Saturday, January 28, 2012

2011 In Review

We received some positive feedback that end of year "top 10 lists" are fun - even if they are done by everyone who can count to eleven.... er... ten.

Our 2010 year in review can be found here for those who have interest: 2010 in Review

And now for the very thing everyone has been waiting for!  Ok, maybe just what some of you has been waiting for...  Well, maybe just a few of you... 
Fine - maybe it's just that kid in the back.  This one's for you "kid in the back," we hope you enjoy this list!
10. See-through Barn
 If you've been reading the blog lately, you'll know we're taking down our old barn.  At present, it is still standing, but you can see right through it. 
9. Tom Sawyer Week
We've done our best to incorporate events known as "Tom Sawyer Days" into our farming.  The idea is to give CSA members and other interested parties a chance to be involved in the farm.  Of course, getting help completing various tasks is part of the goal here, but the primary focus is to promote a connection to growing food - something we feel is being lost.

This year, we attempted a Tom Sawyer Week -where we gave a set of optional times.  Our hope was that this would allow more people to find a way to work a trip into their schedule.  Attendance was moderately higher, but we also found that it felt less like a burden to us using this format.  And, several people got to help free up winter squash.  Our winter squash harvest was reasonable this year thanks to this group's efforts.

8. Barty 
Our new BCS walk behind tractor with tiller was a major purchase for the season.  We planned the purchase carefully and debated relative merits for weeks.  After an early false start, Barty did an admirable job for us.  It was a good purchase and we are grateful that we took the leap to get him.

7. Truck barn gets a facelift
We've always just called this building the 'Truck Barn.'  We don't know why.  So, if you think the name is silly, deal with it, because we are unlikely to change that part of it.  On the other hand, we've changed most of the rest of the building.  We still need to put up a door, put in a walk-in cooler, paint the rest of the building and do a few other things.  But, it really has come a long way.

6. Implements at auction and in action.

 We became a "very real" Faux Farm this season with the purchase and integration of several larger pieces of equipment.  Yes, I suppose we are still a "fake farm" according to many since the "big" equipment is typically older, castoff items that are no longer used on conventional farms.  But, they are exactly what we need, so no apologies there. 

We've learned that used equipment comes with their rewards and their perils.  The hay rack at left works well enough, but one of the front wheels still does not turn left or right.  The two-bottom plow at right helped me to break ground in an effort to square off a plot, but it took some learning time to figure out the right depth and angles to make it work well.

5. Granary-Leaks (not quite wiki-leaks)
This should probably read "NO MORE granary leaks."  The problem with buying a farm with several 'older' existing buildings is that you have to repair all of the buildings.  And, the roof is the number one priority if you hope to save the building at all.  Well, the granary makes the cut and the barn does not.  On to the next steps - putting on better doors and painting the building!

4. Huge Boids!
The truck was riding pretty low when we pulled into the parking lot with the processed birds.  You can imagine how much lower the truck must have been riding on the way to the processor.

2011 was a great year for our poultry.  The only thing we feel was really different in 2011 from 2010 for our birds was the weather.  But, then again, maybe we've improved the pastures and the pasture rotation?  There were more veg thrown to them this year?  Whatever the case may be, they were happy and they were healthy.  We'll take it.
3. Walk This I said *THIS* way.
There were so many changes to our farm this season, we actually found ourselves having to re route our normal walking routes.  In fact, it can be a bit disturbing when you find yourself walking somewhere (with mind on something else) and realize you can't get through to where you are going the way you are walking. 

Major changes included moving the hens from the area east of the barn.  Now that they are in the Poultry Pavilion, we find ourselves treading new paths in the snow.  We rearranged some fields (turning triangles into rectangles), removed some fences, put up other fences, took out a large tree and blamed Gilder for all of it.  Who is Gilder?  Even if you watch the Princess Bride you will only know that it is the sworn enemy of Floren.  So, I guess that may not help you all that much.

2. Gang of Four
 It was a big deal for us, at least.  Four Iowa farms agreed to share work days (a different farm each month from June to September).  And, simply put, we felt it was a success.  There is something about having a chance to share time with people who do the sort of thing you do.  You find out that you are not so special in ways you may have thought you were - and special in ways you thought you weren't.  (Take that any way you want)

But, the most positive thing we got out of the experience was that we are not alone in what we do.  Support groups can go a long ways towards helping you get through a growing season.  Well, that was the second most positive thing.  The first was the opportunity to get to know a really cool group of people better!

Scattergood Farm - West Branch
Genuine Faux Farm - Tripoli

Grinnell Heritage Farm - Grinnell

Blue Gate Farm - Chariton

1. Spinach and a Sunburn...on February 28.

 Yes, you read that one correctly.  We picked spinach and found the sun to be strong enough in the high tunnel to result in a slight sunburn on February 28 in 2011.  Not only did the spinach taste great, it looked great.  And, it did us both some good to do a little bit of work outside/inside. 

While this event might seem a bit small in comparison to the others, consider how different this was from prior years on the farm.  A major change for us in a year full of changes. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Great posting GFF! As a member of the gang of four, I have to say it's an honor to be on the list! We too greatly appreciate the support throughout the growing season. Let 2012 be a positive and plentiful growing season!


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