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

Riley and Fletcher

Hi everyone and hope you are well!

Just following up with some words and pics on the two pups that remain from Chloe’s litter–Riley and Fletcher.  They’re doing great and have now joined me on the simpler chores of the farm–typically filling water for poultry and sheep.  They still nurse a bit but have shown dramatically less interest in it over the past week.  Chloe still allows them to–which I think is great–but they seem a bit less interested in it each day.

They will be eleven weeks old tomorrow and each weight about 11-12 pounds.  They’re now fully eating adult food (and have been) and get a healthy amendment of eggs, yogurt and pork meat juice with each meal.  They eat well and both are near perfect at running off after eating to a remote corner of their eating area to poop (see above right!).

Riley, who started out as a bit of a shy boy, who later and still to a degree acts like a little mama’s boy–as he takes many cues from Chloe–is starting to come out of that shell and pay a lot of attention to me, always makes sure “I am accounted for” when we come in from the chores or meadow walks and is comfortable roaming out a bit to check things out in open areas and along perimeters.  Plus, he’s coming well to his call.

Fletcher is very similar in his current state.  He’s always been more gregarious than Riley–out of the gate–but listens well, likes to stay with the pack and also takes good cues from Chloe.

The joy I have at this stage is that dogs not standing out and quickly sought from prospective buyers now get tons of individualized attention.  It’s the other end of “pick of the litter.” 🙂  We are working on very simple commands and calls and again they are joining me on almost all simple tasks around the farm.

If you have an interest in meeting them or applying for ownership please shoot me an email (best) at morganicfarmcsa@gmail.com or call the farm at 231-879-3814.

Fletcher will do best on a farm or homestead setting where he gets lots of consistent direction and engagement and should do well with more people, families, other animals.  He’s quick and upbeat.

Riley will do better in a home that’s less busy and with fewer changes to the environment–including personnel.  He’ll benefit from more individualized attention and may not require as much stimulation and engagement as Fletcher.  Even as social as Fletcher is (and he IS), Riley may be more of a companion than a fellow worker–compared to Fletcher.  He is often led by his quiet curiosity.

Thanks and we’ll talk soon!

Stuart

The Rising

Good morning everyone–

A quick but likely verbose note before heading into today’s market.

A teary-eyed (after she left…) and fond farewell yesterday to Keeley (below) as she left for her new home.  Four other pups appear sold (two possibly leaving today and two over the next week) which leaves three looking for homes.  All males.  All awesome.  I have a visitation/purchase slot today at 4pm if you are interested.  I can also share Volhard Puppy Test scores with you if you are interested.  Please contact me via email at morganicfarmcsa@gmail.com.

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Morganic Farm with be closed tomorrow (Sunday) for a day at the coast with my mother and my kids before she heads back to Cleveland on Wednesday.  I am open today though (after 2pm) and will be open on Monday for any and all needs.

I’ve got 40 dz chicken eggs and 2 dz duck eggs today.  I’ve got a whopping two packages of bacon left until my half pig comes in likely later next week.  I encourage folks to explore other parts of the animal.  : D  I’ve got plenty of chops, butts, brats, maple breakfast links, and more.  Not to mention three tenderloins.  I also have at least two pigs that are ready to go to the processor for anyone seeking wholes or halves.

The lamb is winding down until sometime in September but I still have ground chorizo lamb as well as hot Italian.

If anyone is in touch with, knows, or if you are one of the two Amish gentlemen who contacted me a week ago (one of you leaving a return number and one not) please note that I accidentally lost the one number and DO have puppies still available.  Please contact me if you are still interested.

Things brewing at Morganic Farm:

  • I am currently working on logistics and pricing to move all of my livestock over to organic feed.  This would mean all existing animals would be transitionally organic (never fully) while all new livestock would be organic.
  • I am also seeking organic certification for my pasture.  It is in essence and practice but should soon have the certification.
  • I continue to plan for having regular goat milk shares between now and next summer.
  • To be clear: other than my stewing hens and roosters–and soon whole ducks–I do not have any pastured broilers nor turkeys for 2018.  I do plan to have them next summer–both, throughout.

