CSA
Newsletter

Midsummer Madness

So, it’s the middle of summer, and like most farmers this time of year, we are starting to feel a little burnt out. Between the CSAs, the wholesale vegetables, the hay crop, and just life on the farm in general, we don’t know if we are coming or going. Rufus didn’t even have time to write this newsletter, so I am pinch hitting for him this morning. These long hot summer days have us burning the candle at both ends, and we have to encourage each other to stay at it. Just one more week of the summer CSA and then we have a 2 week “break”. I envision us cruising out the driveway on our way to our annual Boundary Waters camping trip just to keep my spirits up. Yesterday while we were harvesting carrots, Rufus said, “I’m starting to feel the midsummer burn out”. I emphatically agreed and we commiserate as we leaned over the carrot bed. I wake up tired, still physically exhausted from yesterday’s work. I step out of bed and immediately sense a soreness deep in my feet that stretches up through my lower back and out my finger tips. Some mornings we skip breakfast and even coffee to get out to the fields before it’s too hot. Sometimes we work through lunch or just grab a snack on the go. Dang, sometimes we even skip dinner because we are just too darn hot and tired to cook anything. There just isn’t enough time. We slam tall glasses of water throughout the day to keep from fainting and push through. Sometimes it feels like the sun will never set this time of year, but mercifully it always does, bringing the day’s end when we can lay our tired bodies down. The simple pleasures of a cool shower, a soft bed, and my saving grace, a hand me down window air conditioner from my dad, the only thing standing between me and the brink of insanity, are the things I look forward to. One thing is for sure, work like this builds character, the rare type of human mettle that is disappearing from our modern world, and I am proud to carry that strength, proving to myself that I have what it takes to be a farmer.

We Can Go Outside Again

As farmers, we live and die by the weather. Now, we can finally live again after what felt like a deadly week last week which culminated in ridiculous heat on Friday. It was so hot and sticky on Friday, we were barely able to work outside. Then, just like that, our whole outlook on life changed on Saturday. The day before, we struggle to find the motivation to make it out into what started off as another hot and sticky day. As the day moved along though, we could feel the change and around midmorning a gentle breeze from the north swept in and then came the rain and we were transported back to reasonable temperatures of a comfortable Wisconsin day. For someone who spends a lot of time outside, I was amazed we lived the change, witnessed it happening. We could feel the humidity fall as the saving grace of a northern breeze blew sweet relief our way. Of course, as is the norm these days, it also blew in some rather destructive storms, the usual summer deluge. Buckets of rain fell, 5 inches overnight and we awoke to washed out roads and flooded fields. This is normal now, the new normal, when it rains it really rains. If there is anything which has noticeably changed about our local environment, the rain storms have to be it. Roads closed, due to washout or flood water over the road, has become a normal summer event. Our little town of Viola floods every year now. It has become so normal that we are no longer worked up by a little water over the road. The community just closes the road and goes about its business. Oh, that was just a couple feet above flood stage, no big deal. But in the back of everyone’s mind who dwells in the valley, lies a bit of dread. That sinking feeling which knows it’s only a matter of time before another flood record is broken, because now, when it rains, it really rains. Such is life in this modern world. Our changing climate swings wildly from one extreme to the next. I’ll take the nice days when we get them and grit my teeth through the not so nice days. Such is the life of a farmer.

Taking a Break

July 10th, 2019

I hope everyone had a good fourth of July. Joy and I took two days away from the farm to visit with old Colorado friends who happened to be in the great state of Wisconsin. Our friend’s brother was hosting family and friends at his place by Castle Rock Lake, so off to the lake we went. This was our second year at the camp and to call it an adventure would be an understatement. There is every conceivable motorized toy you could imagine, boats, four wheelers, jet skis, motor homes, motorized bikes, a side by side, and oh lets see what else, a golf cart. The only item on that list that interests me, however, would have to be the boat. Climbing aboard a boat is magical. The rocking of the craft on water, even just walking on the dock to the boat is something close to pure joy. Prior to last year, I had never been on a pontoon, just saw them from afar, nor had I operated a jet ski. For the record, I’m definitely a pontoon kind of guy. The jet skis were fun, but in the end, I really just want to spend time chatting with people who I don’t get to see often enough. And so shoot the breeze we did, and laugh, oh god did we laugh. Two sisters and a mother with identical cackles, Joy’s full hearted devilish laugh, Ryan’s loud one or two “ha has, and my hyena- like manic spasms combined in joyful chorus. Then there were the fireworks. I’m not kidding you, this place had it all. Our gracious host seems to be a bit of a pyro or at least he was this year. I’m not sure if the fireworks tradition will continue into next year and I would be just fine with that. The sheer power of the fireworks we are allowed to buy these days blows my mind. They are elaborate, multiple shapes, colors and size. Man, are they strong. It should go without saying, light them and run! Don’t stick around to see what happens, or man alive don’t hold onto the launching canister! Let’s live to see another holiday, another day on a boat. Parting with friends and returning home was hard to do. I could use more time on the water. Water time has been scarce this year. That has to change! 

~Farmer Rufus

 

Here Comes The Rain

July 2nd, 2019

Oh man has it been hot out the last couple of days! Okay maybe it isn’t so much the heat as it is the humidity. It has been downright sticky outside. Of course, it was bound to happen, just a matter of time really and I know people down south would laugh at us northerners and our concept of hot. Nonetheless, for us, it has become uncomfortable. Joy and I adjust our work patterns as much as possible this time of year. We start early, try to get our harvest wrapped up so when the afternoon hits we are inside the cool pack shed, dunking our hands in cold water or spraying down dirty veggies enveloped in a cold mist of our icy well water. Along with the heat, we have seen the return of our summer thunderstorms. Last night, as we wrapped up our pack day, the most impressive storm bore down on us. The sky to the north slowly turned a dark blue/grey and I could see the layers upon layers of clouds stacking up high into the atmosphere. I thought for sure we were in for a whopper of a storm. I hollered for my daughter, Aurora, to check the weather report. I wanted to know what kind of crazy was heading our way. To my surprise, when it did hit, it hit with a quiet gentle rain, little wind, and hardly any lightning. It was so strange. I’ve lived on this farm long enough to know a big storm when I see one. Our ridge top life means we have always had the most incredible views of storms as they roll in from the West. From our hilltop perch, we watch as massive fronts form and then sweep over us turning day into night, a clear line separates the dry day we were having from the rowdy wet day we are about to have. Often we can look south of us when these storms first hit and see distant ridges and valleys still bathed in sunlight as we descend into darkness. Then the rain hits. Usually it hits hard so all our views disappear. Shrouded in wave after wave of wind driven rain, we retreat to shelter and wait it out. With the rain, comes the sweet relief from the hot day and then mother nature rests and does it again. So goes our summer.

~Farmer Rufus

Everybody Hates Turnips

The other day, someone asked me what goes into a decision to grow this or that crop. Well the answer to this question is easy, whatever we want! Okay not really, in our case it includes items we love to grow and eat such as tomatoes as well as other items we kind of despise like….turnips. Joy writes and posts a blog called “Dear Farm Journal” to our Facebook page, and here is what she wrote the other day regarding turnips. “I love most vegetables, but I hate white egg turnips, the smell, the taste…”, there is more to the post, but you get the point. Joy isn’t a huge fan of turnips, and well, truth be told neither am I. There I said it, I don’t like turnips. So why grow them? Well see, there was this one turnip I did in fact like (much to my surprise). One season I grew some late turnips which went through some frost, and well they actually tasted… dare I say good. And I’ve been living off the good gastral reactions ever since. Until now, now I’m back in the turnip hating camp once again. What I think is strange is how certain crops made it this far as human food crops. Someone had to enjoy turnips enough to propagate the seed generation after generation until we arrive at our current year. Why hasn’t the lowly turnip gone the way of the dandelion? Once a staple food crop, the dandelion is now a noxious weed in many suburban lawns. A plant distained by the clean lawn folks and fought with copious amounts of nasty chemicals. Often our choice of what crops to grow comes from other sources; our end of the year survey, customer suggestions, or what extra seed we have in our seed storage area. Or in the case of the turnip, from a random YouTube video I happened to watch one winter, which expounded on the virtues of this crop. The video was so convincing that it turned me into a believer. In the video a nice Canadian man talks through his top five favorite crops. Hey I thought why not give it a try and before you know it we had three plantings in the ground. Joy says “no more”, and I agree!

