Saturday, February 26, 2011

When You Can't Buy Out Your Partner

I'm sure every couple who runs a business together knows the frustration: not being able to fire, or more appropriately, buy out, the other.  This frustration usually stems from differences that should compliment each other but some days just drive each of you to madness.  In our house, I'm the one who is more paperwork-oriented while Matt is the one who is more mechanical.  That's not to say I haven't put together my share of shelving or that he hasn't done a great job of answering emails.  But when it comes to accounting, its all about the paperwork.

Matt will be the first to admit he is unorganized when it comes to receipts.  My solution?  A basket on his bedside table.  I thought he could empty his pockets into the basket before throwing his jeans onto the floor.  While this method produced a few more receipts, our animals apparantly did not eat in September, October, or November.  A couple of goats also seem to magically have appeared on the farm.  I try to regularly ask for receipts, especially when I know he has bought something.  He usually swears up and down the receipts are in his truck.  Or his coat.  Or maybe he forgot to ask for one.  Ugh.  I don't know what method of collecting receipts can be more simple than the basket. 

Another area of frustration for me is the log book.  I have a composition book in which I write every day how much milk we get, how many eggs we collect from which chickens, what was bred and what was born.  Since I do most of the daily chores, the log book is not usually a problem.  However, for one week when I was out of town then sick with the flu, we seem to have not collected any milk or eggs.  I explained to my business partener-husband that it is not the "Sarah Log" but the "ICAcres Log".  He said he understood.  But one day last week he did the chores because I got home late due to a tornado near the school I work at and, again, we seem to have not had any milk or eggs. 

I am not saying the lack of attention to record-keeping makes Matt a bad person and I am sure it is equally frustrating to him when I have to ask him to build something "small and easy" like more rabbit nest boxes.  It's just one of those things.  Maybe someone out there, somewhere, has all the answers of working perfectly and harmoniously with your partner, be it in business or in marriage. Until then, if you have any methods of saving receipts that have worked for you, please make sure to leave a comment!     

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

World Famine Eminent???

Last week I read a great article about how we are only one or two bad crop years away from world wide famine and chaos...however, I do most of my article reading during lunch at work and now I can't find my notes, so I cannot credit the article or lead you to it.  Basically, the article was stating the soil has been overused in Asia, America, the Middle East, basically everywhere and we are going to see shortages, high prices, and starving people after only one year of bad crops. 

Today I read another interesting article on Yahoo!News entitled 'Planet Could be Unrecognizable by 2050: Experts Say' ( Honestly, I thought it was going to be another article on global warming, so imagine my suprise when it was actually about global population's the tie in...the global food supply.  This article suggests we are all going to start starving because there won't be enough food to go around, and also because people will begin eating more meat as they earn more money in the future.  According to the article, it takes 7lbs of grain to produce 1lb of meat.  Not too suprising.  The BIG suprise to me was the 3-4lbs of grain needed to produce 1lb of eggs.  REALLY?!?!  Maybe in large commercial egg operations where chickens are kept in small cages and never see the light of day.  Our egg chickens are all free range and we don't even feed them!  Sure, they clean up the grain the pigs and goats spill (and any contained in their waste) but I am sure collectively they eat less than 3lbs of grain per day and we are currently collecting a dozen per day. 

So let me share my thoughts on the food crisis that is to take place within the next 40 years.  Maybe we need to change the way we produce our animal products!  We are lucky enough that we plan to grow all of the food for our animals on our 10 acre farm this year.  We are growing some wheat, corn, beans, and hay for the winter, but our pigs, goats, and rabbits also have access to all the fresh grass they want and will be fed other garden vegetables during the spring, summer, and fall.  The pigs also eat all of our table scraps and food that has spoiled/molded.  Heritage breeds especially thrive on foraging.  I doubt most commercial pigs would do as well on what we feed our Large Black and Red Wattle Hogs.  And they seem to taste better!  Rabbits are a great source of protein and require only 1/2 cup of feed per day...if all they are getting is pellets.  They need even less if they are foraging on grass and clover.  And the chickens?  Like I said, we don't even feed them.  I suppose a world famine could happen, but if there is a greater concentration on more hardy breeds that are allowed to eat like nature intended, it shouldn't be as bad as the naysayers say.  But keep us in mind for your food supply if Chicken Little is finally right.  :-)  

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Busy Week!

We decided to get high-tech here at ICAcres, so we added the farm to Facebook and Twitter.  I also started this new blog because we were having SOOOO much trouble with the blog on our site.  So, while I will still post the occassional update on the blog on our website at, most blogging will now be done here.  Now, after messing around on the internet for hours and hours per day (time I actually had since schools were out most of the week due to snow) I can finally slow down and work on some cleaning and more physical farm chores!

While I was busy working on the computer, Matt was busy building coops.  We now have moveable coops for the chickens and the rabbits.  Studies have shown meat and eggs from animals on pasture contain more nutrients, so this will ensure even our chickens that are seperated into breeding groups have access to fresh air, green grass, and bugs.  Unfortunately, we do not have much breeding stock for the Silver Fox Rabbits right now, so the breeding stock is still in the barn.  This summer we will have enough we can experiment with keeping breeding rabbits in the moveable coops as well.  What a great concept, for rabbits to be outside for their entire lives!  Matt is offering custom-made coops for sale, starting at $275 for chickens and $100 for rabbits.  Inquiries can be made to  

Speaking of rabbits, we have welcomed at least ten new Silver Fox Rabbit kits in the last couple of weeks.  It has been cold so we haven't moved the fur in the nest boxes for a good look, but we are excited to welcome the new little ones to the farm!