This spring has been a wet one. Our garden is delayed, and we are scrapping some of our plans altogether, unfortunately. We are hoping for some not-so-wet weather in the coming month so that our fall crops will do well. Cross your fingers for us!
The wet weather thankfully hasn’t affected our meat production. Our first batch of chickens is going to the processor on June 27. They are Red Bro Color Yield Broilers, from The Chick Hatchery. We really enjoy how they look, and they are doing really well on pasture.
We will have them fresh, never frozen at the Marshall Farmers Market on June 29. They will be ready for the grill that afternoon! Any birds that are not sold that day will go into the freezer.
A few days later, we are having a special event at Green Gardens Community Farm. July 1, which is Canada Day, those fine folks will be hosting Check Out Your Chicken. We will be preparing some chickens so you can taste them before purchasing. They will be available as whole birds for $4.50/lb. We will not be offering cut ups for this first batch, but we might in the future.
If you have any questions about these birds, our process for raising them, or anything else, feel free to contact us!
The last couple weeks have seen some really intense releases on the big and small screens. People have been talking about the movies and television episodes obsessively, and it’s gotten to the point where I have given up on reading anything online without those topics sneaking in. I don’t really care about either Game of Thrones or Avengers: Endgame, but I’m fine with others finding enjoyment in either or both. What I am not fine with is the amount of free publicity everyone is giving to both of those powerhouses, and getting nothing in return.
Running a small business is difficult. Robert and I are simultaneously farmers, veterinarians, publicists, marketers, landscapers, housekeepers, and so much more. We wear so many hats in one day, in addition to Bob’s full time job, that it’s shocking we manage to get any tasks completed. One of the only things that we can crowd source is our marketing. We have a small handful of friends who share our posts on Facebook, retweet us on Twitter, or leave us comments on Instagram. But the number of interactions we get across a month of posts on all platforms is eclipsed by the number of memes I’ve seen about Game of Thrones in the last week posted on just Facebook. And what are you getting in return for sharing some GoT related posts? Nothing.
We get it. You love these forms of entertainment. That’s awesome! But you know what is more important than entertainment? Your food. We are trying to grow and produce food that is healthy, free from growth hormones and weird antibiotics, and as good for you as it is for the planet. We are trying to make a small impact in our area. And we would really love if you gave the local businesses you support just a little bit of that energy you give to sharing posts from a literal multi-billion dollar industry. Businesses like ours depend on our fans and friends to help us out. We often don’t have a budget for marketing, and hope that something will gain some amount of traction and get noticed. Going viral can take a small business from something that barely pays for itself to a full time income. We don’t expect to go viral for anything we do, but we would appreciate receiving a little love from you.
I don’t want to come across like I am begging for attention. But I am hoping something I say resonates with some of you. Leave a thumbs up or a love on a post from a local business. Leave a Google or Yelp review for a place you really enjoyed. Shop at your local farmers market. Support the people who are helping to build your community. Not just for our sake, but for every small business trying to get a little bite of the pie.
As we get closer to the month of May, we get closer to getting plants in the ground. We are working with our friends at Green Gardens for this part of the year. They have amazing infrastructure for starting seeds, and we are just not quite prepared for that aspect yet.
A few nights ago, we stopped by their farm and picked up our sixteen trays of onion starts. We are growing five types of onions this year. The two of us are HUGE onion lovers, and we use them in many of our meals. We also have some plans for making dried onion products this year, if we manage to find enough hours in our days.
The varieties we are growing are as follows: Walla Walla, Redwing, Cortland, Sierra Blanca, and Nabechan. This gives us a wide variety of types and purposes. Walla Walla is a sweet white onion that is great for many dishes. Redwing is a delicious red storage onion that will last through the winter, allowing us to extend our selling season. Cortland is also a storage onion. Nabechan is a tasty green onion that we have grown in the past.
This is just the first round of plantings we are doing in the garden. So far, one bed has been planted, with the rest hopefully happening this weekend, as long as the weather cooperates! If these sound tasty to you, and you enjoy onions as much as we do, our CSA might be a good idea! Read about it here, and send us an email to sign up!
