Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Farm machinery and hopeful future garlic buyer

We went with the Urban Worm Girls to Family Farmed Expo in mid-March. It was a different crowd than when I've attended before in years past. The speaker was Sally Fallon, whose cookbook we have Nourishing Traditions. She is a follower of Weston A. Price Foundation. Her talk was very interesting. The crowd was definitely a little more of the Weston A Price followers; which I'm fine with, there is a lot of that diet and their beliefs that I can totally get behind. (Um, lard pie crusts? Yum! I just happen to have 2 jars of lard in my fridge.) It was a good conference and we were able to bike there so that added to the fun. We also connected with our friends at Breslin Farms and The Gentleman Farmer. Breslin Farms is selling a mountain of heirloom beans. I helped them harvest for a couple of days last fall so it was wonderful to see their beans all packaged and ready for sale. They have great things in the works for this year! Likewise, the farmers of The Gentleman Farmer are offering a CSA this year. I passed their info around at my food coop. They are trying to sell at the Logan Square Market. They are growing full-force and it is wonderful to see. Additionally, while at FF, I re-connected with Irv of Irv and Shelly's Fresh Picks. Irv spoke at our farm class and when he said, "I can never get enough garlic" it was music to our ears. I saw him at the FF dinner so I went over and introduced myself to Irv and his wife Shelly. I told them how much they influenced our business plan and we hope to sell to them in 2013. I gave him my card and he was very encouraging. The Rural Landowner's Conference last weekend in Wisc was a good experience. We re-connected with our farmer mentor and I attended a breakout session led by Barb Ingham, the food preservationist specialist of Wisc. She was great! After the conference, we went and plunked down some money on some farm implements. We never buy anything new, but in this instance, we tookthe plunge and purchased new equipment - funny enough, to run our on our 60 year old tractor. We bought a rotovator and a tine cultivator. Still to purchase are a disc, but Bill wanted to do some additional research before making that decision. The rotovator ships from Madison and the tine cultivator has to ship from the manufacturing plant in Oklahoma. (Yes, US made.) The salesperson said to us, "it's going to take 4 - 6 weeks to get the tine cultivator." I responded, "that is why we are here in March!"

Tomorrow is the end of the 1st Quarter and Bill is hard at work on our transition plans. He has been able to get a lot of the major Chicago projects well under way or completed. In addition, ReAdapted has developed a new product and he has been meeting with patent lawyers and may pursue a patent!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Slope Stabilization

On Sunday, 3/13, we got the seed down along with about 500 sq yards of erosion mat. Whoa, that is hard work - much harder than I expected! I thought it would simply roll out and we'd tack it down and call it a day. Not so! We arrived at the farm at about 8:30 am so the soil was frozen. As the day warmed up, the soil melted slowly. At first it was just a little softness on the top, which made it slippery when working on a 45% slope!

There is seed in there - we used a Slope Stabilization mix from JFNew

Bill putting spreading the seed with a belly seed spreader

Rolling the erosion mat down the hill

We only got about a 1/3 done
Silt fence at the bottom

The installation, which involves hammering stabilization "pins" (5" steel dual-tines which will rust) every yard or so. I kept sliding down the slope. Bill was able to stay put on the middle of the slope but my feet would just slide down and I would end up sliding down the mud. It was warm out and it was fun to get really, really filthy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rural Landowner Conference

On Saturday, March 26th there is a rural landowner conference in Grant County. We have two friends that will be presenting one of the breakouts. (Driftless Market and Two Onion Farm) Other items of interest - Barbara Ingham, the guru of food preservation. A very exciting opportunity that we are looking forward to - especially since we missed MOSES this year. Our MOSA application has been mailed! It is very exciting to be pursuing organic certification. We are in Wisc and tomorrow we try some frost seeding of a slope stabilization native mix. We don't want to re-create this previous mistake. Over the seed we are installing an erosion blanket. It will be a long hard day of work - can't wait! And the Family Farmed Expo is next weekend. Hope to make some connections for future sales.