Sunday, May 22, 2011

Upcoming Events & Update

Hello again -
It's been too long since I last posted.

A few announcements:

  • For summer members:  If you haven't received an e-mail announcing the beginning date for distributions, that means I don't have you on my distribution list.  Please let me know and I'll add you to the e-mail contact list.
  • Violet kidded on Mother's Day.  (Violet's a goat).  We helped her birth a very small boy and a nice-sized girl.  All are doing well and they're fun to watch so if you have time when you pick up your box, check them out.
  • Speaking of goats:  They're enclosed by electric wire.  So, don't touch the wire.  Also, if you try to pet them, don't put your arm behind their horns.  Sometimes they twist their heads and your arm will be wrenched - not good.  In general, you should probably be with Dave, Nathan or me if you want to see the goats.
  • Chickens - we have them.  Our flock is kept for egg production.  They love table scraps.  Meat, veggies, fat, bread, etc.  No raw peelings because it is reported that they can choke on things like potato peelings or cucumber or carrot peels.  Nothing that has been sprayed with chemicals (as we're raising them organically).  They love to be fed and will run up to the fence if you call "heeeere ... chick chick chick, heeeere chick chick chick" in a slightly high voice.  It's kind of amusing to see them waddle and run.  FYI - we do not raise meat birds for sale - only for our own use.
  • Turkeys - they're coming this week.  We'll be receiving the White Hollands this week.  I'll post separately about turkeys and pricing and how to reserve one in another post. 
  • Veggies.  I sent out an e-mail this past week about the beginning of distributions. We will start Wed., June 1 and Sat. June 4.  The veggies will be on our front porch in wax-coated boxes.  There will also be herbs and maybe other veggies on a table.  The white board will tell you what to do.  If we have extra stuff, it will be on the table to the right.  Sometimes the extras are in a box - depends on space.  Just check the white board and you'll know what to do.  I always try to be around during pick up to answer questions but I know that on June 1 I will be gone for part of the evening so Sheryl will be here to help you get into the rhythm.  On June 4 we'll have a work day so I might be busy in the field but you can track me down.  If you're interested in a tour, please come at 11:30 to pick up your box and I can take time out to give everyone a tour.
  • Entry/exit.  We have a horseshoe driveway.  Please enter from the west entrance and exit from the east.  Last year I had people enter/exit opposite (east to west) but I think this will work better.  Please drive slowly.  We have young children and many members also have young children and they like to run around in the drive.  So please, max 5 mph when you pull in.  I always feel badly telling members to slow down upon entry.
  • Half-share members: you should have received a separate e-mail earlier this week which provided your share partner's name.  We don't prepare a half-box.  Most 1/2 share members pick up every other week.  If you are able to arrange with your partner to split your box every week, great.  Otherwise, figure out who will pick up the first week and go from there.
  • The first distribution might be a little light.  It's been very rainy and cold this spring.  
  • If you're interested in being a fan of this blog, please sign up.  I don't know what that does for us but I like seeing the # go up.  :)
  • We still have about 8 memberships available for this summer.  If you know anyone who's interested in joining, please pass on our info to them.
Event Info:
  • June 4 - work day from 9 - 12.  Tour for those interested:  11:30 - 12.  Potluck lunch - 12 - 1:30 or so.  This is peak transplanting time.  Maybe potatoes (second wave).  All of the warm-weather crops will be ready to go, weather permitting.  This means beans, squash, summer squash, okra, New Zealand Spinach, flowers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. etc. etc.  Get ready for successive deep knee bends.  Bring your gloves, a hat, sunscreen, water bottle and insect repellent.  If you're staying for lunch, bring a dish to pass.  All ages are welcome.  Come for any part of the day (work, tour or lunch).
  • June 18 - Hoopalooza.  Yes, it's true.  We're building a third hoop with the help of Repasts Past & Present (Selma Cafe).  I had reported earlier that it would be a 30 x 144 but now I believe the plan is to build a 30 x 96 which will be portable in 2 stations.  Will see.  The date is not set in stone as Jeff McCabe is still working on finalizing his 20 in 20 schedule.  The build will go from 8 - 6ish and will be followed by dinner for anyone that would like to stay.
Other updates:
  • I'm working hard at getting the new parcel prepped for planting.  It's a piece of ground that hasn't been worked in a long time - maybe never?  There are a lot of weeds which include crab grass and Canadian Thistle.  So, it will be interesting to see how it all goes.  The wet conditions don't help either.  I know that the conventional wisdom would say to kill everything with round up and start from square one.   We're not going to do that.  I'll probably have to buy a lot of moldy hay to mulch with and do a lot of tilling - increased costs up front but the soil will be healthier in the long-run.  I tilled down there yesterday and saw a Kildeer sitting on her nest (2 eggs).  Also a nice garter snake population which is great.  A few toads.  Lots of Starlings, Red Winged Black Birds and Crows.  We hope to start planting there this week, if the rain holds off.
  • We have a full work crew.  Nick Clark and Jason Hogans have joined Sheryl Sopoliga and I to provide nearly 3 1/2 full time employees here on the farm.  It's great to have the help!  It's also presenting new challenges as I am now filing quarterly returns and submitting taxes/withholding to the IRS for our employees.  An interesting new learning opportunity ... to navigate through the tax laws and filing requirements.
  • One thing I've really wanted is to upload a slide show on our website - or at least on this blog.  If anyone can do this for me, I would really appreciate it.  I am looking for a person that can come over to the house, sit at our computer and do it - not tell me how to do it.  I just don't have time to figure out something new.  Thanks!
  • Judy Durfy brought out new bees this past week.  She and her husband have 2 hives here on our property.  Unfortunately both hives died this past year.  One almost made it.  She thinks they were alive as close as 2 weeks before she came out.  She said the fact that April was so cold created great stress on the bees.  Apparently if it isn't about 40 degrees, the honey in the hive doesn't flow and the bees can't access it.  So they starve.  She thinks it was a hard year on native honey bees.  She's right.  Generally at this time, I find lots of bees on dandelions but didn't see any until she brought out the new hive.  When a new hive is inserted, the queen been must mate.  Judy said she has to fly out of the nest, do her dance with the drones, mate, and then fly back to the new hive before a bird eats her.  Wow.  I think they did their thing because I'm seeing bees go in and out of the hive.  But I guess it takes 30 days to know if they will survive.
I think that might be enough for now.  I could report more but I risk providing too much info.

Dave says the Woodcock are doing their dance across the street in the large field.  We are seeing Wood Ducks fly out of the woods almost daily.  The Bluebirds are here.  We have even been hearing (and saw) the Baltimore Oriole which I don't remember seeing here before.  The toads are waking up and are quite active in both hoops. The soil is black and rich and strong.

As always, take good care and enjoy the heat.  We look forward to the start of distributions and hope you look forward to seeing what's happening here.