As of March 31st, I quit my off-farm job, in order to pursue farming full time. Robert is still working as an engineer full time, and he is enjoying his job. But with the way things have been growing at home, we figured having me available more often would be best for the business, and our animals.
Way back on March 18th, our Jacob ewe Haiku gave birth to a happy little ewe lamb which we named Verse. This little lass is quick on her feet, and loves running around with the goats and the chickens. She has learned that the geese are to be avoided, and if anyone gets in her way, she can easily dart around them.
We’ve been waiting since then for our other ewe, Tanka, to have her baby. We came home last night from Fiber Expo, and visiting family, and she had done just that. She gave birth to a beautifully marked ram lamb, who unfortunately was born too early and didn’t make it. If it hadn’t been so cold and wet last night, or if he’d had just a little more time in the womb, things may have been different. However, we cannot dwell on things we cannot change. We can learn from them, and hopefully be better prepared for next year. We talked to our sheep mentors, and after a lot of reassurance, we will have better plans in place the next time around.
This whole ordeal was a huge blow to my confidence. I want everything to be perfect this year, since this is the way I will be contributing to our household. But the only thing I can control is the way I react to things. I am trying to be really objective with everything, but it’s difficult. We have made a decision on what to do with the baby that didn’t make it, and hopefully that will work out. Either way, we will be sharing it here.
We have so many projects planned for the next few months, and we are looking forward to pushing forward and gaining momentum. Our first batch of meat birds is arriving this week. We have thirty brown leghorns in a brooder that are due to head outside any day now. Keep an eye out for more regular blog posts now that I am home more!
Spring is finally starting to show up, and everyone on the farm is very happy. Grass is sprouting, wild turkeys are roaming through the yard, and the birds are ramping up their egg production. We have started getting several goose eggs a day, and a turkey egg every couple days. But, we are dealing with mud city pretty much everywhere, especially in the bird yard. We knew we had to do something about it, and Robert found the perfect solution.
Two round bales of oat hay/straw. The farmer had an issue with getting the field harvested, and the seed heads ripened a little too much. This is PERFECT for our situation! The straw will soak up some of the muck, and make it less slippery, and the seeds will become food for the flock. And then any seeds they embed into the muck will sprout, providing food in the future.
Rolling the first bale out was hilarious. We cut the net wrap off, and just started pushing and hoped for the best. Luckily, we had it in the right direction, and it worked for us on the first try. I ran ahead shooing chickens and getting feed pans out of the way as Robert continued unrolling the bale like a giant roll of toilet paper. So far, the birds have thoroughly enjoyed every moment. They immediately took to scratching through it, looking for all the yummy oat seeds, and bugs. They have also really helped with spreading out the straw itself.
We also threw a few piles over the fence for the geese and ruminants to snack on. They were pretty excited with this new source of entertainment.
Overall, we are quite satisfied with this purchase. It was a small investment which will definitely pay off. Happy birds with full bellies and busy scratching feet make us very happy farmers.
Yesterday, I came across a really awesome business grant opportunity from FedEx. I filled out the application and we are now in the first round where people can vote for us. The number of votes are a small factor in deciding the recipients, but we hope to get as many votes as possible. You can vote once every 24 hours until April 1st 2019. Please take a look! Voting is easy, just a couple clicks and putting in your name and email address.
Since acquiring our hodgepodge of goats, one of the little guys has amassed quite a fan club. Taco, a tiny little thing, has captivated so many people. He is small. Like really, really small. And I think that is part of his appeal!
We decided to work with our friend Nicole Lapointe, who we’ve had do some custom art for us in the past, to design something special to honor Taco and all his tiny, goaty goodness. She is awesomely talented, and perfectly captures the subjects in every piece she creates.
Her art was sent to StickerMule where we had stickers made. Their pricing is great, and the quality is top notch. So far, we have just this one design made, but we will have more stickers made in the future with other awesome animals! If you are interested in getting your own stickers, check out StickerMule!