That’s all for now.  Hope to see you later this morning at the Sara Hardy.

In the meantime, I invite you to let this be the song in your head and your heart as you start your day:

See you soon and thank you all for your support of local food!

Stuart

Chloe’s 2018 Pups

Okay–FINALLY–getting to posting these pics that were taken earlier in the week of Chloe’s eight pups.  So sorry–and thank you all for your patience.

The reason there are multiple pics of Riley, Brady and Fletcher is–honestly–they look so similar and their differentiations are in such odd spots that I and others are still kinda training ourselves on who is who.  Riley?  Got ’em.  Brady and Fletcher?  Eh……sure.  Fletcher has that larger marker/zig-zag on his right shoulder and Brady does not.

Angus and Seamus?  Thank you for being so phenotypically unique!  😀

First up: Riley  (AVAILABLE)

 

Next, we have: Keeley (TAKEN)

 

And then: Rogan (TAKEN)

 

And–Brady!  (kinda a cross between Riley and Fletcher…from the front he looks more like Riley–only Riley’s nose-to-back-of-neck marking does not go all the way.  It breaks forming an island on his forehead (see above).  (TAKEN)

 

Here we have: Angus  (TAKEN)

 

This is: Seamus  (TAKEN)

 

Fletcher  (AVAILABLE)

 

Bree  (TAKEN)

I have three confirmed buyers with four circling.  Getting a $100 deposit to me gets you in line for fourth pick and beyond.  If you are interested in a pup please do not hesitate to email me (ideal) or call.  They are technically ready to go to their homes Tuesday.  Bree has already been chosen buy the number one buyer.  Who follows is up in the air.  Most if not all pups will not start leaving the farm until Friday.

Thanks!

Stuart

Morganic Farm post for Week 20

Hey all–FINALLY trying to get caught up on events and news of the farm.

First up–yes, Yuli (the last remaining pup) DID find a wonderful home.

Next up–Chloe is pregnant.  She came into heat late and I considered all of the candidates for a home for Rosie’s pups who did not get one–so I put her in with Jack and have no reason to doubt she is pregnant.  Her due date is June 15.  If you were in communication with me for a pup and did not get one or did not think then was the right time please feel free to follow up with me directly at this time.  If you filled out an application I will be following up with you via email this weekend.

Late birthday celebrations:

Chloe herself turned four on May 15th:

Willa turned two on April 27th:

And last but certainly not least–Jack turned four on March 27th:

I had another lamb (female) born on Monday.  I’d come home from my off-farm job and found them just hanging out in the pasture.  Lamb already well dried off, walking around alertly–and NURSING heartily:

The layer sale continues!  If you or someone you know might be in need or want of some layers I still have likely about 180 layers for sale (and 25 roosters):

I also have six sows (at least four pregnant) and two boars available for live sales.  I also have one whole pig (or two halves) available (processed).  Finn and I took them in to RRR yesterday.  If you are interested in a whole or half hog immediately please email or call me before the end of Sunday.  I still four other pigs available for processing.  Two are at market weight and two will be within about a month.

I still have rabbits for sale.

The ducks have started laying again!  I am getting between one and six eggs per day from them.

I do have very little asparagus.  I may bring what I have thus far to tomorrow’s market.  The garden is in dire need of one of two things (or both)–it continues to need a valiant weeding effort this late spring and/or I will be putting pigs on it later in the summer as a major reset for it.  The quackgrass, nettles and strawberries have become endemic and the raspberries are also on the assault.  I do have several cleared beds and seeds in the ground–but we shall see how things go this summer for the garden. 🙂

I finished another new acre pasture and am onto the second of at least five new ones for this summer–and hope to finish it this weekend.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the Sara Hardy tomorrow.  There is a slight chance or rain or thunderstorms–but mostly later in the morning and around the noon hour.  It will be warm and winds are expected to be light.

