Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update after our first full season on the farm

Well, it's been awhile- almost a year and so much has changed it's not even funny. We are winding down our first full year on the farm; one that has been full of learning and growing (sometimes painfully!)

Here's some counts to put things in perspective:

# of chicken housing units built - 9
# of pastured, organic eggs collected - 9102
# of unsaleable, slightly dirty eggs of unknown age found in grass nests - 128
# of laying hens currently employed - 150
# of broilers pastured and harvested for meat - 307
# of chickens killed by our 'bird' dog - 4
# of raspberry canes planted - 3000
# of heirloom apple trees planted - 60
# of 'interesting' garlic vareties overwintered - 12
# of miles walked between the barn and chicken coops in the pasture - 986
# of barn cats added to the mix - 1
# of evenings that someone had to go out and shut in the chickens - 365
# of mornings that someone had to go out and let out the chickens - 365
# of egg cartons donated to us by generous people - 639
# of kilowatt-hours generated with solar panels in the field - 1162
# of square feet of grass mowed (tractor, mower or scythe) - 125,000
# of feet of installed irrigation pipe in trenches - 900
# of gallons of chicken offal (guts) composted - 57
# of times we wished we were working in an office - 0

Well, after the end of our chicken harvesting season (2 more weeks) we will assess our first year in business and our plans for next year. Soon thereafter we'll update the blog with our 2009 plans.
Susan, Ken & Margaret
Rogue Valley Brambles

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chickens come first

As some of you may know, on June 18 of this year we picked up a chirping cardboard box from the post office. Inside were 26 tiny chickens. Over the summer they increased in size and decreased in numbers (one of the dogs and chickens are NOT compatible). So, we now have 23 chickens: 2 roosters and 21 hens of various breeds. The breeds, all rare, are White-crested Black Polish, Partridge Cochin, Golden-laced Wyandotte, and Ameraucana.

This is Madison, one of the Ameraucana hens.
The chickens provide constant enjoyment for Susan, and a steady source of work for Ken. Chicken housing construction has taken up most of our brain cells these past 5 months. In addition to all the chickens were giving us, on the afternoon of November 5th, we were jubilant to find a small blue egg in the hay. Imagine our delight. Our first egg! The Ameraucana breed lays light blue or light green eggs, while the Cochins and Wyandottes lay brown eggs and the Polish lay white eggs. Since that first fateful day, we have collected one blue egg per day, so we know that the Ameraucanas are the only ones laying so far.

So, here we are, showing off the first 3 eggs. And, now we know the answer to the age-old question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Susan, Ken and Margaret

Monday, August 13, 2007

RVB baby!

Welcome! Man, it is GOOD to be blogging again! After continued harassment by a few select, vocal individuals, we made the onerous decision to recommence blogging. It's almost as big as Britney Spears' comeback will be. Anyway, we've decided to chronicle our new endeavor up here in Oregon. We are now "agricultural engineers", with all the glories that accompany such a title. We actually arrived up here a few months ago, and have had our hands dirty ever since. But, in order to satisfy our blogging fans (YES, they exist!), we will provide some photos and comments about our trials and tribulations as we go. The farm is a work in progress, and so are we. The plan is to carry out everything we do in a sustainable manner, working with the natural environment. And yes, we are learning a lot as we go. Here is a beautiful sunset at our workplace (how awesome is that!)

Well, until next time...
Susan and Ken and Margaret