Sunday, April 2, 2017

Better Late than Never

We made a goal to come up with a decent blog post on the first of each month as a sort of news letter to all who have interest.  So, here is the installment for the first of this month! 

Pre-Wilting Technique for Greens
Your farmers spend some time reading up on the newest techniques for production and harvest during the cold months of the year.  One of the hot topics recently has been finding the best ways to deal with post-harvest handling of greens.  Our farm has used hydro-cooling since 2007 in an effort to make it possible for lettuce and other similar veggies to last longer in your refrigerator and we feel we've been very successful with this process.

Note the successful wilting in the row to the right.
Apparently, one of the newer techniques is to stop watering the target plants long enough for the leaves to wilt.  Once wilt is achieved, they are re-hydrated with a heavy irrigation pass prior to harvest. 
The logic here is that those leaves that return to their prior picture of health were the ones most likely to last longer after cutting.  In short, this removes any of the weaker leaves from harvest, resulting in the customer getting the best quality leaves from the plant.

This process may be akin to the recent trends towards removing irrigation from tomato plants for a period of time prior to harvest to encourage more sugar set in the fruit. However, the articles we have read thus far do not discuss the taste quality of the produce in question.

Given the picture above, we can manage the wilting part.  We're not sure if we've got the timing down for the rest.

Music to Tame the Wild... um... Vegetation
The Genuine Faux Farm is in the process of finalizing the trials (and maybe some of the tribulations) that will be held during this year's growing season.  Among those trials will be an experiment testing the best ways to expose vegetable plants to music.
Portable music machines work well to target specific crops

Our experience has shown that plants in fields where music has been playing for the farmers over longer periods of time seem to have higher yields than those that are exposed to less music.  We will admit that we have done no controlled experiments up to this point nor have we collected anything more than anecdotal evidence.  But, we are curious souls and are certainly up to the challenge of designing research to test the hypothesis.

The difficulty with the experiment will be placing ear muffs over the control plants so we can determine what difference, if any, exposure to music might have.  While we are not entirely sure what to expect for results from our studies, we do know for certain that Pachelbel's Canon in D will NOT be on the playlist.  After all, there are TWO CELLISTS who own and operate this farm and the reactions THEY might exhibit to repeated exposure to that piece may result in no yields whatsoever from the farm.

The Sandman Speaks Out Against Wild Weather Swings
 Recent weather events have been enough to get the Genuine Faux Farm Spokescat, the Sandman, to issue the following statement: "I am not in favor of climate change.  I, the Sandman, have spoken."
The Sandman surveys his domain.
While the Sandman refused to comment further, it was clear to us what prompted him to come to this conclusion.  We refer you to events in November where there were wild swings in weather conditions, with lows in the upper 20's and highs in upper 140's.   The high for the following day was only 43, but the prediction for warmer temperatures the next day had everyone, including the Sandman, just a bit nervous.
No, really, look at the bottom left for "yesterday's high and low" (click on the image for a bigger picture)
Cucumber Frog Re-applies for Clemency
The Genuine Faux Farm Cucumber Frog applied for and apparently received approval from someone other than Farmer Rob to move indoors during the cold Winter months.  This latest comes on the heels of Mr. Frog's prior application for clemency with regard to prior 'wrongdoing' on his part.

Mr. Frog is known for his tendency to find ways to startle Farmer Rob during cucumber harvest times.  The timing of his 'surprise appearances' can be good enough to cause the farmer to drop freshly picked produce and/or jump backwards quickly while saying something that sounds like "Gaaaah!"  The farmer is quoted as saying "that frog is a menace and hazard in the field. I am just glad I don't have to deal with him at other times of the year." 

Apparently, the Cucumber Frog has been given access to warmer places on the farm this Winter.  And, what could be warmer than the farmhouse itself? Now, with Mr. Frog enjoying these warmer environs during some of those "other times of the year," the farmer has dropped the laundry basket, a pile of books, a stitch and a line or two.   

