Hello there good person. Let’s have a general update on the goings-on here at the Back Of The Line Farm. Come with me, dive right in:
1) The chickens. The chickens may be our greatest success. Birds are gross. Have you ever met a creature that has such disregard for where it poops, and that has an attention span that facilitates transition from dedicated guardian parent to clueless lost dinosaur in just a few seconds? All you have to do is reach under their butts and grab their eggs. It’s kind of amazing this species could ever survive in the wild. Anyhooo, it turns out we’re having grand success at producing eggs, and we’re currently collecting between 60 and 80 per day.
We realized early on that as altruistic farmers we would have to choose between our ethical grand utopian views for the world, and a concept called “making enough money to live.” For better or worse, at each fork in the proverbial road we have thus far selected the former grand vision. This includes our chickens, where we continue to feed them corn-free, soy-free, non-GMO feed and we continue to keep them out to pasture each day, so they can scratch and cluck like happy chickens in the field. Feed this expensive necessitates that we price our eggs at fifty cents each which is basically a break even cost on the feed, and ignores the time our farmers spend lovingly stroking the birds each day and reading them limericks.
2) Dat puppers. Poor doggo pulled something in her shoulder, was on forced rest for a month, only sort of got better, was still limping, them somehow tore her leg open in the forest and had to get emergency stitches and is back on rest now. Pray to the puppers deity for the dearest doogan pup.
3) Sheep and goats! They are doing quite well. We separated out three male lambs that will be sent to sheep camp in December and transferred to buyer’s chest freezers, and kept one male breeder and five female breeders to prepare next year’s stock. This means we could have up to 10 lambs for sale next year, if all the stars align. We’re also working on breeding our two goats, in the hope that they will keep eating poison ivy.
4) Bees.. Bees are hard. We had 11 active hives at the end of 2017 when a multi-day battle with ground wasps killed all of them. We started over with three colonies this year, and unfortunately two of them didn’t make it through the season. It’s not clear why they failed, it appears disease or parasites. So we have only a single remaining hive, and unfortunately it is not strong enough to harvest honey from this fall.
5) Sawmill. This is going well too. We installed the sawmill in July and have since cut over 4,000 bd-ft in a mixture of pine, oak, maple, birch, ash, and cedar. We’ve sold about 1,000 bd-ft so far and used a bunch more for animal shelter projects around the farm. There’s something intensely satisfying about taking trees down on your land and turning them into useful lumber. It’s like building something amazing and destroying something beautiful, all at the same time.
In addition to the state-funded fencing grant we wrote about before, the good people of Connecticut have decided to invest further in the BOTL Farm infrastructure and we have been awarded a second grant for animal paddocking and road construction. The internal roads will be used to support cement trucks to pour concrete footings for our barn. We are very much looking forward to our future barn, as it will reduce the amount of feed and equipment storage that we currently have in our garage, and in the contractor’s trailer we purchased and parked in the lower field. Have you ever tried to dig through a contractors trailer to find the right bag of minerals to feed to your sheep? It’s not a good life for a farmer, nor for a trailer. The trailer wants to be on a job site, cooking Hot Pockets in the generator-powered microwave and hosting skyscraper blueprints. The farmers want a barn. These things too, we wish shall come to pass. Other dark specters loom over the fate of BOTL Farm, but alas, let us not dwell on why the barn construction is financially delayed, and let that battle rage on silently in the background much as Godzilla fought Mothra and Optimus Prime in Pacific Rim 3. Instead, let us look with optimistic fervor on that which we can positively influence in the world. Like delicious eggs, and thinking to yourself “how can I eat eggs for every meal today?”
And animal paddocking, our next great adventure! Currently animal moves still involve manually setting up and tearing down electro-net for each fence line. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine it’s 5°C (42 deg F), raining lightly, and in your hands you have a hundred pounds of electric and nylon fencing and you’re trying to drag it through a pasture of pricker bushes and poison ivy to set it up again in a straight line, while being berated by the bleating of animals that don’t understand why they can’t eat the new grass already. Also this has to be done every day. We’re looking forward to proper animal paddocking to help stream-line this effort.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, believers in the BOTL !
Last Updated on 2023-01-03