Thursday, January 29, 2009

Updated Listing on

I wanted to tell you all that I have updated the farm profile on . Because the veggies I grow differ from year to year, I decided to delete the individual veggie listings so I wouldn't have to keep revising the listing yearly. DATCP told me that I have to list at least one item, and we agreed to list brown eggs. I cannot just list "heirloom and open pollinated vegetables" for some reason. And remember that the chicks will be coming March 1st and won't start laying till August. I also created a better map (the one Google automatically went to showed us as being too far north). When you go to the savorwisconsin Web site you can search for us quickly by using the town (Butternut) in the search box. Then after you get to our listing, if you click on the link for driving directions, Google Maps will come up showing the WRONG map. Click on where it says "My Maps", then click on the link with our complete address. That will bring you to a satellite image of our farm with three place marks showing the house, our driveway, and the big field. You can switch from the satellite image to a street map if that is easier for you to look at. I would like to upload some pictures to the map, but I haven't figured out yet how to do that. It was kind of fun making that map; Google really impresses me!

It snowed off and on most of the day today, but at least it was not bitterly cold. Tom and I brought more wood into the garage from the wood pile. That took us a while because the wood we had in the garage was completely used up what with all the bitter cold we've had. It was a pain trying to move the wheelbarrow through the snow even though Tom had shoveled a path out to the wood piles, but I need the exercise! I gave both of us a dose of Arnica when we came back to the house. After we were done, I spent a couple of hours trying to find all the local newspapers in northern Wisconsin, then how to contact them and submit an article. I found seven newspapers. Four of them I can submit an article to on-line, but the other three I will have to call. Now I need to think about what I want to put in the article about the Local Food Guide and get it written. I also managed to find the Wisconsin Administrative Code relating to egg handling and food processing plant. Finally.

We just found that DSL service is now available to us through our phone company, so Tom called Century Tel today and got rid of the dial-up Internet. The serviceman is coming on the 3rd. I can't wait to be able to research subjects quickly and be able to see videos without waiting forever for them to load! A gift that grants me a far more efficient use of time -- thank you, Lord!

The weather is supposed to warm up a bit, so the chances are good that I can get some more fence posts cut. We are almost up to 10 hours of sunlight a day now, so I will take the cover off the garden box where the garlics are, and I will plant the other two boxes for early spring, cold loving veggies and see what happens. Three cheers for Eliot Coleman and his Winter Harvest Manual!

A member of the Price Direct Atlas Committee, Dave Ames, sent me some information for a couple of neat seminars and conferences. It was really nice of him. I would love to go to the Organic Conference in LaCrosse, but I just can't justify spending the money what with the economy being the way it is. I'd have to bring Lara with me, too. There is, however, a day seminar on February 5th that I would like to go to in Phillips. It will be $40 (for me and Lara to go). I even hate to spend that because I don't know what the chicken feed is going to cost me, but all of the topics are of vital interest to me. It will be hard to take Lara because I will have to cath her twice and bring her medicine, but she doesn't get out of the house much at all and likes the Ag extension and farmers market events. When I take her out I try to make it "Girls Day Out" like when we go to the beauty parlor for hair cuts, and she loves it!

Well, I've rambled on enough for today. Take care, all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Swinging Emotions

I don't know what it is, but a little bit of sunshine one day can surely change a person's mind set. Yesterday I was really depressed for no known reason and ready to throw in the hat with working on getting our Local Food Guide off the ground this year (our grant money ran out last year), and when I woke up this morning, I was raring to fly with it. I actually did spend all day today working on the Guide and my garden. Speaking of which, here is a pic of the high tunnel layout for this year:

Despite calling throughout the entire day to the Eau Claire office of DATCP (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection), I never did get through to a person (the line was always busy) and when I tried calling Madison, all I got there was automated list after list of agencies and numbers to press to leave a message for a call-back. I don't think anybody works in government any more. I was completely disgusted. I spent hours trying to find the information I was looking for (what I needed to do in order to legally sell vegetables and eggs to grocery stores or at the farmers market) on what I think is a miserable web site. I did eventually find most of what I was looking for on my own.

In order to sell eggs at a farmers market or a retail store I need to get a "Food Processing Plant License". (I don't need a license if I sell direct to customers from my farm.) Eggs must be clean and kept in a cooler at a constant temperature of 41F. What I still need to find out is what goes on the label, and for that I have to find Wis Administrative Code Chap. 88.08, which I'll do tomorrow when I try to find out where to get the license and how much that is going to put me back.

