Friday, June 27, 2014

News of the Farm

It's time for a quick "News of the Farm" blog post.  We hope this is useful, amusing or, at the least, not annoying for everyone to read!

Broilers soon to be available!
It is time for you to get reservations in for our Spring batch of broiler chickens!  There will be 80 to 90 birds available this time around.  Cost will remain at $3.25 per pound with an average size around 4 1/2 to 5 pounds. 
Process date is JULY 11.  We'd love to have people pick as many up as possible on that date before we freeze them.  It reduces our costs - much of which ends up  coming in the form of time and effort moving them around.  Some of it comes from paying the local locker to flash freeze the birds.  Trying to freeze 90-100 birds on our own freezers is very hard on them.

Our Fall batch of broilers are now on the farm (chicks) and will be processed in the early Fall.
The day to "Go to the Park" is nye!
Weather Wizards?  
 Well, if we are, we are not very good ones.  We needed at least one more day before the rain caught up to us again.  But, we didn't get it.  That's the way of the farm, so we'll deal with it. 

We happily admit that temperatures have been moderate - making it much easier to work.  But, we have not been able to plant and weed the way we would like since the last batch of rain.  The current batch moved in before we could take full advantage of soil getting workable again.

Manic Planting Mode 
However, Tammy says that Rob went into "manic planting mode" on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  And, we had some pretty intense weeding sessions as well.

400 feet of garlic were hand weeded - which is always a big deal.  We put in  another 800 feet of summer squash and zucchini and 200 feet of butternut squash.  600 feet of cucumbers managed to go in the ground as did 500 feet of combined pok choi, chinese cabbage and kohlrabi.

Fruit Trees and Other Stuff

We don't advertise that we do tree or bush fruit for various reasons.  First, we don't have enough of some plants to get too serious about.  Second, our apple trees are still youngish and we still aren't sure what they are capable of.  Third, many of the can fruits ripen at a point in time when we can't afford the labor to pick, clean and pack it would take.  But, all of that doesn't mean we don't have some raspberries, mulberries and other fruits on the farm. 

Apples looking good again this season!
 If our trees are any indicator, this looks like it could be another good year for apple producers in the area!  We like our apples, so we consider this good news.  It is actually possible that our trees will exceed our normal levels of consumption.  Hmmm.  We'll see what we want to do IF and when that happens.

We lost one peach tree and the other will likely be bare this year.  On the other hand, we may have some plums and maybe some pears.  Even our little cherry tree looks like it wants to give us three or four cherries.  Ok, we'll take it.

We Can Do It!
We asked for some input for a name for the new tractor.  Our choices we submitted are below:
1. Justin  (Tammy thought it would be fun to call it Justin - as in - Justin Case)
2. Jude  (this one, sadly, is Rob's....  Hey Jude!  Hey Jude Law!  Hey Jude lawsuit.  Hey Jude law suitcase. (Ha!  There's CASE)  Hey Jude law suit casestudy.  Hey Jude law suit case studyhall...... I can go on and on and....
3. Rosie (if we say "We Can Do It!"  Do you know where it is coming from?  Would you be riveted?)
4. Mighty Mouse (Here I come to save the day!)
5. Oil Can Harry (He's a villain.  He knows it, but it's a lot of fun... see Mighty Mouse for the reference)

It may help to know this is a Case Farmall 45 tractor.

In the end, we (and most of those who responded) liked Rosie the best.   There were also suggestions for Rosebud, Casey and Colt.  We'll let you draw the parallels for each!

It doesn't rivet, but with Rosie's help, We Can Do It!
Duck Dodging
We have two flocks of ducks this year.  One Muscovey flock and one Appleyard flock.  And, right on schedule, the Muscovey's started picking on each other.  We're not always sure how it starts, but we understand why.  Once the wing feathers come in, it seems that birds start pulling on the feathers (their own and others').  Next thing you know, there are lacerations and blood, so they pick more.  We, of course, watch for this and respond to it to prevent further problems.  But, it always happens on a day when we really can't afford to spend time dealing with it.

We think they must read our schedule or something.

Give a duck a cell phone.  It'll be at its Beak and Call..... 
Wheels within Wheels
Some days were meant to be complicated.  Thursday was such a day for us this week.

We had the Cedar Falls distribution, we had to pick up the strawberries from Grinnell Heritage Farm.  We also needed to receive lettuce from G It's Fresh.  We had 100 broilers come in the mail, which meant we had to run down to Waterloo post office to get them.  And, we had 100 broilers at the Hoover Hatchery in Rudd.  So, we had to drive up there as well.  Meanwhile, we were frantically trying to take advantage of soil that had just entered the 'nice and workable' stage.

By the time we returned from Cedar Falls, we still had to put the new chicks into their brooders.  Essentially, this includes setting up a 'box' with the proper bedding, food and water and a heat source.  Then, the birds need to be transferred - dipping each bird's beak into water before setting them in their new home.  Tammy drew that job.

Rob, on the other hand, was putting up an electric fence to prevent rabbits from destroying Thursday's planting. 

And, of course, we had to do chores.

For those of you that have ever run distances - either because you run or because you ran as a part of training for another sport - you can relate to what each of us were mumbling to ourselves under our breath.

"You can do it.  Keep moving.  This isn't that hard."

And, it was the truth.  Each of our tasks were not that difficult.  And, we did just fine.  It was just one way to measure the complexity of the day that we found ourselves needing to make self-motivating statements as if we were running a marathon.

If you didn't know the source of the name Rosie, now you do.

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