Today is my 4th day off in a row, and by "off" I mean not commuting to my day job, because as usual, I've been busier here than I am at work! Friday, Dan and I worked until 1 AM getting the butcher shop finished. Although the Stevensons have always done some of the processing here, the kitchen was in need of a good cleaning and a coat of paint. Not only did we paint, but we also put down a new tile floor, added much needed shelving and built a larger butchering table. It turned out wonderfully, will be easier to clean, and if yesterday was any indication, a better workspace makes the whole process easier and more efficient. We'll be butchering 3 more hogs today with the help of Dan's father, Tom, and that will complete our freezer pork orders. Soon we'll be moving on to hogs we'll be selling at our stand when we reopen for the season on May 29.
Of course butchering hogs & making sausage makes for busy days, but I've also been working hard on getting other things ready. This weekend alone I made Honey Mustard, Cranberry-Peach Compote (like a chunky jam, but with almonds too!), Thai Hot & Sweet Dipping Sauce and repackaged all of my flavored vinegars into the new bottles. Today I hope to bottle a bit of the champagne vinegar I made, buy more champagne because it turned out so well, and split the mother of vinegar to make some real white & red wine vinegars as well. I also have some Blueberry Basil Vinegar that's nearly done and will need bottled in a week or so as well as some Dried Herb Vinegar, so I think I need to order more bottles too! I filled some of my new herb containers with dried chamomile and the oregano in the dryer should be done today, so I'll package that and set more oregano on the racks to dry.
The baby turkeys arrived, but they must have had a bad trip because only about half survived the 48 hour period after we picked them up. There was a guarantee though, so Welp's hatchery sent us replacements. There weren't enough turkeys to ship safely, so they filled the box with extra chicks so everyone would stay warm. They look like Barred Rocks, so I'll gladly keep any hens and add them to our egg laying flock, since that is a breed we have here. To date, the new turkeys and the survivors from the last batch are doing great and growing like weeds! We also picked up a batch of broiler chicks Saturday, and they are all doing well too. We've been getting to know our postal workers pretty well, because this morning we went to the office before they opened again, this time to pick up hatching eggs. We're going to try raising Cortunix quail for eggs and meat, so if they hatch well we may be offering those products at the stand by the end of July!
Most of our plants survived the early frost, so we're anxious to be offering things like rhubarb, spring onions and lettuce when we open. But for now, I've got to go, we've got lots to do today!