This fall has been a good one for the homestead. Let me show you what’s been happening.
The rain came and pastures grew back very quickly. Within days of we resumed rotational grazing for the goats and the cattle. In the middle of such a day, a little goat doe who was big time ready for her man broke into the boys pen. She spent several hours under the conflict-affection of the bucks. Once she was bred we went ahead and bred the other 10 ladies, looking at a February birth next year and hoping for 14 or 15.
We also completed some transactions, selling 3 of the boys into the meat market to some repeat customers from last fall, courtesy of their strong family network and a traditional religious festival. We agreed in the spring to hold the boys for them and it worked out well for everyone. They also picked up some chickens, a pleasant surprise for us. We will plan to manage our birds for selling more next year.
We built a new chicken tractor to consolidate all the birds into one place. This has a larger footprint with vastly more wing space to flutter and roosting footprint to sleep. It is light enough for one person to comfortably maneuver every day. It solved the feather plucking antagonisms from the older hens and gave the young hens a first taste of what flapping into a laying box is like. Which is good, because they are laying almost a month ahead of expectations. 6 eggs a day is our find sometimes.
We also executed our first beef sales and deliveries. This was exciting for us as it is the first beef we have done nearly start to finish, and we were delighted to find more customers then we had beef to sell.
We loaded up and dropped them off at a local family run butcher. They run a clean shop. We brought more flies on the cows then existed in the entire shop. We left our cut instructions and a phone number and then updated our customers, 3-4 weeks to deliver. Next step was collecting coolers to make deliveries in. And waiting.
Pick up day arrived. Load up that trailer! Pack up the kids! Coordinate delivery times! Pick up the beef! Ready, set, go!
Red light! These boxes are not sorted into quarters like we agreed. Oh my. Some of these cuts are completely wrong. Oh, but this one is right… We’re going to have to sort this all out. Back home everybody, we have work to do.
Start four hours of sorting, weighing, recording, and finding customers happy with different cuts. Then get the beef back into coolers and get to the deliveries. We learned a lot, among them how to better load the trailer.
Every one of our customers was extremely accommodating to our delivery windows. Some met us midway when it made sense. We only had one counting error and we are blessed the customer was satisfied with that error.
We left the farm grumpy and frustrated with unplanned disruptions. We left each of our customer homes with smiles on everyone’s faces. This is business at its best. The finest product made in a sustainable way and delivered face to face with customers eager and cheerful.
After seven hours we came home exhausted but very much alive, praising a good God who let us learn new skills to be a blessing to families and his creation. Did we get rich in cash? No. Did we find this all deeply enriching to the soul? Without a doubt.
Now seriously, you gotta try some of this beef. It’s very good.