Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Off to the Chequamegon Organic Conference

Had a busy day today and got answers to some questions I've been ruminating about. Good things can happen in a Mercury retrograde period!

I went to the Chequamegon Organic Conference and had a wonderful time. The speakers were great and I spent some time at lunch with our Ag agent, Mark, and my friend, Jane. I learned about bee keeping -- which is definitely on my TO DO list. While the setup requires a fair amount of money up front, the cost is justifiable and two hives is all I need to provide for my acre fruit orchard and adjoining market garden. The speaker was an enormously enthusiastic young man who offers a "bee training" day for a nominal fee. I think I'll get my sister, Mary, to go to one with me. Then, I talked to Mark, our Ag agent about increasing my Dominique flock and he allayed my fears about government regulation, so I think I shall go ahead and build a bigger coop. I want to build my flock to 50 birds (100 sounds better, but 50 is all I think I can handle for now what with the infrastructure I am still working on) and start working on developing some good form to Standard birds. In a couple of years I'll be in a position to sell chicks. My friend, Jane, is selling chickens again this year and she told me how she handled her processing. With only me to handle everything, I think I need to enlist some help and, like Jane, pay them "in chickens". In the meantime, I can really start selling eggs. I also asked about agroforestry and Mark is going to send me some info on the upcoming Forest Landowners conference in Rib Lake which is going to be some time next month. I am interested is agroforestry as an alternative way to farm without clearing my forest and as a fire prevention strategy. I think utilizing agroforestry options will tie in well with my long term farm goals along agritourism lines. And as Eddy and I have been traipsing about the woods in the front yard tapping maple trees to try our hands at making maple syrup, I got to thinking about cutting down a tree or two for mushroom growing. Now's the time to do it.

I think I have spring fever.

Biting the bullet and sending off for an organic certification packet from MOSA is really humming in my head.

Now tomorrow, I'm going to start tomato seeds down in the basement as the moon is in Scorpio.

On the craft side, I have three girl dolls knitted and seven ecru jar topper doilies completed. I have three boy dolls mostly finished: I have to knit their hair pieces and I'm working on a pattern for overalls. I haven't decided yet whether to knit them hats or give them neckerchiefs. I had several requests for jar toppers in different colors, so when I get a chance I will buy some thread in different colors. I also crocheted a couple of yards of rick-rack lace that I was thinking about sewing around the edge of fabric circles to be used as another kind of jar topper. I did a sample using some lovely patriotic fabric I have and the effect was very eye appealing. I want to make some more of my old fashioned lace book marks, and then I will get to the really fun (but not so easy to knit) baby booties. I have some great knitted bootie patterns for hiking boots and maryjanes, and I plan to alter the hiking boot pattern to make Army boots that I will knit in "jungle" cameo and in "desert" cameo. One of these days I will get around to making sturdy wooden baskets from tree tops.

I bought a commercial 8' x 8' red canopy umbrella shelter for the farmer's market this year and I found some table legs I can attach to a piece of plywood to make a new folding table, so I think I will be in pretty good shape for the market there. I still need to contact DATCP and see what I have to do to get my scale certified. I have a lead on someone who may give my liability insurance.

I was asked to participate in the Ashland Farmers Market and Hurley Farmers Market. I certainly am getting some options for places to sell my produce.

Don't tell anyone, but our Farmer Tom is going to 57 on the 10th! I am going to make him a diabetic New York style cheesecake and he bought himself some DVDs for a present. We haven't decided if we'll go out to a restaurant or not. I guess that depends on the weather.

Well, it's getting late and I'm beat. Talk to you soon!

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