May 23, 2007

A great many things in life are odd. For example, I wrote to the makers of Ziploc bags. I wished to comment that while I use and like their product a great deal, it is a shame that the bags are not thick enough to keep pantry moths (a serious pest of foodstuffs) out.

The moths can chew through the plastic and ruin the contents of the bag. Dried peaches, feathers, breakfast cereal, chocolate, lentils, nothing is sacred to these moths. So I pointed out what an asset it would be, should they design a bag that the moths cannot penetrate. 3 days later in the mail, I received an official looking envelope. It contained two items: a coupon for a free box of Ziploc bags, and a color pamphlet of insects and what products bearing the Raid brand name I should purchase in order to rid my home of unwanted insects. No letter of explanation, just Raid and Ziploc, saving the world. Ummmmm… anybody out there? I momentarily forgot that I live in a society where chemicals I cannot pronounce are supposed to be more welcome than some bugs in the flour. Thanks, but I’ll take the bugs…. The north wind howled. Again. My jujube tree is split down the middle but enough is left to save. Many, many young almond trees were blown down. We have been planting seeds and plants at a great rate. The only things we have to sell at the moment are onions, beets, oranges and grapefruits. I’m sure my CSA customers are seeing them in their dreams…I sure wish I had even a cherry tomato to toss their way. Oh, and this year I was going to have cherries. Last year, in the worst spring rains in awhile, I got 5 cherries to eat. This year, under ideal conditions, I had one. Uno. Eins. Cherry farmers must be a depressed lot. Maybe next time…. Six Buckeye chicks hatched Sunday. They are in the bathtub. They stare quietly when we enter the room. This breed of fowl is veeeeeery different. Maybe they are so rare because it was felt that they were just too……….odd.

May 8, 2007

I’m sitting here trying to think of what to write, and it’s like trying to organize a cloud of gnats. I guess I’ll start by not saying that we have been very busy, because…..well, duh. Right now we are riding through our biggest transition thus far. We are aiming our summer crops not to last year’s "Farmer’s market and a few CSA customers" level, but are moving into "Restaurant wants 400 lbs of roma tomatoes per week". No more orders involving one seed packet, for the most part. The greenhouse is all but done churning out the first wave of plants. 83 peppers and about 200+ tomatoes were planted in the last few days. And about 30 cucumber plants and 40+ eggplants. By the way, if you are on friendly terms with me, I’d think twice about visiting this summer. I’m gonna fill your trunk with cucumbers when you aren’t looking…….

All this excess does have a reason, though. In the space of 6 weeks, we have arrived at new relationships with two local restaurants. One of them just wants a lot of stuff, which is fine. But the other business has an entire concept in mind. I have actually met a restaurant owner who recognizes that farms need clients, and that restaurants need farms. As businesses, we have a symbiotic relationship with each other. A farmer has to sell a product, and someone who prepares food needs food to prepare. So the idea of working with a small farm, and finding a way to use all of the farm’s products in either fresh food, or food converted into a value-added product was raised. For a "little guy" like me, it means that I get to just focus on doing the best job possible growing whatever my client wants. I don’t spend a lot of time marketing and selling and being annoyed that good food is rotting on the vine, becuase that food already has a home, a guaranteed buyer. I think it’s a great idea, and I sure hope it works out like we all want it to.

And, it seems fair to mention that the neighborhood pettiness referenced in certain previous blogs has continued to swell up and stink like a dead cow in the summer heat. Our dear neighbors want so desperately to punish us for having held them accountable for their loose dog killing some of our Delaware chickens. Since then, I guesstimate they have spend about $2,000 and countless hours of scheming trying to come up with some plan by which they can deprive us in some peripheral manner. They tried to cut off our agricultural water, they tried to deny us use of our driveway, they’ve called Animal Control every time a chicken sets foot on the driveway, they’ve hired a lawyer to send us "love letters", they’ve hired a surveyor to mark the property line…..on and on for no other good reason than they’re pissy. It would be funny except for the fact that it’s wasted a bit of our time and money as well. Because they have no legal ground to stand on, they can’t do a damn thing to us, and now they live most of their time barricaded in their house. It’s sad. They’re sad. The whole stupid affair is sad. I take some solace in the fact that my peacock is screaming particularly frequently this time of year, and at all hours. Well, that’s country living.

One thing I am feeling very pleased about is the flower situation. For a CHANGE, I am going to have fresh flowers to sell at the Farmer’s Market right from the start. And, not just zinnias this year. I have lots of cosmos and coreopsis coming along as well, and maybe some other items too. Flowers sell well and I’m hoping that the extra effort to be on schedule will have its rewards.

And, a last nugget from the vault…..I am getting more organized. My voice teacher sold me her old PDA…..I’m in love with the thing, how did I live without it? Finally, all the stuff I need to remember in ONE place.

Take care, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms… make the world go ’round!!