, Seymour. We can do this.

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at whattheclucker.blogspot.com. Send comments to [email protected].

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