January 2016, really January? 2016? Are you sure its not still 2015? David and I realized we really let the blog go this summer due to our heavy work load, and have resolved to do much better this year. As our first blog of 2016 we want to let you all know what we’ve been doing this past year. We remember not sleeping, but cleaning, and hatching, there were so many babies, and cleaning, and talking to a lot of customers, and cleaning, and we aren’t sure what else we did all summer except clean- animals make a lot of messes, be prepared!
A few things we do remember though- spring was cold, very, very cold. It lasted forever! We did get many of the flowers planted, and then it was rain, and coldness. As we both worked full time off the farm we were left in a bind about trying to get the rest of the flowers planted and fighting the endless weeds that were taking over with all the rain. After many discussions we decided to not open the flower stand this past year and focus on getting the animals and fencing, and pens more up to date and secure. We had enough flowers in to take care of some private orders, and to take a few last minute orders throughout the summer. For 2016 WE WILL have flowers again, as Krys has quit her full time job and is working part time now, and plans to spend most of her time this year on the farm. It is absolutely terrifying but we know to succeed and to do what we love we have to take the plunge. We also know if we have to go another year without all those beautiful blooms and creativeness of the flowers we will not be happy.
There was a lot of cuteness running around the barn. We had 19 goat kids, and 21 lambs. Four sets of triplets, quite a few twins, and a handful of singles. Most of our moms did beautifully a few didn’t understand what they were supposed to do, and our big beautiful Margaret decided she was to much of a diva to have kids and made us bottle raise them. Surprisingly all of our boer goats had females except one, all of our finn sheep had females but two, and our Katahdins had all boys (as usual). As we look forward, kidding and lambing begins the end of February and continues through May. We have 17 goats and 19 sheep for this springs lambing & kidding, and we are going to try breeding a few goats & sheep in March/April for fall kidding & lambing. There will be plenty of baby pics on our facebook page!
The poultry did pretty well over last winter’s harsh weather but collecting eggs without them already being frozen and cracked was a challenge. We had our first eggs hatch the middle of April, and continued hatching through September. David had three cabinet incubators, each holding approx. 30 dozen eggs, and five Styrofoam incubators he used to divide the different breeds of eggs in for the final hatching. There were running from March-September so you can imagine we were full on baby poulty, hence all the cleaning multiple times a week.
Our first year offering fresh meat from the farm was a complete success. We raised, butchered, and packaged all of our own poultry this year which was quite the experience. Everything was done by hand, no machine to pluck feathers, or fancy tools. A few good friends donated their time to help us, and to experience what it takes to butcher, and they all said they learned a lot. We love that our farm has brought so many new people to us and so many new experiences to our friends and customers. To us that is part of the local food movement, bringing farmers and customers together to understand what each of us needs, wants, and what goes into obtaining those needs and wants. We will again have chicken, duck, turkey, and quail available in 2016, as well as lamb, goat, and rabbit. We again will also have eggs! Chicken, duck, and quail; we may also have some goose eggs in the spring.
Major projects that were started or completed in 2015 included re-fencing our main pasture and starting to re-fence our back pasture lots. With the arrival of our LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog) Anya this past April and the age of our current fencing we had to tear down all our old fence, put new heavy wooden posts in and heavier fencing in order to keep Anya from chasing deer and going over to the neighbors, and to keep the naughty goats and sheep from visiting our neighbors woods. We started building a new larger sheep shed to help protect from the cold winds and rain. David built our peacock run, as well as quite a few chicken tractors. Our duck barn recently received new siding, and gutters, and we began painting the coops. Hay feeders, new gates, grain feeding stations, and a three tiered rabbit hutch were also all designed and completed this past summer. For 2016 we look forward to adding drainage tile to our barnyard to minimize the mud we currently have, finish painting the coops, finish rebuilding the garden shed, re-do the electrical in the barn, and finish re-designing the interior of the barn for better lambing and kidding stalls, as well as new brooder pens for the baby poultry. Ambitious we know but we like to work, and besides sleeping is over rated right?