Tag Archives: farmers market

Taking Time Off

11 Jan

The market was closed New Years Eve, and we opted to take off January and February so we would have time to recoup and work on stocking up our stand. That means that this coming Saturday will be our third Saturday in a row that we have not spent at the market.

And we miss it.

Yeah, it’s great to be able to have a leisurely Saturday morning to sip some coffee, make some breakfast and play on the computer. Having the option to run some errands and maybe get some house work done or watch a movie is amazing. And it’s great not having to get bundled up in thermal layers and then go stand around outside for a few hours trying to keep warm. You know that little, foot to foot, must keep the blood flowing to keep warm, but I can’t leave this 3 foot by 3 foot space in my stand dance? It’s very similar to the bathroom dance. It’s pretty nifty not having to do that on Saturdays, and still be able to feel our toes.

But the market is not just a source of income for us, it’s also a part of our life, where we see friends and do a little shopping. We spend our market time hanging around with diversely-likeminded farmers and crafters and talk about exciting topics like the weather and whose planting what. We are on closer terms with some fellow vendors and market goers and we catch up on each other’s week’s events, talking excitedly about new craft projects and bouncing fresh ideas off of each other. It’s the main, and usually the only, social event in our weekly planner.

And if we miss too many cold month markets, what are we going to do with the economy sized box of Hot Feet warming inserts we have?

Christmas Eve Bonus Market

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Chickens on Vacation

6 Jan

Our black bantam hen lays tiny white eggs.

Our hens have been on vacation for about two months, but they are just starting to get back to work.  I have been checking their nesting boxes about every 3 days and yesterday I found a small pile of eggs, that appear to be from two different hens.  Yea!  Its about time, I actually had to BUY eggs the other day. Now that they are laying again, I’ll be checking the nesting boxes everyday.

If you have never had chickens you might not be aware of some interesting (or maybe, not so interesting) practices chickens stick to.

Hens take vacation from laying when they are malting (shedding and regrowing feathers), when its super hot, if they are overly stressed and during the late fall/winter when days are shortest.  They can sometimes be forced into laying during the winter by using a light in their coop to extend day light hours.  But if left to husband their selves, hens will begin laying again, a few weeks after the first day of winter, after the days have begun to lengthen.

One of the things I hear the most from non chicken people is that they are unaware that hens will lay eggs without a rooster around.  But yep, just like people, hens still ovulate even if there’s no male strutting around to excite them.  In fact, most commercially laid eggs come from chickens that are stuffed into cages that do not allow them to move around very much, and there are no male chickens anywhere in sight.

If a rooster does live with a flock of hens, he will be happy to husband all of the hens.  This includes tasks like protecting the flock and patrolling the grounds (ever heard of a guard chicken), as well as fertilizing the eggs.  These eggs are still good to eat, and will not develop into chicks as long as they are collected and refrigerated daily.

It takes about 22 days for an egg to hatch.

Some eggs we collected

A good layer will produce four or five eggs a week, but only one egg a day.  I once heard a new chicken owner friend comment that one of her hens finally started to lay and had popped out three eggs that day.  More realistically, three of her hens chose that day to start laying eggs, or my friend had not checked closely enough for eggs the two days prior.

Hens lay pretty steadily for two seasons and then their production begins to trickle off.

I have also been asked if white eggs come from white chickens and brown eggs come from brown chickens.  Nope.  Chickens can lay all different colored eggs, regardless of their feather color.  But the color egg one chicken lays does not vary.  That same chicken will always lay the same color egg.  Some chickens lay green, blue or even pinkish colored eggs.  These chickens are commonly referred to as easter eggers and are either Ameraucanas, Araucanas or a mixed breed.

Our hens are a mixed flock that and we do not have a rooster.  I picked out a variety of colors and breeds so I would have a pretty flock to prune my yard and also a variety of egg colors.  We get dark brown, almost brick colored eggs, speckled eggs, green eggs, light brown and one hen even lays classic white eggs.  They have a chicken tractor house inside of a large hen yard that encloses some trees and bushes for them, and also allows them to stretch their legs under the porch during wet or excessively hot weather.  They forage for grass, bugs and worms and love when we give them vegetable scraps.  We also supplement their diet with layer pellets, cracked scratch corn and some oyster shells (which help keep the shells of their eggs tough).  We allow them to roam the yard on occasion and do not attempt to restrict any of the hens that choose to fly over the fence and explore other areas.  The only reason we do keep them fenced in at all, is to prevent them from messing around in our garden and to make finding eggs easier.

Our Wyandotte hen lays very light brown, almost white eggs.

