Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Under the Radar

There are numerous tasks on the farm that we do regularly, but we don't give them enough thought to remember to put them into our mental 'time eaters' list. We all know tasks like this. Doing dishes - for example - is a thing in many households that takes a small chunk of time, it isn't particularly onerous and it isn't usually a big enough deal to take note of it....except that it needs to be done over and over and...

  1. Cleaning coolers and containers after a CSA distribution. If we asked people in the CSA (or elsewhere) to try to think of tasks their local veg farmer might have to do, I bet this one would not be mentioned once. And yet, every one of those containers and flats have to be rinsed out (at the least) and given a chance to dry. Then they need to be put away, only to be taken out again in a day or two. It would be one thing if it was a couple of containers. But, we are usually looking at 10 coolers, 20-40 flats and 10-20 tubs. It's not horrible - but it shouldn't be ignored when allocating time!
  2. Washing towels. This is particularly important when we are in 'greens' season. And, since we're trying to extend the lettuce season for as much of the CSA distribution period as we can...ok, you get the point. We use towels as part of our hydrocooling and drying. They are also used to cover the ice packs in the bottoms of the cooler and collect the moisture. Some may also notice we use the towels to keep greens fresh during pickup times. These get enough dirt on them each time to require care.
  3. Garden data recording. Ok - we will first grant that R is a bit more interested than most in his numbers. However, it has made organic certification that much easier when we can answer questions accurately and well that are of interest to our certifiers. The better the tracking data, the more accountable we can be to you and to them. The more data we have, the better we will be at figuring out what we have to grow and when to keep everyone happy and run a (hopefully) profitable farm. But, here's the deal, if we don't do something with it EVERY DAY - it falls apart. Usually, R tries to do some work with it each evening - but is often a bit too tired at that point. But, it gets done.
  4. Personal contact tasks. I couldn't come up with anything better than that to describe the phone calls, emails, etc etc. That crop up on us every week for things that have to get done. For example, this week has us trying to figure out processing for meat chickens, a possible pork buy, a possible bison buy, a billing issue, etc In and of themselves, none of these are awful. It's just that they add up and often get missed because they aren't at the top of the list with things like 'pick for today's CSA distribution!'
  5. Poultry distractions. Yes, there are normal chores - let birds out, feed birds, give birds water, pick up eggs, herd birds back in for the night. But, every day, there are things that happen that require our attention. Raccoon in the chicken pasture, turkey in the gardens (a no-no), chicken by the house (also a no-no) - you name it - there is always something.
And perhaps I should add - do a blog entry to that list? But, since I am doing several in a row on a day after rain - maybe that one doesn't qualify?

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