The List

A typical, blustery March day in Iowa. I hate wind, but in March I try to be grateful for windy days. They help thaw out, dry out, and warm up the garden.

Not much going on around the old homestead. Two more dumptruck loads of woodchips came this morning. I think they’re bringing us more than last year. Matt said people are less willing to take them after realizing that sometimes the trees they’re made from are diseased. People spread the chips as mulch around their own trees, and end up spreading the disease.

Madeline and I watched our Canada geese on the creek this morning. They were swimming around and dunking their heads in the water. (Brrrrrr) Were they bathing, or eating? I haven’t been able to get out there with the camera and get a shot of them yet. Every year we have a pair stop on the creek and hatch their young. Do you think it’s the same pair each year? I felt so sorry for them last year. After they had their eggs layed the inundating rains began. We had the worst flood we’ve had on the creek and their nest just washed away. Once the waters receded they walked around so piteously, looking for their nest. After a week or two they gave up and headed on north.

I’m heading on south to Ames for class in the morning. Our friend Andy is going to come and help Matt castrate the baby pigs. Then we’re having my family over to supper for Rafe’s birthday. (And no, those 2 activities aren’t related. No rocky mountain oysters here!)

It’s that time of year where things just seem to be accelerating and won’t wind down again until October. It’s exciting, but I get tired if I think about the months to come so I try not to.

I’m really itching to start my vegetable seeds, and probably will next weekend. Our friend Jeff is building me a really cool seed starting rack . This year I’m starting 7 varieties of tomatoes (but not 300 plants like last year!), cabbage, egg plant, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, and tomatillos. I might also start seedless cucumbers, zucchini, and watermelon. We’ll see how the weather goes in April, and whether I’ll be able to get in the garden early May or late May. Still deciding whether to do a spring planting of broccoli and brussels sprouts, or just a fall planting. I need to get busy with the graph paper and plan the garden layout for this year. Madeline will probably start flower seeds for her 4-H horticulture project. I love seed starting. It’s like having spring inside the house, even when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating outside.

What else is on the Homestead To Do List?

1. Baby chicks arrive April 7th! I need to get the brooder ready (aka giving up my heated garage), sanitize the feeders and waters, and purchase feed and bedding.

2. The baby chicks will go out to pasture on April 30th. Matt is going to build a hoophouse for them this year. We’ll leave one end of our hoophouse open so the chickens can free range within the safety of the 160′ of electrified poultry netting we use for protection from predators. We’ve purchased the materials but haven’t started on it yet.

3. I’m trying to purchase a used freezer, so that we can proceed with obtaining our food warehouse license. This will enable us to sell our meats right from our home, instead of people having to take a quarter or half of beef, half or whole hog, or whole broiler chicken, and have it processed by the locker.

4. We also need approved food labels, in order to be granted a food warehouse license. We need to work with our processors to get that in place.

5. I have several promotional things I need to work on – a new logo for the farm, a new brochure, business cards, the yearly newsletter sent to our customers, getting our farm linked on websites that connect people with locally grown food, and a website for the farm. One big hangup is that the domain name “” is already reserved but not in use, and the domain name “” is being used by a family farm in Michigan. So what to do? Change our name, or come up with some other domain name? Ideas, anyone? I’d also take ideas on a new logo. Our current one is just a cow, but I want something that incorporates our new chicken and pork ventures, and probably some kind of future produce venture, too. I’m trying to get my artsy mom to help out on this one.

6. Complete an evaluation of adding produce to the farm, most likely berries and asparagus.

7. The business plan! I haven’t been able to spend much time on it yet this week. (Hopefully Penny isn’t reading this!)

8. We need to meet with our insurance agent and discuss our liability coverage, product liability, and all of that un-fun stuff.

9. We’re probably going to file the farm as an LLC. More paperwork.

10. Obtaining one or more purebred Large Black breeding females.

That’s an even 10, I think I’ll stop there! Happy weekend, everybody!

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3 Responses to The List

  1. shannon says:

    Whew – sounds busy! We’re working on much the same stuff here, as much as my big ole’ pregnant self allows. Why did you decide on LLC status? I got our webpage up last month (luckily, our domain was available….) Have you tried variations on just Sugar Creek? We have both .net and .com going till we decide which will be easier. Met with our ins. guy today, but still deciding what exactly to do – I think we’ll get an extra umbrella policy to cover our farm visitors/farm stand customers…. Glad to have found you! Shannon @ not so virtual homestead

  2. Rurality says:

    I feel your pain on the geese… Last year a pair nested here (that was before Jasmine). Something got the eggs (and the female goose too I think) just days before they were due to hatch.It was very sad to see the male pitifully looking around for his mate and the nest, honking all the while.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You might consider Easier to type in too!

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