Uncle

Hey there.

Long time no write.

Yeah…well…been working hard, trying to find some sleep, enjoying the presence of someone new, beautiful and profound in my life, and also just riding the post-solstice, post-peak, post-energy of the summer phase (for me) as I navigate and look toward the fall, winter, next year, and beyond.

The obvious suck is that my birds have entered a hard decline in egg production.  I’m getting about two to three dozen per day–tops.  Many of the eggs for this Saturday have already been sold so am not sure how many dozen I will have up for grabs.  Four?  Six?  Eight?  I’ll know tonight.

The flip side of this is that birds will be going in the freezer and sold as stewing hens.  I will have these at each of the remaining four Sara Hardy Markets, at the farm all winter, and likely at the Sara Hardy next May.  They have been routinely selling out and am so glad folks enjoy and value them.

Does this mean you are getting out of laying hens?

I am not going to be adding to my flock any time soon.  I have long recognized that I spend my farm time (outside of my off-farm FT job) either washing eggs in the egg room in my basement or out working with dogs, livestock, in the garden, etc.  I prefer the latter (if I had to choose one) and really only have time for one or the other with the numbers I currently have.  Plus–I want my winters back.  Also, if Traverse City is not going to come up with a fair, accessible and viable winter farmers’ market then I will adjust my farming model accordingly.

But weren’t your eggs going to go to Oryana for the winter?

Yes.  And the layers I continue to have thru the winter will ideally satisfy them.  But again, it goes back to how I spend the time I have for farming and how I spend my winters.

Ducks and rabbits will be adding to the mix (freezer) here shortly.

Pigs.  I have four adult pigs.  All are game for processing into wholes, halves and market cuts.  I will be calling RRR today to see when I can get another one in my freezer for market cuts (yes–that means more bacon…) which will ideally be next week.  That puts me at one to two markets with bacon, etc.  Although–I still have plenty of other awesome cuts and grinds in the freezer that I bring each week.

Does this mean you are getting out of pigs?

If I got a call or several calls from customers wanting a total of four pigs today then yes, I would be getting out of pigs.  I love raising pigs.  Parts of it are challenging.  Inconsistent sales and people leaning to hard on bacon make it a dubious model to sustain.  Not saying anyone has to eat the tongue or liver–but when you spend six to eight months raising six to twelve animals each part of all of them needs to move.  And, a theme throughout my considerations and actions going forward is “doing few things as best I can and giving myself as few responsibilities in the winter as possible.”

What is your puppy situation currently?

I have two pups available at this very moment.  I have Fletcher (14 week old male) and I have a fixed female return named Pippa (litter name Ripley) (from Rosie’s litter this spring–about 6 months old).  I am working with both on discipline, chores, house-breaking (already there), and more.  If you are interested or know someone who might be please shoot me a message, email or call.  These dogs will be going to a homestead or farm.

I may have two other dogs available soon–but am waiting on more work time and analysis before making a decision about them.

This is also a huge part of why I am about to eliminate several of my enterprises–is to focus on my dogs.  The sheep and possibly the goats shall remain active and expanding enterprises on the farm for the foreseeable future–as is reinvestment in my organic market garden (it perfectly fits the seasonal goal).

I also have about a half dozen major fall home and farm projects that must get completed and the more time I have to work on and analyze these the better.

And then there is this thing called sleep…

Well–off to my other FT job.

Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line, see you at the four remaining Sara Hardy Markets and talk soon.

Stuart