Monday, December 26, 2016

Winter Updates; Peanut's Growing and Greenhouse Dreams

Resting, crop closure and throat repair completed.
It's been just about 6 weeks since Nut was found injured. She is doing great. I had no idea if our intervention would lead to the chance of Nut eventually leading a normal life or not, but I feel like she is past the point of concern. If it were not winter, she would be reintegrated into the flock right now. As it is, she and her siblings will spend the winter in my studio. As cute as she is and as happy as I am that she is alive and thriving, this is not a perfect solution. Chickens in the house are never high on my want list. So, I am adding moving the chickens outside to my list of reasons to look forward to spring. :)

Walnut, Chestnut and our little Peanut. :) 
We brought Nut's two siblings inside to keep her company for a couple reasons. The first and most important to us is that as flock animals, raising a chick as a singleton is not a good idea. Nut will need to develop social skills to find her place within the flock. She needs chicken companions to learn those skills. Secondly, we find it is always easier to add an established group to our flock rather than a single bird. Singletons tend to get bullied. Lastly, it was easier to let Momma hen return to her friends in the flock instead of wintering over in a make-shift separate, safe pen. And so it is that we have three 6 week old chicks in my studio for the next 12 weeks.

It makes studio time a little more distracting, but that is not altogether a terrible thing. It is good to look up from time to time and take a break.

Framed and the temporary back wall of greenhouse plastic up.

Plastic up. Needs strapping and trim, but WOW!
Work tends to slow a bit in the winter, but it does not stop. Work never stops on a homestead. When there is not building, planting, or creating, there is planning. One of our most pressing jobs is the building of our greenhouse. This is a game changer for us. The hope of food nearly year-round and the ability to get a solid jump on planting before May or June is huge for our family. Just, HUGE. We framed out the metal supports for our greenhouse in October. Our friend, Cheri, visited and gifted us with the lumber we needed to complete building its sides. Our friend, Jenny, gifted us with greenhouse plastic. And, slowly over the last couple months, Sean built the frame. My Dad found us a 30,000 BTU and another 12,000 BTU Monitor kerosene heater. Things were falling into place. Sean and I worked together to get the plastic into place and secured it by wrapping it under the wooded side supports. Between the weight of the greenhouse itself and the cement blocks we purchased, we hoped it would be enough until we could strap over the top of the plastic to secure it permanently.

Through the GUSTING WIND.
With Sean and I holding onto the plastic, it took all our strength to
keep the greenhouse intact. 
Sean removing the last of the plastic- for now.
And, then the temperature dropped to -10* and the winds picked up to 40 MPH. Sean and I tried to secure the plastic better for a little while and then, gave in to the Wind's mighty strength and removed the plastic before it was damaged and rendered completely useless. Thus ended the dream of a winter garden space for this year. The wind may have icy fingers with which to win the first round, but we have opposable thumbs and the brains Jehovah gave us. We'll tackle this again in the Spring. For now, everything is safely stored to weather the winter storms that may come.

This morning, Sean was home from working any construction jobs and we spent some time sketching out and planning on the goat fencing expansion for Spring, including new field shelters and hay manger systems. It is exciting to look forward to warm weather and proper work days here.

Before then, we have a lot to do. Included in that list is the clearing out and organizing of the 2nd story of the barn and moving Sean's heavy table saw and band saw from our extra doe stall to the upstairs. Kidding time is fast approaching. Thanks to Asher's ability to foil our every attempt at keeping him OUT of the doe pasture, we will need all the stalls we have available. (Bad, BAD Goat!) In a renewed effort to have some say over his breeding schedule, we have devised yet another idea of keeping him contained. That, too, is on the list. Plus, we are ready to move to selling our farm wares almost exclusively wholesale. That means I need to increase our inventory from it's current $7,000 mark to $30,000 before April. Read that: Sonja now lives in her studio. She will see you in the Spring. :) This move is truly exciting and absolutely terrifying all in one. That is a lot of time and resources to invest in our homestead wares. And, we are a year ahead of our initial projections, but all things considered we really believe that this is what is going to be best for our faith, family, and farm.

For those of you who are interested, you can find our Lally Broch Farm Goat Milk Soaps, Bees' Wax Wraps, Eggshell Jewelry, and Organic Soy Scent Tarts at The Local Variety in Bucksport, ME, Silkweeds in Searsport, ME, and the Marsh River Cooperative in Brooks, ME. You can find our Jewelry and Scent Tarts at The Not So Empty Nest in Brewer, ME. The Maine Gathering in Camden, ME sells our Jewelry. The Bath Cottage in Cocoa Beach, FL stocks our Goat Milk Soaps and Jewelry. You can find all of our items online at our Etsy Shop, too. We are hoping to add 12 additional New England shops by Spring.

It is time to get back to working in the studio. Thanks for stopping by to visit with us, Friends.

Sean and Sonja ♥

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