News and blog

Four Fields Blog
Posted 4/4/2015 2:32pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Just a quick reminder that our 10% Spring discount ends tomorrow, Sunday April 5th.  We know you're busy, so don't delay and miss out.

We're busy up here at the farm too, getting 700 Christmas tree saplings into the ground as well as our daily chores caring for all of the newly arrived chicks (100 of them!), collecting eggs from the eggmobile, and preparing to move the pigs into the woods next week.

As always, if you have any questions about signing up or our about the farm, let us know and we'll be happy to help.

Sign-up Today!

Ryan & Liz                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 4/1/2015 9:42am by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Apparently Spring is playing a bit of an April Fool's on us, as it snowed 3 inches last night.  Just as soon as we were getting used to seeing grass again, winter reached out and pulled us back!

In honor of the slight blip in Spring, we are extending our 10% off Spring sale until this Sunday, April 5th.  Sign up for our June-August CSA or bulk chicken season, and receive 10% off when you check-out.  Sorry, the sale doesn't apply to our bulk lamb or pork orders.


Receive 10% Off Today! 

Ryan & Liz                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 3/30/2015 1:39pm by Ryan Lacz.

In celebration of the melting snow and upcoming Spring, we are offering a 10% discount on your order when you sign up for our June-August season. The discount will run from Wednesday, March 25th to Wednesday, April 1st.

Your 10% off will appear when you check out, discount doesn't apply to bulk pork or lamb orders.

Sign-up Here

Ryan & Liz 

Posted 3/12/2015 2:45pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

After much planning, testing, and re-testing our website, we are ready to begin signups for our first season.  You can read about the different meat shares, eggs, and bulk purchase options we offer in the newly added sections of the website here.

We will have three different pickup options to choose from during the signup process.  There is a search feature during signup to help you select which is closest: simply enter your address and the website automatically tells you how far each pickup is from your home.  

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have, as we know this is probably new for many of you.

If you are ready to signup as a CSA member, you can SIGN UP HERE!

Thanks for supporting locally, we look forward to the seasons ahead.

Ryan & Liz                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 3/7/2015 4:32pm by Ryan Lacz.

So, I wander out to the greenhouse to check on the hens this afternoon, and what do i find lurking in the corner, but the official first egg of Four Fields Farm!  Agador, the wonder pup, was certainly impressed.

The girls have been really pleased with the recent upturn in the weather (as are Liz and I!).  The greenhouse has been warming up, sky rocketing into the 60's even!  We were all beside ourselves,  there was lots of lounging, dust baths, and scratching around for worms (the chickens, that is...).

This is just in time too, as we just finished our mobile coop.  We will raise our hens out on pasture, giving them access to sun, grass, and what ever critters they are able to catch.  They will be kept safe from predators by using a portable electric netting, and the girls will be moved to a fresh area of pasture every few days.

The hens will follow our lambs' pasture rotation: this method puts the hens to work for the farmer as they scratch out the fly larvae & pests from the sheep droppings.  They simultaneously spread the sheep manure more evenly and help control pest populations.

Their housing resembles an art car that you might find at Burning Man, and designed in the depths of a cold winter night, this is what we came up with: our egg-mobile.  This staple of many a pastured based farm, the egg-mobile provides safe shelter and nest boxes for the hens as they rotate through the different pastures.  

We found some branches for nighttime roosts, and it features a mesh floor, allowing the chicken droppings to fall through and fertilize the pastures (eliminating the lovely chore of mucking out the chicken coop!), ample ventilation, and nest boxes we access from the outside to collect eggs.  They will move out of the greenhouse and live with the egg-mobile for the summer as home base as soon as the grass starts growing.


Posted 2/13/2015 2:10pm by Ryan Lacz.

It's hard, very hard, to believe that it's the time of year to get a jump on the garden!  Nearly 2 feet of snow still on the ground, overnight low of 0F, and the sun still low in the sky...

This is the start of our seedling bed.  

Most vegetable seeds need warmth to germinate in addition to bright light.  Temperatures of 70-80 degrees is required for your average garden seedling.

Other things to consider are growth rate, transplant date, staggering harvest  times, time until can be quite complicated when growing dozens of varieties.

The simplest thing to do: read the directions!  I know it's hard to do what your told, but look at the back of the seed packet and do what they tell you. Gardening made simple!


One of the challenging, and fun, things about integrated farming, is taking advantage of how things naturally occur on your farm.  In this case, we need warmth to start seeds, so we will utilizing the heat (up to 140 degrees) produced by composting horse manure.  The straw bales provide both insulation and the sides of a potting table.  Once the season warms up enough, we transplant the seedlings outside, and the now fully composted manure and straw will be used as fertilizer.  We need the compost anyway, we are simply planning ahead and using the byproduct (heat) to our advantage.  

Plus, the manure is free!  All we have to do is some shoveling...

The pallets (also free) you see will be used as a table top, and we'll cover the seeds at night with leftover plastic from the greenhouse.  This system replaces the use of fluorescent lights commonly used for smaller scale gardens.  We'd need dozens of light fixtures, and a lot of shelf space and electricity to start as many seedlings as we are going to grow.

Posted 2/1/2015 5:21pm by Ryan Lacz.

Just a quick update to say that our first piglets have arrived on the farm and are settling in well.  

We found a local breeder who works with heritage breed pigs- ones that might grow a little slower than your modern commercial breeds, but make up for it in flavor, and do better on pasture.  We had in mind to get only 2 of them at this time, but couldn't resist the temptation for a third.  The heritage breed names are fabulous: Tamworth, Large Black, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Berkshire...Seems like England was the place to develop great pigs!


