Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is Here at Our Tiny Farm!

Our girls produce the best tasting eggs!
It is the second full day of spring and it is a GLORIOUS day!  Warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze.  It doesn't get much better than this.  It is perfect weather for working the soil, planting spring crops, cleaning and repairing equipment, picking up branches, etc. 

We hope to expand our tiny farming operation this season. Hubby has serious back, hip, and shoulder issues to deal with, so it is all about finding what works with what we have to give to the place. Hubby is still working out his plans for the steer; how long to keep them and how to sell the meat.  I'm tending towards getting another season of grass feeding in and using a CSA type arrangement to sell eighths, quarters, and halves. But, the grass-fed beef is his thing. 

One of the decisions I have to make is whether we should get into small-scale commercial egg production or just keep 6 to 8 hens to produce eggs for home use with a little left for bartering.  We've pretty much decided not to do meat birds, but I do enjoy the eggs.  I will put a pencil to paper later this week and figure out how many hens we would need to actually make any money at it.

We do want to increase honey, vegetable, berry, and herb production.  And we need to talk to our daughter about whether she wants to do any flower sales or not.  We are increasing production of asparagus, garlic, potatoes, popcorn, and winter squash this year.

We have signed up to be day vendors at the Mills River Farmers Market on Hwy 280.  Being a day vendor means we won't be there every week.  We are easing into this slowly because we don't want to get in over our heads, especially since I have a demanding full-time job that often has me out nights and weekends.  I would love to include some value-added food products to our sales, but our kitchen would never pass inspection for that purpose (because of the dog and cats), so I might look for a commercial kitchen in the community to use.  I have some wonderful recipes using fresh vegetables and herbs that I would love to share with you.   

Here are some pictures from the past few months on Our Tiny Farm
The steer (or is it "steers"?) battling it out on a sunny winter day.
They are growing up nicely, don't you think?
The animals produce lots of "black gold" for our gardens; management of which is made much easier with a little heavy equipment.
Aged manure was worked into the vegetable garden area in February.
The "Anne" magnolia is beautiful with a heavenly scent (March 22).
The garlic looks good for mid-March; ready for the first side-dressing of organic fertilizer.
Prepping the area for potatoes and peas; we all take turns with the tiller.
The steer enjoying the fresh spring grass!
Daffodil season is almost over.
These girls are going into their 4th season and they are still producing LOTS of eggs!
Our Tennessee Walker is a "mature horse", so we are very cautious in the spring to prevent colic and founder. That means restricting access to the pasture when the grass and clover start growing rapidly.  Like right now. He's not too happy about the situation and will do his best to try to open the paddock gate!

1 comment:

  1. I love your little farm Jeanine. You should definitely have some goats. I raised Angus cattle, Arabians (also had Tennessee Walkers), goats, chickens (and sold eggs). We had a garden that produced largely, a field of asparagus (you can never have too much :-), and an orchard with peaches (that I had to fight the raccoons for), pears, plums, apples, figs, grapes and blueberries...then there were wild blackberries abounding so we didn't plant any. A elderly neighbor across the way had sour cherries, and she would just call me to come pick hers before the birds did LOL Ten of course you know about all my herbs and flowers!

    I miss it all so much.