Everyone who knows me knows that I tend to involve myself in a wide variety of subjects. At no time has this been more true than since I took up farming. Here is just a few of the trades I had to embody this weekend:
Mechanic. A long series of minor problems with my ancient Troy-Built tiller culminated in a badly worn drive belt. I located one of the few remaining official Troy-Built repair locations a mere 15 miles away and purchased new belts and some replacement parts for worn and/or missing parts of my tiller. Actually replacing those parts ended up involving some fairly major mechanical work.
Metalsmith. Some of those replacement parts were almost, but not quite, as ancient as my tiller. During that time difference, they changed some elements of the cast iron chassis. Using the newer parts involved reshaping parts of that heavy iron. I don’t have a metal shop on the premises, but my trusty Dremel tool was up to the task.
Carpenter. The warm weather and advanced bloom of the many wildflowers has been a boom for our bees. Their two-story hive is already full to the brim with larvae, pollen, and honey, and the blackberries haven’t even begun to bloom. So, I had to add more stories onto the hive. I bought a “second-year bee kit” that contained two more hive boxes and the equipment needed to begin processing raw comb honey. However, unlike last year’s “beginning bee kit”, the hive boxes and frames that hang inside of them did not come assembled. So, after quite a few hours of drilling, nailing, and painting, the bees now have the room they need to make plenty of wonderful honey for us.
Software Developer. We have taken on the task of operating the the farmers’ co-op we belong to. The previous managers did a lot of the accounting using a horribly designed (yet oddly popular) and overly complicated professional accounting software package. I did not want to follow in those particular footsteps, so I wrote into the website’s on-line ordering system the routines necessary to duplicate most of those tasks. Taking the time now to wrote some new software will save untold hours down the road.
Salesman. A couple hours this afternoon were spent manning a both at the kick-off to this year’s “GreenFest”, a public-awareness campaign for “green” organizations around the Athens area. We were invited to attend to increase awareness for the co-op, which we did quite well.
Photographer. With all this work getting done, it’s important that I keep it documented for the farm photo of the day.
Veterinarian. Chickens require constant care. They are really quite fragile creatures, especially when they are young. I spent some quality time with one of our young chicks who is “cross-beaked”. Her top beak and bottom beak don’t line up like bird beaks ought; rather, her top beak curves quite a bit to the right. And it’s gotten worse as she’s been growing. But after careful observation, it appears she can still eat and drink just fine, so it is probably only cosmetic. I’m sure the other chicks tease her terribly. We know how children can be.
Horticulturalist. Somehow, I still found time to begin another coouple hundred seedlings and transplant several hundred more into the fields.
And that was my weekend. How about yours?
I’ve been chastised for not providing baby news. All is as it should be. As Georgia is one of the few places in the world where both home births and direct-entry midwives (the kind that don’t take their orders directly from an OB) are illegal, we are using the services of a wonderful midwife with a birthing center across the state line in South Carolina. We see her once a month, and everything and everyone is right on course.
I’d show you a pretty picture of the young’un, but we don’t have one. Nor will we. It turns out that for the uninsured, ultrasounds are very expensive. At my wife’s last visit to her OB, we were quoted a figure in the several hundreds of dollars. So — no picture. If you’re wondering about the diagnostic abilities of ultrasounds, there are other ways to “see” everything the picture shows you. So, we haven’t lost out on any knowledge, other than the gender, which we don’t want to know.
Speaking of gender, we’ve entered the realm of Baby Names. I think we’ve settled on a girl’s name (nope, not telling), but boy’s names are much harder.
If we do have a boy, I would like to name him Bartleby, but my wife would prefer not to.
On this, the Ides of March, I’ll share with you the guilty pleasure of the movie Free Enterprise. I found it at a truck stop the other day for a mere $3, and the music video for “No Tears for Ceasar” — a medley of sorts from Bill Shatner’s musical version of Julius Ceasar — was well worth the money. That’s the movie’s character “Bill Shatner”, played by William Shatner. That’s right… he plays a fictional version of himself. And it’s not too over the top, either. If your local truck stop (or video rental place) has a copy, don’t be frightened by the box. It’s rather quite enjoyable!
So what have I been up to the last two weeks? I think this page sums it up quite nicely. Record keeping is key with gardening, and even more so when you’re trying to make a business out of it. What did you plant, when did you plant it, how much did you plant, when will it be ready to harvest, how much did you harvest… keeping up with these questions and answers makes each following year a little bit easier.
Since I’m keeping this information for my own benefit anyway, I figured I might as well let the rest of the world peek in on it, too. So, this page will show in real-time specifically what’s happening on the farm.