It is that time of year when farmers get caught up on some rest (notice I said some) and also a time of planning and dreaming about what we will do next year. You farmers know what I'm talking about. We assess our failures, learn from our mistakes, look at what we are going to do differently, assess our infrastructure needs, and look for opportunities to grow our markets. We are so thankful for all of our farm friends and customers. This year we sold out of our pasture raised turkeys and chickens. We have a waiting list for our eggs and are looking to expand our bee production and our garden and berries and orchard.
With both Farmer Paul and I working "off farm" jobs, the hours to do all of the above are limited, but in the winter we like to daydream and plan.
We want to participate in the DeSoto Farmer's Market in 2017 so we are expanding our vegetable garden to allow for this as well as sell "direct to consumer" to all of our friends. The seed catalogs are arriving and we are deciding on varieties and quantities of seeds.
We hope to do a spring/fall garden (something we didn't do last year) because our weather turned out to be a little funky for this.
We want to at least double the amount of turkey and chickens that we raised for meat. We also want to double our laying flock to expand our egg production.
I love how the Bible says not to despise our humble beginnings. We've been at this for 3 years now and the second year we increased our gross earnings by over $1,000 and the third year we increased by over $1,500 so we are making progress. Not getting rich off of this (that was never the plan) but we are finidng satisfaction in providing healthy food and also in working the land. We use no chemicals on our land nor do we plan to.
We bought this farm from a couple in their 80's - most of the ground to our knowledge lay fallow. So the potential we have on this property is great.
As I write this, Farmer Paul is working on a garden layout for the spring garden. We need to build our green house so we can get our soil blocks started once our seed arrives. We need to establish an account with a company that provides greenhouse materials.
We need to build our next mobile chicken coop out of our recently purchased hay wagon. We are planning our poultry order even now. We need to build our farm stand out of our other recently purchased hay wagon. That way our farm stand will be mobile and we can load it up with awesome produce and have it open on the weekends at hours that are suitable to us. This spring if we are brave enough we hope to raise some feeder pigs to add to our animals on the farm. We will use the third hay wagon as a mobile water station as we plan to move our pigs through the woodlots where they can be free to root and make wallows to keep cool in. The woodlot will have lots of grubs for them to find and they will also clear up some of the underbrush. We will use electric fencing to keep them in and will move them frequently.
Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays! We've had much to be thankful for in 2016!