Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nice Weather = Busy Farmers

The fields are workable and the weather (while windy) is nice enough for us to put in very full days.  Consider this a very short(?) farm report.

  • We welcome Denis back to the farm as he works for us again this season.  He joins Andrea who has been working for a few weeks.  Jo has also put in some time on the farm.  We expect Anden to return as well.  So, the crew is taking shape.
  • The wind...the wind.  Uf.  
  • The meat birds are out on pasture now, with the electric fence up to keep them in (and predators out).  Those birds go through ALOT of water on hot and windy days.
  • The beeps (baby turkeys) and peeps (baby hens) are doing reasonably well in the poultry pavilion.   Per the norm, we have lost a few baby turks.  Usually the losses are contained in the first few weeks until their immune systems kick in to full gear.  Would you believe some of these little turks are trying to fan?  They don't even have tail feathers yet (silly birds).
  • The high tunnel is undergoing changes as the greens are bolting.  Time for some warm weather crops in there.
  • Tammy got to taste the first radish of Spring today.
  • All 2000 + feet of potatoes are IN THE GROUND.  Ha!
  • The 60 tomatoes in the ground are wondering what they did to deserve their present fate.  Well.  How would you feel if you were subjected to 30-40 mph winds your first two days out in the field?
  • 400 feet of green beans, another 200 feet of hybrid green/dry, another 250 feet of lima types, 100 feet of pole beans and 450 feet of dry beans are in.  Cool.
  • We'll be doing our last plant sale day on Saturday at farmers' market.  After that point, we will cease to sell plants and move on to the next phases of the season.  We do still have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and some spices.
  • Iris Fest was attended by a smaller (but no less appreciated and enjoyed by us) crowd this year.  We get the feeling that perhaps Memorial Day weekend is not the best choice for this festival (especially when the Iris fail to show - we had two open).  Any suggestions would be welcomed.  The event isn't a popularity thing - it's a matter of finding the best way to serve those who are interested in such joining others of like mind in a party at the farm.  We are grateful that those who came found ways to deal with the howling winds.  Seriously, we didn't order that part of the weather - I think it was a 'throw in.'
  • We'll try a separate post to talk about the recent Tom Sawyer Day - it is worth it.... so stay tuned.
  • The first CSA distributions are the FIRST FULL WEEK of June.  So - June 7 Waverly.  June 9 Cedar Falls.  Remember - the first few weeks start slow and then things pick up.  
  • I am getting the feeling that the only reason we are both awake is because we are too tired to get up so we can get ready for bed.
  • We have turnips, radish, arugula, mustard, spinach, lettuce, peas, cucumbers, swiss chard, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and onions in the ground and growing.  Remember - we plant multiple successions of most of these to spread out the harvest and try to get around any blips in the weather.  So far so good for most of these.   
  • Goals for tomorrow?   Plant the rest of the tomatoes (about 440 of them), plant vegetable amaranth (calaloo), marigolds, calendula, cucumbers, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, onions, radish, winter squash and whatever else we can before it rains.  Forecast calls for rain tomorrow night and Thursday.  Every item we can get in the ground *right now* will be a plus for us and for all who get veg from us.  Here's hoping!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Iris Fest on Monday!

We will be holding our annual Iris Festival on Monday.  And, as is usually the case, the festival occurs before the iris really get going.  But, the presence of open iris flowers is not necessary for this event.

Monday - May 30 starting at 4pm and running until approx 9pm.
At the Genuine Faux Farm northwest of Tripoli

The event is a POTLUCK.   We will also have a grill available for those who wish to use it.  Some have arranged to bring meats to grill and share, others have brought their own meats as desired.  Please consider bringing an ingredient list for the food you bring for the potluck.  We do have some attendees with dietary restrictions (gluten, nuts, etc) and this would help them to enjoy the feast.  We will share some greens from our high tunnel!

This is a family friendly event.  If you have a lawn game you wish to play, feel free to bring it.  We have a limited number of lawn chairs and we do have some dishes.  So, bring a chair and it would not hurt if you brought a few plates, etc in case we run out.

If weather permits, we will light a bonfire.  If it is too windy, we will have to wait until the wind dies down. 

