Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday

We had a to-do list this weekend that was at least a mile long, if not two. We did get a bunch done, including getting the rabbitry set up in a better spot and finishing a hallway floor. But I think we also did a better job this weekend of balancing tasks with the stress relief of visiting with family and cooking a big Sunday dinner. On an errand run yesterday we stopped at the last farm I worked at to pick up some ham and chat with a rabbit breeder friend on increasing our current breeder population. Hopefully we will have some new residents before too long.

We also started work in the barn, and had big dreams to use recycled materials to get the sheep and chicken pens done yesterday. While we did manage to reclaim an old door and some fine wooden posts, we need to purchase some additional materials to get the job done. I'm anxious to get the sheep and layers over here, I feel like the barn has waited long enough for some life.

I'm still kind of in awe of our good fortune finding land to lease for this season. My entire life, I've wanted to be a farmer. A few years ago, I set out on that journey, dabbling in chickens and growing produce. Before the last of my first tomatoes were picked, I was enthralled. Then the process of learning all I could, reading books, following blogs, scouring the internet kicked into high gear, but I couldn't be sated. It wasn't until I started working on a farm full time that my passions started to look like realistic career goals. We've been careful, planning our first season around what we know best. We've tried to keep our expectations at a manageable level, and our goals clear. I can't wait to bring delicious food to our shareholders. I can't wait to share my love of this work with others. There are so many things that must be done, and many of them back breaking. I have a tendency to avoid big machines (though I know how to operate them) in favor of a slower methodical approach. I don't mind a shovel in my hands for several days in a row. There is something peaceful about perfecting the way you muck out a stall. Maybe it's the simplicity, or the calm that comes with tired muscles.

It's January, but the weather is like a coy spring tease, and the seed and chick catalogs scattered about aren't helping my patience. So we have to focus on the tasks at hand, let the winter do as she will, and not fool ourselves into rushing. The world rushes enough, but farming will not be rushed. The work we get done daily just has to be enough, otherwise it feels overwhelming. We have to stop for dinner, because otherwise why work so hard to grow food? This life, it's not easily managed by a chore list, because the chore list is constant. That, I think is both the hardest and most rewarding part.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A little info!

Since we have such a recent boom in interest when it comes to our CSA, I figured I would post some of our intro info up here, you can still email us with questions or for the pricing information.

Our model differs a bit from other CSA models. First and foremost, we offer products year round, as opposed to the typical season that runs from June-October. We will be using various agriculture techniques to extend our growing season, but will also use storage methods to provide members with root veggies, winter squashes, potatoes and onions throughout the winter. In addition, during the non-growing months we will have green-house greens (salad and cooking), homemade pickles, preserved fruits, jams, dried herbs and surplus veggies from the summer that have been frozen or dried. As far as crops are concerned, we will be growing over 100 varieties of veggies including (but not limited to) greens (salad and cooking), tomatoes, green beans, peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, squashes (winter and summer), cooking beans (think dried beans), sweet corn, herbs, celery, eggplant, kale, radishes, turnips, parsnips and sunchokes.

Next, we are not just a vegetable CSA. Our shareholders will also get eggs and meat (chicken and rabbit to start with the option of up to two holiday turkeys) available on a regular basis. 
 As we expand, we will have dairy, grains, flours, sweeteners (honey and maple syrup) and a greater variety of meats. In addition, we hope to have our flock of sheep producing enough wool for yarn offerings!

We also won't be telling folks how much of anything they can take (unless it's a high demand, low quantity item). Most CSA's set out how many of each item each shareholder can take. We will encourage folks to try things they haven't eaten, and provide recipes, but we want the farm to feed people within their needs, like the farmers raising their food. So you decide how much of each item you need for the week, not us.



Our growing methods focus on using sustainable organic principles, and the highest standards of care for all of our livestock.


