Week 46: Firewood, chicks, winter planning

This past weekend we resumed our efforts at gathering as much firewood as we could for the coming winter (wood heat is our primary heat source).  We’d been historically diligent at this until about two years ago when we got behind and have treaded water since.  This spring however we built–with the expertise and drive our my visiting in-laws–a 10 x 20 wood shed.  This should hold 12.5 full cords of wood–more than enough for one winter’s use here (esp. at this rate–where we have had only two fires thus far this fall–but it is always good to be ahead/prepared).  There was a tree that we have still yet to confirm its species–that died shortly after we moved onto the property (2009)–that I’d finally completed the felling and bucking off last winter, and now has been split and put in the basement wood room (now brimming) and rest going to the wood shed.  We then moved on to and knocked out a beech tree brought down two years ago due to crowding.  A massive oak, thinned for the same reason, was brought down two years ago, bucked, and will now be split and stored this coming weekend.  We’re allocating three weekends to get as much wood stored as possible so we can then switch over to winter chore mode, down and buck trees for next winter and beyond, and continue pasture work until the snow sticks.  A book that I have found very useful in guiding me through my woodlot management has been The Backyard Lumberjack by Frank and Stephen Philbrick.

The Leghorn, Black Minorca, Ancona and Red Star chicks continue to thrive in their brooders in the barn.  With the warm days and some warmer nights we have been able to eliminate some heat lamps and also turn them off some days.  These birds, along with the Black Astralorp, Araucana and Cuckoo Marans (and the Delawares, Black Astralorps and Araucanas from last year) will ultimately replace our aging flock of layers.  Folks have been asking about the volume and availability of our eggs.  They are producing.  The new Black Astralorps have begun their production but many of their eggs are still small yet.  The new Araucanas should start producing in January–which is great because that is typically when all the birds reverse their seasonal decline and the eggs are plentiful again.  Now until mid-January will be the lowest phase of production.

The new White Star ducks joined the larger flock this past weekend.  So far it has been thoroughly peaceful among the ducks.  They were five weeks old and already had much of their adult plumage in so I felt they could handle it all.  Some of them even ventured outside yesterday for the first time and needed some guidance figuring out how to get back into the barn at dark.  Our ducks spend their nights in a duck coop to keep them warm and safe from predators.

Rabbits are available again.  We currently have about five available and should continued to have accessible levels throughout the inter and into spring.

About a month ago we started experiencing power outages at our farm.  With the help of an electrician we discovered that we are now blowing past our amp availability for the farm.  We did add a chest freezer this summer and have run heat lamps longer than we have historically (typically having our chick brooding done by July/August).  So we have the power going out and workers coming out this Thursday for a few hours to double our amperage from 100 to 200.  This should lead to increases in duck and quail eggs–both suffering from the lack of light in the barn in early mornings.

Product availability otherwise: turkeys, whole chickens, chicken eggs, duck eggs, pork cuts of all kinds (chops, roasts, butts, bacon, loin, tenderloin, hocks, organs, sausage, brats, steaks, lard, leaf lard, ribs), rabbit, and rendered lard.

Finally, winter is an intensified time fr planning here at Morganic Farm.  I farm largely because I love working outside and I love providing quality products and service to people.  Farming is the perfect combination of play and service for me.  🙂  I am not particularly driven to raise any particular things–though obviously show a predisposition toward the pastured proteins.  😉  That being said, if there are any items you would like to see us raise now and/or this coming year or beyond please do not hesitate to let us know.  And by “like to see us raise” this implies that you will be buying X amount of it from us.  🙂  It must sell if we are going to do it–but the point here is that we are here to serve you.  We are your farmers.  Please do not hesitate to give us feedback or to steer us as you see fit.  We’re in this for you (okay–and somewhat for our selfish outdoor-loving selves too…).  🙂

Have a great week everyone and please place your online orders here.

Thanks!

Stuart