In an attempt to get myself back in the habit of posting at least weekly, this one is just a farm update, rather than a rant on any particular topic.
Firstly, my favorite new farm toy finally arrived the other day and has met all the expectations I had for it. Out of Ohio, from Gibson Ridge Farm, we bought a 'portable egg washer'. (Note this is not our video- there are far too many tiny hands involved at our place to ever get a video.)
Currently it sits on top of the double sink in the Dead End, although we're tossing around the idea of setting up it's own sink in the extra storage room of the Dead End that was plumbed for a sink. Once we have all the new layers in production, it won't be so easy to take over the front room of the packing area. Anyway, as with all new things, it's fun and it's a fight every night over who gets to do what. The best work team is Lucy as egg-putter-inner, Mommy taker-outer/inspector, passer-to-Wilson who is the basket man and handles putting the eggs into the basket, to be taken home to get carton-ed up. Thayne is a keen observer who is not happy unless he is the MIDDLE of the action. So far, Sol is content to watch from his wagon, but I'm sure that's to be short-lived very soon.
Anyway, our previous washing method was that I would sort through the eggs and pack up the ones that didn't need washing right away, give the dirty ones a short soak and scrub. Eggs have a protective coating that gets washed off with water, so that's why I've made the effort to not wash any unless we have to. But with the washer, it's so easy and quick to just put them all through that I can't justify handling them an extra time to decide who needs washing and who doesn't. Also, the water stream is negligible. It's more of a drip than anything, but enough to help clean the ones that need it.
Mark is taking advantage of yet another miserable, cold, rain day to work on the moveable pen for the layer hens this summer. We've tossed around so many ideas for the structure that I'm not even sure what we're going to end up with, but at least he's taking care of the basic frame for now.
The meat chickens are growing well (as they do) and CSA shares are selling steadily. I haven't sold quite as many as I hoped to so we're looking at possibly going to a Wednesday Farmer's Market this summer. It's so hard to tell how much we might sell at a market, so I'm nervous to commit, stop selling shares to ensure we'll have enough, and then not sell enough at the market. So for now I'm still pushing CSA shares and hoping to get a few more before we have to make a decision about the market.
The big benefit of attending a market this year though, is that it would likely help me increase my shares next year.
Evidently, given the weather, we don't have anything in the ground yet (nor does anyone else in the country). Calgary is under snow and in talking to Ontario friends today, they don't have anything planted yet either. Misery loves company, right?
I guess Mother Nature is showing her might and given what we've all thrown at her over the last couple decades, I'd say she has the right to. I've recently learned a bit more about hydrolic fracturing and also attended a talk about GE Foods and Round Up so can't blame ol' Mama Nature for being a bit pissed off.
In other farm news, there's not much. The pigs are outside and the cattle are in their corral, although not out in the pasture yet. The chicken barn is starting to get a little crowded, since normally we'd hope to be putting some outside soon, but that obviously won't be happening, so we're brainstorming ways of spreading everyone out a bit more while still being able to get water and feed where it needs to go.
The boys and I build a little sandbox for the birds the other day and it was such a big success we're in the works for another, bigger one. The hardest part was, and will be, finding nice dry soil to put in it. ha!
Well, it's good to be back. I'll be sure to include photos next time and start building a rant for you. :)
May this find you clinging to the sounds of the spring peepers as a sure sign that spring is indeed coming!