"Look," said the farmer, "I appreciate all Mr. Frog does to keep down some of the pests in our cucumber field and I don't want him to leave the farm.  I can tolerate his shenanigans during cucumber harvest.  But, I just don't feel I should have to worry about him jumping out from behind the shower curtain when I'm trying to use the loo."

In later news: Yes, the Farmer Did Say "Use the Loo."

Egg Filming In Progress
Iowa Public Television was once again at the Genuine Faux Farm to record supplemental footage for an upcoming Iowa Ingredient show.  GFF will already appear on a show that features the use of duck for this season and next season they will use footage for a show focusing on the use of eggs.
Awaiting the hatch with baited breath
IPTV staff contacted us in hopes that we might have some fertilized eggs that could eventually hatch.  Of course, we do have roosters in our flock, so we responded in the positive.  After all, the operative word in their request was "could."  Or, maybe they could have if they hadn't already been put in the refrigerator - but they don't need to know that - so don't tell them.

The filming crew has been at the farm for the past four weeks, taking turns keeping the camera running just in case the eggs should begin to show signs of hatching.  We suppose we should tell them at some point that these eggs needed to be in a warm environment for them to hatch, but when they aren't filming they've been pretty useful around the farm and we hate to lose the extra help.

Special Organization Technique (Don't try this at home)
Past meets the present
Many of you may remember that Farmer Rob was a Computer Scientist in a former life.  Yes, he did things like work on algorithms to solve things like the "Bin Packing" problem.  Just type "bin packing problem" into Google or your favorite search engine and you'll find out what it is.

What?  You didn't go look it up?  Trying to avoid learning are you?   Well, you can't get off that easy, I'll just tell you about it myself.

The basic idea is to find a way to put a batch of objects of varying sizes into the absolute fewest possible number of bins.  What better place to attempt to find a practical application than a farm that has a finite number of bins and lots of different sized objects to put in them?

So, what's the problem with that you ask?  Well, the bin packing problem is one that is an NP-Hard problem.  In other words, you cannot hope to find an optimal solution in a reasonable amount of time.  And by reasonable, I mean in my lifetime...

We may want to pack it up so it's "good enough" and not worry about the "optimal" solution, what do you think?

One Phobia Beats Another
The Bandsaw Man is not too fond of heights.  But...

All I said was, "Look! A snake!"
New Pepper Variety
Our farm has continued to work on breeding some of its own vegetable varieties.  Some breeders work to improve taste, others work on storage qualities or uniformity in size and shape.  Us?  Well, we like vegetables that have faces.

We were able to develop this variety by pollinating a pepper plant that had been listening to music by Kiss and watching video of Michael Jordan's best dunks with another variety that we had tried the "Pre-wilting technique" during the week prior.  I'm pretty sure that peppers with varying shapes such as this will only make bin packing on the farm harder and they may introduce the Bandsaw Man to a new phobia.

Fear of peppers with faces - what would that be?  We know that the fear of vegetables is lachanophobia.  Maybe lachcapsicumophobia or something like that?

Prior successes would be Carrotman, Mr Aubergine and Bullwinkle the Tater.  We look forward to another successful year of growing with the possibility of many more veggies with faces.  Until then, we'd like you to consider supporting GFF in a new way.

Genuine Faux Farm Kickstarter Campaign
If you haven't noticed or figured it out yet, today's date is April 2, which is only one day away from April 1.  And, if you've seen some of our prior attempts at April Fool's posts, you would realize any date between April 1 and 5 is FAIR GAME.  This brings us to the new Kickstarter Campaign!

Are you tired of Rob being unable to maintain a timely post schedule for things like the April Fool's post?  Well, prepare to sign up for a Kickstarter campaign to fund timely posting by Rob on this blog!  After all - what would you give to see posts like this on the day they were intended for?

Wait? What was that?

Ok, let's amend the above.  What would you give to get Rob to STOP writing these silly blog posts.  Perhaps we need a KickStopper campaign?

If you'd like to see prior year installments, here they are!
2016 April Fool Post
2015 April Fool Post
2014 April Fool Post
2013 April Fool Post
2012 April Fool Post

No comments:

Post a Comment

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