We hope to see CSA members and friends of the farm there.

Rob & Tammy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Lyrics by A Man with a Hat

It must be that time of year again...

Last year we had The Safety Plantz

This year...

I Wanna Wash My Hands
(sung to the tune of I Wanna Hold Your Hand by the Beatles)

Oh yeah, I´ll tell you something
I think you'll understand
When I say there’s something
… something on my hands
I wanna wash my hands
I wanna wash my hands

Oh, please, say to me
You'll let me drop this can
and please, say to me

This isn’t what you planned
Now let me wash my hands
I wanna wash my hands

And when I clean the coop, it’s crappy, inside
It's such a feeling
That the smells
I can't hide
I can't hide
I can't hide

Yeah you, got that something
I think you'll understand
When I say there's something
You’d better wash your hands
You’d better wash your hands
Please go and wash your hands

And in wet compost, I try not to slide
It's such a feeling
Through my gloves
I can't hide
I can't hide
I can't hide

Hey we, got into something
I think you'll understand
When I say that something
Makes us wanna wash our hands
We wanna wash our hands
Please let us wash our hands
We wanna wash our ha-a-a-a-a-a-ands

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mad Dash

When the forecast calls for rain, the farmers (on this farm at least) tend to get a bit frantic.  Yes, we need rain to make things grow.  so, we won't exactly complain about the rain right now.  But, we can't do certain work when it is raining or until fields dry after a rain.  So.....

things get crazy around here when we know rain is coming.

I think neither of us sat down for much more than ten minutes at a time during the day today.  Unless you count the time we were on various tractors.  And, I'm not sure you would call that sitting with the nice bumpy ground we have out here.  It's more like a spinal adjustment.

Rather than give a run down of what we did - we thought it would be fun to give a few observations each of us had throughout the last few days.

  • There is a mingling of pride and consternation when one checks the "to do" list at 9am and realizes that the things accomplished so far for the day would normally be enough to make a person pleased with the effort... for the day.  But, we were only 1/4 through the list.  Good thing we were only 1/4 of the way through the day!
  • One tray of cauliflower seedlings can take you about 90 feet down a row.  And it takes an awful lot of onion seedlings to do a 'two abreast' row of 200 feet.
  • The seed potatoes arrived today.  We wanted to put them in right away - but there was the simple matter of brassica, onions, cucumbers and peas to plant, tall grass to be mowed down, seedbeds to be prepared, a market on Saturday AM, a Spring CSA distribution on Saturday, chores to be done AND Gilder to frame for it.
  • I keep telling myself - "Self, get the digital camera out.  People want to see pictures."  Unfortunately, my self replies with, "YOU go get the camera, I'm busy."   I'm not sure if this is a good sign when one's own self is indignant with a request...  I'll have a word with him later.
  • Came up with a name for our new BCS tiller.  Barty.  A prize for anyone who can tell us why we named it Barty.
  • Felt complimented when a member of the roller derby team, the Push-up Brawlers told us we must be the official farm of the team.  We have three illustrious CSA members who participate on the team. 
  • Back to the sitting down thing.  It's actually a dangerous thing to sit down on the farm (for us anyway).  The exception is if we are sitting on a tractor to do a job of some type.  But, if we stop moving, it's amazing how quickly the "tireds" can move in.  It's even worse if a cat happens to see you sitting down.  Quickest way to take an unplanned nap.
  • And, it is kind of scary when you compliment each other on eating supper early - at 8:30 pm.
Happy Friday!

Tom Sawyer Day Reschedule

the reschedule of last week's Tom Sawyer Day is Sunday 2-5pm at the farm.  (May 22).  If you plan on attending, please let us know.

If you wish to learn more about what a Tom Sawyer day is - go to our website (www.genuinefauxfarm.com) and put mouse over "events" then choose "tom Sawyer Day"

now - to get outside before the rain gets here.

Rob & Tammy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It's time for a blogging update about the farm.  We'll try and take some pictures and put them out here soon.  But, it always seems to fall down the "to do" list - and there you are. 

