Cookies made by the girls

With the colder weather, the girls have gotten back into making their famous cookies. Just in time for me to have to go onto a post holidays diet. Ugh!

I’ve been pretty slack about advertising the cookies. Partly because we’ve had a few Saturdays (they only make them on Saturdays) that the girls haven’t been home, or something went wrong, so there were no cookies. But we are back in a groove and I finally was able to get some pics.

The Princess mixing the cookie dough
The Princess mixing the cookie dough

When I tell people we have home made cookies. I mean it. The girls get up on Saturday mornings and start with flour, sugar, fancy chocolate chips, etc and make true home made cookies. It is their little side business that they do. Well, and making scarves, and hats, and whatever else the dream up. But cookies were first. The cookie sales are independent of the store, they sell them directly. At this point I don’t make them buy ingredients so it is VERY much like a lemonade stand. Plus, if nobody buys any, somebody has to eat all those cookies, right? Guess who that is. It is a pretty sweet deal for the girls (pun intended).

You’ll note that the girls are strategically cropped out of the photos. That is because we have reached a milestone of tween girls. I went from this being funny and no problem to post.

Crazy bed head
The Princess, first thing in the morning, with crazy bed head.

To dad! Don’t take my picture, I haven’t brushed my hair. And don’t you DARE put this on your internet thing! Ahh, girls.

Cookies, ready for sale
Cookies, ready for sale

But I have to admit, the girls baking skills have improved and they need pretty much no hand holding at this point. They get up on their own, make the cookie dough, bake them, pull them cookies and let them cool, wrap them, and bring them to the store, pretty much by themselves. They also wash their hands, put their hair back, and more importantly, remind me to do the same if I get near their work. (Putting my hair back is another story).

This batch of cookies came out a bit flat, which is exactly how I like them. It pained me to not eat them, to me they were perfect.

This coming Saturday, they will probably be fluffy like they are supposed to be because I won’t be helping. Regardless, grab a cookie when you come by. They are $1.00 and go directly to support Barbie dolls, Legos, and stuffed animals.

How CSA pickups will work, the logistics

Wednesday are going to be the days we handle CSA drop offs and pickups. Our plan is to utilize boxes that are pre-prepared for each customer by Chickadee. They will swing by sometime on Wednesday, prior to our opening at 2pm, and drop off the boxes of fresh produce. By fresh, I mean picked that morning. Each box will be named for each customer.

We will store the boxes in our climate controlled store room, or if it’s too hot, in our walk in cooler to keep everything fresh.

In addition to the boxes of produce, Chickadee will often, but not always, bring some extra produce. This will allow the CSA customer to mix and match their box of produce a bit to suit their needs and preferences. For example, maybe, like me, you don’t like beets (because they are evil). Or maybe, like my wife SWMBO, you think beets are the greatest thing ever (because she, follow the logic here, is obviously evil).

Chickadee will have some extra produce available so that maybe you put back your beets, as any sane person would, but pick up some extra spinach because, yum, spinach salad!. You still get a great box of fresh produce, but you don’t necessarily get locked into that one…weird…vegetable/fruit/thing. 

What is kholrabi anyway? Is it a vegetable? A fruit? An alien construct? I’ll take a tomato sandwich, with a side of hamburger, thank you very much.

There are only a few spots left for the Spring CSA. If you haven’t signed up yet, now is the time! Once the last spot is sold, that is it till the fall CSA.

Spots for the CSA are almost gone. Only 15 left!

I visited Chickadee Farm today to check in on how things are going and discuss logistics for our Wednesday CSA deliveries.

Some of the green houses at Chickadee Farm
Some of the green houses at Chickadee Farm

I asked how signups for the CSA program are going and found out that there are only 15 spots left for this year! We have more people than that who are interested so if you are one of the ones thinking about it, better get your name in there because once the spots are gone, they are gone. We have fliers in the store with information, or you can visit the signup page at Chickadee Farms. 

For those that don’t know, Chickadee is an organic principled farm, utilizing natural products and processes to raise all of their products.

