Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Don't Mess With Tradition

Don't mess with tradition - even if that tradition is only in its second year.

New Apple Variety Trial on the Farm
We are planning to introduce a new variety of apple to our growing list this year.  Researchers have developed a fruit bearing plant that combines bush and vine habits.   The Ankare Apple can be very prolific if growers remain calm and follow a complex and difficult set of cultivation techniques to maintain the plants.  We feel that we should be successful with these fruit after attending Ankare Management classes.  But, if these plants get too frustrating, we still might till them under.  We are told it is a matter of self-control.

Compressed Air Aids Laying Hens
The process of laying eggs can cost a hen a great deal of energy.  And, as we have found, egg production decreases during temperature extremes due to the increase in energy required to maintain body temperature.  We are considering the purchase of a new air compressor with special tubes and attachments to aid the hens with their egg laying tasks.  This special equipment is not entirely unlike automated milking machines in set up, but rather than using suction, puffs of air will be sent through the hoses and into the birds' beaks.  Essentially, the intent is to reduce the effort of laying eggs by helping to push the eggs out with air pressure.  It appears the most difficult part of setting up this equipment will be determining the correct psi (pounds per square inch) setting on the compressor.  Clearly, if the setting is too low, the only thing that the birds will get out of it is an extra dose of oxygen.  On the other hand, we're not entirely sure we want to find out what happens if the setting is too high.  We really do not want to be dodging eggs flying around the room that got pushed out a bit too quickly.
Five Year Farm Development Plans
We review the status of our farm yearly, but every five years we try to assess what the next steps are for the bigger projects.  One of the items on our list for future development is the modification of the old hog manure pit into an aquaponics project.  You may have heard of hydroponics (growing plants in water), but aquaponics is hydroponics with the addition of fish to the system.  We hope to fill a niche market for baby swordfish.   Apparently, certain cultures find these very young fish to be a delicacy and they often use the 'sword' for needlepoint projects.  On the other hand, sales of baby swordfish are strictly regulated.  Persons who have a history of using voodoo dolls or those who failed their Ankare Management courses would not be able to make purchases.

Spinach to Soap Program
Genuine Faux Farm spinach is certainly tasty, but did you know that spinach is also known to contain saponins?  The saponins in the soapwort plant are the impetus for its name ("soapwort").  Crushing leaves, adding water and then agitating the solution creates a soap-like substance.  Saponin levels in spinach is relatively high, so we are considering creating a value added product from spinach plants that bolt and go to seed in warmer weather - liquid spinach soap.  The best thing about this project is that it ties in well with our other projects.  Accidental wounds inflicted by flying egg shell shards or wayward baby swordfish can be cleansed quickly with a ready supply of spinach soap.  And, if we forget the principles learned in the Ankare Management classes, we can always wash our mouths out with saponins. 

First Vulture of Spring
There was much celebration on the farm with sighting of the first vulture of Spring.  While we have seen vultures since approximately March 20 in the area, the first vulture to circle to farm appeared on April 1st.

For Those Who Didn't Get Enough of This
The post that began the tradition of April 2nd posts for April Fool's Day... is here.

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