Thanks,

Stuart

Radical Simplicity Part Deux: Selling My Pigs

I have decided to sell off all of my Mulefoot/Hereford cross pigs.  This includes pregnant sows, gilts and boars.  The price for pregnant sows is $400.  The price for gilts and boars is $300.  All of the pigs are in the wight range of 175 to 225 pounds.  They have lived outside their entire lives.  Have never been on concrete.  Have eaten at minimum a non-gmo feed, sometimes consisting of corn and soy–sometimes not.  All of these pregnancies are first time and are do within the next 1-2 months max.  There has been zero taint detected in any of my pigs–including and especially my boars.  I have a loading chute that you can bring your trailer right up to and I and you can load the pig(s).  I can deliver pigs for $2 per mile one way minimum $50.

Please feel to call or email with any questions.

Thank you!

Stuart

Radical Simplicity: Laying hens and roosters for sale

As I announced on the farm’s and my FB pages I am selling my flock of laying hens.  I don’t expect this to happen quickly but it will happen.  I have decided to narrow my farm focus on first–my dogs–and second and beyond all animals that I deem a good relationship and responsibility for them.  That would be first and foremost the sheep.  My ewes have begun their annual lambing and I will be getting more sheep soon from a farmer in our region.  I hope to enlarge my flock to at least fifteen (at least) before next winter.  And more beyond.  I also plan to keep raising and increasing my numbers of meat goats.

So back to the birds.  I have approximately 375 chickens (~355 laying hens and ~20 roosters).  I have decided to set the pricing by age of bird:

  • This first group of birds is barely 18 months old.  They are $15 each.  They include:
    • Black Minorcas
    • Anconas
    • Red Stars
    • Pearl White Leghorns
    • Cuckoo Marans
    • Auracanas
    • Black Astrolorps
  • The second group is not quite 24 months is priced at $10 per bird.  This group includes
    • Delawares
  • The third and final group is not quite 36 months and they are priced at $5 per bird.  This group includes
    • Barred Rocks
    • Isa Browns

So how does ordering work?

You review this information and then decide what birds you want and contact me (placing your order).  You can get as many or as few of any kind as you want.  We set a pick up date and you come out to my farm and the birds–WHICH WILL HAVE ALREADY BEEN CAUGHT–will be in a poultry crate or dog crate waiting for you (grabbed the night before while sleeping–THE BEST AND ONLY TIME TO CATCH THEM).  You arrive, we transfer the birds, you pay me, and you go have your flock of birds ideally producing multiple eggs per day/week.

What if the bird does not seem to be laying?

The birds you will be buying from me will be birds identified with fresh, active vents (where the egg comes out).  This is my preferred method for identifying layers from non-layers and I have used this system almost the entire time I have had layers.  So ideally you get my best, most productive birds (that’s the idea–I am selling “layers”) and I will ultimately be left with birds I sell for meat/stewing hens.  (*except for three layers I keep for myself)

If a bird does not seem to be laying can I return it to you?

No.  All sales are final.

What about roosters?

All roosters are $10 each and I have them in almost all of the breeds.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks so much!

Stuart

Puppy introductions

The puppies (four female and two male) will be five weeks old tomorrow and that means they start to get blended puppy food, eggs and thawed livestock organs for the first time along with continuing to nurse.

I tried to get some pics (unassisted) and this proved to be a folly.  They were in nursing mode and the classic “throw a light colored towel on to the sofa and call it a photography studio” simple did not work. 🙂  I will add up-close, impromptu as they come along–likely just holding each on my chest (as you’ll see in one of Chuck’s pics) to get good, calm, focused pics.  But these and my brief descriptions will hopefully start to give you the character of the individuals of this small pack.

This is Jane.  She’s black and white and has a think white stripe that connects the white patch on her head with the white around her shoulders.

This is Ripley.  She is black and white and has no line connecting the white patch on her head with the white on her shoulders.

This is Kate.  She is sable and white and is the sable and white pup that two completely sable ears.  You’ll see that Yuli and Chuck do not.

This is Yuli.  Most of her upper third is white with sable markings on her ears.