Onions growing through straw
Straw makes for an excellent mulch

Chickadee had just plowed some of their fields today and I was able to inspect their soil. For those that know me, I can talk dirt and grass all day. Well this soil looked excellent. Lots of organic matter and a perfect color. It was obviously well taken care of and ready to grow some awesome produce.

While we utilize chips in our operation, Chickadee uses straw (pictured above) for theirs . The straw holds moisture, holds topsoil in place, and breaks down much quicker than chips to add that much needed organic matter to the soil.

We are going to have produce boxes ready for everyone who signs up on Wednesdays. That means you can swing by and get your fresh produce, grab whatever else you need for dinner while you are here, and head for the house. It should be an easy visit to the farm for our CSA customers.

I for one can’t wait to have some fresh produce here on my table.

Chocolate milk comes from brown cows

16.4 million americans thing chocolate milk comes from brown cows

Uh oh. I really didn’t think this was going to happen. I mean, I “might” mention that we get our chocolate milk from our brown cows on our tours. I always do it tongue in cheek of course. And we get a good laugh from it. Don’t we? I thought people understood I was kidding.

And 16.4 million people? I don’t think we’ve had that many people through here. We do see a lot of people, but not in the millions. Of course, there is that Winston Churchill quote,

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Does this mean we are going to have to start telling the truth on our tours? How boring! I like to have fun on tours and have people laughing. I’d hate to do a boring, Ferris Bueller tour.

Spork gives most of the tours here now and when people come back into the store after the tour, I’ll usually ask them how the tour was. It routinely goes something like this.

Customer, “Great, Spork did a great job. Very informative.”

Me, “That’s great. And you got to see the (cows, piglets, baby chickens, etc)?”

Customer, “Oh yes, we loved it. They were so cute. Little (Timmy, Susie, Elvis, etc) really loved them.”

Me, “Did you have any questions that he couldn’t answer? Anything I can answer for you since I’m the farmer?”

Customer, “Oh no, he did a very good job.”

Me, “That’s great. Did you figure out the lie yet?”

Customer, “Wha…What? What lie?”

Me, “Oh, Spork always tells at least one lie during to tour to see if you’ll know the difference (totally not true). Did you figure out what it was?”

Customer, “Um, uh. No…..”

Me, “Oh, I’m sure he told you the truth this time. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

In all seriousness, I do actually tell the customer the truth. And I only do this little joke to people who seem like they would appreciate it. It always gets a laugh. But I do tell the kids that we get chocolate milk from the brown cow, and 1/2 chocolate, and 1/2 vanilla from Betsy who is white and black. So I guess I am responsible for this alarming statistic that started this whole post.

So the moral of this story is, be educated on where your food comes from. Know your farmer…and know when he’s messing with you.

Also, tours are free on Saturdays, so if you want to come and see where the chocolate milk comes from, schedule a tour for today and see for yourself.

A classic email about the dangers of electric fences

I received this email many years ago from my neighbor Dustin. Dustin is now a salty farmer having been involved in fires, shootings, processing animals, and pretty much everything else that happens on a farm. You can’t really excite him at this point with farm shenanigans.

However at a time in the distant past, Dustin was a database nerd from California who knew pretty much nothing about farming and was a new tenant here on the farm.

He’d recently acquired a dog, Virginia, and he decided that she needed to be kept in the back yard, in the fence. Not wherever she decided to roam and to get in trouble.

This story is even funnier if you know the end, which is that Virginia since has run of the house and can come and go outside as she pleases. Despite this freedom, she can be found, almost incessantly, asleep on Dustin’s bed rather than outside causing any mischief.

But at this distant period of time, it was assumed she would make it her life’s goal to escape and cause havoc on the farm. Dustin, being responsible, was trying to assure she’d stay inside.

This email, which was recently unearthed from the vast archives of emails past, was the result.

