Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Run Run Run

The weather was a bit warmer today, and it was sunny and clear. We still had some wind, but it certainly was not as biting as it was yesterday. I forgot to tell you I moved the chicks out to the coop day before yesterday to sort of "harden them off" to the colder temps, and they freaked out. Yesterday morning I found 6 dead, all piled up in a corner. I am down to 115 birds total, and some of those are hens which I am keeping for eggs, so for right now I have only about 60 birds to sell in my meat bird project. A far cry from my initial 125! I seem to be on a roll though, and while I'm running into glitches, I seem to be able to resolve the issues relatively easily. The chicks looked much better this morning and more used to the coop. Some of the larger ones are even trying to get up on the roosts. I sing "Amazing Grace" when I go out to check on them so they know that "Big Chicken" is coming. The singing seems to calm them, too. I already have a few that come running to me to pick them up and pet them. At least they've stopped screeching and piling in the corners.

I called John from our farmers market this morning and asked if it was too late to bring my scale to him to take to E. & B. Scale in Merrill for calibrating, and fortunately he said that he was planning to go tomorrow, so I reached him just in time! I took care of Lara and then ran to Phillips to give him my scale. I forgot to call Diane Barkstrom though about giving John her farm brochures to give me so I can exhibit them at the Farmers Market table at the upcoming Farm to Fork event. I will give her a call tomorrow morning and will pick up her brochures some time before next Monday. It was a relief to get the scale taken care of; John will get it back to me by the first farmers market date.

After meeting with John, I stopped at the hardware store and got a good metal drill bit so I can finish drilling holes in the angle iron Dad gave me for fence posts last year, and a good metal shut-off valve for my garden hose watering head -- I took the hose out of the garage to hook it up and the plastic valve I had on it immediately broke. Figures. I hate using plastic for most anything because it just doesn't last. While I was there I bought another big roll of chicken wire, so when I get the wood for the chicken skid from my neighbor, Larry, I will only need to get the galvanized wood screws and other hardware.

As I was on my way home from Phillips, the radio reminded me that today was local election day. After all the phone calls and face-to-face meetings with politicians wanting to be re-elected, I couldn't believe I had forgotten to vote! So I went home, took care of Lara again, and brought her with me to Mercer to vote. I was surprised that I had to wait for a voting booth. After I voted, Lara and I stopped at the bake sale the ladies had going on there and got some cupcakes to take home. She enjoyed getting out of the house.

Once I got Lara settled in her room, I went back out and worked on the chicken fence a while. I'm about 3/4 of the way finished with stapling the wire to the fence posts. Once that is done, I'll go back around, tighten up the wire, and make sure the bottom is well buried.

Had a phone call from Jane Hansen confirming that I would be at the Farm to Fork event hosting the farmers market table next Monday. This event is a "Get Acquainted" event for buyers and sellers of local food. It provides a chance for producers to meet face-to-face with business owners and restauranteurs who are looking to purchase local food. It is a way to build a local food economy. The event is at the Ag Extension Office in Phillips at 104 S. Eyder Avenue (3 blocks west of Highway 13 -- turn on Chestnut Street). The event runs in the evening from 5:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. on April 13th. If you are a business you can RSVP at 715-339-2555 and ask for Jane Hansen. I plan to wear my farmers market vendor outfit and bring my 2009 farm notebook. I made up some new flyers and some magnets to hand out, too. They look pretty good if I do say so myself!

Boiling down the maple sap is coming along ok. It's been so windy that I've been doing it inside the house on the stove -- thankfully I have a good vent fan. This is going to be a good batch of syrup! We are going to send some to our friends, Bill and Linda up in Albany, NY, and I should have enough to give some to Sarah and to Dad. One day I would like to visit a real sugar shack.

Tom is all day at the doctor again tomorrow so I will work inside the house. I'll continue cleaning up the basement -- it's already half finished. And at 1:00 p.m. there is a Webinar entitled "Tips and Tricks for Successful Farmers' Markets" hosted by Dr. Jennifer Dennis, Purdue University Specialty Crop Marketing Extension Specialist. Attendance at the Webinar is free and is not just for educators. Pre-registration is not required. To attend, about 10 minutes before the start time, go to Adobe Connect Pro meeting room at http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ecop/. You will see a login screen that has an "Enter as Guest" option. Enter your first name, last name and state, the click "Enter Room" to join the conference. To hear the audio and participate in the Q&A section of the workshop, after you log into the conference, you will be presented with the option to enter your call-back number. After entering your telephone number you will be automatically called and joined into the audio portion of the Web conference on your phone. Unfortunately, I do not know if this works with cell phones.

By the way, did you know there is a Women's Ag Network blog at
http://mpeabody.blog.uvm.edu/wagn/? I know it now and am adding the link to the list of blogs I frequently peruse. Blogging is really a lot of fun. I think it has a psychological aspect to it that is beneficial to the blogger. I know I certainly feel better when I blog. It makes me feel more socially connected.

Well, I'm getting long winded again so I'll leave off. Have a good evening!

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