Monday, February 28, 2011

The Hennys and the Pennys

So My Little Sister’s Farm does something a bit different than most farms. Well, we do a lot of things different but one thing we do is raise chicks starting in the winter. We started our Barred Plymouth Rocks and Ameraucana chicks in December. December 1st 100 little ladies were hatched and delivered to us by a local company called OR Peeps. I love chicks! We don’t usually buy chicks, but we had so many older hens, we needed an infusion of new blood. They are now over 3 months old. They are sassy girls too, well 2 are boys but they have quite the 'tude too.

I’m not one for naming individual birds as many hens of the same breed will look like one another their entire lives. But I feel chickens should have a name. After all, they are much smarter than dogs and cats, though don’t hold grudges like my cat tends to. We named all of the turkeys “Frank” last year and that worked well. I decided the Barred Rocks would be called Henrietta and the Ameraucanas would be called Penelope. Yup, we went with Henny and Penny. I guess naming them makes two things we do a little differently. And just in case you’re left wondering, the turkeys will again be named Frank, but the broilers…we’ll have to get to know them first.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Belated Happy New Year

Wow! It has taken me so long to get back to the blog. You'd think a farm would be slow in the winter but some how we manage to be short on time year round. Let me try to catch you up as quickly as I can...

Our chicks are getting super big now. We started chicks in December this year and they should start laying in May, just in time for the farmer's markets. We have decided to continue with the Forest Grove FM but also add the Astoria FM (if our application is accepted in the next few weeks anyway). Oh and the ducks are laying, more than usual for this time of year, the ground hog must be right.

So many changes are taking place this year. First we’re expanding our “product line” to include produce at the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market. We’ve always planted some type of garden in hopes of being able to can and have our own produce year round. The weather in Oregon has been hit or miss for the past few years, and so have my gardening skills. If someone tells you weeding is fun she’s never been chased out of her own garden by a garter snake – they’ll getcha ya know. But with the help of the owners of Astoria Indoor Garden Supply, well composted chicken manure and my library card, I feel well equipped for the adventure 2011 brings.

We’ve ordered 10 bare root Persimmon trees (sticks really, they are quite small to start), and 25 grape vines, I’m so excited but know it will be at least 1.5 years before we get any real crop off of the grapes any maybe 3 years on the trees. Patience is not my best quality. I’m good at growing beans but hey, who isn’t. I’m hoping with some luck and a bit of luck and a bit of sunshine I’ll be able to grow a little of everything from eggplant to Brussels sprouts.

We’re also going to start slowly raising broiler chickens the way we did turkeys this year. We’ll be raising 100 meat chickens this spring and we’ll begin accepting pre-orders in March. Don’t worry, if you’re reading this, you are the first to know and the first opportunity to reserve your chickens will be through the newsletter and blog (a little bribe to keep you reading right?). The broilers will be processed starting in June. More details to come.