We woke up this morning to the sound of rain. We'd expected it, but were under the illusion that it was supposed to pass through and leave a wake of warm spring sunshine. But, we do not control the weather, and throughout the morning there have been cool showers, causing pigs to remain indoors and ducks to splash happily. That's just fine with us. After a rough start to the week, we caught up a little bit as the days progressed but pulled some rather long hours and are in no rush.
Tentatively, the pigs are doing much better on the electric fence. They were released from the barn prison yesterday, after taking a few days to settle in and realize that food comes from a bucket, and we mean them no harm. We'll see how they do as their curiosity progresses, but they got in a few shocks yesterday and didn't hit the bricks- so that's progress.
The big news on farm yesterday was that the quail have started laying again! After a very long hiatus for winter, we got two tiny eggs yesterday afternoon. You could easily fit a half dozen in a palm of your hand, but we were excited to see even two. They were promptly fried and placed over top of last night's pork burger dinner, and we once again were reminded of how farming can make you feel like royalty.
Given the weather, we've decided to huddle inside for the day, catching up on some office work. We certainly could work outside, it's not all that bad out but it seems like a good opportunity to stay dry. There are so many moments where you have no choice but to be drenched, muddy, or cold- that if it's not urgent- it's just not necessary.
This evening, as a reward for completing most of the to-do list, we're headed to a movie and dinner. Neither of us can remember that last time we indulged in such a thing, so it seems to be the time. There is a theater nearby with movie tickets for $5, so it's a budget friendly evening as well.
The rain will bring greener pastures, and those pastures will bring happy animals munching their way through the summer season. We've much ahead, and since the spring as moved so slowly, it seems like any moment the weight of warm weather work will fall at our feet. The hours will grow even longer. But after a winter like we've just had, we'll welcome it all. The first batch of meat chickens are already out on pasture, and almost ready to move to new fresh grass, having picked their way efficiently through the early spring field. The post-rain field will have more lush growth, and those young birds will really be able to savor the grasses at length.
It's a strange season for us, in the midst of transitioning our business to focus only on livestock. We're still planting, and we do not have any less work- but it seems that finally, after 3 years, we're starting to figure out what works best for us. We're making more sense of the land, and still making a ton of wrong turns, but maybe finding our way a little quicker. But this transition is also frightening, to be honest. We depend on customers to keep our farm running, and we know that there is a demand for our previous offerings. We are working so hard to make sure that we can run on what works best for the land (only livestock) and still make ends meet. We hope that the work will be enough, that the demand is there for our so-carefully raised meats. That's one of the things about farming- you can figure out how to grow something- but if it doesn't sell, then that work, while rewarding- isn't sustainable. We're doing just fine, but these thoughts always lurk in the shadows, push us to try more marketing, run numbers weekly. It's an angle to farming not always discussed- everyone wants to know what feed we use, if we are organic, etc... but folks don't always talk spread sheets and taxes. A blog post on marketing and share payments would be a bit dreary in comparison to a pig chase! Alas, it's all part of the bigger picture of being a small farmer, and equally as important.
Today, we're listening to the rain, and taking the rare moment this evening to take a break from physical work. We'll catch up on the office end of things, and then call it quits. Dinner and a movie, what a novel concept!