The dreary Winter has ended and the farm is starting to come back to life. That season kept me busy, but also distracted from growing this platform. That just means you get a lengthy update!
Some things that have happened since last post:
- We’ve had a couple of single goat kids born. It was cold, but none perished and all are thriving. We’ve also started to shift our focus from dairy and will instead spend more time on harvesting meat, tailoring our herd to the best possible yield.
- Harvested the meat chickens on New Year’s Day. We kept them alive longer than we should have and the meat yield was small. But they’re tasty!
- Egg production tanked over the winter since we choose not to artificially light the coop. We also picked up a nice big rollaway nesting box to reduce our in-coop breakages. Now that days are getting long our production is bouncing back, breakages nearly zero.
- To handle the overflow, we also picked up a free industrial beverage cooler from a local store. It goes down to the 32-40F range with ease, has 3 big shelves, and is perfect for egg and meat items that we just don’t have room for in our kitchen fridge.
- We added pea fowl – the peacock died mysteriously overnight, but peahen is still thriving.
- The pigs are growing, but Princess Lilliput was not pregnant after-all, so hopefully she and Amos will mate once he’s older/big enough.
- I rebuilt the compost bin to be bigger and accommodate two separate piles of differing stages. We also started dipping into the large mulch piles that have been sitting for two years – the dirt/compost being created through this process is fantastic!
- Morgan has been killing it in the bread-making department, focusing her efforts on the use of Einkorn flour to improve the nutrients we get in our bread and reducing the unnecessary stuff that’s in modern breads/flours to achieve both shelf life and mass production scale.
So what’s next?
- We have 50 more meat birds coming mid-April and we’ll try again. This time we’re going with a st. run of Rainbow Rangers, instead of a rooster grab bag from the hatchery. We’ll see how this batch turns out and tweak accordingly. Hoping for the best, however, because we’ll be processing and trading some of these for a seasonal CSA membership with a local vegetable farmer. We’re not quite ready to start a garden, so this is a great way for us to continue the trend of locally sourced and “know your food” options.
- We also add new egg layers each year – mostly due to predator loss through free ranging, but also to infuse fresh egg layers as my oldest hens drop in production. They can teach the new ones and the overall strength in numbers is good for the flock.
- Turkeys in April/May, hopefully to be eaten around the holidays.
- No plans for growing the goat herd this year, unless I come across a good deal on some Myotonics to get things started.
- Canning. We use half gallon canning jars for most of our dry goods because they’re a much better value than dedicated jars you can find at places like The Container Store, yet just as effective at reducing grain moths. But in our continued efforts to live seasonally we also want to save items from the harvest for the dead of Winter. So we’ll start gathering the equipment and practicing with fruits and vegetables, pickling, etc.
- Infrastructure! We need to build out some additional pens for rotational grazing of our current animals, along with overflow space as we have kiddings, poultry flocks in various stages of growth, or come across sudden good deals on livestock.
- Lots of mulch moving. I’ve got areas around the barn that become a muddy mess with rain, along with the barren chicken run.
- I’ve got a drainage issue with my private road and ditches around the driveway, so I’ll be digging that out before the rains come.