June 29, 2005

All kinds of things are going well lately. We have been to two Farmer’s Markets in Woodland thus far, and have sold out our blackberries and boysenberries both times. The total profits are modest (like, under $100), but it’s been more fun than I thought. The people are very pleasant, an amateur folk group plays music, and it lasts only 3 hours.

June 17, 2005

Sometimes, reminders that "you get what you pay for" come from unexpected directions. I have been on a hunt for weeding tools lately, having been confronted by burgeoning amounts of witchgrass. Which I prefer to think of as b****grass, but I digress. Witchgrass is a crabgrass-looking, fast growing weed that has an amazingly tenacious root system. It quickly sends up seeds on a distinctive frond, which then dries up and blows everywhere. I lack a good botanical vocabulary, so look up a picture of it online and then you’ll see the little monster to which I’m referring (heck, you probably hate it too but don’t know that’s what it’s called!). Anyway, I was on the verge of purchasing another $8 tool of dubious appearance when Ken pointed out something else. It was a Japanese-type hand weeder with a triangular blade and razor sharp forged steel. I immediately thought it looked capable of doing damage, so for $16 I bought it. I came home, and voila! began slicing away. Suddenly an impossible task seemed quite manageable. Which got me to thinking….in the old days, there was no Roundup, or power tools, or any of that stuff. But there were files and steel, and I was getting a glimpse of what a well-made, sharpened tool can do. For people that tend acres by hand, having the real deal in hand tools is the way to go. I will be taking a second look at those expensive hand tools in the catalog, since one or two of those is worth a dozen of the others. I found something online called a diamond hoe, which looks really appealing. Payday’s in two weeks!

June 14, 2005

As could be guessed from the lack of writing, we have been busy off the scale recently. We had a high school graduation and we volunteered many hours for the grad night event as well. This weekend will be our first attempt at attending a farmer’s market. And moreover, we have begun negotiations with a nearby farmer that we hope will result in leasing part of our land for growing commercial hybrid sunflower seeds.

June 6, 2005

Turkeys and eggs, eggs and turkeys. Chirps, honks and trills. I have heard it said that parents of very young children learn to "monitor" the child’s well-being by sound. Mothers know when the noise isn’t right, and investigate. A neurotic poultry owner works the same way, except at five times the complexity. Because I fuss incessantly about birds (even though I often wish I didn’t) my day starts at about 4:45am. I wouldn’t seem awake to the onlooker, but it’s the time of day that my brain wakes up, listening. Nine six-week-old turkeys have a range of calls that mean everything from "the sun is in the sky" to "I’m about to get eaten". Adult turkeys have another set of sounds in lower tones. They have different issues, like "I don’t want to fly out of the tree" and "where’s breakfast" and "here I am, look at me." Then there are the chickens, hens and roosters, chatting away. Lastly are the peas, with honks and screams and the rattle of the tail fan outside the window. Lastly, Xerxes crows away in the next room. I don’t hear Xerxes anymore, just like I stopped hearing the train when I lived near the tracks. Sifting through this symphony of avian sounds gives a wealth of information on the State of the Yard. Too many noises of agitation get me out of bed to look outside and check on them, whereas relative quiet punctuated by intermittent gobbles lends to drowsy sleep.