Mid-October Update

What a crazy month it’s been. We had super windy days, a new owl hanging out on the porch, and piglets, to name a few things.

Most of you interact with our farm through our egg sales, and things are changing there. Our girls are all the same age, meaning they molt together. When chickens molt, all of their extra energy goes to making new quills instead of eggs. In a way, this lower production is a good transition for winter, which is when egg production naturally drops. We are doing our best to keep production up by adding solar powered lights, providing extra food and bedding, and checking for eggs multiple times a day. However, delivery will have to change. There will be a follow up email this week letting you know the new system!

The piglets are simply adorable. When it gets windy, they get squinty, keeping the dust away. Every day, they’re growing stronger and more curious about the world around them. Momma Petunia is a voracious eater, and we’ve been giving her extra high-protein food to keep her happy and the milk available for the little ones. All of the pigs have been gorging on spent grain from Gunbarrel Brewery, bulking up for the winter!

As always, life and death are intertwined on a farm. We’ve built out our pig butchering system and have officially butchered our first one on property! (Because of COVID and circumstance, there is very limited ability to get to a USDA butcher this year.) We plan on butchering our other two big boys next weekend, with the intention of selling some to you! Some of you have expressed interest in buying meat before, and if you are still (or newly) interested, reach out and we can figure out available cuts! Our pigs run on the small side (120 lbs of meat and lard was our first pig weight), but there are plenty of delicious cuts we can provide nonetheless. Bluebird Sky Farmstead operates within our local ecosystem and we embrace all levels of the wild food chain. We recently had a great horned owl hanging out on our front porch – s/he even found an old chicken egg nest to snack on! Other than littered egg shells, s/he left us scat daily, reminding Annaliese of old biology labs when they had to dissect owl pellets.

And finally, as we turn towards winter, Danny and Annaliese are looking forward to a less demanding season where we can assess the past year, plan for next year, and keep the animals warm and happy during the cold months. More news to come on future plans, but you can bet on new chicken coops, more piglets, and general progress ahead!

Calwood Fire, October 17th, 2020, looking West from McCauley Family Farm, picture by Marcus McCauley.

October 19th Addition:
Wow. We are still catching our breath after the Calwood fire this weekend. Most of you know that a fire broke out a few miles west of the farm on Saturday at about 11am. By 4, it was threatening to cross the major highway protecting us, and in some places even crossed that barrier. We are okay, and all our animals are too, but at that time we were evacuating pigs (not an easy task to herd them on a time limit), herding chickens into their coop to evacuate, and catching ducks to do the same. We set water barrels to the west of the house to hopefully protect it, and grabbed necessities in preparation to leave. (Annaliese didn’t know what clothes Danny would want, so she grabbed everything in the dryer!) That night, we spent more time watching for new flare ups than we did sleeping. By morning, fog had set in, along with shifting winds and a little rain. That’s when we finally felt safe enough to bring the pigs back. Though we seem relatively safe now, we as a community are still processing the whole event. Many people near us lost their homes. The fire is not fully contained, but snow is in the near future and we hope that the winds stay low so firefighters can get the upper hand.

We want to thank everyone who offered help, lending hands and stock trailers so we could keep our livelihood safe. Needless to say, we’re taking it easier this week, cleaning up the mess we made grabbing things from the house, and reflecting on how we can better prepare in the future. 

Happy October everyone! Stay happy and healthy.

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