As for the rest of the farm, boy is it going wild! We went to the Collierville Farmer's Market for the first time two weeks ago with only fresh herbs. We came home disappointed. All day there, I made $1.00. People are apparently intimidated by fresh herbs. Our partner farm, Oak Hill Farms, did great though. So it was fun keeping them company. Next week should be a little more interesting, however. I have several things starting to produce, so I hope to make at least a little bit of money. This will be very welcomed as we start to expand the egg business. I did have many people ask me about eggs and our pay-what-you-can philosophy inspired by the SAME Cafe, but since the eggs are spoken for before they are laid I was unable to offer any at market. This is fine with me, as I'd rather keep it quiet and more personal. I didn't go into this to get rich, anyway! But we do need to increase our income before we can take on any new clients, so that's where the veggie sales come in. We are now supporting over a dozen families under financial strain and we would like to be able to do more, but without an income to offset the costs of more chickens and a new facility, that will be impossible.
Which brings me to my point, the shameless solicitation for help. We still want to provide free eggs to all who need them, but that means we need more hens. We've had a tremendous response, and are now starting to have quite the waiting list. This year we have added twenty more hens (give or take, depending on how many of our chicks are pullets) to the flock, which will put us to capacity at the facility we have now. I suspect that even these new additions will not be enough to meet the demand for our eggs both from those who can pay for them and those who cannot. So we are looking into expanding our flock next year even further, ending up with around one hundred hens. But here's where we need help. We need donations of time, knowledge, money or both to help get this project funded and finished by next spring.
I've broken it down for anyone who is interested to look at. Of course you can email me for more details.
- Money: Obviously building a new chicken house takes money, as does finishing our ramp up from a small to medium operational egg farm. I'm working on a paypal link, and I encourage anyone and everyone who likes the idea of pay-what-you-can eggs from pastured chickens to pitch in.
- In-kind donations: I'm currently working on a wish list of items we need. When I finish I will link it. I will also include links on the merchants we use for supplies. We gladly take donations in the form of gift certificates!
- We need volunteers to help with farm chores. In order to volunteer you must be able to work outdoors in all types of weather either in early morning or late afternoon/early evening. You must be over 18 years of age, and able to lift and carry thirty pounds safely. You must be reliable, as working with animals mean they depend on you. If you do not show up, the animals suffer for it. If you cannot come for shifts, you must inform us ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for our animals. If you don't like working with animals, we can always use help in the garden, and gathering berries and apples for market.
Speaking of Farmer's Markets, I need to get outside and get the blueberry bushes sprayed with sugar water or else the birds will get more blueberries than we do!
Be sure to check out our new videos on the You Tube Channel. The buckeye chicks have hatched and are adorable!
Now I'm off to look into prefab hen houses and see just what sort of expense we are talking about. Shudder.