Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Juggling

Been too busy to make posts lately. Haven't been getting in until after 10 pm pretty much every night for awhile now. The green house took longer than we hoped to get it up and going. But, I sure am glad it is up now because we had two nights in a row of frost. I didn't have the ends of the green house covered yet so I just slapped some plastic over them for those two nights.

Regulating the temperature in those things are the biggest issue. It can easily get over a hundred degrees in the day time when it is all closed up. Tomato plants like warmth but, bake and freeze cycles are kind of tough on them. We could put in thermostatically controlled fans and all that but, I am reluctant to be dependant on electricity to moderate the temps.

It feels like we are juggling a lot right now. Lots of irons in the fire. We recently hired a young man for the summer to take care of the garbage route so I can be here full time. But, I had to train him first and get him going on his own. It was kind of a crash course. Well I shouldn't use the word crash when it comes to him driving our truck. He's a good driver and I pray he'll have a accident free time this summer. Anyway, after a couple weeks he went solo for two thirds of the route. This is his forth week with us and he is now on his own completely. Except for the extras, when there is something too bulky for him to get, I run out and get it in the pickup.

Also I had a helper, Michael, a friend of our family who road with me in the truck for over a year and I've been trying to get him going in scrap metal. Actually it is sort of a partnership as we are splitting the profits 50-50. Michael didn't want to do the route on his own so that's why we hired the new fellow.


Then trying to get the green house up, gardens going, broiler chickens on pasture and sheep out to pasture, we're going and doing pretty much non-stop. Oh, and my mother in law and sister in law who live together moved from Eagle River back to Sugar Camp, so we helped them with that. And, Kelli is helping a lady do spring cleaning at a resort. I'm sure I'm forgetting something else we are doing.

Well, tomorrow our youngest will be seventeen years old so we'll be celebrating that, so there's something else. But, we'll set aside being busy for that. Somehow in the end it will all work out.

It's been a challenge to figure out how much of everything we are going to grow for the farm stand and C.S.A. But, basically the subscribers are going to come first and anything left over will go to the farm stand.

Then we have to figure in succession planting so everything doesn't all come ripe at the same time. To further boggle our brains we are also doing companion planting in the raised beds. Kelli got a book called Carrots Love Tomatoes. I new that certain plants planted near by can be good or bad for other plants but, this book goes into great detail as to which ones are which. So each bed has multiple different vegetables being planted in each one.

The great thing is we aren't going it alone. There are other people growing stuff too. And friends of ours are helping us by starting plants and helping here with alot of the work. It wouldn't be as much fun doing it all our selves. We're sharing the work as well as the rewards.


There's alot of variables and "ifs" involved with what we are doing especially never having done this sort of thing on this large of scale. Not that it is huge by many growers standards but, it is big for us right now. Our friend John said "so, now are you going to get three or four more green houses for next year?" My wife told him to bite his tongue. Someday we might look back and wonder why we thought it was such a big deal. These are pretty uncertain times. I'm certainly glad that we are getting more proficient at growing things.

I hate to keep harping on the fuel prices but, for rural folks it's a pretty big deal. Just for a simple trip to town a person has to dig pretty deep into the pockets to come up with that kind of money. Poor people are especially feeling the pinch these days and it doesn't look like any end in sight. I suppose for the well off it doesn't matter that much. It's just "chump change". That's something a lady once said to us when she was referring to how much we charge for picking up her garbage. "That's just chump change" she said. Then she kind of stammered a little when she realized how it sounded. So I can imagine for some people, spending 3 times as much for fuel a week doesn't matter much. The way people keep roaring up and down the highway I guess it isn't pinching them too bad yet. But, we shall see.

Until Next Time

6 Comments:

Blogger Lynn Bartlett said...

Hi Russ,
Our family knows what you mean, about feeling like we are running on a treadmill, trying to stay on top of everything. Jonathan has chickens in various stages, and trying to keep all of them happy; the hoop house has had to have the barrel stove working since we've been freezing nights; we just lost a goat kid to a coyote (we think, as the only trace has been part of a leg our dog found); and on and on. The days sure run by quickly, and it's a bit tough at times to feel like we are living a "quiet and peaceable life." Guess everyone has challenges these days.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Constitutional Conservative said...

