Tuesday, September 28, 2010

farmwork

Sometimes it seems that working on the farm is therapeutic.  It relaxes the soul.  I am going to go out today and make my new chicken water system.  We purchased some nipples and I am going to install them into the bottom of five gallon buckets.  They just let a single drop of water hang from the nipple, once the chicken drinks it another one appears.  The nipples never drop water.  I need to get them up so the chickens can learn to use them.  I don't expect them to have any trouble with it.  Heck, they eat snow and drink dew off of the grass. 
I still have not figured out how to upload pictures yet.  Hopefully, this weekend Annmarie can teach me how. 
We have the butcher coming on Saturday or Monday to kill two sheep.  It was going to be three, but the one ewe is pregnant again.  This will be her third pregnancy.  She has not had a single live birth.  This is her last chance for redemption.  With the sheep being able to stay overnight in a locked protected area every night I expect her to come through this time.  It is still warm here so we have not been locking the sheep up at night yet.  The price is right for us.  The butcher charges a flat $100 for kill and cut and wrap for each sheep.  We just got a lamb from our in laws last week (prior commitment before we realized we would be butchering) and the cut meat weighed around 65lb.  The current market price is around $1.25/lb live weight.  We figure our sheep are running around 125lb live weight.  You get about 50% left over as carcass weight after slaughter.  So if we only charge $125/animal buyer, cost for cut and wrapped meat would be around $4.50/lb. If we only charged $100/animal it would be $4/lb.  We will see how it goes next year.  It seems kinda expensive, but I just did a quick price check online and the cheapest place I could find it is around $6.50/lb, with the average around $10/lb.  So we are going to have a lot of lamb to eat. 
 The coyotes were howling just over the ridge last night.  They haven't been that close in a while.  The chickens were already locked up for the night.  I haven't caught anything in my live trap in a while except chickens.  I had to let one out yesterday evening.  They just do not get any smarter.  I am getting more green eggs now.  I still have lots of small eggs.  They are slowly getting bigger, but it is seemingly taking forever.  I am back to selling all my eggs.  I have more customers than eggs.  So I will start doling them out again, especially as production drops off due to Winter. 
My new plan for fortune is to grow wine grapes on our barren back hillside.  I have started reading up on it.  It is very daunting!  Lots of information, especially about climate and soil conditions.  I am going to start researching things hard and getting some expert opinion.  Will see if it is an option.  I would like to see the farm go into production of something that can sustain itself.  I would love to grow hemp, but it is not currently legal nationally.  Oregon actually passed a law this year making it legal on the State level.  Tough crop that can grow anywhere and very useful as a fiber and soil enhancer.  This whole region used to grow it during WW II, so I know it is a viable crop for the region.  Oh well, not yet.