This is Marvel.  He is black and white and has this swirl of white that runs from the white patch on his head down to his neck and shoulders and off to his left shoulder.

This is Chuck.  He, like Kate, has some dark sable/black markings on his head but is otherwise sable and white.  He also has a white patch on his left ear.

More pics to come.  Right now they are all sleeping (incl. Rosie) after several waves of intense nursing.

Willa’s ready to do chores and it’s time to move into our evening.

The Volhard puppy tests will be conducted in two weeks with the results shared with perspective owners.

Thanks for reading!

Stuart

 

Christmas trees available

Well, though it is long past the time many folks get their Christmas trees I do have them available.  I cut three Norway and three Blue Spruce trees this weekend and have them available–$10 at the farm and $15 delivered into Traverse City (or nearby/in between).  Probably be great–so as to maximize the vibe of the season–to make arrangements this week.  I’ll cut more if these all sell but it may not be until next Saturday.

The Norways are currently about 8 feet in height (can be trimmed of course) and the Blues are 10 feet (and can also be trimmed prior to sale/delivery).  I wanted to leave plenty of flexibility depending on the height of your space.

Please let me know.

(Oh–and I’ve put cutting them on my calendar for next Thanksgiving… 😉  )

Thanks!

Stuart

How to order a whole or half hog from Morganic Farm (pigs going in Oct 12)

Well…it’s the eve of the last month of the 2017 Sara Hardy Farmers Market.  Just eight more markets for this season.  Eggs are ready to go–just have to package up the last of them and get to bed.

They’re calling for rain tomorrow morning between about 1am and 7am in TC–a little later out here.  Temperatures dropping, too.

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I wanted to let y’all know I am taking four pigs in to be processed a week from this Thursday (October 12th).  2.5 of those 4 pigs are spoken for (1 whole and 3 halves).  If you would like a remaining whole or dip your toe into a half now is an awesome time.  RRR is very busy right now and am not sure when the next group will go in.  I am counting on “before Dec 1” but nothing has been scheduled yet.  I’d like to walk you through the process and the product:

  1. You pay a $100 deposit (counts toward the overall cost of your pig or half)
  2. I then send you a custom cutting form via email for you to fill out, send back, and then me to send on to RRR.  This form will ask you about the cuts you want, whether or not you want bones for stock or your dogs, fat to render, what size packages you want, organs, number of cuts per package, flavor of sausage, bulk vs brats vs links, etc.
  3. Approximately two weeks later RRR contacts me to let me know your order is ready.  We then coordinate a drop off–either at my farm or in TC.  You can also pick up the order yourself at RRR but you must pay first and then I release your order at RRR.

“What do I get for that much live weight?  How much pork are we talkin’ ’bout?”

My pigs typically weigh between 225 and 300 pounds live weight when processed.  To get an idea of what you will receive (called “freezer weight”) you can almost just cut the live weight in half.  So from a 300 pound pig you may get 150 pounds of product.  The standard by is to multiply the live weight by .72, then that number by .72 again (approx. 52%).  If it is a 250 pound pig you may get 125 pounds of product.  Cut those figures in half for an idea about halves.

“Yeah–but HOW MUCH product is that?”

These are the boxes from RRR that your product comes in.  They are roughly 1.3 cubic feet.  However, they are 23 inches long so if you estimated them at two cubic feet you’d guarantee your space once they arrived.  Each box seems to hold approximately 20 pounds of pork.  So on a half hog order you might get 3-4 of these.  On a whole hog order you could get 5 to 9 of these.  It depends on the size of the pig and also what you want back from your pig.

Whole pigs are $2.50 per pound hanging weight (live weight x .72).  Halves are $3.00 per pound hanging weight (live weight/2 x .72).  This means a 250 pound pig will be approx. 180 pounds hanging weight–or $450.  So in the end you would be getting about 125 pounds of product for $450–or about $3.60 per pound.  That includes the processing.  The only thing it does not include is the casings and labor for brats or links.  That costs an additional $2.50 per pound.  So say you get 20 pounds of brats–your order would cost an additional $50.

Are there any questions?