It will be difficult to explain what has been keeping me busy for the last couple of months. First some updates on Rev Soup. Corner store manager John Reynolds has stepped up to take on General Management for both stores now. It is a lot of work but John has been with us for 3 years and has the restaurants down pat. His soups are amazing.
In fact I am happy to say that we have one of the best teams I have ever assembled working at the two Soups right now. John has taken over everything and now I am mostly troubleshooting, keeping the books right and helping develop recipes in the kitchen.
We have been happy to be working with a new farmer in the Esmont area, Larry Goff. If you have had anything with a tomato, squash, cucumber, green bean, eggplant, melon or corn in it recently it has been from his farm. We continue to enjoy produce from our long time favorite farms as well: Roundabout, Timbercreek, Appalachian Star, Randy’s, Polyface and others.
As for the Rev Soup farm…
I finished putting 10 foot posts around the third of an acre plot that I will be wintering the pigs on and then planting in produce next Spring. Next for that will be to install the electric fence to keep deer and varmints out and the pigs in.
I have just finished building our Duck House (with much help from my father) and will need to paint, roof and fence it over the weekend. This could not have come at a better time as we are growing out of space to keep the ducks we have been raising since July 1st. The 27 Chickens and 9 Ducks are living in the hen pen that the former property owners constructed out of Cedars from the wooded acre. We had 11 Ducks but there were some holes in the hen pen that I had not noticed to fix and the fox got two. I have mended the fencing and surrounded it in Coyote pee which seems to be working fine.
I have lined a third of the inside of the main paddock area with hog wire fencing to keep the neighborhood dogs out and all our critters in. We will be day ranging our chickens in this area. We will also be planting heirloom apples for cider making, berry patches for selling and jam making and we are considering either sheep or Dexter cows for this area as well.
I dug the fence into the ground about 4 inches deep. Everyone keeps saying go 6 inches but digging this rock filled, hard baked clay earth is terribly difficult. I have 200 yards of fence to put up total just for this area, it is slow going. One of my major experiments here will be to see just how fertile I can make this pasture with the day range chicken and cow rotation system.
This weekend we will also assemble the 10*12 hoop house that we will soon convert into the day range layaway for the Chickens.
Every book we looked into gives the main rule of having your shelters completed before buying your animals. We have done completely the opposite of this. I have to say though, if I did not have the pressure of fast growing fowl on me I am not certain that I would have gotten these things done. I enjoy the pressure and the race.
I will post more later and follow my wife’s advise in not making these things too long. I have never been so busy in my life. Saturday through Tuesday is Rev Soup work time in the mornings after feeding all of the animals and then farm time for the rest of those days until I cannot move anymore. Wednesday through Friday is a total dedication to The Wine Guild (my other business) except in the evenings and mornings when I feed the animals. In the spaces I am still raising Alston who is almost two years old and putting out Rev Soup fires (literally! Though it was not really a fire).