~Farmer Rufus

It’s Party Time

June 19th, 2019

It’s time to kick off our summer CSA program. Although summer, just like spring, seems to be reluctant in showing up, we are indeed just days away from the solstice. True to form, this season is about two weeks or so behind, weather wise, with cooler than normal temperatures. This has been great for the greens but has slowed the ripening of some of the more traditional summertime fare. Good thing we have greenhouses! Joy has been scouring the bottoms of our cherry tomato plants and was simply beside herself with the discovery of our first ripe yellow cherry tomato! In the past couple days, they have been trickling in, a few here and a few there, so an explosion of cherry toms is just around the corner. Speaking of things that are right around the corner, Joy and I will be hosting a little meet and greet on June 29th at one of the shelters in McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg. We realize our farm is a bit far away for most people to visit and perhaps a better option for meeting you wonderful CSA members would be to host an event closer to your neighborhood. So with the help of a few members, we set this up. Please check out page two of our newsletter for more details regarding this event. It will be a casual meet and greet. We love putting a face to your names, as well as help you get to know your farmers. Of course we realize summers are busy, so if you can’t make it to this event, we totally understand. For those of you who feel more adventurous, we will also be hosting an open farm event in October, so there will be another opportunity to visit with your farmers later in the year. In the meantime, our season careens forward at an almost breakneck pace. We are entering into Wisconsin’s peak growing season and will begin to transition away from the spring greens to more of the standard summer goodies like tomatoes, melons, broccoli and sweet corn. Following the seasons with my stomach is one of the main reasons I love this job. Just when I am getting tired of something, the season changes and with the change comes new flavors.

~Farmer Rufus

Goodbye Spring

May 29th, 2019

Our final spring share has been packed and is about to head down the road. This spring has been consistently cool and sometimes downright cold and nasty. If it wasn’t for our greenhouses, there is no way we would have the bounty we have had. Not only does the cool weather make planting outside more difficult, it also really slows down growth. For instance, this season we started picking asparagus at least two weeks later than we normally do. Last night I was picking watercress for an order and realized this was the seventh week I was able to pick the cress. On a normal year, we maybe pick it for 4 weeks. At some point, our temperatures change, and usually in Wisconsin the change is overnight, one of those 30 plus degree changes in temperature no one is ready for. Not this year, at least yet. We have had a few warm days, but no hot ones. On the up side, all of our greens have done great. They retain their sweet spring flavor which the cooler days enhance. Cooler days make working in those wonderful plant saving greenhouses more bearable. Once the warm days hit, our greenhouses become sweltering, almost impossible to work in during certain times of day. It seems like for this entire season they have been our refuge from the outside. They have been the place we go to harvest and hide from the cold wet rain that seems to fall each harvest day. The transition is happening though, summer is on it’s way. In our greenhouses the spring greens are giving way to the summer tomatoes, cucumbers and melons. We know the heat is coming and as much as it makes me cringe a little to think about those ninety degree days, I know the heat is crucial for some of those tropical plants. So bring on the heat. Joy and I will take the next two weeks to regroup for our summer CSA season. There is always plenty to do, plenty to plant, to weed, to till and to build. We hope you enjoyed this cool spring season. Time keeps marching forward and that is something gardeners know and cherish, the bounty of tomorrow.

~Farmer Rufus

Packhouse Antics

May 22nd, 2019

Joy and I have a good routine going on our pack out days. We pick each item together, splitting the bands, which we wrap around the item and with an efficient swipe of the knife separate stalk from plant again. On and on we go until the item at hand has been collected. Each vegetable has its own little routine, but for the most part, that is how we spend our Tuesdays and half of Mondays. While we are picking, we chat about ideas, we discuss life, and laugh at funny statements. Time moves by quickly and before we know it, we have completed our harvesting and it’s time for us to move into our packhouse and take care of the next steps, cleaning and packing into individual boxes. Joy will put on some music and away we go. From almost day one, we have had a good work flow. Somehow the way we work just seems to work well. I have been doing this routine for over a decade now and have worked with lots of different people, but Joy takes the cake. I think a part of it is that we both just like the work. We are both intoxicated by the smells, like the dill and cilantro in this week’s box. We laugh a lot, tease each other, push each other to do the work faster, or help each other with tasks that are just slow in nature, like cleaning wild ramps. Sometimes we even get a visitor or two, which can add to the fun of the day. Yesterday my father Rich, stopped in for a half hour or so and shot the breeze with us. It had been a couple of days since we last chatted, so there was much to catch up on. It was a reflective conversation. We talked about the sad state of farming, but also the exciting state of our farm. We chose a different path. This veggie business is most certainly not corn and beans or dairy farming. It’s unique and it fits us. This style of farming creates a community around us, a group of people who we know and help feed. We talk about these high philosophical topics. In a way, we do our little part to make this world a better place. I have come to love these days. Yes they are exhausting, but it’s a job well done and a day well spent. 

