Thursday, April 20, 2017

Busy Week

How do you know you've had a busy week?  Well, if you finally write the blog for it a week or so later, you can guess you've had a busy week.  And, perhaps, you are still busy?  That means it must be April on the farm!

The first order of business is to wish the Inspector a happy birthday.  And, since he is a cat and he can't stop me from doing it, I'm going to show off a baby picture from last year.  Inspector's brother, Sparrow, was injured while he was a kitten and was later adopted by a family who could care for him.  Inspector, on the other hand, has taken Cubbie's spot as the 'friendliest feline on the farm' - that's FFF at GFF to you and me.

Inspector and Sparrow
"The ladies," on the other hand, are enjoying Spring very much right now.  As a result, we have lots and LOTS of eggs.  If you want them, we have them.  And every once in a while...
...we get a pterodactyl egg
Getting back on topic - April is the time of year where things can change on the farm very rapidly.  At the beginning of April, we only had the laying hens.  Now, we have a batch of hen chicks (arrived Apr 5) and a batch of broiler chicks (arrived Apr 13).  There are chicks here and chicks there.  As long as there aren't chicks EVERYWHERE we should be fine.  If they are everywhere, we should probably make sure the doors are closed and latched next time.

Chicks get extra shelter and heat until they grow in some feathers.
The arrival of chicks means we have to consider what we have for food on the farm.  We were running low, so we took a trip with the trusty feed bin to Earl Canfield by Dunkerton.  The grains and soybeans in the feed mix come from Earl's farm, so we are happy to give this a trial run. 

I suppose a trip to get feed doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but it's not like we can drive super fast with that thing behind the truck.  And, the first major feed purchase of the year is a sort of signpost for the season.  By the time we get to August it will all be just part of the blur.

We had a service trip group from Wartburg College come out to the farm on Saturday (the 8th) and lend a hand with some projects that would have been mighty tedious if it were just Rob and Tammy.  There were eleven people in attendance and they came with positive attitudes and a willingness to do what was needed.  They helped clean up several fields by rolling up drip tape, pulling down fencing used for pole beans last year, yanking old corn stalks and visiting baby chicks.  Ok, I think that last item was just because it sounded like fun to most of them.
If any of the participants in this group read this blog post, let the others know that we have already done additional work to prepare the fields you worked in.  As a result, we are on target to get potatoes, peas and carrots in on schedule - and maybe a bit ahead of schedule?  Wow.  Thanks for the help.

We also had another group come out to the farm for a tour and a little bit of farm work so they could get out of the classroom.  Dr. McCullough's group were pleasant to be around and we managed to get some good things done - some of which was actually out of the cool wind that was blowing that day.

Mixed into the week was a trip to Webster City for the IOA board meeting, a GFF CSA meeting with the Bandsaw Man (Jeff Sage) and lots of seedling tray dancing (as we move trays from one step of development to the next).

On top of that, farm unpacking has been going on in earnest.

What is 'farm unpacking?'  I'm glad you asked!  Every Winter we go through the process of putting things away after their last use for that year's growing season.  We try to get as much of our tools and supplies under cover as we are able to with the knowledge that some things are going to be placed in a back corner and be hard to access until we unpack.  March and April see us removing things from our buildings so that we can begin to use them all.  Sure, it might be nice to have a nice big building that wouldn't necessitate some the 'packing' we have to do now.  But, the reality is that we have to work within the constraints of our current building configurations.  Hence, we unpack every Spring.

And, whether we are ready or not - Spring is here.

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