I am using Google documents to great effect. I really like it even though for some reason there seems to be a delay in formatting changes. I finished a Producer Listing form for the Local Food Guide that I will present to our group at the Feb. 5th meeting, and if it is ok'd by the majority, I'll upload it to the Web and people can download it as a .pdf file, fill it out, and mail it to me along with their fee (right now I'm thinking $25 will do, but I need to get some estimates from a couple of printers for what 1,000 copies will cost to print -- and that will depend on our final format, which I've been struggling with off and on all winter). Tomorrow I will work on a news article for publishing in various local papers as soon as possible to solicit interest in the Guide. I will have to find out how to solicit businesses to place an ad in the Guide. I have no idea what to charge for different sized ads. I also need to talk to Tom at the bank about setting up a checking account to handle the money. Some times I wish I could find someone that would be interested in forming a non-profit corporation with me, but on the other hand, I really want our group to pay its way and be a model for other groups. It will all work out eventually.

Speaking of Google, have you seen their "Sites" application? I may use that for something I have cooking in the back of my mind!

Well, it's getting late so I'll leave off for now. Talk to you soon!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good Food

All right. I'll bite. I was catching up on my reading of Jim Long's blog (scroll down on the right to see blogs I visit) and now he's made me hungry for beer bread. And it's not the Super Bowl yet! LOL I printed out his recipe and had to find mine to compare. His recipe is definitely better. My recipe is your basic 3 cups of self-rising flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 can of your beer of choice, all mixed together and baked in a greased bowl for 50-60 minutes at 350F till done. I like to bake the bread in a bowl because I carefully hollow out the bread leaving a crusty shell that I fill with melted sharp cheddar cheese to which I've added a pound (or two) of bacon bits. The removed bread is cut into bite size pieces. Then I put the cheese bowl in the center of a larger round platter and place the bite size pieces around it as finger food. Jim's bread recipe is heartier and more filling. I don't have a lot of herbs in my herb garden yet so I think that for now I would switch the wheat flour for rye and toss a tablespoon of caraway seed in the batter, then continue as with my usual recipe and the bacon-cheddar filling. A nice hot pepper-Monterey Jack might work with that, too. Hmmm. . . . Super Bowl . . . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009


We got another 3" of snow last night. My garden boxes are buried. At least it wasn't -20F again.

Tom says he will clear out the driveway tomorrow with the snow thrower. I am giving up on cutting more fence posts until the snow starts to melt because the snow in the woods is just too deep to work in. I will work on putting together the chick brooder.

I was going to order some more pear and apple trees, but with the economy the way it is, I think I'll hold off. I did order some yellow birch and sugar maples from the Extension Office that I'll plant along the creek bank to improve the buffer area. I have a new field diagram for you so you can see how the field will look this year:

I caught Cliff High from Half Past Human on Rebecca Jernigan's radio show at tonight. You can listen for free to the archived show; it should be up on the web site some time tomorrow. Who needs nightmares when you have reality staring you in the face! Well, no matter what, I will do my best to take care of my family and help my neighbors. That's all anyone can do. Just take things one day at a time. I believe the saying goes, "All that is sure is death and taxes."

Stay warm!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Good Day for Working

This morning the thermometer read -18F and warmed up to hover around 10F. For a change the sun shone and there was no wind, so I bundled up, grabbed my Forest Axe, measuring tape, and Western Saw and slowly broke a path through thigh deep snow in the woods and managed to cut down two trees that gave me 6 more fence posts. I don't have a skidding chain, so I cut a length of clothesline and managed to pull most of the posts to my started post pile with that. The clothesline worked pretty well, but I am sure the snow pack helped. If I can keep this pace each time the weather lets me work outside, I should have all the posts I need cut before the chicks come in March. And I should lose the 40 pounds the doctor wants me to lose!

It's funny how events tend to run in spurts. Today, for instance, was my "Communications" day: I got my Amazon order (thank you, Kim, for the Christmas gift certificate!) of the ARRL training books so I can study and apply for a shortwave radio license, and today I received wonderful calls from dear friends and relatives.

I'd say it was just about a perfect day! Think I'll fix a cup of peppermint tea and peruse the new A.M. Leonard catalog. . . .