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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Summer Plans 2012

I have spent this winter plotting and planning; soul searching and listening (to the voices in my head!).  My conclusions are these:  local, fair and clean food is important to me.  I want to do more than grow my own-I see being a small producer as something of a political and social statement.  A voice if you will, rather than hunkering down and turning inward.  With that as my underlying premise -how do I go forward?  For one, I need to stop thinking like a hobbyist.  This is a business, MY business and while not romantic sunshine green dreamy I want to make a profit growing humane, healthy, real food.  Keep costs down while sticking to my guns about how animals should be raised.  I sold 12 Berkshire hogs last year-this year I currently have orders for 21.  I plan to grow 30.  I am teaming up with an established grass-fed beef grower, who has a great reputation for quality, we will both we working at his (our) farmers market stand every Saturday  (and maybe Tuesdays?), selling his beef, my pork and both of our chickens.
We plan to do 2 runs of Freedom Rangers again-4 pens with 30 birds in each-240 chickens.  I don't really enjoy raising chickens (except when they are chicks) but I DO like to eat them  (i love animals, they're delicious! ha-i need that bumper sticker).  Improved infrastructure of a water line (3/4 inch black water tubing I salvaged last summer) with quick-connect couplers every couple hundred feet means no more hauling water up in the bucket of the tractor.  Again saving the elbows by using the end of the hose instead of a 50 lb tote of water!  I'm smiling right now thinking how nice it will be to walk out to the birds every morning and evening (sometimes at noon too if it's really hot) instead of starting up the tractor!  Great for my body and my brain at a 1/2 mile each trip.  Take that you zombies (for Judy!). 

Pork: no nose rings, no GM feed, free source of BST-free whey from nearby cheese factory (5 miles), free source of spent brewers grains from brewery (25miles-but also where i go for groceries, etc). Planting forage turnips and oats behind hogs in their rooted up ground-they will be rotated back to the forage plot 60 days later. I have plans for an old hay wagon to both provide shade and to have grain and the whey-yogurt stored on top (think old chest freezers-1,000# feed in each!). It might not be pretty (unless we paint flowers on the side!) but it will be more efficient than hauling grain by the 50# bag in my garden cart-and easier on the elbows. The hay wagon is easy to move and a water line to the pig pasture means no more managing 100's of feet of hose-yay!

Last but certainly not least, I have stirred the pot here in Wausau and gotten a group of people together to start a Slow Food Wausau group.  We are not even snails yet- just slugs (ha my joke), but I think this will be a great group of activists for local food.


Ruth Trowbridge said...

Wow!! peace

Hickchick said...

yeah i know

Leah said...

If you're passionate about something you should pursue it. We need more people like you, I wish I wasn't across the country or I'd buy from you myself! Best of luck.

fullfreezer said...

Sounds like you've got some great plans. And, of course, that walk will get you zombie fit in no time, LOL!!