I know that we all say it, but this year has really flown by. It only seems like a few months ago that we were trying to establish the farmers market in Koondrook and we were only just beginning to sell our pork to restaurants, but it has been over a year ago. At the same time though I think, god… has it only been a year, it feels like I have been running down to Melbourne with fridges filled with cuts of pork for years and years. Time is a funny thing and it’s hard to put things on a timeline and into perspective until you can stand back away from all the business (busy-ness) and really take it all in. Having kids makes things go faster too, surely. I can’t believe Lucy is nearly two and soon she’ll have a little playmate… Lucy is a great companion and I’m so thankful that she loves coming places with me and loves helping. Mum and Dad would have been the same when I was young though. I remember sitting in the tractor and the header with Dad during harvest, fencing with Pa and Dad and going with mum to her boutique in town and always being there when Mum and Dad were busy getting work done.
In all the busy times leading up to Christmas, the most important things seem to have been put on hold just so we can concentrate on making an income. My veggie seedlings are all struggling in their little pots even though I water them twice a day, and my old veggie garden has just turned up its toes and everything but the herbs and leeks have died when we were in Fiji. This is the first time in about four years where I haven’t been able to scratch a meal from what I grow, and it’s awful! I feel empty and desperate for our own veggies and salad, this time of the year I should have a plethora of food to choose from. This time last year I was brewing jars and jars of beetroot relish from the garden and eating rocket, beans, peas and zucchini flowers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it seems as if in protest the chooks have decided to stop laying, or change their laying spot so we don’t even have any eggs. Shock horror. Eating plenty of pork though…
Juggling what we need at home and what orders we need to fill is so tricky too. We still need at least another 6-10 sows on our home block to ensure that we have a plentiful supply or pork year round, but that means getting out there and doing heaps of fencing- time? Sadly we lost our first sow this week during farrowing. She was a gilt with her first litter and was in trouble from the start. Mum and Dad lost their fair share of young heifers calving for the first time, but it’s always so awful losing animals, especially young animals. Heartbreaking actually. More viable sows will mean that we can supply both our restaurant and farmers market customers during high demand periods like Christmas. My learning curve for juggling supply is steep- I am constantly learning from friends in the industry about production with Berkshires and I am forever grateful for their advice.
So, all I want for Christmas is a plentiful veggie garden and some more fences up so my girls can be close to the house where I can manage to keep a close eye on them as well as the kids. And for this year, we have to say no to some demands instead of stretching our supply to keep everyone happy. We can only do what we can do and must remember that we are only a two man band with a small farm. Family and home have to be included in the equation somewhere. So, saying that… today being Sunday at home it’s out to the veggie garden to get the new garden beds up and plant those bloody seedlings and to the paddock to mark out some new sow paddocks.