Tis the Season...
Last winter, I decided to get a head start on making Christmas gifts for 2021. I made hats using a loom. I don't know how to knit but I watched a YouTube video to learn how to use an e-wrap stitch to make the hats. It was simple to do and a great way to spend the evenings by the fire in the winter. I am trying to teach myself a more sophisticated stitch this winter but it is not going so well and I am losing motivation.
Small Reflection of the Past Year for ReMARKable Eggs
In regards to Mark's egg business, I just wanted to make a couple of notes. Last summer, we switched from cardboard egg cartons to plastic cartons. They are not recyclable at our local facility so that is a bad thing BUT we can reuse them multiple times. When we were using the cardboard cartons, we would have to recycle 3 or 4 every week because they would just break down over time. Since we have started using the plastic cartons, I think that we have only had to throw out one carton in 6 months of use! The plastic cartons are also great because they don't fall apart if they get wet. This just makes the plastic cartons SO much more economical. Also, it is super fun to open the fridge and "see" all the eggs!
We are working hard to decrease business expenses so that profits are bountiful. On that note, we are looking forward to 2022 and really getting Mark's egg business to a brand new level!
2022...the year of the egg!
Along with the current chickens, there is now a total of about 162 chickens (I think there are 85 of the older chickens...it is challenging to count the older girls...about half of the older chickens are 2 years old and the other half are 1 year old). The older chickens in the barn will be moving into the west side of the chicken coop in spring 2022...probably around March or April. I may be able to get a better count when they are moved. Once the chicks start laying, this will double the egg production for 2022!
There are about 48 ducks and we will use the 4 khaki campbell ducks and the drake (Dudley) to raise some ducklings to add to the duck flock in the spring. The ducks have been laying well this winter and we seem to have plenty of duck eggs to sell so we don't need a lot more ducks. We will process the drakes and possibly have some duck meat to sell which is a new venture...
Once the chicks are full grown, in a couple months, and they start eating "regular" chicken feed (they are eating chick starter now), we will be able to source a "big" bag of feed. This should help with decrease business expenses more! Currently, we buy 40 pound bags of feed but once everyone is eating the same feed, we can buy a huge 1000 pound bag of feed. This is where economies of scale fits in to make the egg business more sustainable. Buying in bulk really helps the bottom line. So eggcited that we are finally at a level to make this happen!
To wrap up 2021, Mark has just over 200 poultry now and the goal is to have close to 300. We will get there but it is going to take longer than anticipated. Mark is turning 21 years old on January 11th so we have time! Building up his business is a marathon and not a sprint...and we are working hard to make his business profitable and sustainable!
ReMARKable Farms Review and Expansion???
My farm business is mostly selling preserves. I have also planted sunflowers to sell in the summer. I am thinking of ways to expand the flower business and I want to plant more perennial flowers. I know where I want to put them but I just have not had the time to move ahead on that project. I am always thinking of other "food type" items that I may be able to sell at the Farmers Market that fit within the Idaho Cottage Food Rules. I have decided to move ahead with making flavored vinegars. Mostly because I can use items that we are currently growing to do this. For example, we have a patch of raspberries so it would be easy to make some raspberry infused vinegar. I could also expand to more "exotic" vinegars like nasturtium or pine needle. I just need to really ramp up the apple cider vinegar production so I have vinegar to flavor! Side note: I also considered making some pumpkin seed brittle to sell. I may still do this...just thinking it over more...
I know I have listed off these items that I want to do and it seems like a pretty straight forward list but it has taken MONTHS to put this list together...the ideas sometimes come quickly and more slowly at other times...working to have balance in my life!
Last note...we have gotten a lot of snow! Enjoying the beauty of the season!
Hope you have enjoyed these random thoughts and Happy New Year!