Visitors come to Lum Farm all the time, hoping to get up close and personal with some farm animals. Of course, we want to safely share as much of the farm as we can, while also staying focused on all the work that needs doing.
The answer to this conundrum has become a farm walk that visitors can take on their own. We've been working hard to define the space, find the right critters for the job, and set up clear boundaries for visitors.
Amy and Eric contemplating pasture management and the farm walk.
Here are the farm walk logistics:
The Farm Walk is open during Farm Stand hours -- Thursdays through Saturdays, 2pm - 5:30pm. Feel free to schedule an off-hours time with us (email@example.com).
There is no charge for this Farm Walk.
All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
The white netting fencing is electric fencing. Touching it results in a shock! (It will be a surprise and not an injury, but still....)
Please use the hand sanitizer stationed at the farm stand before and after you go on the walk.
Please leave pets (even leashed ones) in the car.
Don't go inside the pens with the animals. We have stationed wooden fences along the walk that you can reach through safely for petting if the critters want some attention. It is their choice.
Mind your step (for obvious reasons)
So let's walk the walk! Park at the farm stand, and then walk back towards the cattle guard where you drove in (please leave your own pets behind). The start to the farm walk is up the hill to the left... look for the chicken house up on the hill through the trees.
We plan to have a rotating cast of characters as the season and pasture deems appropriate. Right now, we've got a field full of bottle-fed lambs, a couple of pregnant sheep, and Ginger and Bennie.
We bought Ginger from a 4H member on Lopez island. Neither of us knew that Ginger was pregnant. So, Benny came along as a complete surprise, and we couldn't be happier. We love hearing literal squeals from passers-by. Ginger and Benny are a Red Angus/Buelingo cross (both are meat breeds, as we don't plan on any milking of cows around here!). Benny is most often found napping in the sun, or curiously trying to engage the lambs, who are not so sure about him.
Speaking of the lambs:
We currently have six bottle-fed lambs up in the Farm Walk pasture. (For those of you wondering about the breeds, most of our sheep are a mixture of many: Valais Blacknose / Hampshire crosses, with dashes of Dorset, Texel, Romney and more.) Bottle fed lambs are friendly and pushy, as all humans were put on earth to potentially feed them.
"Friendly and Pushy" is the perfect segue to the goats currently residing on the Farm walk.
Ivy and Bean (Nubian/Boer crosses) were both born on the farm. Bean was bottle-fed and infamous for her vocalization and escape proficiencies. She and Ivy left the farm to become pets alongside Cracker Jack and Hello Dolly (Nigerian Dwarf goats). The quartet has returned to the farm and fit right back in! Jack has proved himself even more adept at escaping than Bean, and likes to show off on the wrong side of the gate. In fact, here's some farm cam footage of Jack teasing the other goats from atop the travel trailer parked next to their pen (we think he bounced from the ground to his food bucket to the fence to the trailer).
The goats will most definitely have a few things to say to you. And then it's time for the grand finale of the farm walk, which can only be Annabelle the Pig.
Annabelle came to us as the goats did -- a relocating owner meant that she needed a new home. Annabelle is a Yorkshire/Berkshire cross, and about 6 years old and 500 pounds (that's a quarter of a ton, but who's counting??). She had developed a propensity for sugary treats, and perhaps became a little sugar addicted. In her time with us, she's learned to eat pig food again, and as a result, she is slimming down and having a whole lot of fun pushing rocks around her yard or creating wallows. The chickens love her, as she is always turning the dirt over for them, so she always has a feathered entourage at hand.
Speaking of chickens, the farm currently has over 300 of them! Yes, that may be a little excessive, but islanders do love their eggs! They have found the Farm Walk to be a great place for dust bathing, so watch your step that you don't interrupt some poultry self care in action.
Sunbathing chickens are a picture of contentment.
We also have broiler chicks and ducklings in portable coops in the pasture. They grow fast, so who knows what they will look like when you get here... because things are always changing on the farm - It is part of the joy and challenges of farming.