As much as you love to hear about what you are getting, we also love to chronical what we are doing as to both have an electronic journal of events, and to learrn from what we are doing so we can do it even better next year...and forever.
We purchased a hoop house a few weeks ago that will allow us to at the very least extend our growing season by close to a month next year. Also, it will allow us to get ahead of the curve a bit on what produce we are providing, by giving it a jump start while the rest of the soil is still sleeping. It is 24' by 96', and so will allow for quite a bit of additional space for veggies and maybe even fruit trees.
We have also been talking to Stephens father, who lives close to us, about renting some of his land next year. As most of you know, we are currently focusing small, and have 5 members this year. Next year we hope to grow to 15 or 20, and attend farmers markets in our area. This requires space and even more time.
Speaking of time, we have been devoting loads of it to ensuring our members get full boxes of fresh produce each week. Every week Steve and I are spending approximately 10 hours weeding and watering. On packing day (Friday night and Sat early morning) we spend an additional 3 hours picking or cutting, washing, rinsing, bunching, and packing the food for just five shares. So any given week, we are looking at a joint effort of 13 or so hours. This is why next summer our hope is to have the CSA program be our single form of employment, going to 15-20 CSAs will more than triple our work, leaving little time for the other employment we have been so fortunate to have. Additionally, it will mean that while we still intend to have the most affordable CSA out there, our prices will go up after this first "trial" year. We hope that you all understand that our dream is to make this our livelihood, and in order to do that, we have to get paid. While we appreciate those of you that took a chance on us in our first shot at it, the income we generated this year only paid for the seeds and the hoop house, not our labor. We are hoping to attend Seward Co-op CSA fair next spring, and hope to see our current members, along with some new members, there!
Enough of that work stuff. Let's talk chickens! We have almost 50 chickens on Kicking Mule Farm, about half males and half ladies. Our members this year will receive farm fresh free range chicken eggs in their last boxes this season, along with the option to add them weekly next year. Additionally, if our hens are as motherly as we have been told they will be, we will offer an add-on next year of farm fresh chickens as well. Our current breeds are Buff Orpington and Light Brahma birds. Both are known for their brown eggs (all through the winter if you treat them right), gentle demeanor, and ability to be good mamas. In the big market chicken industry, many eggs are incubated by humans and many breeds of birds have lost the will and know how to sit on their eggs until they hatch. We are hoping that ours will thrive, as they have been raised with good food, lots of room to peck at bugs and scratch the ground, and access to the outdoors from about 6am to 9pm. We will keep you posted as the pullets (young hens) get ready to lay their first eggs!
Finally, two new litters of piglets were born this week, with ten piglets in each. Moms and babies are doing great. Bessie the cow is up next, it could be any time!
Our love to you all for your support of Kicking Mule Farm!