Well, we do indeed have some new arrivals on the farm, 350 to be exact. Dave and I never predicted our egg demand would far surpass our production as well sell out every week. We could probably bring on 350 more chickens on top of the 350 we just received and still not keep up with demand. However, I know for a fact that egg washing is NOT one of Dave's favorite past times and I think washing 55 dozen eggs a day would cause Dave to go crazy. When the boys get a little older and help out with the washing task then maybe we'll talk about 700 laying hens at a time.
As you have read, this time of the year egg production slows down and while we apologize for this occurring during the holiday baking season (sorry mom, I am hoping to get you some eggs soon...), this is a natural process for chickens. While we brought on 350 more hens, we know that they will not begin laying until the end of April/beginning of May. We are hoping to get into the routine of when to get these chickens to best meet the demand of our customers, but no matter how much you plan for, Mother Nature always has something up her sleeve to keep us guessing and scrambling. But for now, we have 350 adorable chicks staying snug under lights in the coop, while we eagerly await for them to grow up!
I had an absolutely wonderful father growing up. I was blessed with an amazing mother as well, but, I was a typical "daddy's girl" and did everything I could to please him. Being as though I was an only child until I was 8, and it was a couple of years after that before my brother could really take part in sports, my father taught me how to throw a ball (including a football), catch, and bat quite successfully. He wanted his daughter to not only like dolls and tea parties, but also enjoy sports and climbing trees. So we watched sports together on the weekends, yelling at the television screen, had water fights in the summer (always making sure to get in trouble with my mother by getting her wet even with her warnings), and played sports when the days were nice. I lost my father to cancer as a teen, and am sad that he can't watch his oldest grandson excel and dominate every sport he tries...the kind of child that can pick up any ball and just play, successfully. That he also can't watch his youngest grandson's mischievous side, his growing interest in sports thanks to his brother, and the way he thinks more methodically and mechanically, trying to take apart and put back together everything in order to figure it out. I know my dad would be outside all day playing all kinds of sports and instigating all kinds of trouble with his grandsons, because that's the kind of dad he was, and we loved it growing up.
I look forward to the day when Dave can have his own "daddy's girl" as I definitely have "my boys." With my dad though, he was not mechanically smart and definitely couldn't do much around the house beyond changing a light bulb, which he took very seriously. So meeting and marrying Dave, the man who could fix lots of things on my car, literally built my house, and install anything has been such an eye-opening experience (thank you for my fireplace and new floors in 2 of the rooms all in the last month honey). See, I always thought you had to hire people to do those things!
Like my father, Dave is an amazing dad and as the boys get older, Dave is able to have more fun with them teaching and exploring things. It amazes him that David can remember all of Dave's high school varsity basketball players' numbers (this came in handy when Dave needed that information and forgot his sheet one evening), can run the drills with them, and knows the lineage of our cattle. He can tell you which number belongs to which animal (if their tags are covered), which momma they had, and who is bred and isn't. Ethan also knows a tremendous amount about our animals and can identify the cows that have names, knows what each animal gets fed, and what needs to be done to take care of them at 2 years old. He is big into tools and knows the use of each of them including farm tools. This is all because of Dave and his interest in teaching and showing the boys everything he knows. With the addition to our fireplace and new tiled floors, the boys (as well as myself) got to learn lots of new information, like the difference between grout, mortar, and mud and the new tools that are used for those purposes. So here are some pictures of my boys over the last couple of weeks reminding me once again how wonderful of a daddy my husband is as he let them mortar, grout, lay tile, paint, mud, hammer, and a whole lot more, while they had fun, learned how to make a house a home, and pretended to be like their amazing daddy.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend we traveled back to my hometown for a quick overnight trip to see some of my family (unfortunately with a short visit, we couldn't meet up with everyone) and celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. This is never a stress-free time as lots of precautions need to be taken with the farm to ensure smooth running, safety, and care of the animals (and the caretaker). Luckily, we have Cindy! Everyone should have a "Cindy"...sorry, ours is taken! :) Dave's cousin Cindy is really our life-saver in every aspect of our farm and lives. She is always there to support us and takes over when we need to leave town. Leaving town does not happen often or for very long periods of time (which I am sure Cindy is very grateful for), but it always occurs with some kind of issue prior to departing. This time, while going for a run to release some energy ten minutes before our leave time, the dogs caught some kind of scent, or found some animal, and ran off for a bit into the woods before returning. They came back completely covered in mud! Whatever mud we couldn't get clean off of them dried and fell off while we were gone (piles of dirt covered our floor). But that of course put us back time-wise which can be an issue when driving to the Philadelphia area around dinner time on a Friday evening. Overall, all went well and it was a great time. David and Ethan got to play with their cousins that they haven't seen in a year and mommy and daddy even got to go on a dinner date!
We did also visit Santa so we could tell him what we wanted for Christmas. David of course was very excited to tell him about his 2 requests (seriously, the child never asks for anything, I have to pry it out of him...one of the benefits of no television), but Ethan was okay until Santa tried to talk to him. So you can see below the picture on the left shows where life is alright on Santa. He was a little confused with what we were doing, but all is well. Then it started to fall apart upon looking up at the bearded man, and then it was all over when Santa greeted him and asked him what he wanted for Christmas (see picture at the top of our webpages). Of course I ensured that I got one picture with tears, for his future wife to see!