My work at the call center in Port Hawkesbury ended abruptly a week last Friday, meaning that I could go to the beach and chill out after six weeks that nearly killed me. Not because the job was hard but I’m not as malleable as I used to be and couldn’t happily bend to suit the organisation. I could have stuck with it but Laura would have stabbed me, lots.
So car payments mean that we HAVE to earn a certain amount nowadays, at least more than the grand a month we’re forking out in bills. Car payments? Yes, we’ve bought a new motor. Well, not new, but not far off it – this years (which is now last years as the 2012 model is on the forecourt) Hyundai Elantra. I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing, and I know Joel Salatin would say ‘you’re here to farm not to drive a fancy car’ but in my role as a firefighter I’ve been to a few too many wrecks on the motorway and can physically see how a modern car protects you. I had to buy one for my families sake, especially as my family will be expanding again sometime in December or January.
Which partly explains my week of whipping things into shape, ordering tables, baking my arse off and throwing together a stand for the first Whycocomagh Farmers Market on Friday. Our first farmers market too, and we sold out of bread and welshcakes within the hour. We sold most of our 21 dozen eggs at full price too, and the rest to Peter from Scenic Valley Farm to take to Cheticamp Farmers Market the following day.
The profits from this farmers market taught us three things;
1) We can make a living from this.
2) We can man the stall with just one person if necessary.
3) We need to up our production capacity by loads.
We caused a stir by cooking fresh welshcakes on the George until the power went, then I cut up samples of my Poppy Stars and sold out of them. We also learnt that people won’t approach an empty or nearly empty stall, so we need to keep it looking full even if we only have one box of eggs left to sell. All in all it was a success and we learnt lots from it to take to the other markets. Once our licenses are sorted out we plan to do Baddeck on a Wednesday, Whycocomagh on a Friday and Mabou on a Sunday, but could also chuck in Antigonish, Guysborough or Cheticamp on a Saturday too.
If we can bake enough! Which brings me to the other work I’ve been doing over the last week – frantically scribbling, checking and re-scribbling a business plan to get a loan for $11000 to put a professional kitchen in the Big House that will allow us to bake in quantity, both for the markets and for the cafe & shop. I’ll be making an appointment with the bank manager on Monday, and if his burly henchmen throw me in the gutter I’ll try raising the money through the local community instead. Like the pre-boss puzzle on one of those Tomb Raider games that I dedicated my university years to, things are clicking and slotting into place and generally lining up on the farm to give me a coherent vision for the future, and while it may not be Orange it is certainly exciting, at least to me anyway.
At the market I met lots of very interesting people of whom all, just by their very presence, have crossed the line and are actually Doing It. No more talking about it Reg, something’s actually Happening for them, and for us for that matter. It may be that I’m on my third delectable pint of homebrew (Thomas Coopers Special IPA if you must know) but I would really like to go back and find them and give them each a Big Hug, just for being Inspiring.
Anyway, Charlie and I trotted down to Halifax on Saturday to pick up the Mother-in-Law… no no, don’t shudder fellow malalians, we get on really well and have been looking forward to her visit for some time. Seriously, no, I know you thnk I’m wringing the sarcasm out but I’m not. Oh well, believe what you will 😉
Sunday morning dawns blue and bright, heralding a day with a 32 degree high and heatstroke by 11am after planting out the transplants which, by the way, the chickens appreciated greatly. Really, they’ve devoured everything but the artichokes. SOBs. I have to build a chicken tractor tomorrow to house the 25 Meat Kings we have in the brooder coup before the next 25 arrive on Thursday. I’m considering buiding two and stuffing these arsehole layers in the other just so we can get some crop in the ground that they won’t devour.
Oh, our pigs are between 176 and 205lbs, depending which duberry you use. Not long now, and we’ve found a guy in Havre Boucher who will slaughter & butcher them. Might still take it to the other one in Arichat but that’s something to think about in a fortnights time.
Sunday afternoon saw us on the Bras D’Or near our friends house in Orangedale, gratefully putting the finishing touches on the Orangedale-Whycocomagh Swimming Associations new raft. It was fun, and we met the daughter of the chief not just of the local area but of the whole land from Newfoundland down to the southern tip of New England. We had a great chat, she taught us some M’ik Maq gave us some tips on using certain grasses as insect repellents. I was fascinated to learn that they have crafted an entire language out of just thirteen letters. Mark Dunn would understand, as our 26 seems awfully wasteful now.
A good day out, all in all, that has seen all the little ones (MIL included) off to bed early. Oh well, might as well have another beer…