Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Things are so busy right now that I am writing this over a quick lunch. Usually for meals I try not to answer emails or other work, but there is little choice now.

The hand plow works, but is slow. We got a great deal on a lawn tractor that will pull a tiller, but we need to put a little work into it.

Peas are in the ground, some lettuces, scallions, savoy cabbage up next. 125 lbs of potato seed arrived today. I will be butchering chickens this afternoon.

Focus. Breathe. Back to work!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dreaming vs. Reality

Before we got our own farm I had a lot of ideas about what it would look like. Some of these dreams were really helpful. It gave me a really clear picture of the types of farm projects I was most interested in, and helped me keep a mental running tab of what kinds of space/materials I might need. Other times though, dreaming has clouded my vision of the reality of our farm, both in good and negative ways. What do I mean?

I guess I mean that sometimes the vision that I have for the farm can't be fully recognized in a mere two months, before spring has really settled in. It takes years, and savings to really have the kind of infrastructure and aesthetic quality that I desire. Sometimes, we have to use fence posts that are a bit rusty, because at $4.50 a pop, it's crazy to not re-use the rusty ones, even if I know they will need to be replaced soon. But it works. And the vision of a gorgeous t-post fence alternating with cedar pine posts and page wire will come... in time. We have fencing up, it's keeping the livestock contained, and that, in practicality is what counts. I'm very impatient by nature, when I want something done, I just do it. This has been helpful because I can look around, see what we have, and make it work even if the supplies aren't perfect. But even if it's functional, and affordable, I always want more. I want it to be what I had envisioned in my head. Is this a symptom of being born in a culture of want? Is this the drive that makes a business successful? Is it the life-long battle with OCD kicking in? I don't know. But it is always present. And sometimes, it overshadows the sheer beauty of the work we've done so far, and of the absolute peace that farming brings to me. The quality of life that this farm offers saves me daily. It gives me purpose, and drive, and fulfillment. That's what matters, and I'm trying to remember that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Frustration and success

Not surprising, one of the biggest frustrations on the farm is budgeting while still getting the tools/equipment one needs to get the work done. We are still signing folks up, and we are doing very well for a first year CSA. Especially one that is a larger financial commitment (though a bargain in the long run). But because we haven't sold all of the shares yet, there is the shuffle that happens with every farmer and most new small businesses. That shuffle involves looking at what is necessary to keep the trains running (feed, shavings, fencing, for a few examples) versus what would make things move faster (tractor, better chainsaw, big rototiller). So right now, in soil prep we are relying on mostly physical strength and sheer will power. And we have a hand plow on order-yup a hand plow (or wheel plow/cultivator). I'm excited. I wasn't thrilled about the idea of using an intense amount of fossil fuel to prep the ground for raised beds, and any good tool would mean cutting the budget in another spot. Plus, the ultimate goal of using draft animals for this type of field work means spending funds on tools that we won't use at that point doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We will see how it goes, I'm sure it will be a challenge, but it has to work. Has to. I mean, for centuries folks of the growing persuasion have used these tools- so it is good enough for R'Eisen Shine.

I'm really loving the Freedom Ranger chicks. They are cleaner and more active then the cornish crosses. As so far, very sturdy. They do grow a bit slower, but nothing that makes me concerned about their ability to be a good size roaster at finish. I'm holding back a complete endorsement for a taste test, but hopeful we can completely eliminate the use of the Crosses before the end of the season. In good news though, the weather has improved enough to get the first batch of crosses finally in the moveable pen. I'm glad, and hoping they will get some of that good green grass in their systems.

I hit a moment yesterday that I hadn't hit in the month I've been on the farm full time. I was totally overwhelmed and really worried that I couldn't get it done in time. But this morning, things are better. I see the the amount of work, and I know it will be done. The best way I can. So I better get to it.