Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's Officially a Tradition

Since I am having a difficult time being creative today, we'll just get right to it!

High Tunnel Wrinkle Repair Underway

A good sunny day helps, but botox will not.
The past weekend provided us with much needed warmth on the farm.  One of our normal Spring activities is to do routine maintenance on the high tunnel.  Along with fixing breaks, tightening turnbuckles and preparing the soil is the annual job of ironing the plastic.  This is one task we didn't count on when we first purchased the building, but I suppose we should have realized that the plastic would expand and contract given the temperature extremes it is forced to go through every year.  Since this year was exceptionally cold, the plastic is ... well... exceptionally wrinkly.  We hope to get through to the Fall before we replace the plastic, so we spent a good deal of time with a special ironing tool working the plastic back into shape.  Failure to do so would result in inadequate light entering the tunnel, so this is a critical step.

We were so busy with the process that we neglected to get a picture showing you how we got the top of the tunnel completed.  We'll try to show you a picture in the future.

Near Extinct Farming Language Uncovered on the Farm
Maybe this means you need 4 layers of scaffolding to reach this point?

With the warmer weather, we've been able to explore things around the farm a bit more as the mounds of snow disappear.  We took a trip into the remains of the barn and discovered some interesting markings that we had not noticed before.  An example is shown above - please take note of the X over 4 dashes in the vertical beam at the center of the picture. 

Curious about what these markings might mean, we decided to do a little research.  It turns out that some of the Amish communities have senior members who still understand these markings, but the use of these symbols has faded over time.  Apparently, these markings take the place of a user's manual that a person might now expect to receive with any new tool (hey, a barn is a tool!).  For example, these markings were used to indicate where to place straw bales and how deep you could put them without exceeding the building's stress tolerance.  Sadly, the persons we talked too were not willing to share specifics, so all we can do is what the markings might indicate.  We found four vertical lines in an area that we believe was the milking parlor and a blob shape that might be an indicator that the barn needs mucking out.

GFF Starts Plant Breeding Program

Anyone want Pippi Longstocking Kale?

We've been asked if we save seeds on the farm and our answer is both a "yes" and a "no."  We do save garlic clovers for seed and have saved potatoes for seed.  We have also saved zinnias, marigolds and other flower seeds.  However, it is becoming apparent to us that we are ready to take further steps in seed saving, including some hybridizing for amusing characteristics that help us to stand apart from the competition. 

We've got to hand it to that carrot - it is amusing!

We have always said that it is the taste that matters, but what if you could have taste AND entertainment value?  Every other grower seems to prize the perfectly straight carrot, or kale plants that have a radial form around a strong main stem.  GFF is called to stand out and be different.  Therefore, we will be working to identify traits that will result in vegetables that taste good, are good for you and could double as a replacement for a Rorschach test.  I can see it now - the therapist pulls out a potato and says, "look at this potato and tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you look at it."  If you say "hash browns", "sour cream and butter on the side" or "fries," it means you are hungry.

Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat!

Electro-Shock Therapy Possible Cure for Sore Bird Feet

Now you know why birds like electric lines
Recent research is showing that relaxed poultry result in better meat at the point of harvest.  And, apparently, one of the biggest sources of stress for birds is sore feet.  Why do you think they spend so much time flying around?  Sadly, turkeys, chickens and ducks (at least the kinds we raise) are not able to do much flying, so it is a bit more difficult to address the problem.  Since we are in the process of adding some lights into the poultry rooms, we are also looking into adding "in-floor" heat to aid in overwintering birds.  We want just enough heat to help them get through the coldest nights.  While we are at it, we're thinking about purposely introducing a few shorts in the lines and sprinkling conductive material in the poultry bedding.  We're still trying to determine the proper settings for the current we will run through these lines.  We're afraid if we mess it up, we may have to start a new product line of pre-cooked chicken.  Hey!  Why not?  They do it with brats!

GFF Felines Demand Better Working Conditions

the Sandman has spoken!
The farm is currently dealing with some labor issues and hope that negotiations will progress quickly.  Apparently, the current situation was sparked by our use of the picture shown above for various promotional purposes.  It seems that the Sandman is asking for royalties for use of his image.  Our initial response was that he had waived the right to ownership of this picture when he unabashedly accepted being held upside down and having his tummy rubbed.

Unfortunately, things have escalated and the cats on the farm have been showing signs of discontent.

This is MY side of the room.  You stay on YOURS.

They even staged a SIT ON to protest working conditions.
 We are wondering if, perhaps, we scarred Sandman and Mrranda for life when we kept them in a protective area outside for the first week?

Who knew he'd grow up to be a Union Leader?

Wow!  Imagine that.  We're actually on time this year.  Last year, and the year before, we were late by a day.

If you'd like to see those installments, here they are:

2013 April Fool Post
2012 April Fool Post

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful and informative post! And now we know what to do with our recalcitrant feline... or perhaps not. Please make sure and let us know if you are able to resolve your labor difficulties amicably. :)


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