So, for now - let us entertain you with some short stories or news of the farm:

We've had some upheaval on the farm as we contracted work to get electricity into two of our outbuilding that did not have it before.  It can be pretty difficult when you have to adjust all of your activities around multiple pieces of equipment and people with different agendas on the farm.  We keep telling us it will be worth it in the end.  It will, won't it?

Roughing It
Farming season is truly in full swing when our hands are rough enough to exfoliate one's face.  And, since I have a tendency to rub my jaw when I'm contemplating a problem on the farm...  Well, let's just say if part of my face looks clean shaven, it may not be because I have shaved....

Yes, the large Silver Maple that was growing out of the garage foundation was taken down late last year.  Yes, we are still trying to clean it up.  Yes, we are getting tired of working on it.  Yes, it does help build muscles.  Yes, we're approaching completion.

I said "Porches," not "Porsches!"
Our back porch has been an Achilles heal for this house ever since we moved here.  The roof leaked for some time... You don't need the laundry list.  However, Tammy's parents visited and put in some time working on making it less, well, you know.  It's good to see some progress. 

I'd rather HAVE gas than BUY gas
Ok.  We understand if people want to complain about how much it costs to fill up their vehicles.  However, consider this - when we fill up our truck, we usually fill up the gas cans that we use for the tractors and tillers on the farm.  We usually don't let the truck run much below the halfway point on the gauge.  Yet, we find ourselves paying three digits on the fill each time.  If *you* are paying $100 or more for a fill and you don't need that gas guzzler...  The good news - we are using less gas than we did last year at this time thanks to Durnik, the Ford 8n/9n tractor.

That's all my brain can do for a day.  Sad, isn't it?  We'll do better next time!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bread for the World (Part 2)

There is no doubt that there are many "food insecure" people in the world.  And, more than you think in your home town.  So what's to be done about it?

A few jumbled thoughts from this farmer:

1. Encourage more small farms growing foods for local consumption
Farms just like ours are exactly the sort of small business that people with less money could potentially get started.  Granted, we have some advantages - we were able to buy a farmstead  and we both have strong education backgrounds.  The latter training helps us to climb the learning curves a bit faster.  But, small, diverse farms can be labor intensive businesses.  Labor intensive businesses are the sort that employ more people - often people who have limits on their employment options for whatever reason.  And, often people who work on small, food producing farms get the added benefit of fresh produce as part of the compensation package.

And - while we're at it - let's work on removing the stigma that physical labor is somehow unrewarding, unskilled and something to avoid at all costs. 

2. Make land available to farms of this type
Iowa is a good example.  Approximately 5 years ago, land near us sold for approximately $3500 an acre.  I just read an ad where sealed auction bids were to start at $7500 an acre for comparable farmland in the region.  Absentee land ownership is increasing as people seek to make land an investment vehicle.  Granted, some of these folks treat the land well - but many (probably most) do not.  A large percentage of the land is rented out - to farms that grow corn/soybeans with little to no attention given to how the land is farmed.

As long as we continue to see land and commodity crops as investment vehicles, we will see land costs continue to increase.  A huge portion of the land in Iowa is owned by people who are retirement age or older.  There should be incentive for them to sell their farms to someone who WANTS to farm - and do it well.  Instead, we seem intent on locking up a key resource so it can't help to keep our population fed.

3. Level the farming 'playing field'
Before people think that I'm calling for my share of subsidies, etc etc.  Let me first point out that whatever I might get now or in the future from the government for what I do will never compare to what commodity crop growers receive.  It's a function of farm size and farm type.

Now, let me also say that I don't necessarily want any subsidies.  What I want is to have the right to farm the way I farm.  But, it is difficult to do what I do when subsidies regiment how everyone else farms.  I don't want to do anything that deprives my neighbors from doing their farm work.  Yet, I somehow feel that the onus is on me to always show that I'm not infringing on them.  Even when the techniques and seed they use can impact me so easily.

How can we expect new farmers to enter the field when the cost of entering the fray is prohibitive?  All this does is shut people out from yet another way to do what we Americans seem to believe is part of what makes this country great - the ability to pull oneself up by their 'bootstraps.'  

