Chickens · Market · Patreon · Production · Sheep

Bartering in the Apocalypse

Since Coronavirus hit the United States, many folks have been forced out of work, or are working much less than they were before. We still have friends and customers who want to feed their family quality food, and who want to support us. We acknowledge our products are not exactly a necessity, but we appreciate that so many still want to support us. One way we’ve made this happen is by bartering with people we know. There are always things we need, and we always have things to exchange. These are just a few of the things we have traded since March.

This is what our market booth looks like in Covid times

Our friends Aimee and Dan from Overland Lamb and Wool asked us if we would brood chicks for them. We have a pretty good brooding setup, and at the time, we didn’t have full brooders yet. So we happily said yes! In exchange, we got to keep a few of the birds, and they gave us a dead freezer chest that was taking up space in their garage since they bought the house. We use chest freezers to store our bags of feed, so this was a GREAT exchange for both of us! Aimee’s friend also had a dead freezer to offload, so we drove an hour away to pick that up, and we are going to give her some meat and eggs when she is in our area! This works out so well, because it keeps two rather large hunks of junk out of the landfill. When we are ready to replace them with better storage, we will likely swap them with another farmer so they can store their feed.

In other swaps for “trash” we gave a couple dozen eggs to Dan and Aimee for this awesome bench! The goats and lambs love climbing on it, and it helps file their hooves with the shingles we put on top of it. Those shingles were acquired from another friend, Tyler, in exchange for a few beers out of our cellar. He was really stoked about those, and our goats were pretty excited too!

The largest selection of residential and commercial hardware solutions

Our friend Caryn, who owns a really awesome store in Marshall called Handle and Hinge, has been buying eggs from us since we started selling. She has probably been our biggest supporter in the way of our Egg CSAs, which is always a wonderful feeling. She recently needed a new card, and we needed a new doorknob for our garage. We did a quick trade, and we are both pretty happy about that.

Another friend and farm supporter we enjoy trading eggs with is our farm vet. Her family has a really awesome chicken coop and run around their garden. We recently gave them a handful of brooded birds to weed the perimeter of their garden, eat their food scraps, and eventually put on their dinner table! We also give them eggs as needed, and she orders miscellaneous supplies we need from her supplier. It’s so wonderful having our farm vet and her family be such great friends, who live so close by.

One of our ongoing back and forth swaps is with our friends at Cinnamonkey Shrubs. We met Amber and Dan at the market last summer, when they were brand new vendors. I was so excited to see something new and modern at our market, and I wanted nothing more than for them to succeed. Now that they are really making a name for themselves in Marshall, we support them in other ways. We have recently swapped some eggs and a chicken for a pedicure from Amber in the future (she also works at an awesome salon in town!). I also get a pack of delicious home made cookies from them at the market regularly, and swap for eggs or chicken. These regular exchanges are so much fun.

The second best bartering we have is when we get food scraps from our friends and customers, and swap it for farm products. Keeping food from being wasted, saving money on feed, enriching the lives of our animals, and just generally being a win for everyone is a great feeling. The pigs have gotten bags of tomatoes, salad greens, bananas, strawberries, and a couple loaves of stale bread. The chickens have had boxes of cereal, corn chips, and much more. And the sheep and goats get an occasional treat of a tortilla chip, or graham cracker. Everyone is happy!

And finally, the best exchange of the Coronapocalyspe: we swapped meat and eggs with Overland Lamb for a living, breathing lamb! Barleywine comes from that wonderful farm, and is a cross breed we otherwise probably wouldn’t have been able to afford. She is a Blue Faced Leicester x Teeswater. This big girl gets us some variety in our flock, which will mean some really exciting fiber and wool in the future! I think we all feel like we came out on top with this deal!

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.

Animals · Chickens · Ducks · Turkeys

It’s a Baby Explosion!

This time of year can get chaotic with all of the new arrivals on the farm. Between the dozen lambs, 100 meat chickens that have been here for a month or so, 100 turkeys coming this week, 100 meat chicks coming next week, and an unknown number of turkey poults, chicks, and ducklings recently hatched by broody moms, there will soon be more babies here than we will know what to do with!

We have several broody birds right now, most notably a turkey and a muscovy co-nesting under our front porch. Just over a week ago, they hatched seven sweet little turkey poults. They are mostly black, but we have one pretty little blue bird as well. These will grow up and either be added to our flock, or become delicious holiday dinners. Heritage birds are different than broad breasted in many ways. One of which is that they grow slower, and develop more even muscling. If you are a fan of dark meat, heritage is what you want to eat. They still have quite a bit of breast meat, but it isn’t as huge as what you’d find in the store.

Over the last couple days, the porch moms and the barn muscovy have hatched over 15 ducklings. We don’t even remember the actual number! Every morning, one of our additional chores is checking in the nest for more little puffy babies. It was really cool that they started hatching the majority of their clutches on the same day!

This is such a fun and exciting part of farming that we didn’t really expect to enjoy so much. All of the moms have easy access to food and water, so this extended broody period is not an issue for them. The next time we catch them off their nests, we will be candling the eggs and making sure we don’t have to worry about any exploding.

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.

2020 Uberlist · Chickens · CSA · Meat · Production

The First Chickens for 2020

This whole year has gone a little wild for us, like many others. We called our processor a couple days ago to book processing for our first batch of chickens, and we are excited to announce they will be available on July 4th, 2020! This was definitely an intentional decision on our part, and we hope you will consider purchasing some fresh, never frozen chicken for your socially distant 4th of July celebrations.

These birds are from a previous batch

We will have them available whole, halved, or 8 piece. We will not be separating them into parts. Whole chickens are $4.50/lb, halved and 8 piece are $5.00/lb. Whole birds are great as a “beer can chicken”. Halves are awesome for the smoker or the grill. And the 8 piece is perfect for frying, grilling, oven roasting, or just about anything!

In addition to the birds, we will have feet, necks, hearts, gizzards, and livers back in stock!

We can’t wait to start feeding you again.

Animals · Meat · Production · Turkeys

Let’s Talk Turkey 2020

Despite 2020 already being… well… all of this… we assume time will continue to tick on, and Thanksgiving will eventually get here. We’ve placed our order for turkey poults, which means it’s time to start taking deposits! We will be modifying how we do turkey dispersal this year, to make things a little easier on us, and make sure everyone can get what they request.

First, there will be a non-refundable deposit of $25. This helps us afford the cost of acquiring the poults, and paying for part of the feed. Turkeys eat a lot and take a lot of work to grow them out. If you do not show up to pick up your turkey on the date you decide upon (we will send out an email later on and you will choose your pickup date and location), you will forfeit your deposit.

This deposit will obviously go towards the total cost of your turkey. The turkeys will be whole birds, with the neck and giblets included, and will be priced at $4.00/lb. We will also offer the option to purchase a half turkey, which will not include the giblets, and will be priced at $4.50/lb. If you would like to purchase a half turkey, let us know when ordering.

Turkeys will be sold frozen. We choose to sell our birds this way to allow more flexibility for the processor, and to be able to process birds over the course of a few weeks, which means we can have a wider range of sizes available. Contrary to the belief of many, turkey that is frozen properly is practically indistinguishable from fresh, never frozen turkey. We rent a commercial freezer that is set to -4 Fahrenheit (or lower!), which allows the meat to freeze quickly, keeping the texture and flavor intact. To thaw a turkey, allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird. Stick it in the fridge a few days ahead of time, and you’ll be ready to go by the morning of the holiday.

If all of this sounds good to you, you can head over to our fancy new online store and place your deposit. If you have any additional questions about our turkeys, feel free to contact us! We appreciate your support and trust with such an important part of your holiday dinners. We look forward to feeding all of you!

Animals · Meat · Sheep

The Lambs Have Arrived!

After two weeks to the day, all of our Jacob ewes have lambed. Our solo Romeldale girl Calypso isn’t due for a couple weeks still, but we are calling lambing season done, for all intents and purposes.

First up, on April 12, Janus gave birth unassisted to a two horn ewe named Vienna, sired by Limerick.

Janus the four horn Jacob ewe with lamb Vienna

April 17th brought a pair of four horned, blue eyed twin rams, Kolsch the lilac, and Porter is black, to Tanka, sired by Apollo. They were a little slow to figure things out, but got themselves together within half a day.

April 21, we called our farm vet to assist Citra with the delivery of her ram lamb Pilsner. He was all sorts of backwards, and on the small side with rather long legs. His sire is Limerick.

On Earth Day, April 22, Galena gave birth to twins. Schwarzbier the ram, and Corona the ewe. They are sired by Limerick.

On April 23, the second of our two original ewes, Haiku, had twin ewes. They were quite tiny, and still are the smallest lambs we have, got tangled up, and because of that, we needed to call the vet out again. In no time flat, she had the two tiny girls out, named India and Amber. They are sired by Apollo.

Sunday April 26, had two ewes giving birth. Up first was Hallertauer who had two lilac boys, Lager and Labatt, while we had some farm visitors. Cascade went into labor a few hours later, and had twins. The larger of the two didn’t make it, but the smaller is vigorous and growing well. This little guy has not been named yet. Both of those gals had their lambs sired by Apollo.

We are so excited to watch all these babies grow up! We will be keeping the majority of the ewes to add to our breeding stock, but may consider selling some later on. Some of the rams are destined for the dinner table, and others will be sold to Jacob breeders to continue the preservation of this awesome breed.

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.

Chickens · Ducks · Geese · Pigs · Production · Sheep · Turkeys

Exciting News for 2020: Pork, Lamb, and More Poultry

This post has been rolling around my brain for some time. But there have been many other things rolling around up there, and it’s been hard to string together coherent sentences. Finally, I have found myself at a point in Coronatine where I feel like I can adequately describe what we have planned for this year! And it’s a lot!

Chicks from 2019

Up first, we will be raising MORE pastured chicken! We have 100 chicks arriving this week, and an additional 100 arriving in May. We are modifying how we will be raising them ever so slightly, so they will have more space to roam and find tasty snacks. This will result in more flavorful meat, and happier, healthier birds. We will do at least one more batch of 100 birds before the end of the season, possibly two.

We will also be raising more duck! We have a muscovy hen setting a nest in the barn, and we are pretty sure there is one under one of the coops (the same one who set a nest under there back at the end of summer 2019). We will raise these ducklings in the barn to start, and then move them outside with the rest of the flock once feathered. This gives them the best start on our farm. Because of our mixed flock, little babies can’t really keep up with mom amongst all the turkeys and geese and other bigger birds. The girls will join the ranks of the layers, and the boys will be destined for the freezer. We will also be getting some pekins to raise for meat.

In July, we will welcome 100 turkey poults. These will be a broad breasted breed, which is the same as what we raised last year. We are also hoping to have a handful of heritage turkeys to put on the table. Our friend Alyssa, from Tall Grass Farm, is incubating some turkey eggs for us, and so far they are developing well. We will have a post soon about how to order turkey for this year. It will be similar to last year, but with a few modifications based on things we’ve learned from our driveway mini market. They will be processed a little bit before Thanksgiving, and frozen so they can be served for other holidays as well.

It’s lambing season, and as of when I’m sitting down to write this, two of eight ewes have lambed. Janus gave us a sweet, beautiful ewe lamb. Tanka gave us a pair of robust 4 horn rams, one a gorgeous dark lilac, and one a lively black. And both those boys have the prettiest blue eyes. We will hopefully have lamb available before the winter holidays. It will depend on if the lambs grow fast enough to make it profitable to send them to the butcher at that point in time. We are planning on giving them minimal grain, and allowing them to grow on the rich pasture that grows here.

Here is the Tall Farmer with the beautiful ewe lamb

Finally, the thing SO MANY people have been asking about: PORK! We will be working with our friends at Ham Sweet Farm and starting with some American Guinea Hogs. For at least this first year, we will be raising them as feeders, and not breeding them. These are a delicious lard breed that is known for rich red meat, and melt in your mouth lard. Depending on their growth, we are hoping to process some before the winter holidays, and perhaps grow a couple of them out longer to allow for the most flavor to develop. We will be working with a couple local produce farms, getting their scraps regularly to enrich the diet of the pigs, as well as the rest of our animals.

In addition to all of this, we are going to hopefully have our yarn back from the mill in the next couple months. And we have the wool from this year’s shearing in the barn, waiting to be processed. Plus, we have our usual eggs and meat happening. If you want to buy into all this goodness, we have our Farm Share CSA available here.

If you would like to follow what we are up to, our Facebook page and Instagram are the best spots.

Animals · Goats · Not Farming Related · Sheep

The Night The Wind Blew

We’ve been watching the weather quite closely the last couple weeks. Between wanting to have the windows open during the day, making sure we close them before the rain starts, to figuring out if we need to add more straw to the coops to help keep the birds warm, there is always some reason one of us will check the weather 73 times a day.

