The farm is keeping us incredibly busy this time of year. My hat is off to those of you who attempt to work a full time job and raise and sell good food. We are blessed that The Farmer is home this time of year. And, because he’s home, this is the time of year where we will make it–or not. We are working very hard this time of year. Our days are long, and we are tired, and we’re never quite getting everything done.
We have, so far, raised and processed about 230 broiler chickens and 21 ducks this summer. There are 200 more broilers in the brooder right now, and a couple of more batches on the way (usually 100 at a time). On pasture, we have about 80 turkeys, 9 geese, 24 pigs, 3 beef cows and 3 dairy cows.
The Farmer brought 130 broilers and 21 ducks to the processor this week. We have our own plucker and scalder, but if we want to sell our birds at the farmer’s market, we have to bring them to a facility (we would love to build our own facility someday so that we don’t have to drive an hour and a half there (with live birds) and an hour and a half back (with fresh, chilled birds). Someday! So this week, we came home from the farmer’s market at around 9 pm. We had to put things away and get the kids to bed. Then, the Farmer had to catch 130 broilers and put them in metal pens, in our horse trailer. He realized he didn’t have enough pens, so he had to build more. He also caught the 21 ducks and put them in the pens, in the horse trailer. However, in a mad-rush to get ready for the farmer’s market earlier that day, he forgot to turn the hose off that was filling up the ducks’ water. Their entire area was a muddy mess, and they were slippery, muddy birds! He had a fun time trying to catch them, slipping all over, in the dark! 🙂 THEN, he had to prepare the brooders, because baby turkeys and more broilers were supposed to arrive in the morning. Then, at about 12:30, he finally got to come in the house–and take a shower! He woke up at 5 AM the next morning, to get ready to go and feed all of the animals. Someone else did the milking for him that morning. He had to leave by 6:30 with 150+ live birds and drive for an hour and a half….What a life! 🙂
We got 50 new baby turkeys this week, to raise for Thanksgiving. We’ll get more, later, to raise for Christmas. I mentioned previously that we were having a hard time raising baby (broad breasted white) turkeys soy-free, and that they were dying on us. Well, this time around, I am making a mash for them every morning. Scrambled eggs + oats + buckwheat (cooked) + cod liver oil + kefir + sauerkraut juice. They really like it. Today we threw a little grass in the brooder and they went crazy over it. They are drawn to green! I’m thinking about giving them a green smoothie tomorrow morning. 🙂 We still have some feed (with soy–boo!) out there for them, but they love the mash and they’re drawn to that…I have not priced out the mash…I probably should. 😉 Thankfully, they only need the super high protein stuff early on, and they seem to grow ok on a soy-free feed after just a couple of weeks.
We are going to the Farmer’s market these days, too! We just signed up for a second market, so we are going to be going to two markets every week. Woo-hoo! We are considering the idea of renting a commercial kitchen 2-3 hours per week to cook up some of our meat (and hard-boiled eggs) to sell at one of the markets (which happens to be at lunch time).
Ok, time for photos! Top one: apparently the dairy cows like the sun & they didn’t want to come to the barn for me to take a picture. And the chickens l-o-v-e cow poop and all of the bugs inside of it!
This is Lexi (thanks for helping us name her on Facebook!). She’s our Great Pyrenees puppy, and she’s going to guard our chickens. In this pic, she’s in a pen right by our chickens, getting acquainted with her flock. 🙂
The baby turkeys love the mash I make them, they love grass, and they loved the salmon skin I threw in their brooder today! 🙂
Here are the big turkeys, hanging out in the field. They didn’t know what to think of me taking their picture. 🙂
The grass is tall, so The Farmer was mowing today. We do not have hay baling implements (they cost thousands of dollars), so we were unable to cut any hay this year. Maybe next year! Every farm project takes much longer than we estimate–always. We’ve been doing this 3 years and we still feel like farming is a huge learning curve. What we would give to have the knowledge that was passed down to generations in years past! Today’s learning experience involved a pile of rocks and the tractor. Piles of rocks are not friendly to tractors, and, we’ve learned, can break things and delay the project quite a while. Oops.
We have plans to go blueberry and marionberry picking in the next few days. We have blackberries on our property (wild and free!) but no blueberries or marions, yet). I plan to make some jam….or syrup…or something.
That was our week! How was yours? 🙂