Flash Required to view this area.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Orchard Animals?

As a child I spent most of my summers at my grandparents' orchard in Southern Washington on the eastern edge of the Columbia Gorge. We'd pass the afternoons exploring the acres of trees, cooling off in the swimming pool, riding bikes to the Bookmobile, and waiting for the apples to be ripe enough to pluck directly off the tree. One thing I don't recall are a great deal of farm animals at the orchard. But that's exactly what I saw recently at Chaffin Family Orchards outside Oroville.

Outside the main home on the orchards property is a fenced yard that is home to a train car for chickens. I imagine that they retreat to the car to lay eggs and sleep, though we saw them mostly congregating outside to feast from round feeders and dig in the dirt to cool off. Molly's mother has only beautifully colored chickens, so I couldn't resist snapping a photo of the superbly white specimen against the green grass.

Peck Away

Another interesting sight was two cows grazing beneath several fruit trees in the orchard. I was always under the impression that cows congregated together in large pastures and ate and pooped. But Molly informed me that Chaffin Family Orchards rotates livestock, goats, and other animals throughout their orchards to cultivate the grounds, remove weeds, and keep everything trimmed and neat. It's an ingenious concept and one that made me recall the rotation of crops on a specific parcel of land to maximize the nutrients in the soil. I love the photo I captured of their lazy afternoon eating.

Grazing in the Orchard

Eric Lovelin Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment