New Year’s Reflection: 2022 on the farm
I’m not really much into resolutions. Instead, I like to reflect on the past year, what went right, what went wrong and what can we improve? I spend a lot of time thinking about what we could be doing next, what we could be doing better, all the stuff we need to get fixed and continuing to improve animal husbandry. Sometimes I forget what we have accomplished so far.
This spring we had a dismal calf crop due to a poor preforming bull that we leased. We did not do any pregnancy checks so we didn’t know until the cows didn’t have calves that the bull did not do his job. No babies= no income, with freeloading cows all summer and winter. This fall we leased a different bull and did pregnancy checks. All cows were pregnant except one! We learned a new skill of how to draw blood which put our minds at ease that we will have lots of calves this spring. And due to our diligence with selection of calmer cattle, we had no issues with wild cows when trying to move them into the cattle chute for testing.
Even though we had only a few calves born on our farm this year the kids still had enough to take to fair. All the calves placed well in their classes and the kids received good money to save for college.
We finally got some drainage work done. The downspouts over the back barn were just draining onto the ground leaving large puddles in the front of the barn. A broken tile behind the barn in one of the main paddocks lead to a huge muddy mess that the cows had to get through in order to change pastures. It will be nice to finally be able to move equipment through that area and not having to worry about getting stuck!
We increased our meat chicken production substantially this year, finishing around 900 birds. And we still will barely have enough chicken breast to get through the winter. We increased the amount of turkeys this year also, to around 70 for fresh Thanksgiving turkeys, all sold to local families. We kept 9 turkeys to get a little bigger so we can take them in and have processed for ground turkey.
The garden produced well this year. We still have carrots and beets in the fridge and just finished the potatoes in early December. We still have a few heads of garlic left. Our freezer is full of peppers and onions and the pantry has plenty of tomato sauce, salsa and pickled beets. We purchased local sweet corn and peaches that were frozen and canned.
The bees did not do well this year but we still have enough honey for us and a few jars to sell. Maple syrup was a slow run for us, but again still have enough for our use and family.
We had 4 baby goats and 2 remain on the farm to breed in the future. I was able to milk our Nigerian Dwarf goat so I had milk for soap. I made more soap this year and am finally dialing in a good recipe that I can use for lots of different scents. Hopefully I can get a larger variety of soaps and be able to get them out for sale.
Two of our chickens brooded a few chicks and successfully raised them. Its always fun to see the little chicks running around.
Plans for 2023
1. Get new pastures put up for the goats.
2. Fix a supporting beam on one barn and consider re-roofing the back barn
3. Continuing fixing drainage and tiling around the farm
4. Millions of little projects that we never seem to get too!
2022 Animal count
Multiple barn cats! 3 house cats
40ish layer chickens
16 head of cattle
There is always something going on at the farm, always something that needs fixed, something that needs built and something that needs attention. Everyday we have to try and prioritize what to do next. Most days we fell like we will never catch up and there is never enough money to get what we want accomplished. Hopefully 2023 leads to healthy animals, lots of babies and some finished projects.
Eat local! Your local farmers depend on you!