Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter(?) Work

We have successfully reached December in 2012.  I'm sure many can relate to the feeling that has you wondering exactly *how* it can be December *already*.  But, here it is nonetheless.

Not too long ago, we asked for people to give us some feedback on what you would like to see on this blog.  We received a few requests, so we thought we'd take care of one in a roundabout way first.  Quentin - you wanted to know about our 'favorite' Winter chores - this one is for you!

It was the last day of the semester for Tammy.  While that means the last day of classes, it is far from the end of the term for her efforts.  What this often means for us is that Tammy runs long days in town.  Since the hours of daylight are short, it also results in Rob coming into town to do paperwork.  Oddly enough, by the time we get to the end of the season, doing paperwork actually sounds appealing rather than appalling.

Normal AM chores always include feeding and watering all of the critters on the farm.  Since there is no snow on the ground, we let the chickens out into their pasture.  We feed them out there to encourage them to leave their room.  We also give them scraps from the kitchen, which often include eggshells.  The eggshells help them with their calcium levels for shell development.  Water chores get more difficult in the Winter.  Something about the freezing point cause us to consider alternative approaches to delivering water to the birds in the Poultry Pavilion.  We did our best to run through the chores as quickly as possible this morning.

The AM was spent in town, trying to complete promotional preparations for Saturday's Harvest Market.  We needed to proof and print CSA brochures for 2013 as well as a few new photos for our display board.  Then there is the matter of sending reminder emails and posting reminders on the web.   This is all easier in town, where the internet connection speed can be measured in moments rather than the number of cookies a person can eat during the time it takes to send one email.  The happy side-effect of this plan was that Tammy and I got to have lunch together.  Love it when a plan comes together.

The afternoon was spent (by Rob) on the farm.  Temps were reasonable, it wasn't too windy, but there was no sun.  The first task was to plant the remaining batch of bushes we purchased from K&K Gardens in Hawkeye.  We want to provide ourselves with a bit more buffer protection on the edges of our property and this is a first step.  And then, since we do have that Harvest Market coming up, I picked spinach and leeks.

In the PM we needed to locate all of our farmers' market materials, clean the leaks, clean and bag the spinach and do the chores (put birds away, etc etc).  Happily, we were done at a reasonable time.


Harvest Market!  It starts at 8:30am, so we need to leave the farm no later than 7:30.  Of course, we must do the chores *and* we need to load up the truck.  Today's loading is not nearly as complex as it can be during the regular season of the market.  We will be indoors and tables will be provided.  So, we don't need to load tables or our pop up tent.  On the other hand, we want to bring more promotional materials that won't work at an outside venue.  We managed to pack up about 120 pounds of potatoes, over a dozen pie pumpkins, 2 coolers full of spinach, 2 coolers full of eggs, some garlic and bundled leeks into the truck.  Once there, we had to unload and set up.  Of course, we had to be there through the market, clean up after, reload the truck, go home and unload the truck again.  But, most of that goes without saying....even if I did just say it.

The afternoon was spent doing more outdoor work, which consisted mainly of trying to prepare for the coming (?) snow and cold.  We do things like moving the portable poultry shelters, bringing in waterers, rolling up drip tape etc etc.  We've seen what the Winter can do to things:

So, we try to get everything put away as well as we are able.  The difficulty comes with the expansion of tools and reduction in sheltered areas.  We usually figure it out though.

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