I'm still thinking about hops, and thanks for the support, guys! Found out I will need 55 poles for an acre trellis. Even though Monsanto is one of the producers of the following video along with the American Farm Bureau, here is a nice video about commercial hops growing. It's too bad there is no small scale harvesting equipment available. America's Heartland Video - Hops Crops. I also found a couple of good links on hops info to share:
http://www.usahops.org/ and http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/hop.html.
Tom drove to Ironwood, MI today (we're about 30 miles from the WI-MI border) to buy a topper for his truck. It was a nice day again for running errands. He wanted an aluminum topper and had to order it; should be ready for pick up in about two weeks.
I took care of the chickens and emptied the sap buckets, then made a sour cream chocolate cake using some of my homemade sour cream from kefir. Turned out great! I want to experiment with lacto-fermented veggies using kefir. The health benefits are supposed to be outstanding. I cut the cake up into pieces and put it in the freezer so it wouldn't immediately evaporate ;) Then I cleaned off the top of my desk -- looks MUCH better. I seem to accumulate reading material like our dog does ticks; don't know what it is.
Now tomorrow Lara and I are going to a farmers market talk about marketing and displays at the Ag Extension office in Phillips. It starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs till noon. (I try to make sure Lara gets out of the house as much as possible. Tom usually takes Ed with him when he goes somewhere.) Tom will take Dad to get his next blood level test for me. It will be a busy day. I'll have to take care of Lara and the chickens early, then empty the sap buckets in the afternoon after we get home.
Since two more insurance companies have told us they won't give us a physical and product liability rider to our current homeowners insurance policy for selling products from our farm and at the farmers market (they want us to buy our entire homeowners from them), and we haven't heard back -- again -- from our current insurance agent (who assured us that we could get a rider from her), I'm going to give Rural Insurance a call and see how much a commercial farm policy will cost since I have the farm incorporated as a single member LLC. (Haven't made any money yet but we are incorporated). I can't tell you how pissed off I am at these insurance companies. And I have to call that state DATCP regional agent to find out about getting the Food Processing Plant license (because I have to wash my eggs before selling them) and a Mobile Retail Food Establishment license (so I can sell my eggs at the farmers market). Then if I want to sell my kefir grains from either the farm or at the farmers market, I think I will also need (at least) a Dairy Plant Processing license! And, the agent has to come to the house and "inspect" my kitchen; she will "work with me" to meet state regulations. I am so sick of government regulations I could barf. A micro-entrepreneur in Wisconsin today is just crushed under all of the burdensome bureaucracy. At least the state legislature passed Wisconsin's version of Minnesota's "Pickle Bill"; that's one step in the right direction.
Guess I've done enough ranting for today. Take care!