It’s been plumb busy here!
We have more chicks and chickens than you can shake a stick at, and the projected number for this year keeps growing. We’ve mixed up our field method this year, and it’s helped a ton. Last year, we had many small pens we’d have to move each day. But this year, we’ve invested in lots of electric netting, which allows for bigger spaces and more grass for the birds to enjoy. It also means less nit-picky labor for us. We’ve also improved our watering methods, in an effort to streamline our process, while maintaining the quality of our product.
In the same vein, we’re especially excited about our new labels! Eleanor does graphic design and worked up the snazziest label chickenkind has ever encountered. We’re pretty proud of ’em. Also in an effort to streamline our ordering and delivering, we’re now packing birds in nice, new wax boxes, which are Matt’s new favorite thing–he’s obsessed.
And most exciting is our new chicken processor! He’s just a few miles from our house, and is state-inspected and full-service, meaning he takes care of everything–all we have to do is deliver chickens and then pick them up, beautifully packaged to our specifications. What we love most about this, is that processing doesn’t waste a day for Matt anymore! He gets up pretty early, but he can still come home and still get a full day’s work done. And there’s plenty to be done.
We just expanded our front yard too. The 40 acres across the street went on the market, and though at first, we weren’t interested, the longer it stared at us, the more interested Matt got, and the more sense it started to make. It came with an insulated barn with nice wooden stalls, and it will be a perfect brooder space, and a certain improvement on the current brooding space. Also, the acreage is nice–it has pasture, which we just had hayed, and a bit of woods, too.
It’s been dry here, particularly this May, which means pastures are growing slowly. It also means that there’s less clover blooming now, so our hives look good, but they’re not putting on as much honey as they would if we’d had more rain. That said, Matt harvested a tiny sample of honey a month or so ago, and it was delicious!
The local produce we’re getting this year looks great as ever! The tomatoes are the picture of perfection and have had really, genuinely good flavor. The asparagus has been tender and delicious, the cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash look and taste wonderful, and we’ve had some of the loveliest (and HUGEST) blackberries we’ve ever seen. And we’re looking forward to peppers and green beans coming available soon.
And for the cattle update, we did get calves–about 100 of ’em, and they’re getting meatier by the day, and look great. We’re feeling really great about them this year.