Ours are out in the barnyard already,rooting through the snow that is as deep as they are tall with no problem at all.  Once they grow up a bit and have learned the perils of the electric fence, they will be moved to their large fenced off area of the woods to eat acorns, grubs, and what ever else they can dig up (in addition to locally sourced grains...).


The chickens were also moved into the greenhouse, and are happy with the news digs as well- scratching around on the soil that we plowed last fall.  The greenhouse is performing wonderfully despite the 2' of snow we've received in the past two weeks.  The peaked roof design allows the snow to simply slides off- which makes for a bit of shoveling, but that sure beats a collapsed roof!  What little sun we get in the winter does its job to warm up the space quickly & the ground is beginning to thaw a bit already.

Posted 1/24/2015 8:55am by Ryan Lacz.

     Here is our new member survey. It should only take a few minutes to fill out, and will help us offer you the products you want as well as pick the drop off locations. Feel free to pass on the survey link to anyone that might be interested in some tasty, locally, and responsibly raised meats.


     Hopefully this note finds you well and having some fun with the newly fallen snow. We certainly are, as we just picked up a used quad the other day and are eager to test out the snow plow! Ripping around the driveway on a quad sure beats trying to shovel a hundred yard long driveway.

     It's been a very busy few weeks on the farm- the electric fence is set up and works -ask me how i know that ;) The fencing for the pigs in the woods is nearly finished, and we took advantage of the relatively warm and sunny day yesterday and covered the greenhouse with it's plastic skin.


     Anything less than 40 degrees, and the plastic is too stiff to work with, so we had to work quickly before the sun started setting & luckily we had an extra hand (Thanks Dad!) for the task. The laying hens will be moved to the greenhouse in the next week or so- giving them more room and warmth, and they will give us fertilizer for our summer growing season. The birds will also pick out some weed seeds and bugs from the soil.


     Join the mailing list to get more information on the upcoming season and products.  Email us if you have any questions or comments, we'd love to hear from you. The snow is tapering off, so we're going to suit up and go play in the snow!

Ryan & Liz 

Posted 1/14/2015 4:10pm by Ryan Lacz.

Eeeewwwwwwwwww. Not the nicest thing to see when you first wake up.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for winter, and love it, but this is getting a bit ridiculous!  

One of the hardest things about taking care of animals in the winter is getting over the inertia of staying indoors where it's toasty warm.  Then, you think of the fact that they are outside and waiting for breakfast, so you pack on the clothes and get going.

It's easy to make a plan in September, when it's still warm, with actual daylight, but things certainly changed when winter came along that early.

One project that we did recently accomplish, was installing our electric fence charging system.  This included a lot of walking around the property and planning, running wires all over the place, pounding in 6' grounding rods, precariously leaning out the hay loft window to get a wire across the driveway- and we've only just begun!

The reason we are using electric fence is to keep animals both in and out of the fence- we want the sheep and pigs to stay in, and the bears, foxes, coyotes, neighbor's cat, raccoons to stay out.  There's nothing like a quick jolt of a few thousand volts to keep you from touching the fence ever again- and, having experienced this myself, it truly is a memorable experience!

The main type of fence we're going to use is a portable netting- it consists of plastic twine, woven with a few strands of stainless steel to conduct the electricity, it gives us a flexible and easy to move fence so we can easily rotate animals through different sections of pasture.

The chickens were extremely excited with our progress on the electric fence because it means they got to venture outside for the first time!  The smaller mesh of the electric plastic fence  prevents small predators from entering, and the young hens from escaping.  While the fence won't directly protect them from hawks, you can set it up in narrow runs where the hawks and owls will be less likely to fly into.

While timid a first, it only took one of them walking the plank, hopping onto the ground and start pecking and the rest of the ladies piled out.  

OK- I'll admit that the initial adventure was not nearly as graceful as you might imagine.  She didn't so much 'walk' down the ramp as get blocked by her friends looking out the door, 'hopping' was more of a tumbling off the edge because of her friends pushing her, and the rest of the them 'piling out' was more of literal pile than an organized single file line!

They are staying close to the safety of the barn for now, and are free to go in and out to take a break from the real world and warm up whenever they choose.  As they get more comfortable, they will range the whole are that we fence off.


Posted 12/23/2014 9:35am by Ryan Lacz.

Believe it or not- this huge pile of pipes, clamps, and plastic is a 24' x 48' greenhouse!  The Ikea furniture directions has nothing on the two inch binder of instructions that came with this kit, and you know you're in for it when the first sentence reads "this will take longer than you think."  It's one of the first times that I actually read ALL of the directions before starting!


We did some plowing and rough ground work as we won't be able to get the tractor in after the high tunnel is set up.  Technically, this is called a 'high tunnel' and not a greenhouse, as this won't be heated.  The basic construction is bolting cross frames into pipes that we pounded into the ground.

It's easiest to preassemble the frames (as they are huge!) on flat ground, then lift them into place with some extra hands.  And, thank goodness for extra hands!  Just pounding the 6' posts 3 feet into the ground took 3 of us a whole day.  Recall the ridiculous amunt of rocks i plowed up earlier...then try to pound a 2" pipe through that soil!

We plan on growing heat loving vegetables (tomatoes, squashes, peppers etc.) inside, and the plastic should give us a few weeks of extended growing on either side of the summer.  High tunnels also provide added protection from pests and disease.  We still have a lot of work to do, but we're getting there!

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