Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

Please visit our website
or contact us with questions or to place orders.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beautiful Morning at Climbing Tree Farm/ Young Pig Breeding Group

Early morning chores with no kids makes it much easier to take pictures!

One of these things is not like the others...

Note: To encourage the chickens to graze we feed grain only once per day, this also helps them
to grow at a healthy rate- not too fast. Needless to say, the birds get pretty excited at grain time
and aren't great about turn taking.

Young Mulefoot gilt. (gilt= young, un-bred girl pig)

Young breeding group on field/forest.
We keep breeding groups small, and with similarly sized pigs.

This section of fence was last used about six months ago-
with rest the vegetation comes back quite well. At this time last year the hillside these pigs
 are standing on was covered in six foot tall, super-invasive multi-flora rose bushes. Yay pigs!

Colby spends more time with the pigs, so he typically chooses who will be kept for breeding.
The pigs we keep to breed are selected based on many factors.
Here are some of the things we think about when we choose who will become breeding stock:

how well they forage
how well they respect the fence
 whether or not they are pushy with people or other pigs
whether or not they are loud and squealy
the quality of meat (tested when their siblings go to slaughter)
body conformation
general health
whether their mothers were good mothers

This fence is about an acre in size, roughly half field/half woods.
Five breeders will stay in this space for around a week or two
depending upon the condition of the ground and forage.

Powerful nose.

Meat chickens resting in a shelter made from a (very clean!) used septic tank.

Sheep: curious about the grain bucket I was carrying.

Sheep: so curious about the grain bucket I was carrying that one
 got a bucket stuck on her head.

The Beach

With as many animals as we are responsible for on our farm, it is difficult for us to leave home for extended periods of time. Luckily, there is a mysterious pile of white beach sand on our leased land that is almost unbearably fun, and if you are imaginative, the mountains in the background almost look like waves.

Raised Bed Garden Workshop- Alchemy Iniative

Assembling frames.
Our introduction to food production was through growing vegetable gardens. Our garden was beautiful, productive, and almost felt like a work of art that we collaborated on. We were able to grow nearly all of the vegetables that we ate year round. We began meat farming to fill in the protein gaps in our garden diet (though we did grow dried beans and soy). 
Since moving to our current farm a couple of years ago, and leaving our old garden behind, we have mostly been focusing on meat production for sale, and our home garden has taken a backseat. We did spend more than a year preparing the soil for a new garden when we arrived to the new farm, and even plowed and planted a portion of the garden last year, but competition from weeds in the new spot was too great, and we ended up planting the majority of the garden in pig forage.
We've been members in our friends' vegetable CSAs for the last couple of summers, which has been great, but not quite the same as having our own vegetables growing in our own dirt on our own land.  In mid April the Alchemy Initiative held a raised bed gardening workshop
 at our farm. A great group of people came to learn how to build, and grow vegetables in, raised bed gardens. In the process of learning, the class built three beautiful garden beds for our farm, and now we are making a slow transition back to growing our own vegetables in our own dirt on our own land. Thank you all! Especially instructors Nikki and Jess Conzo who are incredible, and a wealth of knowledge.
We are hoping to host more workshops on the farm in the future. Have you got an idea for a workshop in mind? Let us know, we would love to have you!
Discussing fencing.
Square foot gardening lesson. And, planting the first ceremonial
peas in one of the new garden beds.
Silly raised-bed garden cake we made to thank the participants
and instructors for all of their hard work.
Chocolate cake/soil/pea seeds.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Eleven nine week old piglets in a dog crate...this, my friends,
is exactly like a clown car routine at the circus. We prefer our piglets to travel in a small,
confined space like a dog crate. It seems to stress them out less when they are all snuggled up together,
and not sloshing around loose in the back of the truck. They often organize themselves in rows, just like
 hot dogs in a package.

We had a gap in our pig schedule and picked
 up these beautiful piglets from Crosby Farm in Berne, NY.
 It is a beautiful, well-managed farm that sits way up on a hill overlooking the world.
 They come from a couple of different litters, there is some red wattle in the mix
 (see the little dangly things on the pig in the front right?), some Berkshire, some Old Spot.

Piglets in the woods.

Meremma on the Job

We welcome Kapugen to our farm!

Kapugen is a four month old Maremma livestock guardian dog. The breed originates from Italy, and, unlike many working breeds, has not been mainstreamed as a pet. Kapugen will be kept as a working dog. He was born on a working farm to working parents. Kapugen and his litter mates were born in a barn in December. They have never been inside a human house, but instead snuggled up with the pigs while their parents were working.  He will feel right at home at our place with plenty of pigs to visit with. At our farm Kapugen's main task will be guarding poultry (chickens, geese and turkeys) from predators. We have a particular problem with aerial predators, like hawks, on our farm. The year before last we consistently lost a bird or two per day to predation. Last year we reduced that by adding a flock of geese, but we raise geese for meat, so they come and go as youngsters. We're hoping our new dog learns to look up into the sky! Kapugen was introduced to the young meat chickens this week, and has been on the job ever since. We were expecting a rambunctious, rascally puppy, but Kapugen takes his job seriously. He mostly sits and watches the birds and every once in a while gets up to circle the birds to make sure all is well. At four months old he has chased the birds exactly once. When corrected he stopped and hasn't done it again. I wish our children were so easy to teach!
Kapugen got his name from a character in the children's book Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George. Our family read the book aloud this winter and loved it. It is about an Inuit girl, Julie, who gets lost on the Alaskan tundra, and assimilates into a wolf pack to survive. In the book Kapugen is the main character's father. He combines old and new ways of living to help his people survive. Our farming methods are very much a mix of new and old techniques, and animal husbandry. Julie names the wolf pup, who eventually saves her life, Kapu, after her father. Our little Kapugen will be a "lifesaver" for the poultry. It is important for Maremmas to bond with their charges, and having a dog become part of the chicken flock reminded us of how the wolves bonded across species with Julie.
Kapugen is shy with people. He will grow to be a great, big, fluffy dog, and while we are hoping
 he does a good job deterring predators, another part of hos job description is being petted a LOT by kids-
 our own and visitors to the farm.


New chicken sunshades- free materials, easy to move, and fun to climb on!