Saturday, May 05, 2007

Early days of May

Whew! I got the hazelnut trees planted and Tom planted the blue spruce trees outside the field fence along the marsh side of the snowmobile trail. I've just about got the high tunnel planted with one more row of hot and sweet peppers to put in and another flat of endive. I have about 80 tomato plants I now need to stake. I am so happy that most of the transplants seem to have taken. Let's hope I can keep up with watering everything.

On the 3rd I started cucumbers, summer and winter squash, and melons in the basement. Tomorrow I'll start pumpkins, corn and sunflowers. I like to start the corn inside because if I plant larger plugs the birds have a harder time pulling them up, and the sunflowers don't mature unless you start them inside.

Let's talk about the weird weather. For crying out loud, this weather is weird! Last year our last snowfall was May 15; the year before, it was May 12. This year the last good snow came in March, then quickly vanished, and now it is so dry that we have had 5 forest fires in the area. The ticks are out in force and I'm told that when the ticks are this bad this soon in the year that it will be a dry year. Well, that is in line with global warming forecasts for this area. I expect things to get worse for a couple of years and also expect to see my maple trees start dieing; the yellow birch already are. I plan to plant loads of cherry trees to replace the maples as they are more used to a warmer climate. I think that when we do get rain it will be a deluge -- good thing I have big wetlands around me.

Well, I bit the bullet. I am now officially Swamp Creek Farm, LLC. Now I have to find out what I need to do next to be kosher with Wisconsin law. I am a single member LLC with no employees so I don't think I need a FEIN, and I sell raw, unprocessed food and occasional hand made craft items less than $1000 in value (far, far less!), so I don't think I need a Seller's Permit. I need to find out about this Business Registration Tax -- I don't understand what this is and don't know if I need to register for this. I also need to find out about an SS-4 number: what it is and do I need it. My head starts to spin when I try reading through the different web sites. Need to find out about insurance and getting an accountant, too. Price County Insurance was recommended as an agency friendly to small producers. Maybe they can recommend an accountant.

I received my new farmers market folding table and benches from Agri-Supply. They are really nice! I would buy from Agri-Supply again as their service was very good. A bit heavier than I expected, but the tables are wonderful quality. Also received the 100% biodegradable plastic bags from Brenmar Company. Excellent! They are exactly what I wanted. Chris Walker, the sales rep from Brenmar, sent me a package with a couple of catalogs and I will share them with the Price Direct Group at the next meeting in June. And, I want to thank Bill and Linda Betz for giving me the absolutely beautiful bowl-shaped baskets for displaying my produce and the handle paper bags that will be perfect for my small purchase customers. Thank you to them again for sending the eggplant seeds and more hot pepper seeds. The pepper seedlings from the last seeds sent are doing quite well so far and I will send you back seed from the strongest plant of each variety should I get fruit. Please post a comment or send me an e-mail about the eggplant again: I didn't write down what you told me about where it came from, what it looks like when it is mature, and how to prepare it, and now I don't remember what you said. (BTW, Bill: Tom and I received your latest catalogs and I will put them with the others for display.)

I don't know if I told you all, but I called DATCP about whether or not I needed to have my scale checked and was told that yes, if you sell produce by the pound in Wisconsin, you have to have your scale checked. The very nice lady (I forgot her name already) sent me two lists of scale vendors for northern Wisconsin and the closest one to me was BSI Scales, Inc. in Tomahawk. I sent Randy there my scale and got it back the other day so my scale is ready and legal for market! I'll take the catalogues and info Randy sent me to the Price Direct meeting, too. I know there is a farmers market in Hurley, and I think I will call their market manager and see if they would be interested in having a "scale day" at the Extension Office in Phillips where all local producers can get their scales checked. The more people getting their scales checked would make the costs go down. Also received my new contract from DATCP for applying as a WIC/FMNP vendor at the farmers market in Phillips and sent that back off to Madison. I called Judy Allen, the contact person at DATCP and asked if I could add farmers markets to the contract that I am thinking of adding and was told that NO you should only put down markets you currently sell at. It is always good to call when you aren't sure of procedure. I certainly hate back peddling!

Went to Ashland and learned how to test poultry for pullorum. The state vet was there and taught the class. Now there's a tough old bird -- I wouldn't want to cross him! I was surprised there were so few people at the class. I want to increase my flock and have it NPIP approved; that was my major reason for go to this class. I am so glad I went. I learned a lot. I wish I could order more chicks this year, but I just can't until I get my current projects done. I will need to build a bigger chicken coop anyway.

Finally got the oats, wheat and peas in the ground. How I wish for rain! One good soak is all I need to get the seed growing.

Enough about work. Let's get more personal. I like to meditate in the evenings as it recharges me. Often I listen to Dr. Jeffrey Thompson's Brainwave Suite. I also listen to Wayne Dyer's Getting in the Gap, and Whitley Strieber's Blue Pearl meditation (only available to subscribers of his web site) -- the first time I did that meditation, well, I won't tell you what happened -- it was just too weird and you probably wouldn't believe me! Anyway, I do that meditation whenever I can now. Thanks, Whitley! I also like to read in the evenings. I am reading The Opening of the Way by Isha Schwaller de Lubicz. (I thought it would help me with my reading of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz' The Temple of Man, which I am having a hard time getting through the math chapter of Volume I). And, I am reading about alchemy and spagyrics; I find the relationship among alchemy, homeopathy, and astrology fascinating. I just love the term Celestial Gardening. I'm hooked. The odd thing is that as I read these books, everything seems so familiar.

Well, it's nearly 7:30 already; I didn't realize I'd been babbling on this long. Talk to you soon!

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