Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top Events at GFF for 2014

Every year we do a "Year in Review" Top 10 list with respect to our farm.  Once again, we have no real 'rules' and, as far as that is concerned, we would probably break them if we had them.  

Previous Year in Review Posts can be found in the links provided next:
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008

Welcome to 2015!  Since it is a new year, we get to look back at the old year.  You may have already noticed out prior posts for Veg Varieties of 2014, Best Humor of 2014 and Best Photos of 2014.  We now present the "top events" of 2014 for the Genuine Faux Farm.  
10. Festival Fun!
We have held three festivals each growing season for a number of years.  For the most part, these are gatherings that feature a potluck and a chance to run around on the farm a bit.  Sometimes they are well attended.  Sometimes, they are not.  Sometimes, the weather cooperates, sometimes it does not.

Why tomato lovers like Summer Fest
While our first festival (Iris Fest) had issues with rain, the other two (Summer Festival and GF7) featured beautiful weather and many participants.  We even added a couple of twists this year that were well received.  GF7 featured a scavenger hunt on the farm that saw every attendee participating at some level.  Clearly, we need to make it a little bit harder next time and we're not above putting a few twists into it for the fun of it!  And, this year, we added an heirloom tomato tasting to the Summer Festival event.  We've usually done these tastings at the Waverly Farmers' Market, but we feel like this added something interesting to our Summer Festival as well. 
9. Flower Power
Sometimes we do something right.   This year, it was asking for some help keeping the flower beds in shape.  That didn't necessarily mean Tammy and I didn't do anything with them.  But, it did mean we didn't look at them with dismay every time we walked by them.  In fact, better looking flower beds encouraged flower pictures

Ain't it Purrrrrdy?
A particularly nice accomplishment this year was getting a new planting established West of the garage and getting a number of perennials moved out of the weed patch that was our old perennial garden.

Big thank you's to Sam, Nancy and Sean for their help!

8. Tool Power
In prior years, we often would focus on a particular tool that was new to the farm.  This year is no exception (look at #3).  However, sometimes we do not realize the full potential of a tool until we've got some experience with it.  And, in other cases, we finally get pushed into using a particular tool because we've exhausted other options.

It may not seem like much, but this was a big deal in 2014
Two tools that made a huge difference in 2014 were the electric netting we used to protect seedlings from rabbits and other critters and the Williams tool bar.  But, perhaps the tool that made the biggest difference was the new tandem disk harrow.  
7. People Power
Once again, the Gang of Four farms got together on a regular basis during the growing season.  We started at Grinnell Heritage and weeded strawberries and lettuce.  The following month we weeded in our high tunnel, trimmed tomato plants and did some wheel hoe work.  Blue Gate Farm had us weeding asparagus and we helped harvest potatoes and carrots at Scattergood.  The days we visit each others' farms are a highlight for us each season.

Oh, and there's usually some really good food involved!
This year, we also added a farm visit agreement with Jeff Sage and Lindsay Kaiser.  We are all located in Bremer County, so we can make a trip for a two hour work session.  I suppose to some this might seem counter-intuitive.  Aren't they our competitors?  Well, if it is a healthy competition to encourage each other to do better - I'll be all for it.  But, in our minds, it is more important to return to the values of being supportive neighbors.

6. Duck!

The ducks appeared now and again in blog posts throughout the year.  The upshot of it all was that we were running a trial between Silver Appleyard ducks and Muscovey ducks.  Overall, the experiments largely successful and is ongoing as we are over-wintering three Muscovey's and four Appleyards.  The females are now laying eggs and we hope to raise some of our own ducklings in the Spring.

Were they really THAT small?
5. Apples
And, here's one that has been several years in the making.  We suspect most of you realize that it takes a few years for a young apple tree to get established before it produces apples.  Last year was the first season that we had any number (other than a handful) of apples for our enjoyment.  This year, we actually had more than we can handle. 
Well done, apple tree, well done.
We don't want to count our apples before they are harvested, of course.  But, our hope is that they will eventually provide enough so that we can grace our CSA with a few GFF apples.  We don't have an orchard big enough to sell large numbers, so our friends with local orchards should not even give it a second thought.  But, if we can sell a few and share a few through the CSA, I don't think there is a problem.  But, in the end, it's the ability to feed ourselves with our own apples through the Fall that means the most to us.

4. Granary Painting
The granary painting event was a pretty big deal on the farm this Summer and Fall.  Rather than re-iterate the whole thing here, take the link and read about it there!  But, if you wonder if it was a good event, all you need do is look for the smiling faces below.

Ya.  It was kind of fun.

3. We Can Do It - Rosie Joins the Farm
This is another one that got a fair amount of attention on the blog and elsewhere.  But, it was (and is) a big deal for us.  Rosie the tractor was a big investment for the farm and it represents a commitment to continue beyond the years we have already put into the farm.

We COULD do it in 2014!
2. PFI Field Day at GFF
We agreed to hold a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day in 2014.  And, as is usually the case when you expend energy attempting to put something together that hinges on attendance of others, there was some worry on our parts that no one would attend.  Ok, we weren't THAT worried about it.  But, anyone who organizes events of any kind will recognize the feeling.  The field day featured great people who had excellent questions.  We enjoyed holding the field day very much.  The only short-coming Rob could think of is that there was so much he wanted to cover that there wasn't time for.

And, the sky was blue.

1. Ten Year Tenure and True Grit (survival)
 And finally, we celebrated our tenth season as the Genuine Faux Farm.  Technically, our anniversary continues into the Spring.  But, that's for a future post.

But, the biggest news for us in 2014 was the "never give up attitude" that pulled a difficult season into a perfectly acceptable one.   We made adjustments.  We fought through some difficulties.  We used a broad range of tools and tactics.  We managed our resources and we graciously accepted help when it was offered at times when we truly needed it.  We had some good workers and we had some good volunteers along the way. 

In other words, we used a wide range of tools in our toolbox to make 2014 the year it was.  And that, my friends, is the way you are supposed to farm. 

1 comment:

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