We knew there would be a storm last night, and we knew there would be wind. We made sure stuff that could blow away was put somewhere safe, and there wouldn’t be trash blown around the yard or something annoying like that. We woke up this morning and found nothing out of place, other than a few small twigs blown off trees, which is normal for any amount of wind here. And then I looked out the back window…

One of our shelters for the sheep and goats was blown onto its back side. Somehow, the wind was strong enough to blow something over that we couldn’t move without a tractor. But nothing else blew around or blew over. I am a little bit convinced the goats just had a raucous party, and knocked it over.

Judgmental rams!

Thankfully, no one was injured, and nothing was damaged. You can even see an intact goose egg near the base of it! It was VERY close to hitting the fence, and we were quite worried we would have some urgent fence repairs to take on this morning. We got very lucky.

Thankfully, the fence was spared. The corrugated roof managed to hold up the weight of the shelter, plus the addition of some naughty goats bounding around inside.

We are very lucky that nothing was severely damaged. We hope all of you fared well during last night’s storm!

CSA

An Update To the 2020 CSA

Back in January, we shared the information about our CSA in another post. This was before we knew how COVID-19 would affect farmers markets. We decided this weekend to add e-gift cards to our offerings for our CSA. This keeps contact between us and you to a minimum, and allows you to still get the discount that a CSA offers.

E-gift cards are offered in the same denominations as physical cards, and you will get the same discount as well. If you make the initial purchase before April 30, 2020, the bonus will be as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $115 (an extra 15%)
$250 purchase gets you: $292.50 (an extra 17%)
$500 purchase gets you: $600 (an extra 20%)
After April 30, 2020, including any reloads, the bonus will be as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $110 (an extra 10%)
$250 purchase gets you: $280 (an extra 12%)
$500 purchase gets you: $575 (an extra 15%)
This bonus amount will remain the same for all of 2020. We may change the bonus percentage in the future.

To get these discounts, head to the purchase page for our e-gift cards, and use the discount codes ONEHUNDRED, TWOFIFTY, or FIVEHUNDRED for the respective amounts you would like to purchase. The denomination shown is the total load amount, and the code you use is how much you will be paying.

To use these cards, when you want to make a purchase, you will message us via Facebook, following the format we include in our posts. Let us know in the message that you’ve purchased an e-gift card, and we will apply it to your invoice. The redemption for invoices paid with e-gift cards is a little clunky, but we will do our best to make it easy on everyone. Again, we are so very grateful that you trust us with your meat and egg production. We are proud of the work we do with our animals, and we appreciate that you are willing to support us during this weird time. Like we’ve told many of you, once this is all over, we will have an open house at the farm, serving some of our products, and you will be able to meet our critters.

Recipe · Uncategorized

Recipe: Apocalypse Pierogy Reverse Hash

Being that we have been casually referring to our current existence as The Apocalypse, we have started calling almost everything we do “The Apocalypse _____”. So now we have Apocalypse Beers instead of beers, we watch Apocalypse TV, as opposed to just watching boring TV.

This doesn’t change when it comes to our food. But we seem to get even more into it when meals are made up of random things we had sitting in the fridge and pantry, and sort of throw it all together. This Apocalypse Pierogy Reverse Hash is made with pierogies, protein, veggies, and an egg, and then we added cheese, sour cream, and sauerkraut on top. You can mix up what’s on it, based on what you have in your Apocalypse fridge. Or maybe in like six months, you will have a post-apocalyptic fridge? Who knows. We always have Mrs. T’s Pierogies in our freezer. They’re super easy to cook up, and can be quickly made into a meal. This is how I made this particular variation for the two of us tonight. I will add in ways to change it up at the end. Why is it a “reverse hash”? Because a hash usually has potatoes with stuff in it, this is basically stuff with potatoes in it. Pierogies are filled with potatoes (usually) so we’re making it sound fancy.

Ingredients

  • A couple tablespoons of rendered beef tallow.
  • 2 onions, diced
  • some mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 3 hot dogs, sliced thinly
  • a couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 pierogies, your favorite flavor
  • two eggs
  • cheese, sour cream, sauerkraut, as desired

Heat a large frying pan over medium. Add the beef tallow. Throw in all the onions and stir them around allowing them to sweat for several minutes. Once they are translucent and starting to darken, add in the mushrooms. Let them cook for a couple minutes, then add minced garlic and sliced hot dogs. Stir this together for about 30 seconds.

