Chris is never one to sit still. The winter offers very little opportunity for excavation work or residential site development, so he has been a systems analyst, doing a variety of design, mechanical and engine repairs for area farmers.
I took time off from working on the blog, the farm market, and everything else, to write a book. It's available through Amazon and has NOTHING to do with homesteading but is an action/adventure on something I feel passionate about! Click Trapped in the Mayan Tattoo to learn more about it. This was intriguing to research and write, based on some real-life events. I would rate it PG-13. It's an e-book, and can be downloaded to a Kindle or you can get a free Kindle app for your PC, Mac, or e-reader.
Chris spent his free time in the fall and winter renovating equipment such as this Oliver hay rake and his Oliver baler, both from the early 1960's, while he continued to rebuild his 1958 Allis Chalmers tractor. Then he started building a hay elevator from his own design, using a few salvaged pieces of metal, some new metal and parts, and a lot of ingenuity. He still needs a mower but he's been prepping the soil and sowing red clover and orchard grass because, frankly, if the hay isn't there, you wouldn't really need a mower! First things first.
Last year his equipment was minimal and that meant a lot of manual labor. We had haystacks! Really! Then he baled the hay from the haystacks and one farmer bought all of his hay in one sale. This year, he'd like to be able to help more farmers so he plans to put up a lot more hay.
Recently, we had our business meeting to plan our 2013 Farm Market. In addition to hay, Chris is looking forward to adding some items to the farm side of our farm market. These will be useful additions and I'm excited about them but, in order to expand as much as we want, we need to get our building up. Until then we'll continue to use the Airstream camper.
We'll have eggs each week, both chicken eggs and duck eggs, fresh from Pauley's Pampered Poultry!
As for produce, we won't do as much vegetable farming for the market. Our clients prefer the jams, jellies, breads, fruit pies, and fudge. That was a surprise to us! Although we have a few who look for carefully grown produce, most of our customers love the sweets. I will continue to offer special gluten-free and sugar-free items. We thought we would have more followers who would come just for the fruits and veggies but we had some veggies left over each week, except for green beans that consistently sold out! For this year, I have requests for more green beans, beets, corn and, of course, we'll still offer a variety of tomatoes.
People have asked if we're interested in becoming a CSA, where people buy memberships and pick up their farmer-chosen produce each week. NO!!! We like to be able to pick and choose what we eat, and we believe our friends who come to us enjoy that freedom as well.
More changes: No seedling plants. They didn't sell well and they are very time-consuming. And Mid-March is too daggone early! Brrr! We'll open in Mid-May!
Looking forward to opening our Old Homestead Farm Market!
(In the meantime, I'm working on the second book, a sequel to the first with many of the same characters and more adventuresome challenges, expecting to publish by August.)
To know more about the book, click on this link: