There have been a lot of goings on around here and on the farm. The last year was one of ups and downs, of great triumphs and terrible loss.

2010 saw the farm’s production increase as I’ve become more and more proficient at farming and nursery work. The layer flock was doubled in size, I’ve increased nursery production to at least 40,000 plugs of seedlings per month. Membership in the CSA was 50% higher in 2010 than it was in 2009. The row crop areas were increased, the goat herd increased to 17, primarily dairy goats to feed the bummer lambs I plan to raise in 2011. And I trialed growing at a remote location in Canby.

The terrible losses came from the death of my father Fred in January, and Harold, my companion of 20 years, in September. One or the other would have been hard enough to endure, but both in the same year was almost more than I could handle. I also had to deal with a coccidia outbreak in the goats, resulting in the loss of half of the year’s kid crop and two adult goats.

Yep, 2010 was a rollercoaster of a year, with lots of lessons learned.

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So, on to 2011. A new year, and, hopefully, a much better year.

What do I have planned? Well, in a word, lots!

CSA Program – I’m increasing the membership to 45 shares. Shares are now $10 and $20. I still have eggs available and will increase the layer flock, however I won’t be able to increase it to the point that I’ll be able to provide all members with eggs. Existing members will continue with the numbers of eggs they’ve signed up for, and new members will be able to receive eggs until I’m at capacity for sales. After that new members who want to receive eggs will be placed on a waiting list for that product.

Because I’ve increased the number of shares, I’ve had to discontinue home delivery. Members will need to come out to the farm to pick up their shares, or they may continue to pick up their shares on Sunday at the SE Portland location, which ever is more convenient. Members picking up their shares at the farm will be able to do so on any day of the week they select. Pick up on farm will be flexible, am or pm, and members will be able to reschedule their pickup day/time as they need with just a couple day notice to me. More details are in the New Member Survey.

Nursery production – As noted above, last year I was able to increase the nursery production on the farm to at least 40,000 plugs of seedlings/month. What this means is that for the first time, I’ll have enough seedlings to supply the farm’s row crop production and have plenty to sell. Begining in April, I’ll have vegetable, herb and ornamental plants for sale in 4″ pots, 1 gallon containers, 8 count tray packs and plug trays (50 and 72 count). There will be more details as we get closer to April.

I hope to use nursery sales on the farm to help raise funds for 8 organizations I’ve selected. I have the lofty goal of raising $20,000 this year to support those organizations. 50% of the full price retail sales of nursery plants will go to these organizations, and I’ll be offering a discount on retail nursery sales to people who bring in the receipt from donations they’ve made, either to one of the organizations I’ve selected or one of their choosing. I’ll post further details of this program as April nears as well.

Livestock production – As I mentioned, I’ve increased the goat herd to 17. Most of these are dairy or dairy/meat cross breeds. I did this to provide enough goat milk to feed the bummer lambs I plan to raise this year. The bulk of the goats are due to kid in late February/early March. About the same time as the lambs should be arriving. I’ve got 15 or so gallons of milk in the freezer, but I plan on raising 10 lambs this year, so I’ll go through that milk in fairly short order. Several of the goats who are due to kid have more than enough milk for their kids, so I’ll be able to milk them to feed the lambs.

Several lambs have already been reserved, and I’m taking reservations for the rest. Details on the lamb program will be posted sometime this week. The price on the lambs will be a total of $3.69/pound hanging weight, and the purchaser will be able to set the date of slaughter and choose whether they want to have their lamb slaughtered on farm or at a facility of their choosing.

I should have around 30 goat kids for sale this year. Weaned kids will be available at $75 each at 3 months old, or I can raise them for a total of $4.50/pound hanging weight. Arrangements for goat raising will be the same as for lambs. Details will be forthcoming.

Poultry production – I’ll be offering custom growing of poultry to the CSA members this year, I may also offer custom poultry growing to restaurants, personal chefs and food carts this year as well. I’ll be sourcing poultry and fowl from Lazy 54 Farm in Hubbard. To see what they raise, please visit their website – www.lazy54farm.com . Prices on rearing will vary, but if Lazy 54 sells youngstock, I can raise them for you. For further details please contact me. I’ll be available to rear poultry and fowl starting in April. If you like, you may purchase youngstock from Lazy 54 yourselve and deliver them to the farm for me to rear, or I can pick up the chicks for you – there is a nominal charge if I do this. Please contact me for details.

Online store for the farm and nursery – I’m currently working on an online store for the farm’s CSA program and nursery sales. When it’s up and running, members will be able to select the produce in their share and pay online if they choose. The surveys allow members to customize their shares, but I want members to be able to further customize their shares as I add and remove crops to and from the farm. It may also make it easier for a member to add extra of any item to their share.

Some produce may be available to non CSA members, depending on how many members there are and how much produce the farm’s producing at any one time.

Both CSA members and non members will also be able to order nursery plants through the online store and schedule their plant pickup.

I’ve also aquired a smart phone and you can send me updates to your order either via text or email. The new cell phone number and email address for the cell phone will be included in the farm newsletter that you will receive each week. In the newsletter I’ll be letting everyone know what’s available for the week, goings on at the farm, etc.

Any member who would like to come out and get the ‘cook’s tour’ is welcome, by appointment. Give me a couple day’s advanced notice, and bring your boots, it’s a mud pit out here. The only day not available for tours is Sunday, but any other day of the week is fine. Tours are available any day (except Sunday) from 10:00am to 3:00pm, until the hours get longer.

Updates on this blog – It’s been a while. With everything that’s gone on over the past several months, well OK, the past 6 months, I haven’t kept the blog updated like I should have. Hopefully there won’t be any more great upheavals in my life and I can get back to work on blog posting.

If you’ve visited the blog before, you’ll notice a lot of changes. I decided to go with a new theme, I kind of like the colors and layout of this theme. I’ve always leaned more towards blues, greens, and purples. Hope y’all like it.

Something I’ve added to the blog are the crop, planting and other updates in the menus on the right side of the page. Check back regularly, as the information in these will change frequently, especially as we move through winter and approach spring. January is the ‘slow’ month for planting and seed starting here on the farm, but as you may have noticed there’s still a lot going on.

I’ve been posting a lot at my Face Book page. If you like, you can join FB and send me a friend request (link topside in the right hand menu). Then you’ll be able to see my updates, many of which are related to farming activities, on a daily (more or less) basis. Recently I’ve posted pictures and updates on crop planting in the low tunnels, seed starting, seed ordering, etc. I’ll post on the blog the updates to my FB page, but to be sure to receive updates as I post them, becoming my friend on FB is really the best way.

That’s it for now, more coming later. You can suscribe to the blog’s RSS feed topside too!

Yak at y’all later, and stay warm in this winter weather we’re having!

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