The First Rule of 2016...
The First Rule of 2016...
Is we don't talk about 2016.
Kidding. Well, only a little bit.
I don't know about you guys but I feel like this year put us through the wringer. It has been an incredibly busy, fast-paced, EMOTIONAL year, but here we are. At the end. Wondering where the hell the last 12 months went.
While doing some routine site maintenance, I noticed my last blog post was in April of 2016. Bad, bad Lailand! We've had all sorts of thoughts and adventures and stories this year that I've wanted to share but sometimes, after a long day at my desk, plus taking care of all the animals and the Fisherman, sitting down and writing drops to the very end of my to-do list. And so I've managed to put it off....for eight months. I am the Queen of Procrastination y’all.
Quite a bit has happened over the year and since I don't want to bore everyone cross-eyed, I'll summarize.
Spring 2016: We had our first foray in meat chickens. They grew quickly, were easy to process (especially when you just pay someone at a USDA facility to do it for you) and sold like hot cakes. We'll be considering another batch in the spring of 2017. We are just trying to work out housing and processing logistics.
Our American Guinea Hog boar Reggie arrived and has since made himself at home on the ranch. He has already been bred to three of our six girls, producing one Thanksgiving litter by Petunia, and two more to come in late winter with Marigold and Olive.
Summer 2016: The mad furious dash that it was. We had eggs up to our eyeballs and dozens of amazing customers who were happy to take them off our hands. The chicks we bought in January started producing and at our height, we were gathering 4+ dozen every day. Needless to say, we'll be investing in a large-scale egg washing unit in 2017, since we plan to add at least 100 more laying hens to keep up with demand. Super awesome, especially for my dry and chapped hands.
The Fisherman and I had a chance to take not one but two back-to-back vacations, which will, in all honesty, probably never happen again. It was great to get away from the farm for a few days, and we left everyone in the perfectly capable hands of my best friend and partner-in-crime, Brooke. Thank God for her sweet self.
At the end of August, we added another new face to our farm - Mt. Hope's Rose, our newest registered Hereford breeding sow. Well gilt. She was only 9 weeks old when we brought her home and she spent the first three months living in the yard. Pig shit on my front porch coupled with racing a 125 pound mud-covered wrecking ball to the gate every time I left the house meant she moved up to the pig pasture in November. She is almost 7 months old and we will be introducing her to Reggie in January, expecting her first litter of babies in April.
Fall 2016: Turkeys. The theme of Fall 2016 (besides election nonsense) was turkeys. Stupid bastards. I'm sorry for anyone who likes turkeys, but I can say with complete and total honesty that I do not. I loved Babette, the sweet little hen who was attacked by a raccoon, but she was attacked a second time, this round by her flock mates and she didn't make it. Assholes.
The theme continued with getting them processed. One of them escaped during the loading process, and in my effort to return her to the shipping trailer, I fell off the roof of the chicken coop and dislocated my shoulder. Once again, assholes.
The third and final straw was our normal processer's machinery breaking down less than a week before Thanksgiving. I spent two days frantically searching the internet for a USDA approved poultry processer in Northern California that could managed 30 turkeys less than five days before Thanksgiving. Yeah, right. Finally, I found one. In Oakland. South of the airport. Hilarity ensued when the Fisherman and I tried to deliver the birds to said processor. At one point, I ended up sprinting down the streets of Oakland, with my arm in a sling, chasing two birds who decided their chances at life might have been better on the 580 Freeway than in that trailer. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT FUNNY.
Needless to say, NEVER AGAIN.
Oh, and we hosted our very first joint Thanksgiving between the Fisherman's family and mine. Needless to say, NEVER AGAIN. It was a ton of fun but an insane amount of hard work and I slept for three days afterwards. Next year, I'm thinking we go to Hawaii instead.
We also processed two more hogs in October, which was another great learning experience. We get better each time around.
Winter 2016: Is pretty much over, even though technically the first day of winter was, well, yesterday. We've been on the new ranch for just over a year now, and although we've accomplished quite a bit, we still have a very long way to go. Christmas is in two days and I'm not even close to being ready. Oh well. Life goes on.
We'll be doing quite a bit more in 2017, but shhhh it’s a secret for now! Stayed tuned.
One last thing. Both the Fisherman and I would like to extend a huge, heart-felt THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us this year. We would not be able to do what we do without all of the amazing people in our community who not only humor our endeavor but support us week in and week out. We don't know how to every truly thank you guys.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! We'll see you in 2017!
Lailand & Jeremy