Every time the year turns over I have this strange excitement for new things to come. Last year it was just about a disaster – and we thought the year before had been bad. Now I’m scared to say anything one way or the other! In September 2019 I already had a word for the year – Resiliency. I can’t come up with a word for 2020, but I’m hoping 2021 will be one of Determination.
For us, 2020 about went down the drain, for more than the hot topic of the year. I will say we learned a lot – life’s curveballs being at the top. I (Jen) learned so much more about how to prepare the garden for the farmer’s market, how to be efficient at my work (and I’m a chronic efficiency person). And, strangely enough, I made some inner goals for 2021 I’ve been too scared to share for fear of failure. I say “strangely” because I usually don’t make goals – predominately because I never seem to reach them and don’t want the disappointment when I don’t accomplish them! I’ve basically come to the conclusion that I have high aspirations but low expectations!
So what are we looking forward to in 2021?
The continued growth of the farm! I didn’t think I had the patience to wait for the natural growth of the farm. I actually started this blog because I was hoping to write about farming, how much we love being farm kids, and selling crafts. Boy how that has changed! (Still not making any cash off the blog!). But this year of super hard work has shown me that there IS growth! It is so encouraging to look back and see where we were a year ago and how things have evolved!
After I started the website my dad got chickens. I had always wanted chickens, but was told “no”. But Dad, being “retired,” decided he wanted fresh eggs (and I think something to take care of, even in the dead of winter). Then that “thing” hit in March of 2020 and we couldn’t keep eggs in the fridge. We were literally going out to the coop to fill the cartons for people. I had wanted to get egg layers of our own and now was the prime opportunity. Long story short, we were able to grow into selling at the local Farmer’s Market, partnering with a local business to sell eggs, and still managing to sell eggs through the winter.
One quiet goal I had for 2021 was to expand the egg laying flock yet again. Dad’s chickens would be about two years old and past prime laying age. Over New Years we were able to find a very nice family to take them for their egg consumption and not butcher! It was a very hard thing to do but we are so glad we found this family! With that hurdle accomplished, we’re shifting my crazy girls to Dad’s place and bringing in a slightly larger amount of pullets to our farm. I can’t believe we’re actually accomplishing this!
Another goal for 2021 is the garden – and this has yet to happen. I would like to be better about succession planting for the farmer’s market. I learned a lot about what customers are looking for in the season, what other vendors provide, and places where I may be able to help offer the consumer during those gaps. Will my product be good enough? Debatable. But we’ll see. This also means I might need a bigger garden … (Shhh! Don’t tell Colton!!)
Last year with the “Stay at Home” I was able to focus so much time and energy on the farm it helped me get a jump on the season, plus offer a Spring Plant Sale. Now with being back to work full time it will be more difficult to get everything done; however, I still have a plant sale goal for May – of course, more details to come since it’s still too cold and snowy out! (But if you have requests for plants or dates please let me know!).
And finally – the super-duper quiet goal I have for 2021. Meat chickens. I can’t believe I’m even voicing this! Not only will I have less time, I am creating more work! My goal is to start with a round of 30 and offer fresh or frozen whole chickens a few times this summer/fall. Since I’m trying to limit the confusion, the first batch will more than likely be whole unless I get a bunch of presales. (FYI – chicks have not been ordered yet, so there’s still time to change my mind! Or add more chicks …). Price will be per pound and still TBD. These will be locally and ethically raised chickens! I would love some feedback on this idea – what do you think? Is this a good thing to offer our community?? Would you be interested in a farm fresh, locally grown chicken?
We have so many repairs yet to do from the Derecho storm in August, so maybe I’m reaching too high on our goals, but I don’t want to lose the momentum we built in 2020! Winter is a great time to rest and rejuvenate; however, it’s given me more time to brainstorm, which is dangerous!
We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying the quiet of winter! To end today I thought I’d take some photos from around the farm so you can enjoy some of the scenery we are blessed to see out our windows!