Friday, October 26, 2012

One Week

It's been a busy week, so I thought I'd post a summary of the week for interested persons.  Part of the motivation is the question I often get from people "So, what do you have to do once the Farm Share CSA ends?"

This is a partial answer.

There was much painting on the truck barn done by Mom & Dad Zenk.  The weather was good for it and many hands were willing to work on it, even if two sets of hands needed to do other things.  Monday ended up being a big paperwork day for Rob, and Tammy was in at Wartburg for a very long day.  There was alot of promoting and organizing for the extended season CSA, turkeys, stewing hens and ducks.  It's at times when I'm doing these kinds of things that I remind myself that it is all good in the end.  We end up with 24 Extended Season members, which we feel is a reasonable number to keep things worthwhile without being too stressful.

A nice day all around.  This is a good thing since we have the first week of the extended season Farm Share CSA to deliver in Waverly today.  Tammy was at Wartburg, but Rob had the help of Mom & Dad Zenk for this delivery - and it was much appreciated.  Rob picked and they got to clean, pack and bundle.  We managed shares that included lettuce, kale, chard, arugula (2 types), mustard (2 types), broccoli, onions, garlic and potatoes.  We remembered to bring eggs and printed the proper things for tracking everything that went on.  Distribution ran from 4 to 6pm at St Andrews Church in Waverly.  We went and had a little dinner and then zipped home.  Managed to do chores and then we went to the area where the retiring hens were and loaded them up.  The great thing about chickens (if you raise them and wish to process them) is that they are very mellow when they've roosted.  So, it was fairly simply to pick each one up and get it into a crate.  It's only difficult when they roost in a difficult spot.  Our first of several trips to Greene and Martzahn's Farm for poultry processing occurred that evening once the three crates were loaded into Chumley the truck.

A pretty nice day with a bit of wind and then some storms overnight.
The big dirt pile behind the garage didn't get the 'love' it was supposed to get earlier in the season.  It was used to fill a few holes in our traffic paths, but some of the area was supposed to be worked to make a bed for some plants.  So, progress was made on that front.  We ran Durnik out to the potatoes and slid around a bit trying to dig the last two rows.  We managed one and a third.  We got them pulled, but we think it was mostly mud with some tater.  Some repairs were made in the new chicken room (additions made to the hen box and a repair to a roost). And, we did need to go get the stewing hens from the processor midday.  It was a bit windy, so some painting was done on the East side of the truck barn only.  That may be all that gets done for the season.  We managed to get polycarbonate sheets up into the rafters for storage and got coolers, etc put away from Tuesday's veg deliveries.  We began a migration of frozen things from outdoor freezers to our indoor freezer.  The impending arrival of turkeys, the arrival of stewing hens and the remaining ducks will make this a near thing.  The real highlight (?) was loading the turkeys for their trip to the "park" (Martzahn's Farm for processing in Greene,IA).  We loaded 30 of the 49 birds and decided it would be too crowded to do them all in one trip.  So, we drove there (45 mins) unloaded (10 mins) and drove back (45 mins) and loaded the rest (10 mins), etc....  Not the most efficient solution, but it was what we had at that time, so we did it.  We were pleased to be back before midnight.  And, in fact, it was more like 11:00 pm. 

Very cool and very windy and rain on and off during the day.  After the days prior, this is hard to take.  Thursday was a our big 'poultry day.'  We ended up sleeping a little longer than usual since we only have the hens to worry about now (as far as chores are concerned).  But, once up, we had to take the outdoor kittens to the vet for shots and clean out the truck.  Hey, we just had 49 turkeys in the back - they are not toilet trained.  We had to spend time trying to make sure we were set up for everyone who wanted to get their birds today.  It doesn't seem like it should take that long, but it always does.  We packed up stewing hens and a couple of ducks and then went to Greene and Martzahn's Farm where the birds were processed.  About 45 to 50 minutes later, we are being quizzed by Ardi.  "What do you think the biggest one weighed?"  Tammy wins by nearly hitting it dead on (26.55lbs).  We load up the 49 turkeys and head to Waverly, getting there a minute before the 3pm time we told everyone we would be there by.  Nice.  At 4:30, we are done after delivering 22 turkeys, 22 stewing hens and 2 ducks.  Quick drive to Fredericka where the locker takes 22 more turkeys for freezing.  We had to do some quick moving to get the hay rack into the truck barn and the yellow cart out.  Then, we transferred the potatoes to the hay rack.  Got to keep those things a bit warmer than the outside will do.  Not sure what else happened after that, but there was some more promoting of the birds and some record keeping.  Dad Zenk managed a win in Ticket to Ride in the evening, so there was some fun and games!

Today was cool and windy, with some sunshine early.  Tammy did some baking to donate to a local Tripoli event.  We've started breaking the garlic into cloves so we can plant (thanks Dad Z).  And the curtains Mom Zenk made are now up (yay!).  We needed to replenish chicken feed for our hens, so a trip to Frantzen Farm north of New Hampton was in order.  Now, we have a bin full of 3000 pounds of feed to keep our hens happy for two to three months.  The season for irrigation is over, so we brought in two hose reels with 300 or so feet of hose on each - but that's just the beginning for cleaning up the irrigation equipment.  We also began to clean up the cold frame area.  Since temps are getting very cool the next several days, we had to be sure all of the potatoes and pie pumpkins were in a closed building.  That meant some rearranging in all three buildings..or was it four?  The hay rack is loaded down with potatoes and pumpkins now - and in the truck barn.  Oh, and we had to clean out the truck again...  Glad the new topper makes that easier to do.

Of course, Saturday has yet to happen.  But, it is forecast to be cool, sunny and calm. 
If the forecast holds true, we will be moving the high tunnel (building) to its Eastern position tomorrow.  We have to have a calm day to accomplish this, so that's the plan.  Tammy and Mom Zenk are going to do the annual Stoellen bread baking and I believe we plan on eating the last turkey from 2011 for dinner.  If we are able, we hope to drain more of the irrigation lines and pull them in.  It would be overly ambitious to say that we'll get some covers on a few of the crops still in the field.  But, it is on the list.  Here's hoping I have the energy to do it.

And beyond...
We've got to finish the freezer shuffle in hopes that we can fit 22 turkeys into the remaining space on Monday.  It's going to be close.  Tuesday has an extended season CSA to pick, clean and pack for, but this time Rob goes solo.  We also plan on delivering eggs and poultry on Tuesday in Waverly.  And, eggs/poultry will be delivered in Cedar Falls on Thursday.  Assuming we don't get more rain, the fields should be dry enough for field prep to plant garlic.  As soon as the beds are made, we'll need to put them in.  That process includes breaking the rest of the heads apart.  Once planted, we'll need to spread straw mulch to keep them from 'heaving' over the Winter.  The cold frame area cleaning should be finished by the end of the week and we need to finish work with the irrigation lines.  Portable fences for poultry, the portable buildings and all of the other equipment needs to be gathered from the fields and brought to their Winter locations.  That's likely enough to take us through next week!

Tune in later and we'll regale you with more adventures in farming!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your input! We appreciate hearing what you have to say.