Christmas brought lots of educational materials to the ol' homestead. I received/ordered the following books:
- Four-Season Harvest
- Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques
- Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables
- Chicken Tractor
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
I also have some time off from work to plan my Spring work and to look around for some local farms to support. Since leaving Texas, I have not found "my beef and chicken guy", "my lamb guy", "my eggs guy" or, tragically, "my milk guy". So I have been on the search.
A farm a few towns away sells raw milk and cream, free range eggs, and occasional meats like lamb and beef. They also provide a private farm tour just for the asking! Sign me up! The SO and I headed over yesterday, brimming with cash to buy up all their goodies. I've been jonesin' for a tall glass of real milk. Anyway, the farmer lady spent about 45 minutes with us, giving us a tour of the cows, the chickens, the calves, the steers, just about everything. I peppered her with complete newb questions like: "I see you are milking four different breeds of cows, which do you prefer?" "Which breed of laying hen do you prefer?" "Where do your cows pasture?" "What type of hay? Do you grow your own?" "How soon do you wean you calves?" "Can you make money off of free range eggs?" "Do you love farming?"
She was so gracious with all of her answers and I learned a ton, even though I didn't really know enough to ask good questions. We did talk for a bit about chicken tractors for meat birds, the virtues of a rooster, and why my hens aren't laying. (More on that in a later post). It was great and I was so appreciative. I must have thanked her for her time five times.
I did end up picking up some of her eggs, some milk and cream, and other assorted goodies. I also learned that my 2 horses and 10 chickens do not a farm make. That lady has a farm, with 100 cows and 200 chickens. I have a "farmette" or a hobby. :) Suits me fine, I am just getting started. Oh, and I also learned that I will be outsourcing for milk. I do not need or want a heifer. :)
Now that I have made some connections, it's time to hunker down and read my books and start planning for the spring. I expect the activity on this blog to pick up as I solidify my plans.