Russ,

Glad to see a new post. I am curious to know how much of your own food you can produce with that greenhouse. I personally spend a ton at the grocery store and would love to be able to grow enough produce to meet our internal needs - plus I will have to slaughter a few cattle for some tri-tip and ground beef.

I heard on the news today they are estimating a 60% increase in dairy products over the next 3 years and a 20-30% increase in beef products. Most of the blame is going towards a weak dollar and corn based ethanol.

Brock

12:05 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Hi Lynn,

Well, I'd have to say I don't exactly feel like I'm on a treadmill anymore, because I do enjoy what I'm doing, even though it is hard work and long hours. However all the things we need to get done is requiring me to multitask which I've never been good at. It seems like you blink and something is needing your attention. Like a watering system malfunction or something dies, like in your case with the coyote. I tend to get tunnel vision and want to just focus on one thing at a time. Doing the garbage route is like a treadmill though. I get bored doing the same thing all the time. I am extremely thankful to have a break from actually driving the route. I haven’t had a week off from it in 7 ½ years. At least with the farm work things vary all the time.

I know what you mean about maintaining a quiet and peaceable life. Trying to do things for yourself, like our forefathers did, (which they did as matter of necessity), coupled with all the modern trappings of having to go here and there for one thing or another makes “quite and peaceful” quite the challenge indeed.

May the Lord grant you and your family the strength and the wisdom to meet the challenges as they come. I pray that for ourselves all the time.

Russ

10:10 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hi Brock,

Well, I believe my family and I could easily grow ALL of our vegetables in that green house especially with the intensive growing method of square foot gardening. I have cousins in TN who have used that method for years but, never called it “square foot gardening”. Eliot Coleman uses similar methods but, doesn’t call it that either. Simply planting veggies close together in raised beds, rather than in long rows as in modern industrial farming, a person can grow an incredible amount of food in a relatively small space.

It doesn’t even have to be raised beds.
For example last year our green bean patch, though not in a raised bed, was in an area about 20’x 20’. We grew enough green beans to sell loads of them at our farm stand and put up enough in our freezer to last until right now. We are still eating last years green beans and we eat them three or four times a week. We have a family of 5. Basically 5 adults at this point with our youngest just turning 17. Not to mention the occasional holiday where we have other families over for dinner. The only reason for food shortages in this world is politics. God has provided a earth that produces super abundantly. In this age of trains, planes and automobiles no one on earth should have to go hungry if corrupt governments and wicked leaders would just let the food get through.

In our green house we are setting up 8, 4’ x 16’ raised beds and 21, 4’ x 8’ beds. (I tried posting pictures but, the picture thing on Blogger wouldn’t work) We are hoping to raise a large portion of the vegetables ( the warm weather crops) in there for the C.S.A. that we are doing this year. We have about 16 families who want to subscribe. And over twice that who have said they plan on buying from the farm stand.

The cooler weather crops are being raised outside of the green house. We already have over two hundred onions growing outside. They aren’t fazed by the late frosts like we just had recently. We’ve had onions come right up through ice before.

Food prices are one thing I’m not alarmed about as far as we are concerned because it is easy enough to grow your own. I’d say that about half of the food we eat is raised ourselves. The other half, that we buy, is simply convenience food for when we are running around here and there and need to whip up stuff quick or when we are feeling lazy and don’t feel like making a meal. However I think a person with a little creativity could do away with convenience food altogether if they just put up their own in such a way as to be able to quickly put stuff together. Or maybe we should just slow down period!

After reading Jerome Corsi’s book Late Great USA, I now believe that the dollar is being ruined on purpose so that they can get people to except a new regional currency and ultimately a global currency.

Russ

11:28 PM  
OpenID darkwoodfarm said...

I know what you mean about being too busy. There are a thousand projects here as well. Keep up the work, though. You are an encouragement to me.

Don

4:53 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Hi Don,

I always say I don’t have enough lifetime to do all the things I want to do. But, that’s ok. I believe God wires us to have certain interests and as long as we find a way to exercise our gifts, then we’ll be right where He wants us to be. Thanks. I’m glad to be an encouragement if I can.


Russ

1:43 PM  

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