And here's Todd (our rooster)!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Double Duty

Phew! Our morning has been a blur already:

Alarm goes off
Dogs go outside
Harper dog gets set up on the treadmill
Ejay makes breakfast/packs lunches
Kim gets ready for work
Breakfast time/ Farm email replies
Kim leaves for work
Ejay finishes farm email, feeds rabbits, sets up dogs for the day, brings in wood, stocks stove and rushes out the door for day job.

I think we will both be glad when the farm is at least one of our full time jobs... And not full time in the off-time!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Balance

The weekend didn't come soon enough, and ended much too quickly. Unfortunately, my day job required my presence for a bit on Saturday, and the snow made our travel slower. That being said, we managed to get the kitchen sink working, the kitchen totally unpacked, the shower working for longer than three minutes, the closet started to put together, and some favorite hangings up on the wall.

The farm is feeling much more like home, and the to-do list isn't getting shorter, but at least we have a plan!

We called a time-out on Sunday afternoon, we haven't really slowed down since before Christmas. I poured over the FEDCO seed catalog, which is like smelling cookies but not being able to eat them. We have a few CSA deposits in, so we should be able to cover our order in the next few weeks. We still have some spots available for next season too, and I'm hoping folks will let us know soon of their intentions.

Today it's back to the day job, though soon I know the farm will buzzing with all of the joys and trails of spring preparation followed by summer Lin hours. For now though, the light snow coating over the ground looks like a welcome fresh start, a promise of a great new year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Small Victories, Incremental steps

The move was a success in that we were able to get all of our items out of the cabin and into the farm! We were lucky enough to have so much help (both before during a work weekend) and the big move. I'd really like to elaborate, but that is going to have to wait until another day. Exhausted would be less tired then we are right now. We managed to get wood delivered Sunday, and it's half stacked out of the weather. The other half is covered in a tarp, still in the driveway.

The rabbits, dogs and cats are all getting settled- we still have to build pens for the sheep and chickens and move them over. We have hot water, but still have some plumbing work to do. The spring needs a repair (hopefully next week if it warms up), and the kitchen sink is a disaster. I'm not super handy with water as it turns out, and despite my best efforts, we have a less-leaky hot water tap and still no cold water in the kitchen. I'm viewing it as a learning experience and celebrating the fact that we were at least able to do the dishes tonight. I did manage to replace a heating element in the new hot water heater though without much incident. We have showers (though they are really really short do the repair needed in the spring). There are literally boxes and bags EVERY where. We have some curtains up, to save some heat- but the amount of unpacking needed is pretty obscene. We still have to work, so we are just trying to do what we can before 8pm at which point we force ourselves to sit down.

I'm ecstatic, to say the least to be in our very own farm. And I know it's going to be amazing. But, in a fit of leaky pipe rage I also resisted the urge to put a hole in the wall. That's really a cue as to the stress around here, as usually nothing gets to me. I think the process of getting the house back in shape is going to be a real test of our characters. Trial and error, that's for sure.

I swear, there will be pictures soon of all of the hard work that we had help with before we moved in. But right now, chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Before dawn

Longer post to come, it's the last weekend before the move which means we are working sun up til past sun down to get the house ready. Photos and details early this week!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year- New Paint

Well, the shorter version is: we still have no water but now we have the right contractor on the case. On Friday, we were essentially told there was no way we would ever get water from the spring to the house. Tears, fears etc ensued. But we just weren't convinced, especially after calling the previous owner and finding out that this had never before been an issue. So early Saturday morning, we called every name in the book and gave them the scenario. We finally found someone who had worked with a spring fed system and after a quick check feels good about getting it really up and running (including a hot water heater) ASAP.

All of this drama canceled our plans to go visit close friends for New Years. It meant an exceptionally quiet night for us, with taco dip and barely making it to the midnight hour. We have such big plans for 2012 though, that maybe bringing the year in quietly is a bit poetic.

Today, we furiously worked on getting some paint up. Now that the necessities are closer in line we have less than two weeks to get the house up to move-in condition.

Enjoy the views!
Before fresh paint

The first coat

Two coats of wall paint, one coat on the trim
Luxury porch furniture for lunch-time! Ceiling is still in-process.