So, this morning, after some poor life choices involving a very heavy roll of wire fencing, I decided to put up a hot wire to keep the dog in the back yard (and thus prevent her from eating the chickens).  Several stores later, I had a roll of wire, some insulater clippy things, and an ADU (Automatic Devil Unit) that would electrify about 10 miles of hot wire.  I brought it back to the house and, in pouring rain, started installing the clips.  I strung the wire, ran some Romex from the ADU to the fence – which I cut too long – ran some more from the ADU to the grounding rod – which I cut to short – and wired it all together.  Then I took it apart and wired it up the right way and plugged it in.  The light blinked as lights do, but there was no popping noise, I think I need to drive the ground in deeper, for which I’ll need a much heavier hammer than I have.  Still, I thought, it’s probably ok.

Now, damp from rain and perspiration, I went into the backyard to check the wire.  An amateur would have unplugged the ADU first, however, after careful consideration I concluded, “meh” and left it on.  I stood at the end of the wire, which looked fine to me, and thought that I should test it.  After all, if I wasn’t willing to get at least one shock, how could I inflict the several it would take Virginia to learn to stop biting it?  So, I decided to touch it.

Really.

Here we go now.

And, like a junior high girl dissecting a frog (like, eww) I brushed the wire with the tip of my finger.  Nothing happened, naturally causing me to snatch my hand back like I’d been hit with a hammer.  I tried again, nothing.  I touched it longer, waiting for the pulse, nothing.  I grabbed it and shook it, hoping to unclog the automatic devils.  Nada.  I drew upon my vast electrical knowledge and decided that Something Was Wrong.  I walked the perimeter and found that the wire was touching the metal fence – ah ha!  An amateur would have checked for that first, pfft.  Now, it didn’t immediately occur to me that the wire was touching the fence between me and the ADU, thus shunting the current into the ground before it got to me.  That turned out to be important.  I went back in the house, retrieved not one but several clippy things (I know, smart, right?).  While I was sure the hot wire was anything but, I nonetheless exercised caution while threading the clip onto the wire.  An amateur would have turned off the ADU first, but being not an amateur but a great fool, I decided to leave it on and just “be careful”.  One clip installed.  Cake.  Moving on.  I found another spot where the wire wasn’t touching, but if, say, we had a hurricane or very strong earthquake, it might have touched.  I threaded another clip onto the wire and tried to attach it to the fence.  It resisted, so in an effort to force it, I grabbed the steel pole driven into the ground with one hand and the wire with the other.

At this point several things happened at once, most of which I can’t remember.  What I do remember is thinking very loudly “Fu©k”, which came out verbally as “Hngh”, and letting go of the wire.  Deciding that “Safety Third” isn’t always the best policy, I unplugged the ADU before finishing the adjustments.  If the dog gets the same jolt I did and still gets out, I’m just going to buy Dan more chickens.  If she can shrug that off, I’m not messing with her.

My fingers feel salty, and my hamburger tastes like the color blue, and I think I can see glitches in the Matrix out of the corner of my eye, but I’m sure I’m fine.

Dustin

Reminder about the produce CSA for 2018

While we were out of town, I had a posted scheduled to announce the new CSA we are affiliated with for 2018. A few people have already signed up and things are looking good for 2018. I’m excited about being a drop point for a CSA here at our farm, because we’ve traditionally had lots of people ask to get produce here and until this year, I’ve not had a good solution for them.

The plan is to be a drop point for Chickadee on Wednesdays. That means for those of you who sign up, you can get your box of VERY fresh produce, your milk, eggs, hamburger, pork chops, yogurt, sauces, seasonings, etc. all at one place, with one stop, and one transaction.

When I got back to town, I checked in with Chickadee to see how things are going, and I was informed that she’d been allowing some time for our folks to sign up before advertising out to the general public. She also informed me that the grace period is ending the end of January which is a few days away!

I talked to Jeanette (remember I’ve been gone) yesterday and she said we had a bunch of people interested and who were talking about it. If you are interested, now is the time to get your name on the list over at Chicakadee. Once all the spots are sold for the spring, that is it, no more signups! So contact Chickadee and let them know you want to try the CSA program this spring. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesdays.