August 04, 2005

The last post sat around for more than a week while I didn’t get back to it, so all that’s left is to add the update. Having investigated and bidded our way through most of the last calendar week, we seem to be in good shape concerning most of our improvement projects. That is, as long as our loan/refinancing is funded (at the end of the day, the bank still owns everything, right down to the thorns on the boysenberries). 

We are adding in a greenhouse, and placing the tractor on hold. Sort of. Basically, we were given a quote for a trade-in on our tractor that was funny eccept it wasn’t funny. That is to say, waaayyyy too low. We will sell our tractor privately after all the rest of the matters are moving along. For anyone interested, that’s a Kubota B2150, with front loader, automatic transmission, and under 600 engine hours. The tractor has been well-maintained, and has spent most of its years housed in a shed. Includes operator’s manual and complete specifications manual, $12,500 or other similar, reasonable offer. Tell all your friends, or better yet, call us and buy it!

I am most enamored of the solar system. This is a very interesting process and we learned a lot about "how it all works". Basically, one aims for a system that produces between 50% and 75% of electrical needs. This, in turn, places power consumption into the Tier 1 billing level of PG& E, which is where the really low payments are. The system doesn’t power the house per se, but rather feeds electricity into the grid continually. When use exceeds production, the meter runs forward. WHen production exceeds use….you get the idea. Solar users switch to a whole new billing format, an annual one. PG&E estimates what your annual power needs will be, and you pay that amount divided by 12, monthly, and hope at the end of the year that the numbers weren’t too far off. We are looking at installing a 24 panel system, which would be physically located to the east of our turkey pens. We are going to work with BP solar (sort of funny buying solar panels from an oil company, but they are the best deal in town), who designs, builds, tests and installs the system, in addition to dealing with all paperwork and permits and (most importantly) PG&E. I would have thought that people would try to buy a system that met 100% of their power needs, but that’s not how it works. There would be no rebates associated with installation if that were the case, and the rebates are HUGE. As is the tax credit, as is the amount the installation increases property values. Interestingly, the system adds about 98% of its cost in value to the property the moment the switch is flipped on. It seems like a very positive thing all around and we are very excited to be able to get this ball rolling.

It is still in the 100’s, temperature-wise. I am very tired of the heat. This weekend is Farmer’s Market, ugh. I think we’d better get that market umbrella working so we don’t fry in the heat. We mostly have flowers to sell. All the zinnias and dahlias are blooming, and boy do they look pretty. The zinnias are such easy, showy flowers to grow, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t plant them.

Eggplants have finally ripened, they’re very tasty. We are about to have our first rossa bianca, a beautiful italian eggplant that is white with pink stripes. It’s really too pretty to eat but we’re going to anyway.  Also the Fay Elberta peaches are good (but last year was better!). I finally got a HUGE brown turkey fig, which tasted wonderful. Beans and peppers trickle in at a pathetic rate, and the tomatoes grow robustly but set little fruit. All sorts of people tell me how successful their tomatoes have been this year so far. All I can do is frown and think about that greenhouse…….

The trio of Narragansett turkeys continues to grow and do well, and we really enjoy the antics of littlest Narragansett, trying to be like bigger Narragansetts. Adorable little bird! The Royal Palms have all been released from their brooders with their pathetic mothers. One hen has taken over caring for all the poults, and the other two are off living the single life. It is amazing how neurotic the Royal Palms are, and how calm the Narragansetts seem by contrast. All turkeys are not created equal.

One last bit of sad news. Galahad died this last weekend. He was brought to work. He had cardiac and intestinal hemorrhages, and the doctor doesn’t know why. A few tests are still out, but it’s looking like we may have no explaination as to why we lost our beautiful peacock.

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