4. Education, stupid!

I still point to the blitz to educate kids about the hazards of cigarette smoking and the success that effort had in changing our culture.  A full effort to educate people about how to grow, store, prepare, present and eat good food can lead to a better fed populace.

Many food insecure people believe that they get more for their money when they buy a bag of potato chips than if they buy a head of broccoli.  Part of the issue is that the skill of preparing foods and making the most of what is in season has been lost by most of our population.  So, I ask you.  Why don't we have a food unit in our schools for every year of education?

5. Every food pantry should have storage capability for fresh food, etc
Our food pantries are on the front lines of the battle.  Let's arm them with the tools to make this successful.  Get them proper storage facilities.  Get them connection to people who can teach food preparation and cooking classes.  Get the connections to people who can teach canning and freezing.  Get them a big pool of recipes.  Connect them with gardening opportunities for those with low income.   While they do not have to do all of this, I still see the food pantry as an entry point to help the food insecure.

6. Extend WIC, FMNP and school food programs to help day care, schools and assisted living facilities buy fresh and local foods.
As farmers' market vendors, we are aware of the coupons issued to give folks who qualify some funds to buy fresh food at the farmers' market.  However, if a parent is already unlikely to go to a farmers' market or use fresh produce, they may not use the coupons.  In the case of seniors, many of them are unable to get to the market.  So - let's get the food to where many of these folks are. 

I'm finding I could type on this for quite a while, but don't have the time to do so.  Feel free to add on this topic!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ramping Up....

Here it is.... May - and the temps have gone through the roof today.  Don't worry, I'm sure they'll come back down enough to make us all wonder if we were dreaming.

The farm is beginning to get into full swing and the CSA season is approaching.  So, we thought it was time for a newsy, farm reportish type of post.  There is much of substance here - read it all and you may learn something you wanted to learn!

CSA Signups:
We are currently at 86 members signed up for the 2011 season.  Last year we had 111 signed up and we schedule for 120 slots.  So, folks - we could use a little word of mouth power!  Our goal is to get 14 more to reach 100.  Obviously, we'd prefer to get to 120.  But, that seems out of reach right now.  Obviously, our deadlines on our brochures and website do not apply.  We're still taking applications.

GFF and KUNI public radio:
In an effort to promote the CSA and to support public radio.  Genuine Faux Farm has underwritten KUNI for a short period of time.  Listen for the little blurbs that promote us and tell us if you hear them.    We figure we have supported public radio with donations - so why not increase the amount and underwrite their work with our farm?

CSA Members Welcome!
To all of you who have joined us already for 2011 - Welcome!  At this point, we anticipate starting deliveries the first FULL week of June.  Waverly (June 7) and Cedar Falls (June 9).  Things we want you to know from the outset:
1. Bring a bag(s) or box to pick up your produce.
2. Make it habit to come to the pick up location each week.  If you can, give yourself a couple minutes to converse with other CSA members or your farmers.  It really does increase the value of your share.
3. The first weeks start slow (though we're doing things to try to increase the early produce).  It's the nature of growing things in Iowa.  Just you wait until late July all the way through October!
4. If there are problems or questions - we want you to let us know.  We can do nothing for you if you say nothing!

Waverly Farmers' Market:
The Waverly Farmers' Market began on Saturday and will continue on Saturdays until mid-October.  It is located on the 200 block of 1st Ave SE (by the post office) in Waverly.  8:30am-11:30am
Tuesdays will begin the on the 7th of June.  3pm-6pm

Heirloom Plant Sales:
The season for our heirloom plant sales is upon us.  We have a wide range of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  We would be happy to start other plants for you if you ask.  If you ask for something that we think you would do just as well to plant from seed, we will tell you that.  Email us with a request, come to the Saturday markets and browse and buy - or otherwise arrange to get them.  We are looking at having a date or two where we set up in Tripoli.

Want an idea as to the tomatoes we grow - check this web page on our site!  Want to see our general information on varieties we grow (a work in progress) - go here.

