Saturday, April 25, 2020

How Are We Doing?

I have been trying to put something out on the blog every day and we've maintained a daily presence in Facebook for the farm.  In addition to that, I have also been trying to put a regular postal history post each morning in a couple of collector groups.  You might think that this takes a great deal of time, but I am finding that it can be done fairly quickly as long as I avoid distractions.  I figure a half hour a day is worth it as long as I feel it is serving a positive purpose by helping people feel more connected.

If the Sandman were still with us he would tell us to take a nap.
 Recently, I've had a few people ask how we are doing.  When I asked whether they wanted to know about how the farm was doing or the farmers, the response was 'both.'  That's when I realized that a high percentage of our posts have not been focused on reporting on our farm.  So, this post and the one prior to it, will try to remedy that at some level.

Fortunate to Have Income
First and foremost, we want to say how blessed we feel to have consistent income.  Wartburg College continues to pay Tammy as she teaches her classes online.  As long as the college itself survives the coming years, we should be fine on that front.  Rob did start a new part-time (80% time) job this April with Pesticide Action Network.  That organization seems to be strong enough to weather the storm, so as long as Rob does a decent job, that income should also be as secure as anything we can find.

We count ourselves among the fortunate and we intend to push ourselves to help others as we are able.

Genuine Faux Farm Status
We would not be telling the truth if we said we were not relieved that the farm income's importance has been reduced by Rob's PAN job.  Our plan for sales in the coming year hinged on sales to the restaurants and event center at Jorgensen Plaza in Cedar Falls.  With the pandemic, Western Homes has closed down Jorgensen Plaza to protect those who live in the community.  This essentially removes most of the expected sales from that location.  Sales to local schools?  Well, not right now.

This leaves us with direct sales to individual customers.  We can say that demand in that area has increased, but it will not make up for other lost sales.  The difficulty is mostly that we were finally accepting that demand for that service from our farm was unlikely to recover, so we were looking to move on from that.  It is not easy to try to pivot back and capture some of the increased demand - especially when we are not sure that we can believe the demand will remain once things begin to 're-open.'  Even so, we are continuing to advance our 'Farm Credit Program' for 2020 and we will continue to take new people throughout the season if you have interest.  We will continue to adjust our practices to address safety issues related to COVID-19 and food safety in general.

Nonetheless, we are continuing with our plans to grow the subset of crops we planned to grow this season. We are raising poultry as well.  We might cancel our second batch of broilers unless we see demand for the first batch is sufficient to carry through, but that's a little ways into the future.

And the Farmers?
I suspect we're just like many of you.  We're missing some people we care about.  We have been struggling to adjust to doing so many things in different ways and trying to find efficiency with the new processes so we can get at least half as much done during the same time as we did using the old processes.  Sometimes we feel exhausted because we have been making so many adjustments and responding to frequent change.  There is an undercurrent of frustration and worry that we have to recognize and counter consistently.  Otherwise, neither of us would move - and that would do no good for anyone.

We are continuing with projects that have created a bit of upheaval in our daily lives.  The farm house project has moved forward and the siding is complete except for some finishing work.  The kitchen project continues to move forward slowly.  Finally, the dishwasher is completely operational and has been a real treat for us as our time gets pinched during planting season.  We still need to put up another cabinet, some trim, some lights and a floor.  But, at least it is an operational work space for us and we are pleased by that.

Thank you to those of you who have asked about how we are doing.  It is nice to know that you care and it builds us up to continue to do our best for you and others. 


  1. Thank you for sharing this update. We know you value your privacy, and appreciate you sharing your journey.
    It builds your readers up to read your blog! It challenges us to think about societal issues, enlightens our senses with inspiring photography, and keeps us on our toes waiting for more silliness. Thank you!

    1. You are welcome.
      But, silliness? Where? There is no silliness in this blog. Oh... wait. There is. Ok then.


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