Sunday, December 14, 2008

Catching up...

Hard to believe it has been nearly a month since I've posted! I think I'll be able to write more often for awhile now that things are slowing down for the winter.

Today was the last major "marketing event" of the season...the Farmer's Market Holiday Sale. It seemed to be a bit slower than last year, but better than I'd feared. A good solid end to the season. This was the first year I've had vegetables, and several other vendors also had a variety of greens and root crops. Leeks sold out early on, and all I brought home veggie-wise was Jerusalem Artichokes.

I would have had more salad stuff, but I've been exploring a supplier relationship with a major local institution, and much of my "post season" produce has gone to them as we get a feel for the details of delivery, packaging, and other logistics...and I whet the chef's appetite for excellent locally grown veggies! The really exciting thing about this opportunity is that THEY came to me seeking assistance in procuring local produce. So I got to skip the "cold call" part of the marketing which I HATE. They are well-informed about the benefits of buying local produce: keeping their food dollars circulating within their community to create more financial stability here; increased food security in case of natural disaster, economic or infrastructure upset, or other disruption of the complicated logistics of hauling in food from around the globe; and of course better nutrition and taste. You will be hearing more about this relationship as it unfolds.

Where have I been lately? Recall that one of my last posts was about the bathroom improvement project. This has pretty well consumed my "spare" time and then some, including many pleasant nights of puttering until 2 or 3 in the morning. It is coming along nicely, and the fixtures are all back in service, and the tile floor is fabulous. There are just so many little details and challenges in the finishing touches. An entire evening ended up being devoted to hanging a dumpster-dived new-in-the-package towel bar. I wanted it on the bottom of the wall-hung cabinet, rather than the wall, as it is much less cluttered that way. Six screws, no big deal, done in 10 minutes, right? But the original screws were a fraction of an inch too long (trip to the hardware store), and the mounting holes were difficult to reach (ended up installing several screws with an off-set screw driver, 1/4 turn at a time working upside down), and holding the long rod while fidgeting with all this involved a precarious system of bar clamps, and trying not to drop anything heavy on the "new" sink. Eventually there will be pictures....

A steady schedule of work with both new and seasoned apprentices continues. We're still doing our 5:00 Thursday "livestock seminars" regularly, though it is pretty much dark by the time we're done. Lots of details on keeping the livestock supplied with liquid water, as the weather becomes more wintery: Draining hoses, thawing "drained" hoses, reviewing draining hoses; understanding and managing the frost-free hyrants to protect them from freeze damage; dealing with leaking quick-connect hose fittings (colored washers are better than black ones because there is less likelihood of someone mistakenly putting a new washer over an old one); troubleshooting stock tank heaters and their associated electrical cords, GFI-protected receptacles, etc.

Plus, we've finally dug the last of the potatoes, pulled all the tomato cages out of the ground (we can clean dead vines off them any time on a sub-zero day, but they have to be out of the ground before it freezes up for the winter, covered the fig trees, spread dozens of bags of leaves on various areas so we can start the spring weed-free, etc. Good satisfying progress, but oh-so-busy!

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