Monday, January 1, 2018

January Newsletter

New Month and a New Year to Go With It

We started the monthly "newsletter posts" in March of the prior year (yes, yes - that is how we must now refer to 2017) and had some success putting them out in a timely fashion.  We admit that December was late, and the release of the post for each month was NOT always the first of the month.  But, we feel that people were starting to pay attention to the newsletters and that they found them interesting enough to visit them.  With that in mind, we'll try trotting out a newsletter every month in 2018 as well.

I guess I never quite understood that running a small, diversified farm would require so much writing.  We write emails every week we have a CSA delivery and we write emails for each egg delivery.  We try to write about 100 blog posts every year and doesn't include countless ideas that get written partially in my head while I'm in the field - only to be forgotten by the time I sit at the computer.

There you go parents!  Tell your children that they need to practice their writing if they want to be a farmer!

Picture of the Month
It's a throwback to 2013.  We knew this was a good picture the moment we took it - and it really fits the current environment on the farm.

Interestingly enough, this wooden flair box is no longer what you see in this picture.  The running gear now has a portable hen building on it.  The wooden frame is now sitting next to the blue Harvestore, waiting to see if we can think of a use for it.  Got ideas?  Give us some in our comments below!

Farm News Shorts and Announcements
  • 2018 CSA Sign up will begin January 15.  Watch email, Facebook, our website and our blog for details.
  • Rob will co-present at the Practical Farmers of Iowa conference with Carmen Black regarding on-farm research.
  • It is now official that there was chemical drift on the northeast corner of the farm this year.  The plot impacted by this drift had no crops harvested in 2017 and is not going to be placed in production for 2018.
January Calendar
This calendar is subject to change as we let ourselves not think about farm sales duties, etc during the Holidays.  Yes, we did feed the birds.  Yes, they got water too.  And, we did collect eggs.
  • January 3 (Wed) - Egg sales Waverly and Cedar Falls
  • January 4 - Best Medicine Post for 2017 on the blog.
  • January 8 - Best Picture Candidates for 2017 on the blog and Facebook
  • January 10 - Real Medicine Post for 2017 on the blog
  • January 12 - Voting for Best Picture Ends
  • January 13 - Best Picture Revealed
  • January 15 - The 2018 CSA Program is announced and signups begin
  • January 16 (Tue) - Egg sales Waverly and Cedar Falls
  • January 17 - Look in the Mirror 2017 on the blog
  • January 19 and 20 - Practical Farmers of Iowa Conference
  • January 30 (Tue) - Egg sales Waverly and Cedar Falls
Weather Wythards
We are adding a new section to the newsletter called Weather Wythards so you can get some farm weather statistics and commentary.  Why?  Well, why not?  It could be fun right?

2017 Summary
High Temperature: 95 F
Highest Heat Index: 111 F
Highest Barometer Reading: 30.85
Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 56 mph out of W
     (remember, these smaller stations don't record the highest winds terribly accurately, we estimate it at 70 mph)
Rainfall for 2017: 40.58 inches
Low Temperature: -17 F (as of 10pm on Dec 31)
Lowest Windchill: -32 F (ditto)
Lowest Barometer Reading: 29.18

December Summary
High Temp: 65 F
Low Temp: -17 F
Rainfall: 0.02 inches
Barometer Range: 29.25 to 30.85
Highest Wind Gust: 38 mph from NW

January after One Day?
High Temp -4 F
Low Temp -20 F (lower than any reading in 2017)
Barometer: 30.89 (higher than any reading in 2017)
Windchill: -34 F (lower than any reading in 2017)
Relative Humidity: 83%
It's not the heat - it's the humidity.

Song of the Month
Music is a big part of our lives, so we give a nod to that fact by including a song of the month.  These are songs we have enjoyed recently.  Sometimes it's because there is a message in the song that applies to us and sometimes, it's just because we like the darn song.  Here is our January 2018 selection - Let it Fall by Over the Rhine:

Recipe of the Month
We will take a break from the recipe of the month to let Tammy have a chance to select some recipes for the rest of the year.  Though we just had pasties today and they were VERY good.  Maybe we'll add that in its own post later.

Time to Have Pun
So, it is pretty cold outside and it makes it very difficult for your farmers to do much more than trudge out to deal with the chickens every couple of hours.  We've got to make sure the water doesn't freeze and we have to collect eggs regularly since they will also freeze if left too long.

After taking the time to bundle up (which can really take a while this time of year) I braved the cold earlier today to do the chores.  As I was walking out, I noticed a large number of rabbits hopping away from me, each following the same path through the snow.

Yes, my friends, it was a receding hare line.

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