Spring CSA:
A small, pioneering group has helped us kick off our Spring CSA expansion this year.  We are hopeful that what we learn this year will provide us with the ability to expand this service to more people next season.  We prefer to start these things small so we can get a feel for what it will take before we dive right in.  This season, our goal was to provide six weeks of produce (generally greens).  A thank you to the fine individuals who are working with us on this first trial.

We are raising broilers (chickens), turkeys and ducks this year.  Our first batch of broilers (200 of them) are about 12 days old right now and will ready to 'go to the park' when they are 10-12 weeks old.  If you want to reserve some birds, let us know by email.  Give it the subject line "poultry" to help me sort.

You may also reserve ducks or turkeys at any point (same subject line).  We do not take deposits on these.  We have only had someone back out on us once, which encourages us to continue along these lines.

Pricing for 2011 is being reviewed.  Our feed cost went up 18% and you all know what is happening to fuel prices.  But, we don't want to increase our prices unless we ascertain that these are likely to stay at these higher prices.

The eggs shares are also under review to figure out how to make them work during the CSA season and beyond.  The tracking process is not as easy as we need it to be - so we are looking at making some adjustments to make it easier for all of us.   Those of you who requested egg shares for the CSA season - please be patient.  We have not forgotten you.  And, if you have paid for eggs on contract, your contract will be fulfilled.  We just need to revamp our tracking so it works throughout the season - rather than falling down each time our situation changes with Tammy going back to school, etc etc. 

Festival Dates:
Our festival dates are set!  We still need to update the web page with these - but hope to do so yet tonight.

Iris Festival: May 30 (our traditional Memorial Day event)
Summer Fest: August 27
GF7: October 2

If you with to know more - check our web page and use these dates if they differ when you visit it!

Tom Sawyer Days:
Tom Sawyer Days are volunteer work days that are open to anyone who might like to experience working on the farm.  You need not be a CSA member to join us on these days.  BUT - we do like to know who is coming so we can plan for the event!  We have moved our Tom Sawyer Days around so they do not land on the same day of the week.

Our TSD's are: May 14, June 11, July 15, August 13, September 11 and October 16.

NOTE: the first one is THIS SATURDAY!  Anyone up for it?  Give us a note.

Why should you attend a festival or a work day?
It's not about us wanting to get your "free" labor.  It's not about popularity nor is it about gaining sympathy for the hard work we have to do.  It's about *connecting you to your food and how it is grown*.  We believe too many people are disconnected from the production of something each of us needs every single day.  Let's do something about that together.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Music to Work By

It's probably no secret - since we post it here - that Rob likes his music.  And he's been enjoying some pretty good stuff as he works lately.

Some CD's getting some serious play time of late:
- the violet burning - The Story of Our Lives
- Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity.
- Over the Rhine - Ohio
- Midnight Oil - Capricornia
- Lost Dogs - Old Angel
- Innocence Mission - Umbrella
- the Choir - Burning Like the Midnight Sun
- the Choir - Chase the Kangaroo
- the Call - Reconciled (RIP Michael Been)
- Anberlin - Dark is the Way, Light is a Place

wait - that's only 10

- Undercover - Forum

there - this list goes to 11.

Now, here's hoping the fact that the buttons on my iPod acting flaky isn't a forerunner to the death of said machine....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Black and Blue Division

It must be Spring at the Genuine Faux Farm.  We can tell because the number of bruises, cuts, sore muscles and joints and other various dings are getting harder to track.  The conversations Tammy and I have sometimes might be disconcerting, confusing or amusing depending on how you're feeling at the moment.

"Where'd you get *that* bruise?"
"Which bruise?"
"*THAT* one."
"Oh, I don't know.  I think that's where I ran into the tailgate on the truck... no, wait.. that was *this* bruise..."
"It looks painful."
"I suppose, but it only hurts if you bump it into the tailgate on the truck..."

Or maybe we come to wrong conclusions such as this one:

Rob earlier in the evening. "You know, I was really dreading how I would feel at the end of the week.  I'm not as sore as I thought I would be."

Rob later in the evening (after sitting down for dinner).  "Uh oh.  I think I'm really dreading how I'll feel in the morning."

And, yet another disturbing conversation:
Tammy, digging into the cabinet in the bathroom:  "Hm, we don't have any bigger bandaids.  We just have a bunch of these little bandaids."

