And I don't mean our freezers, since those are mostly empty, save for our own chickens, some apple cider and some of Lucy's left-over pet food.
Speaking of which, prepare for a whole new line of products in 2015 from Lucy's Offal Good Business. With the recent arrival of a borrowed dehydrator, big things are in motion for some value-added pet treats. :)
I've been wanting to get back at regular blogging for a while now and tonight on a twitter feed I follow called #agchat it was all about 'agvocacy' and how people keep up with trending topics, dealing with negative publicity, etc. and one of the suggestions was just to schedule a regular time each week or month or whatever to 'get it done'. I often have a ton of ideas in my head that I think, "as soon as I get a minute I'm going to blog that!" but then the moment passes and nothing gets done. I've been tossing around the idea lately of a new blog with a different focus, but still agriculture-related, and we'll see if that comes to fruition but for now we'll stick with this one and brief update of life on the farm at this moment.
Well, at this moment it's a blustery, icy minus 30 outside, but a toasty 22 inside with our new outdoor furnace chugging away. Still working out some plumbing kinks, but for the most part, we're no longer fossil fuel dependent (for heat at least- although admittedly, this isn't the winter to be bragging about that with the price of oil dropping. haha).
The sows, Gail and Nancy are cozy in their barn. We shut the door yesterday to keep the wind out and because they haven't ventured out on their own for days. And the pigs we're fattening for ourselves, Jillian Jiggs and Bud are out in the straw shelter on the pasture. I keep worrying they'll be cold but each time I crawl in or make Mark crawl in, it is cozy and dry in there and except for a drink of water now and then, they hardly leave it either, so the pigs have pretty much settled in for the winter, hibernation style.
The cow, Rosie and her calf, Daisy, are in their barn and are happily chewing their cud, no doubt dreaming of tender grass and spring pastures and maybe like myself, wondering if it's true that winter does make us appreciate summer temps that much more than people/cows who live in them all year round.
The hens and roosters are likely settled into their self-designated, pre-determined spots on their roosts, clucking quietly as undoubtedly, an odd little mouse sneaks in for a snack of chicken feed in the night. Most of the summer and all winter, we've only had one rooster in with the hens and he wasn't fairing very well. He was great all summer, but I think the girls had less to distract themselves with on the pasture and the winter confines gave them too much time to notice that he was a lone wolf. I think there were just too many girls for one man and he was looking dejected, spent most of his time cowering on the roosts and huddled in the corners. His tail feathers seemed shorter and he almost seemed to be trying to disguise himself in the flock. So when we had the opportunity to get another rooster, I jumped at it, thinking that it might help the balance. And did it ever! We now have a gorgeous white, young Chanteclair (sp?) rooster who attracts the ladies like white on rice and it has brought Johnny Cash (our original rooster) right around. Today he was strutting and crowing and shining and back to his glorious self. And the pen is huge, so each man has lots of territory for himself and his respective harem, so there's (thus-far) no fights. It seems as if, for now at least, that balance has been restored.
We recently toured a farm that sprouts our grain to feed to their livestock and I am excited that we are going to be giving it a go for the chickens. I think they will go crazy for it and maybe it will help restore a little of that sunshiny golden colour to the yolks that we all miss!
I will post pictures of that set up once we get going. (First, some furnace kinks to work out.)
Other than that, the grain is all tucked into its bins and tanks and bags and totes and the kids are asleep in their beds and I'm on my way.
If you didn't receive any of the Summerside Egg CSA information for the January-April session, please email us: infoATbarnyardorganicsDOTca for more details.
Looking forward to writing more in 2015. (More interesting than this one and with more pictures.)