Friday, February 11, 2011
Playing Catch-up Already
A Case as white as snow.
Though the "season" hasn't actually started, I feel as though we're playing catch-up already. I also feel that all we ever write about is the weather or our lack of time. Well, file this post under "lack of time."
We have most of our seed ordered, but have yet to come up with a solution to our lack of a greenhouse. As we've previously mentioned, there is a rather nice, solid greenhouse on the property we're leasing, but it has no heat and it would be a serious investment to get heat to it, one which we're not willing to make since we don't own the building or the property. The first year, we were able to get away with starting our seedlings in a germination chamber under fluorescent lights at the farm, and since I was farming full-time, I could monitor them easily. The second year, when we increased our production and I found an off-farm job, we set up two metal racks in the sun room of our rental house in town. The seedlings again sat under fluorescent lights. The problem with that set up was our sun room didn't have very good ventilation nor very good sunlight, and besides, we ran out of room quickly. This year, we're considering purchasing a small 8'x16' greenhouse to plop in the back yard. That would hopefully solve the high humidity issue, the lack of sunlight issue, and it would still be close by for daily management. I'm driving the pickup and trailer a few hundred miles today to check out a used greenhouse I saw on craigslist. Oh, our convoluted decision-making process.
Why the photo of the tractor, you ask? Well, we are simultaneously looking into upgrading our equipment for the field crops as well as in anticipation of increasing our acreage in 2012. This little beauty is a Case 4490, about a 150 horsepower 4 wheel drive tractor. It would be the appropriate size for 260 acres. The reason we're looking now is 1) so we're ready come spring 2012, and 2) so we can possibly help out the farmer currently leasing the rest of the acreage (the acreage we would farm in 2012). I'm not sure how much sense that makes given that it will take time away from our operation and this post is all about lack of time. Again, farming, at least beginning a farm, warps the brain.
We are also in the midst of trying to figure out a way to successfully transfer the farm ownership over to us. The land is the current farmer's retirement, so there are no deals to be made (nor would we expect that), but we think there may be creative ways to make the transfer. At least we hope so since employing creativity will be the only way we will be able to pull it off. Stay tuned.
I just got our organic certification application in the mail today. It seems like I just finished the paperwork for last year's application. The NRCS and FSA are calling out to me to get going on their required paperwork. Taxes are due soon and we haven't even set up an appointment with our accountant. We have grain to clean for some additional Grain and Seed CSA members, turkeys to order, grants to apply for, Vegetable CSA members to sign up, aaaaaaaaaaah!
Wish me luck today: if this greenhouse pans out, it'll be sitting about 7' tall on top of the trailer, strapped down tight, with strong west winds wanting to send it flying. I'd ask all those readers west of us to take a collective breath in while all those readers east of us to simultaneously blow out when I drive through Judith Gap, one of the windiest spots in the state.
Posted by Jacob at 6:12 AM