March 2013 -hopeful!

big projects

So, the newest rumor around the neighborhood is possibly some really really good news for us in regards to the frac-sand mine. I don’t want to get my hopes up yet, but we might not be facing a mine going in next to our farm!  If we don’t have to worry about moving (which we can’t yet), we can regain the dreams of growing our farm HERE.

There’s lots of things I’d like to instantly do, all projects that will take financial investment and time to implement, but need to get put into place for the future. The first thing needed would be to develop our long term, like 20 year out, business plan. Now that we have a few years (3 is a few, right?) of working & farming together under our belts, we know our strengths, weaknesses, what each of us excel at and enjoy most. Now that we know these things, it’s time to tailor our farm plan for the future years.

We both want to incorporate more and more permaculture into our farm and farming, especially after reading Mark Shepard’s book, Restoration Agriculture. We know we want to grow hazelnuts in a big way, and we’ll need to figure how many and where we want to establish them, and then get the seddlings prebooked, since the best varieties always sell out early. After planting, hazelnuts bushes will probably take 5 years to produce nuts, and this is why we need to know if we’ll be here on this very space for the rest of our lives. Hazelnuts are delicious, a source of protein and cooking oil, but more importantly, pigs love them. We want to raise pigs, we love raising them and we love pork. We just need to do it in a more ecologically sound and farmer-staying-sane way. If we have a large space where they can forage to their hearts delight, run and romp and dig and not have any reason or ability to escape, with a paddock set aside for fattening the pigs on hazelnuts that they serve them selves, all the better!

Solid fencing paddocks being put up- and I mean Gene Logsdon’s recommendation of a cattle panel fence, not woven wire fence that needs to be strung and constantly watched for tightness being maintained. I want cattle panel fence because it would be strong and safe to contain pigs, cows, sheep and goats, even geese and turkeys. It would keep coyotes and stray dogs out, and it wouldn’t need additional electric fence strung up and maintained to make it effective. The major downside to cattle panels as a perimeter fence is that they are SUPER expensive. Like $25 per 16 feet panel. I think I did the math on 10 acres of fence coming to $7,000!! Balance the initial investment though, with the benefit of strength and safety for the animals and low maintenance for a really long time.

Another “for the long term” project would be a new house. I’m grateful for our place and the roof we’ve had over our heads. However, it’s far from energy or space efficient. To try to upgrade this old place would cost nearly the same as starting over and building to our specifications. So- tear down this current box and build a simple cube of a house, like a loft. Part of this new construction could be a separate commercial kitchen attached, as well as a proper workshop for tools and equipment. I’m dreaming here…so let me share the sketch I came up with for my ideal home kitchen:

I am so happy to be tentatively dreaming again. It feels so good! As soon as we know anything more on the mining front, I’ll let you know. Sweet Dreams…..

folding brochures

Tomorrow is the 1st CSA Fair of the year, and it’s being held at my old workplace, River Market. I’m so glad my old co-workers don’t hold it against me too much that I literally “flew the co-op” and left them behind in the natural foods retail mania that is the Co-op. I’m so grateful for my years and years working in co-ops, I learned so much about myself and my values, about food and farm production, and the beauty of caring people working together to get the types of products produced that they want to buy. Co-ops have lead the way in organics, and now they are (and always have been) at the forefront of the local foods movement. By quitting my day job there, I leapt to other side of the equation- being a farmer and a producer of local food! It feels amazing, and I feel really blessed to have been able to pursue my dreams fully.

Tomorrow will likely be hectic, my armpits will be sweaty in anticipation of seeing old friends, visiting with customers and answering questions from potentially new ones. I have a bunch of brochures ready to go, business cards printed up and cute photos to display on my table. We have about 12 shares left to sell, and then we’re calling the season fully booked for the 2013 CSA Program. Woot Woot! Spring is ALMOST HERE!!!

ps Here’s our new farm logo, do you like it?

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