Posts Tagged ‘egg laying hens’

Many people often ask us what a typical day at the farm is. Usually, we chuckle and proceed to explain that there is no such thing as “a typical day of the farm.” Just as we don’t have a 9-to-5 job in an office, as farmers, we accept that farming as a vocation is a lifestyle, not a job. It’s a professional career full of surprises and spontaneity, as well as flexibility and patience.

Now that we are in November and the Vegetable CSA season has ended, there is a sense of relief on the farm. We’re not necessarily more relaxed – we still have lots of bills to pay – but we’ve experienced a shift in the season and the direction we are headed. We now have more time to analyze our finances and improve our business management. Lots of construction projects are happening, including small things, like bins for winter squash and shelves for the toolshed. And we’re making holiday plans and taking steps to stay healthy during the cold and flu season. This was our November weekend on the farm:

We finally butchered our roosters. Our egg laying hens are more relaxed and happy now.

We finally butchered our roosters. Our egg laying hens are more relaxed and happy now.

After butchering the roosters, we made about 2 gallons of chicken stock. This is the good stuff!

After butchering the roosters, we made about 2 gallons of chicken stock. This is the good stuff! No cold or flu can beat us now.

It's important to take time to appreciate the wildlife on the farm. Many more waterfowl have moved into the big pond.

It’s important to take time to appreciate the wildlife on the farm. Many more waterfowl have moved into the big pond.

 

random pig

We still have chores on the weekend, like feeding and watering the livestock. The pigs were running so quickly, it was hard to get a good photo from this side of the fence…

While the Golden Vineyards crew are off on Sunday, we can borrow the tractor. This is the future fruit orchard and table grape vineyard getting subsoiled.

While the Golden Vineyards crew are off on Sunday, we can borrow the tractor. This is the future fruit orchard and table grape vineyard getting subsoiled.

We must remember to eat our greens! Lovin' Mama Farm salad mix with our beets made a delicious lunch. Homemade pumpkin pie (our pumpkins & wheat flour of course) was finished before the end of the weekend.

We must remember to eat our greens! Lovin’ Mama Farm salad mix with our beets made a delicious lunch. Homemade pumpkin pie (our pumpkins, eggs & wheat flour of course) was finished before the end of the weekend.

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Egg Layers

Our new egg layers are growing! Here they are at about 1.5-months old – 40 ladies and 1 dude. As we get into growing more of our own grain for animal feed, raising egg laying hens fits nicely into our farm system. As much as possible, we want to close the fertility loop, where we are importing less inputs – fertility (fertilizer, compost, manure, soil amendments, etc.), feed, and perhaps fuel.

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Sometimes, people ask us, “What do you do when it’s raining?” As a matter of fact, we work! Regardless of what Nature feels like, there is some farmin’ to do.

Today was no exception. We knew the big downpour was coming, so the day before, we did as much vegetable transplanting as possible and dug out the trenches/culverts on the hillside to ensure no veg beds would wash away. We also had to make sure the equipment and tools were covered or put away so as not to get wet and rust.

It rained a lot! This morning, Adam and Alder dug some culverts to stop the erosion in the recently cultivated Pond Field. I harvested produce (cauliflower, lettuce, sugar snap peas, broccoli shoots, and green chard) for Head Start and made the delivery in Ukiah. While in town, I purchased 6 bales of wheat straw for mulch. The guys up-sized some summer seedlings in the greenhouse and cut seed potato in preparation for planting later. There was some lunch where we discussed techniques for growing potatoes and how to find more shareholders for the Live Power CSA (which you should join!).

After some administrative computer stuff, I joined Adam and Alder in moving the sheep and cows into a new pasture area in the rangeland. Herding the animals has gotten easier with three of us instead of just two. Cell phones help too. We took down the fence, put it up in the new place, and herded the ovines and bovines – all pretty much at the same time. It went pretty smoothly. No cows went wild, no sheep scattered. I think we are getting better at herding.

Later, Adam and I threw straw down in the gullies in the Pond Field to prevent any more erosion. So, we got a lot done despite the rain, some wind, and a short spell of hail. We did see the sun a couple times, as well as some rainbows! And of course, the daily chores – checking the meat chickens and egg layers, feeding the livestock guardian dogs, and watering the greenhouse – were taken care of.

I was able to take a few pictures of the spring vegetables when it was not raining.

We have a couple beds of broccoli and cauliflower flourishing at the Pond Field.

These are some beds of different lettuce varieties growing in the north section of the Coyote Field.

This is radicchio under the floating row cover. The birds like to eat it if they can get to it.

These are beets we transplanted a while ago. We usually sow beet seeds directly into the vegetable bed, but because the soil has been so wet these past couple months, we had to start them as seedlings in the greenhouse.

Cabbage! - up close and still growing in the south section of the Coyote Field. Many other brassicas and lettuce are growing in this section.

Here is more lettuce (left) and one of our plantings of peas (right), ready for trellising.

Driving down the hill at the ranch, I spotted a rainbow over the vineyard. You can sort of see the grapes to the right.

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Okay, so I attended the annual Eco Farm conference in Asilomar last month, and I totally missed the double session on using social media to market your farm. So, I know I’ve done this completely wrong, but here it is anyway – our own YouTube channel! Maybe we should work on getting a better video recording device first. Oh, well. Actually, just skip the YouTube channel and just check out embedded videos on this website instead.

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