Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

It’s the end of another year.

I realize I am not alone in my mixed feelings of nostalgia and anticipation when faced with the knowledge that 2011 is ending and 2012 is about to begin. My feelings have been intensified by the fact that part of today was devoted to our review of the past growing season and our planning of the next.

Overall, 2011 has been a good year. Most of our crops did well, the family is happy and healthy,

and we are still enjoying farming our little plot of earth. Those things count for success…no matter what else may have occurred.

The cycle of life on the farm continues ad infinitum. The predictability of farming is somewhat monotonous, but also incredibly comforting. The planning that we did today will enable us to grow the crops that we enjoy eating and selling. The successes and failures of the past year grant us understanding for the upcoming years.

In 2011, we had the best lambchop crop so far. We’ve got some beautiful cuts of meat in the freezer that should satisfy sales until the 2012 lambs are ready to process.
That in and of itself marks some sort of progress. There is a definitely a learning curve to growing and selling any type of product; I think we finally figured out the lamb thing.

This was the first “normal” year that it’s just been the Boss and me workin’ the farm. …and you know what? We did a good job. A real good job! Sometimes I think we forget that it’s really okay to be more than a little impressed with ourselves. We make a real good team! (and…YES, I know my grammar is abysmal in this paragraph)

Our onion crop was amazing!
After a complete failure last year, it was most gratifying to see all those beautiful onions drying in the sun back in July. It is even more gratifying to know that they are safely chilling in the reefer and can be offered for sale all winter!

We finally figured out the problem with the laying hens last winter. The Boss built a new henhouse with metal nestboxes (no places for nasty mites to hide) and an automatic door! (no more going out in the cold and dark of night!)

We got the reefer up the hill safely and have it up and running. This enables us to grow more, store more and ultimately SELL MORE!

We processed (and SOLD) 5 times the number of broilers than we have ever processed before. While I love chicken in all its various presentations, this fact truly boggles my mind. …and…we are NOT going to increase our numbers.

We’ve been able to offer bagged lettuce…and other greens…every single week. This has been a challenge, and there is room for improvement, but it was a success nonetheless!

I was able to meet a personal goal of blogging on a “regular” basis. I truly hope that this grants some insight and appreciation to any readers. Farming is a great adventure…thanks for sharing it with me!

October 29, 2011 was the first Market day that measurable SNOW threatened Market traffic. When it was all said and done, those 4 inches of the white stuff really didn’t impact the Market as negatively as we had feared. We have yet another reason to be thankful.

The failures were kept to a minimum this year. For this we are truly grateful!

In order to note the failures, I must state that ALL the winter squash died prior to any production. This was a complete failure and utter bummer. But, it granted some amusement to another Market vendor when I had to buy from him! (Can I count that as a success? Haha) Some of the winter lettuce bolted (went to seed) because of the warm fall weather. That problem was solved by planting more lettuce of another variety. The losses were definitely outweighed by our successes.

When we look back over the successes (and failures), we know what areas need attention in the coming year. We can adjust and carry on. We are thankful for what we have learned and the challenges that have strengthened us. We are especially thankful for our customer-friends who make this thing work!

Looking back, 2011 was a good year. It definitely goes in the “success” column.

Now, it’s time to LOOK FORWARD!

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