Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I haven't been able to squeeze in time for a blog for some time. So here we go... eggs are off to a slow start with 90% of our layers turning out to be roosters. The roosters are breeding each other, the turkeys are breeding the ducks, the ducks are breeding the geese, The geese are trying to hatch the chicken eggs, the goats are trying to get inside the rabbit pens, and the sheep are taking down the hot wire to set the pigs free, and an IT guy is farming. Did I mention someone has been selling chickens unauthorized under the Cryingrock label. I never in my life imagined I would have trouble with chicken counterfeiting. That is just weird. We made it through winter by the skin of our teeth, and are welcoming spring in our own um... unique way. The day after my birthday we welcomed a small litter of mulefoots. They are doing great and are a ton of fun. At a week old they are already walking up for back scratches. It was a very timely birth, as the numbers I have been hearing for existing Mulefoots are down to the 200's, I am trying to confirm for sure. So there are lots of new things happening here for spring. We inherited a small group of Tamworth Hogs from Black Sheep Farm outside of Port Angeles, started guinea hens, pheasants, and our spring chickens. Also we received our custom slaughter license for pigs etc. It is a weird dichotomy, that the hand that scratches the belly, is the hand that also splits the belly, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Humane treatment and quality are under our watch from gestation to plate, and it's a responsibility that we take solemnly. So in these early spring days of "rain, sun, hail, repeat", think about ordering a pig for you and your neighbor. Not before Saturday though, I need to replace my winch first. Since I broke it I dropped a gambrel with a 180lb pig hanging, down on my nose, and I don't want to do that twice. Mostly because I don't want to have to explain that I look the way I do because I dropped a pig on my face. If you can't make it out to see the new pigs, I will be bringing some out to the Mother Earth News Fair June 4Th and 5Th ( http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/Puyallup.aspx). You can save if you order tickets ahead of time. And if you're in the Seattle area tomorrow, come by Pike Place and say hi.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Two days ago, the pigs were grazing in golden sun. Today they were back in the snow again. The snow this time around has been nice, since there hasn’t been the deep freeze like the last. Hopefully it stays that way so we can get to market on Saturday. Speaking of which, we will be three weeks old at Pike Place Market this week. Usually we are right under the famous neon sign. Last week it was a crystal clear sunny day and you could see across the pond to the Olympics, all the way over to Rainier, all from our booth. Folks would ask “where is Orting”, and I could just point behind me to the mountain. You would be amazed how many passers by read my sign aloud as “pasteurIZED pork”, it has happened so many times that I would not be surprised if they read it as homogenized as well. The Market has been fun. It is a hard day though, you have to squeeze out a whole days worth of farm chores before hitting the road at 7AM. But we have enjoyed getting visits from friends and family (especially those who brought treats), and meeting new people. The response to our rabbits at the market has been a great. The hard part is holding back enough of them to keep the breeding program going. It is a fine balance. Like Sally Field said “You like my rabbits, right now, you like my rabbits”. We have been trying a number of production systems with the rabbits, and are finding our groove. The timing is is kind of classic for us. For some reason we have this reoccurring theme of starting things at the wrongliest time. Farming in December, market in February. Maybe we will sell down coats, and woolly mittens this August, who knows. Well winter has been a bear, and an effort of survival. Signs of life are starting to break through though. The blue bells are a couple inches tall, hops are sprouting, hens are starting to lay again, and a lamb just dropped. I hope these are signs of a bountiful year to come.