Gryffindor lays green eggs

Winter Break

4 Jan

We want to thank all of our customers and supporters for helping make 2011 a successful year.  It was a good one, and 2012 will be even better! 

Rich and I are looking forward to a little time off from the market this winter.  We plan to spend it resting, having fun and also working to stock up the stand.  I have visions of dozens of spare totes filled to capacity with back stock, but we will see how close to that reality actually takes us. 

 We are still taking mail orders for dog gear, with a  1-2 day turn around.  And although the Harrisonburg Farmers Market stays operational all winter long, Cosmic Earth will not be there in January or February.  Look for us back every Saturday, starting early this spring, with a fully stocked stand. 

 Happy winter and stay warm! 

Rich hanging up the sign at the last market in 2011

The Last Official Market of 2011

19 Dec

We still have the bonus market on Christmas Eve this coming weekend, but this past Saturday was the last official market of 2011.  Here are some images from our stand.

Reusable Cloth Produce Bags

16 Dec

Reusable Cloth Produce Bags ~ Our reusable cloth produce bags have been a popular holiday gift for the past two years.    

We have a few still available, but the pickings are getting low.  *We are sold out of Smalls and only have one Set left (pictured below)

 Small – $3

Medium – $4

Large – $5

Set of 3 (one of each – S,M,L) – $10

 When shopping, replace thin plastic produce bags at the grocery store or farmers market and fill theses stronger bags with lettuce and vegetables or pile in apples and potatoes.  They won’t rip with heavy items piled in them and unlike plastic bags, these cloth bags breath, so vegetables can be stored in these bags in the fridge or pantry for longer periods of time.   They also double as reusable lunch bags. 

*Cosmic Earth produce bags are made out of unbleached cotton with all seams surged (this adds durability, and prevents the edges of the fabric from fraying with use) and have a functional drawstring top.  They are simple to clean and can be tossed in the washer and dryer.*

  

Tomorrow is the last official market of 2011, BUT we are having a BONUS market next Saturday on Christmas Eve.   Finish your last minute holiday shopping, or stop by for some fun with family and friends. 

Wooo Hats!

14 Dec

They will keep your head feeling warm and looking cool. 

Have you checked out our knitted hats?  We have an assortment of them in a variety of color combinations.  Some are bright colors, some are earth tones, some are made out of thicker yarns and some are made out of thinner yarns, some are made for bigger heads and some for smaller heads.  Our hats are only $12/each

They made great gifts too!

Cosmic Collars and Leashes

12 Dec

We have a fun line of original Cosmic Earth pet items. 

This includes a large collection of dog scarves, a newly reinvented line of dog toys, and an array of collars and leashes.  

Some of our pet items on display at the Farmers Market

 

some of our leashes on display

Our leashes are available in a large range of lengths.  One of our popular designs, that we dub The Market Leash, is just over a foot long, making it the ideal leash for taking your K9 friend to busy areas.  It is perfect for city sidewalks, festivals, crowded outdoor events and shopping trips to your local farmers market!  It helps you, as the handler, keep your dog in close proximity, preventing your dog from getting tangled up among other pets and people as well as tables and stands.  This also helps eliminate some of the stress your dog is facing. 

The Market Leash is also a helpful training device for teaching the new-to-leash dog to stay at your side.  It eliminates the excess leash that often becomes cumbersome and is easily tangled around the dog, your bags and yourself. 

Our leashes come in an array of designs with a variety of clip styles.  Many are made out of the same 1 inch weather resistant webbing we make our collars out of with fun fabric designs stitched on top.  We often have collars available to match our leashes!

Leashes

A also have a selection of climbing rope leashes.  These are made out of new, never used climbing rope, strong enough to hold any pet in check.  All of the materials for our climbing leashes are proudly made in the USA! 

Our Cosmic Collars come in sizes Medium, Large and Extra Large.  All are fashioned out of 1 inch wide weather resistant strapping, topped with a decorative fabric and finished with durable plastic buckles and a metal D ring for clipping on an ID and leash.  Our collars are durable, and made for fun and fashionable everyday wear.  We have festive designs that cover a range of colors to suit the personality of all types of dogs.  The Medium and Large collars are reasonably priced at $10/each and the XLarge ones are available for $12. 

We also have a selection of martingale collars.  They are constructed out of 3/4inch weather resistant strapping with fun fabric sewn on top.  They have a metal ring at each end and a piece of strap that draws through, ending in a ring for clipping a leash to.  The design allows the user to slip it over the dogs head when its time to go on a walk.  While it has the ability to tighten when the dog pulls, the metal rings prevent the collar from over tightening.  Our martingale collars are available for the low cost of $8/each.

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