Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Revving Up for 2017 and Beyond

It has been way to long since my last blog post. With the mild winter, rampant sickness, tons of meetings, and Janice’s promotion, it has been very busy around here. Some of our lingering projects are almost complete. The new chicken house has been put into service despite a few finishing touches on the interior that needs completing. The building is located jetting out into the cattle winter lot, to hopefully help reduce fly levels and therefore reduce the risk of pink eye (which hit us hard in 2016).

Front of the Layer Building (recycled metal and all)

Southside of the Layer Building

Pulling 150 feet of wire through Conduit Sucks

Layers Moving In

I did get some of our frost seeding on late, but it got done. I put on a mix of 50 pounds of birdsfoot trefoil and 50 pounds of Haifa white clover. I use just a shoulder mounted bag seeder a manual spinner, so the process can take several days to get over the whole farm.

100 Pounds of Seed to Spread

Our first 2017 chicks got here two weeks ago. They are growing well and depending on the weather, should be outside in a week or two. They should be available to customers by mid-June. We are brooding in stock tanks like we have in the past, but I have constructed some smaller brooder hoods based on a design I was using on the old farm. This helps the chicks regulate their own temperature and should help avoid health issues like pneumonia. 

Checking Out the Brooder Set-up

Hamming it Up with the Chicks

They are cute when they are little

Crafted a smaller brooder hood based on the ones we used on the old farm

Other projects that are getting nudged along on the farm include some fencing and brush clearing. 
I started building a stretch of fence behind the house almost two years ago, but that got stopped when I realized I would have to put a gate in the middle of that expanse of fence because that was the best sledding site for the kids on the farm. I got the bracing for that gate finished last night, now I need to run the wires, hand the gates, and bury the connective wires. 

One Step closer to Finally Getting This Stretch of Fence Done

I did not get very much brush cut this winter, but what I did get cut still needs to be stack and burn. I started that process last night and for a few seconds that pile of brush went up like a candle. That should tell you that it is pretty dry on the farm (we have missed several good rains). 

I found a calm day to burn brush

One of the two things that have really been keeping me busy is my role as Board President of the Iowa Food Cooperative. I have been running meetings, trying to improve processes, and just trying to get everyone on the same page and pulling in the same direction. The Iowa Legislature in there 2018 fiscal year budget eliminated the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.  I made a trip up to the capital to give testimony at the house budget hearing. That testimony is available here

Heading up to the Capital

I have also been increasingly involved in my local political party and parallel organizations. With that in mind, I am considering running for public office in 2018. The groundwork for these things takes quite a bit of time, focus, and energy. I will keep you posted if and when I have anything to announce. 

The kids are doing well in there respective schools. Our Daughter, is increasingly reading on her own and is still a social butterfly. Our Son, is shockingly advanced at math and has matured so much in the past year.  I am trying to get them outside more and a bit more involved in farming. Luna (the big puppy), sometimes wants to playfully chase them around a bit and at 50 pounds she can at times be intimidating. I wish both Janice and I could devote more time to the kids, but I try to make the most of what I have to work with. 

Posing Next to Flowers Planted in Memory of my Mother

Kite Flying, Early Spring Winds are Good for That

Luna keeps Growing

Hopefully it won't be so long before the next blog update. Until next time, take care and I will keep you posted about any updates here and on the Facebook page.

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