Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-01-2010
The point of this series is to let you get some level of familiarity with the people who have made the FarmerSam experience a pleasurable reality. I begin this series with Dave because I cannot imagine how I would have pulled this first year off if Dave had not been on board.
Life is a triage. That is one of Dave’s favorite sayings. Well, I guess I don’t know if it is or not, but I’ve heard him say it several times, and it has stuck with me. Triage is the part of the medical process where the cases are sorted according to urgency or survival odds, with the most urgent or promising cases being dealt with first. It implies chaos and, to me, conjures up a battle-field setting. Dave is very busy, and has a lot of important relationships that require his attention, but from my very first day here at the church, it has been clear that our family ranks high on whatever evaluative tool he has to determine where to invest his time. I have often felt guilty for all that Dave does for me…but I know that’s not what he would want.
Dave is a master carpenter (at least that’s what I think of him as…you should see the kitchen cabinets he made for the parsonage). As such, he is highly skilled with his hands and with the tools & supplies of his trade, and is generous with the use of all of them. He made my killing cones, dropped off several piles of wood and fasteners, has been attempting to innovate a new tool for pulling my pens around, has spent serious hours keeping his tractors (and their various implements) in working order, taught me to use the bush hog, has talked through numerous design issues I’ve had, helped me solve my “I have my hens, but no hen house, and it’s getting cold” problem, and figured out how to use the tractor to dig the ditch for the electric cable which will power palace. Dave has saved me so much time and money, it really is incalculable (by my means at least). More importantly, Dave has supported me. He has taken me and my endeavor seriously, and has spent a lot of himself on me. He’s an amazing example of selflessness, and FarmerSam would definitely not be where he is without him.
Life is a triage, and more often than not, Dave is the medic.
Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 22-01-2010
Today I found a record dozen eggs in the palace. It is definitely taking longer for them to hit their stride than I thought it would (ie. this is a learning process). Even so, we should soon start averaging a dozen per day, which means the selling can commence!
Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-01-2010
Today I collected eight eggs, bringing my grand total to 30 so far. Each day more and more hens are reaching maturity, meaning that we are now outstripping our family’s ability to consume them. I am going to be e-mailing those who have requested eggs in the order they have contacted me. If you want eggs, but haven’t reserved your share, now’s the time.
Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-01-2010
I’m the sort of person who always assumes the best, but is painfully aware of the possibility of the worst. For the last couple months I’ve had this niggling voice saying things like, “Your hens probably won’t lay any eggs.” Once the eggs starting coming it changed to, “They probably won’t use the nesting boxes.” I know, it’s a stupid voice, but it’s mine. Anyway, I am glad to let you know that every egg that my lovely hens have brought into the world since the boxes went up has been laid in said boxes. Today I had three more, two of which (a brown and a blue) were together in the same bay (#2). It’s nice to see them sharing so nicely.
Posted by Farmer Sam | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-01-2010
This Sunday evening, one week ahead of schedule, I found three eggs lying on the palace floor. There they were, one blue and two brown, in danger every minute from the sharp talons of the swarming chickens. (Do the chickens have sharp talons? Let’s play name that movie.) I picked them up, and yes, two were already cracked. As nice as the chicken palace is, its floor is no place to lay eggs. I built nesting boxes before Christmas, but had not yet installed them. From what I’ve read, the hens would not show due reverence for the boxes until they started laying eggs, and would likely have thought of them as convenient little bathrooms. Anyway, the coming of the eggs meant it was time to get the boxes in, so yesterday afternoon I hung a vast bank of nesting boxes along one wall of the palace. Tonight I found the first nesting-box egg in bay 15. Tomorrow I plan to get lights in the palace to encourage the hens to lay more frequently (like more than one a day per 75 chickens, please… after the unexpected bounty of that first day, production has dropped to one egg a day). Assuming that the exciting new lights and boxes will work their magic, I should have eggs to sell within two or three weeks.
As to the eggs themselves, they are small, as are all eggs from newly laying chickens, but will increase in size as the chickens grow older. They have very hard shells and wonderful dark yellow yolks. I am now feeding the hens an organic ration, but legally cannot call them organic eggs. My plan is to charge $4 per dozen. This is less than the average going price for store-bought organic eggs, which, while much better than non-organic eggs, pale in comparison to these.