Take the pierogies and nestle them into the hash mix you’ve got going on. You will probably have to pile some stuff on top of the pierogies, but it’s fine, because you are basically steaming them while you brown the bottom. I know this isn’t how cooking normally works, but these pierogies are REALLY forgiving, and it’s going to taste delicious regardless. Flip the pierogies every few minutes until they are cooked through, and stir all the other goodies while you flip the pierogies, making sure they all have contact with the pan at some point to give them a little browning. If needed, add a little chicken broth or water to help de-glaze the pan. Sometimes, we pour a little beer in there to help that out. It’s the apocalypse, use what you have. Just think of all the flavors working together, and if it’s a beer you would drink with this meal, it will probably work. We usually have Stroh’s on hand, so that’s what we go for.

Once the pierogies have cooked through, divide the contents of the pan into two bowls or plates. Add a little more oil to the pan, and fry your eggs. We like them over easy so the yolk gets all nice and runny over everything. Pop one of those bad boys on top of your pierogies, add some shredded cheese, sour cream, sauerkraut, and salt and pepper as desired. I like some of everything, Robert skips the sour cream. Break that runny yolk and let it coat everything. Enjoy!

Because this is the apocalypse, and we want to avoid going to the store for anything that isn’t necessary, this is a very flexible recipe. I would strongly suggest keeping onions in there, because it is the bulk of the hash, but you could use a few different types if you like. We skip the potatoes in the hash because those delicious doughy pierogies are filled with them. But if you have a bunch on hand, or you’re feeding a crowd (of fewer than 10 people) feel free to bulk it out with some chopped taters. Add some grated carrots or other root veggies, diced bell peppers, a little bit of jalapeno or Fresno pepper if you want some spice, or any other veggies that sound tasty to you.

The protein can be just about anything. Leftover taco meat, some breakfast sausage, ground chicken, whatever. If it’s raw, cook it first, and then you may have to drain off some of the fat. You could also top it with fresh herbs, some hot sauce, salsa, or anything that makes you happy.

We really hope you are all doing well during this weird time we are experiencing. Sending you all good, healthy vibes.

Uncategorized

Progress Amidst the Chaos

Farming doesn’t wait for anything. This is a fact we have been aware of from the beginning, and yet it is something we don’t always prepare for, or agree with. The first frost will come regardless if we’ve harvested the cold sensitive veggies. Birds will take the same amount of time to grow out, so if we have a deadline for them to be ready, we need to start them early enough. Eggs need to be ready for Saturdays, so I should wash them before Friday in case we have an overwhelming amount. And there are so many more lessons that reinforce this fact. Yet we still feel like we are playing catch-up frequently.

With Robert working from home, we both thought we would be progressing a little quicker on some of our projects. Eliminating his commute has given him two extra hours every week day, which has been wonderful for both of us, but we haven’t used it as wisely as we thought we would. We finally ordered our first two batches of meat chicks on Friday. Last year, we had great results with the chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery, and we decided to go with them again this year. They will be arriving in late April, and then in mid-June. Once we have our first batch started, we will plan when our third batch will arrive. We are beginning to run low on chickens for sale in our freezers. We will be setting some aside for ourselves, and sell the rest. Unfortunately, due to living in Michigan, we can only raise pastured poultry for three seasons.

In addition to the chicks we’ve ordered, we have a goose who has started setting a nest. She has eight lovely eggs under her, and we are hoping for babies in about a month! We also expect a couple other geese get nests going. The plan is to increase our flock by about 10 geese, sell a few goslings, and have at least five to process for holiday dinners next year. We will also be looking for turkey poults to raise for this year’s holiday dinners. Hopefully, we can do some broad breasted, and some heritage birds as well. Just need some of our girls to hatch some babies for us!

Our sheep are getting rounder and rounder. They were supposed to be shorn this past week, but that has been moved back to this upcoming week. We are really looking forward to this happening so we can see just how pregnant those girls are. With eight pregnant ewes, we would love to have ten healthy lambs. More than that would also be great, but we want all of our girls to raise their babies without too much assistance from us.

Things are moving forward here on the farm. It may be slower than we had anticipated, in light of current events, but there is still progress. Depression and anxiety run in this household, and we are working through that. I am an extrovert, and I love physical contact. Seeing our friends at the market day and not being able to hug them is really difficult for me. Robert is different than me, and prefers being by himself. But he has also been getting a little cabin-feverish. We will come out of this social distancing event as slightly different people. Who knows when it will end.

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Doreen. You can find her lovely hand dyed, hand spun, hand carded, and other hand crafted fiber supplies on her website Goldfish Love Fibers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and probably elsewhere, which I will add as I discover them.