I'm not sure how many folks are perusing our little blog here, but even if it's just an exercise for only us to express the on goings here, I'll apologize for the gap. Things got a little hectic our way--which is natural for a small farm with farmers with full time jobs. Things are no less hectic but we are committed to setting aside time to share the news from the farm and promise to do better.
This past weekend we started off by bringing a load of house construction/demolition debris to the dump. When we arrived at the local transfer station, we were turned away due to the size of the load and re-directed to a larger facility over an hour away. This meant a significantly longer morning, but since the truck was already loaded with the items to be disposed of, it didn't make sense not to just buck up and finish the job. We kept it moving and decided to run some much needed errands for our upcoming wedding (only ten weeks away!).
On the way home, and half on a whim, we followed a sign about 7 miles from our house toting rabbits. We needed to increase our breeder stock by at least double. Our young doe is not taking despite multiple breeding sessions with our proven buck. As it turns out, there is a Californian breeder just up the road! After reviewing his rabbits, we decided to return the next day for two does an additional buck. This of course meant a trip to Tractor Supply for some furnishings for the new residents early Sunday morning, but by mid-day everyone was settled in their new digs. The breeder sold us a plump little girl due to have her first litter on March 3rd, which means our CSA members will have fresh rabbit delivered to them sometime in June, right on schedule. I'm considering bringing in a few more younger stock in the second week of March to fill up the larder a bit ahead of time.
Today, we met with the landowner who has graciously allowed us to set up shop here. This is a woman of integrity, who let us move in on little more than our good word we would fix the place up and hand shake. Today's goal was the formality of a lease agreement, and we are so grateful and excited to be committed to this land, this home, for many years to come. It's a dream come true, even when we still are fussing with the cold water not running in the sink, and wall papered ceilings.
After meeting with the landlord, we rushed off to the day jobs. I gave notice to my current job today, so in two weeks I start managing the CSA as my only full time job. The seeds have arrived (still waiting for the tubers), and there will be no slowing the pace now until probably November, if then. I think we are both relieved that soon someone will be able to attend to the needs of our farm as a sole responsibility. The nights are getting later, the mornings earlier, and the needs of the farm are so great right now.
Nearly as soon as I got to work, the phone rang that our first batch of baby chicks had arrived. We knew this was a possibility before leaving for work, but decided to go because if the chicks didn't arrive we would have both lost the whole day. So I sped back to the post office and after a quick stop for some extra supplies, 65 peeping mouths and I arrived back at the farm. We had hoped that the weather would hold up when the chicks arrived but the temperature was barely 20 degrees when I pulled into the driveway. I had turned on the heat lamps last night, but I could tell right away that the brooders weren't nearly warm enough for the youngest residents of the farm. Baby chicks like it hot, at least 95 degrees!
So I grabbed three additional heat lamps, and a space heater. Now that there seemed to be sufficient heat sources, I stapled storm plastic in a kind-of chicken hobo tent to keep the heat around the brooders, and not permeating every corner of the garage (which is serving as our rabbitry and chicken brooder facility as well as our tool shop. Some hay-bales for extra insulation, and the result isn't pretty, but the chicks aren't in distress so I'm satisfied. There is no doubt I will have to check at least twice throughout the night to ensure everyone is comfortable. Cold chicks = dead chicks, and we can't have that. Not only is it a waste of capitol, but it's just irresponsible.
Next up: starting seedlings, mailing wedding invitations, getting our hen house moved, and sourcing some new sheep! Oh and beginning fencing and raised bed construction....not to get ahead of ourselves.....