Rob: "Pffft.  If we had a cut the size of those little things we wouldn't bother with a bandaid.  Maybe we should donate them to the daycare."

Other things we notice (with maybe some exaggeration for effect) this time of year.

- Our hands are so rough and dry if we touch a lotion bottle our hands wick all of the lotion out of the bottle without having to open it.
- The amount of dust that gets blown into our ears is enough to start  a small patch of arugula.
- We walked so much this weekend that the soles of our shoes lost a quarter inch of thickness.  And we've noticed that it *IS* uphill both ways (to and from wherever we're going)
- Our blisters have callouses.   Or is that the other way around?

No actual farmers were hurt in the writing of this post - just the faux ones.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Local Schmocal

Perhaps you're all tired of being preached at.  Or maybe, an abstract statement about how supporting local business will improve the local economy isn't enough.  So - here's what we're going to do.  Here is an exercise to show you how THIS local business supports the local economy simply because YOU support it by purchasing its product.

As a local business, we are more aware of other persons trying to make their own small businesses be successful.  Thus, we are often on the lookout for these options when we are in the market for something in particular.

Examples of expenses our farm has distributed to local businesses:
- printing  (The Printery in Waverly)
- liability insurance (Pfile Insurance in Tripoli)
- poultry feed (Frantzen Farms near New Hampton)
- plant starting medium and supplies (Beautiful Land in West Branch)
- seeds (many from Seed Savers in Decorah)
- fruit bearing plants (K and K Gardens in Hawkeye)
- granary roofing (Gingerich Construction in Hazelton)
- electrical work (John Axon in Tripoli)
- shoes (Thompson Shoes in Waverly)
- shoe repair (Deke's Shoe Repair in Waverly)
- hay and straw (multiple places)
- new tiller (through LeRoy's Repair in Nashua)
- lumber (from E&M in Sumner and Hasbrouk in Tripoli)

We realize some of these don't fit some definitions of 'local' - but in those cases they are often about as local as we can get them.  And, the list is not complete - and much is simplified to simply make the point.

In general, these are all expenses we would not have if we were not operating our farm business.  You may argue that we would still buy shoes.  But, I can tell you that our need for shoes, shoe repair and shoe replacement is higher than most because of what we do.  But, this is beside the point.  A business generates expenses.

Is it possible that not all small/local businesses work as hard to find local sources or retailers?  Of course it is.   Perhaps we are more idealistic about it than some.  But, I stand by the statement that local businesses owners are much more aware of the needs of other local businesses.  And, if an appropriate partnership can be arranged with another local business, it tends to be done.

'Nuff said

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Policy Post?

I don't think we've used the blog or newsletter for this purpose much.  However, I am unsettled by news from MOSES regarding the possibility that two important programs may be defunded.

These two programs are, in my opinion, two of the very best.  ATTRA and SARE.  ATTRA provides numerous resources to farmers - including us.  Their website is a great example of their work.  The quality and quantity of information there is staggering.  SARE encourages farmers to continue research towards exploring how to farm sustainably.  If we're going to cut anything, we should consider cutting subsidies to those who make millions on super farms and encourage intelligent and careful research that work towards better farming techniques.

MOSES did a fine job of summarizing below:

Organic and sustainable farmers know knowledge is a powerful tool, bringing innovation to their production systems and resulting in improved efficiencies and better economic returns.

The House has voted to slash the ATTRA budget, which could result in disappearance of their numerous bulletins and toll free information line. Almost 6 million sustainable agriculture bulletins were downloaded from the ATTRA website in 2010 alone, passing on information that can be found nowhere else. The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (also called ATTRA) offers professional, personalized help to farmers and ranchers across the nation looking for information on a wide variety of crop, livestock, energy, and marketing matters. 

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) funds research, education, and extension initiatives. SARE has consistently delivered cutting edge research and technology that is farmer-driven, regionally led, and outcomes-oriented. SARE research has provided farmers with practical production techniques that are environmentally friendly and economically sound.

