As 2020 comes to an end, and 2021 dawns, it seems like a good time to look back at "year zero" as we get ready to kick off "year one" on the farm.
2020 was a year to forget in so many ways. One small silver lining may be that the working from home, lockdowns, lack of social engagements, and the like allowed us to build a farm this year. We did some good, and set ourselves up well for doing more good in the new year.
We kicked off the year by getting our 20' x 8' mobile coop delivered to our backyard. March saw us add a dozen leghorn chicks, then a few more chicks, and make our first egg donation of the year. Lots more chicks and eggs would follow.
April saw our first food waste pickup and the start of the compost pile. Both would become major parts of 2020. We also moved a lot of ground up stump and a large dirt pile, which were good exercise and good enablers for projects to come.
May saw a LOT of fencing work, with the highlight being the building of a goat pen, which was soon populated by two baby goats. Their manure and wasted hay is now a big contributor to the compost mix.
We also acquired a pallet of baby cereal we're still feeding out to the flock, built a raised flower bed and did some more fencing.
June saw many more pickups and drop-offs, some fence removal, then some tree removal. Lots of work, for sure.
July started with some apple cider making with salvaged apples, some lumber recovery, the moving of a big, heavy coop, and some other projects around the farm.
August featured one of the highlights of the year, and one of the lowlights. 55+ baby chicks arrived, setting us up for sizable egg production in 2021. I also broke my arm, which limited any significant work of interest for roughly the next two months.
It wasn't until later in October when I was able to get back into it, with health and some time off from work allowing for the building of a our new big composter. It's being filled with as much material as we can get our hands on, and that will allow the original pile to cook down with no new additions and hopefully be ready for sifting and spreading come springtime.
From there, the focus switched to winterizing the farm, adapting to cold weather farm work, and starting to plan for 2021.
When it was all done, we donated 223 dozen eggs. That's 2,676 eggs. We converted many loads of food waste, leaves, straw, shredded paper, and the like into chicken food and compost. We got really dirty, saved a lot of material from the landfill, and fed some hungry people.
Once the 55+ chicks start to lay, we'll really be in "Year One" on the farm. Before we get there, I need to get the nesting box situation in the big coop sorted out. That will provide the flock ample space for egg production.
I'm interested to see what the production looks like. We'll need to up our game on acquiring egg cartons to re-use. I recently set up a shelf in the basement to house them. We'll get getting a small fridge for the basement too, thanks to family, to store all the collected eggs between donations.
We ordered some stickers with our farm logo on them recently, and have started placing them on our egg cartons.
As the weather warms, there is a bit more fencing and gate work to do, plus some work on the roosts in the big coop. Then it will be less "building" and more "working" the farm...hopefully lots of food waste pickups, lots of compost turning, and lots of egg collecting and donating.
Happy New Year and I hope you'll follow our continued adventures in 2021!