Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;
Farm operations are slow ... as we were not as active on the farm this year, we are slow right now. As not much is happening, we will only be posting every couple of weeks - at least until we get active again.
THE FARM HAS NOT DIED - just going through reorganization. We hope to be more active in the months to come as we start preparations for 2014.
This year has not been good for us. With personal emergencies taking up key time frames in any farms operations, we made a conscious decision to cut our losses in 2013 and backed down from farm operations. We are praying that 2014 will start off right and that we will once again be "farming".
Not only did we neglect the farm this year, but we were also negligent in keeping the property maintained. Our first step for the New Year is to get the property cleaned up and back into shape. This means that, once the leaves drop, we will start cutting brush, dead trees, and clearing rock. We also need to clean up trash that has gathered around the houses and barns, as well as get our roads back into shape. If we can get our schedules stabilized, we hope to have this work well under way by year-end.
We will also be working on cleaning out both barns, getting our tools and equipment properly maintained and/or repaired, and organizing our barns for better efficiency. It is amazing what a year of neglect can do.
We are actually looking forward to getting the farm back up and running. We are always amazed how, even with the hard labor involved, the farm relieves stress.
Our chickens are doing great, though we have lost another one (they seem to disappear on a regular basis), and are now down to a total of 21 chickens and a rooster. Donald went out into the woods this past week but did not find any sign of the missing chickens.
We are still averaging about 20 eggs per day. We have not been able to wholesale any recently as Debbie is starting to bake, and she uses quite a few due to their small size.
When Donald asked Debbie what was going to happen when we have to go back to store bought eggs, there was no hesitation in her answer - get more chickens. I guess we will be in the egg business next year. Ordered, and received 125 egg cartons so that we can legally sell our eggs. Now all we need to do is build a candling box and then we will be able to grade and sell them (we will have to apply to the State of Oklahoma for a permit, but do not feel that there will be any problems with that, as we are 100% organic).
Red, our rooster, has taken over the back yard. He is now a "watch rooster" and does not like anyone trespassing, including us. It makes it fun when we are feeding the chickens and turkeys, chasing turkeys, or trying to get chickens back into their pen. Red attacks out of nowhere when you least expect it. He only flies into you, he has not learned that his bite will hurt yet (and we hope he never does).
The turkeys are still being difficult, but that is not their fault. If you are going to raise turkeys, think about what you want to accomplish. In order to maintain organic, free-range, cage-free, turkeys, you will need a lot of property free of predators. If you do not cage them, you will most likely need to clip their wings. When you clip their wings, they will not be able to get into the trees to roost and will be open prey for predators. We chose not to clip wings and we do not have a fully enclosed pen, so they get out frequently. They have damaged our trucks and generally make a mess of things. In terms of our farming operations, we are calling this the experiment that failed, and have no intention of raising them again until we can safely raise them somewhere away from property they can damage.
All in all, we are still happy with the farm and anxious to start farming again. The break, while unexpected, probably was a good thing. We are better prepared, have a better outlook on what to reasonably expect, and know what pitfalls to be aware of.
It will be "back-to-nature" when we start back up. We will take our time, do what we can, and learn to live within our means.
For now, Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms. Keep checking back for updates.
"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'. For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean".) Mark 7:18-19