Congress is about to make decisions on their priorities for the 2012 funding bill. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Tom Latham sit on the subcommittees that decide agricultural funding levels. It’s important that you let them know you want to see full funding restored to the ATTRA at $3.0 million and SARE funded at $30 million.

It just takes a minute to call Senator Harkin’s office at (202) 224-3254. Ask for his aide, Richard Bender, or leave your message with the receptionist.

Please also call Representative Latham’s office at (202) 225-5476. Ask for his aide, Emily Clark, or leave your message with the receptionist.

The message is simple:  “Thank you for your past support. Please fund National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) at $3 million and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) competitive grants program at $30 million, as requested by President Obama, to increase farm income, increase farming opportunities, increase alternative energy, and increase jobs.” If you have a personal statement describing your interaction with ATTRA or SARE, please tell them that as well.

Click here to learn more about SARE on the NSAC website:   

Click here to learn more about the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service:

Happy To Doooosday

Every once in a while, we like to post a 'what we have done today' list so people have an idea as to what tasks the farm requires of us.  One of the best (and sometimes worst) things about the farm is that a very wide range of activities are required of us.  We had a crew of three for much of yesterday, so here is a sample of what was done.

What did we do today (Wednesday was a To Dooosday)?
- Fed and watered the laying flock and collected eggs
- Fed and watered the broiler chicks (they're a week old already!)
- Fed and watered the cats....they didn't like being watered so much
- move 4-tier cold frames out of garage
- move carts with plants out of garage
- Sorted recycling and took it to the drop off in Tripoli
- paid some bills, dropped them in the mail and picked up mail in Tripoli
- opened up the high tunnel because it's a nice sunny day!
- moved stainless sink and counters from north side of granary
- moved portable chicken coop from north side of granary
- cleaned up metal around granary for recycling
- moved hog panels to back side of poultry pavillion
- moved chicken feeders to " "
- Ok - we moved lots of stuff around.  Why?  We will have roofers coming this month for the granary - can't have stuff around it.
- Performed a dance of the seedling trays - onions out of high tunnel for final hardening off period, brassica into high tunnel, tomatoes up from basement, etc etc. 
- water lots of seedling trays
- water transplants in SW plot
- put in lettuce, collard and broccoli transplants (SW) and water them in
- use the new (working!) BCS tiller to make seedbeds in the SW
- plant spinach, radish, turnip, carrot, chard, arugula and mustard seed
- repair a hose (aaaaa duct tape - so what?  it's not a permanent repair!)
- do spring wash of most of our trays, tubs and coolers (really, we have THAT MANY????)
- better pick some veg for Andrea to take home!
- get one of the JD mowers running
- fill multiple tires with air
- put together the grass catching trailer
- mow and mulch - yes, it is that time of year again. 
- mulch the new transplants and mulch the asparagus plots - not coming up yet.
- start up Durnik and do some primary tillage in 3 different plots
- discover a broken cable from the ignition to the starter on Durnik - ah well - we'll have to fix that one of these days.  For now, you can hold the cable to the starter and  ... zzzzzzzzt!
- Take down cattle panels
- cut down some unwanted invasive plants in a fence line
- tack up a fence that is falling down
- pull down pots and flats for transplants
- sort pots for resuse out.
- transplant 120 tomatoes into pots
- receive an order from Beautiful Land Products and unpack it - discover one item isn't quite right, but the rest is perfect.
- check 4" soil temperature in the SW  (51 degrees F - for those who are curious)
- put all cleaned and dried containers onto their appropriate shelves
- had a very nice kale and spinach fritata for lunch
- ok, we could only manage leftovers for dinner - but it WAS good.  Chicken from the farm and a good chard/pasta dish Tammy made a few days ago.
- wash the sheets and another load of laundry, line dry and and put away - ahhhh clean sheets!
- put hens away, check on chicklets
- close up high tunnel for the night
- make sure all tools are collected and put under shelter for the night
- move the 4-tier cold frames into garage
- move carts with plants into garage
- respond to CSA email queries and other emails
- console unhappy and unjustly ignored kittens (or so they claimed this was the case)
- read a book for a while (T)
- stare at the computer and pretend that he might try to do some office work (R)

Good job!  Let's see if we can do half as well today!