the Middle Island Game Farm

The Middle Island Game Farm
Patchogue Advance

March 25, 1971
By Thomas R. Bayles

      Windsor Gow is manager of the 185-acre New York State Middle Island Game Farm which is located in Ridge.  Mr. Gow came here as manager in 1949 and with Mrs. Gow and their four children has lived on the farm.  For more than 40 years Windsor has worked closely with deer quail and pheasants on game farms of the New York State Conversation Department.

      For years, the farm in Ridge has produced thousands of pheasants and within the past few years has switched to quail, which are distributed throughout the state.  Raising quail is now being phased out and in the future the farm will be used as a conservation headquarters, open to the public and groups of school children to visit and learn more about nature.

      Taking a tip from nature, Windsor has applied the principles of naturally grown foods to his family diet.  For years he has cultivated a one-acre garden with fruits and vegetables raised the organic way.  Composting and mulching help keep his garden green and lush in the driest weather.  Soybeans add nitrogen to the soil and green crops are plowed under for green manure.

      For several years he has been getting pigeon manure from a large pigeon farm north of Ridge.  This is applied in the fall and winter, either by working it into the soil then or by letting the winter rains carry it into the ground.

       As he explains, it should never be applied as a top dressing as it is very strong and can cause damage from burning.

       The addition of phosphate rock and agricultural lime as needed round out his soil program.  He also takes the pine shavings that have been used as bedding material for the quail he raises on the game farm and uses them as mulch.

       He does get some insect pests in the garden, but these cause only minor damage.  Abundant flocks of birds that thrive on this chemical free farm help clean up the bugs.  He has even seen starlings, a bird that has few human friends, eagerly feeding on Japanese beetle grubs emerging from the soil.

       Windsor points with pride to the small mill in which he grinds flour from home grown wheat, which he grows under organic conditions.  Soy beans enter the picture here as a supplement to the wheat flour.

       The ripe pods are picked and stored in the barn to dry, and then shelled.  Some of the beans are cooked whole, like navy beans, while the rest are ground in the flour mill to make a nutritious, protein rich addition to the wheat flour.  The whole wheat flour with the added soy bean flour goes into the healthful loaves of bread that Mrs. Gow bakes.

       As Mr. Gow says, “If we can learn to live with nature, and not fight her, we can be a lot happier and healthier.”

       Windsor is retiring and next spring when his wife Mary also reties from teaching in the ridge school, they will move to Shernurne, their original home, where they have already bought a home with seven acres of land.  As apple orchard will be started there, and his gardening continued.

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