~Farmer Rufus

Time to Mow That Lawn

May 15th, 2019

The season of the lawn is upon us. It is in these times when I find myself most appreciative of the dead end gravel road life. I do not have to face the scornful look of passersby as they sadly shake their collective heads at my less than maintained lawn. Last weekend, for the first time this year, I dusted off my trusty 1949 Farmall cub tractor with a six foot belly mower (picture below) and began the slow looping process of mowing our farmstead lawn. However, it wasn’t a project I completed, nor did I think for one minute it would even be possible to see this mowing from start to finish. Let’s just call it a test run. While all the good people of the world are happily tidying up their lawns, or better yet hiring someone to do it for them, I am still working on mow number one. The first problem I have is simply trying to get my little tractor started. Did I mention it was built in 1949? It’s a great little tractor, but like all things on this farm, it has some quirks. However, once it’s up and running, it makes quick work of the open grass patches. This brings us to my next issue, project debris. It seems like we are in perpetual construction mode this spring and like all good projects, there is an amount of chaos which tends to spill out of the construction zone, blurring the smooth straight lines of a regular perimeter. Then there is all the hoses we have been dragging around to the various greenhouses this spring since reworking our waterlines. Let’s see what else impeded my first mow….oh yes family. With less than an hour to accomplish my task before a Mother’s Day gathering, time was not on my side. This is the way the first mow always goes on the farm. Since then, I have finished the waterline, cleaned up the construction sites, and even trimmed the low hanging branches on a number of trees around the farmstead. So my next attempt will be one I could imagine taking to full completion. Not very many people will even see or care. There is maybe only one person who has ever cared, my sister Jessica, Queen of the mowed lawn. 

~Farmer Rufus 

Rhubarb

May 8th, 2019

This afternoon, under a blue spring sky, I find myself elbow deep in a cluster of rhubarb stems.  I grasp each stem close to the dirt, and a steady but firm tug separates stem and leaf from the root. We repeat  this over and over until Joy and I have bundled 60 colorful bunches.  I love this rhubarb patch.  It has existed in its current location for around 5 years, but for me the individual plants go back even further.  When I was a kid, rhubarb in the spring was something to celebrate with a heaping scoop of freshly made rhubarb sauce slowly melting vanilla ice cream, combined with a couple dabs of maple syrup. This treat could get me to do any chore on the farm, sweep the barn, sure, milk the first ten cows, you bet.  Sour and sweet always wins me over. The rhubarb patch we pick now is the same patch from my childhood.  The same plants have been dug up and relocated, divided then divided again, until two rows extend 1000 feet into the distance. The abundance of the rhubarb plant is truly stunning.  I think about the history in this small patch at least once each season, usually during the first or second harvest.  I mostly think about one of my favorite people, grandmother Elva. She would frequently come pick our patch.  My brother, sister and I would inevitability find ourselves joining her, whether out of obligation, curiosity, or pure fascination. It was a yearly ritual I personally enjoyed.  I loved hearing what she had to say. It was endlessly fascinating. Born in 1914, she lived a life that modern humans can scarcely understand.  She would  teach us about rhubarb and all the different ways she would use it in her cooking over the next year.  She would preserve it in jams, sauces, and juices. There was always some kind of rhubarb influenced spread on her table for special occasions.   These days Joy and I are picking the patch, and I can tell you there is always something new to observe.  This year it is the smell that catches my attention, the sweet fragrance of rhubarb. It isn’t something I have ever noticed before, but it’s in the air today, soft and sweet. Spring has sprung.

~Farmer Rufus

Will This Cold Ever End?

May 1st, 2019

I wake up at the crack of dawn and stare out our bedroom window at the cold gray sky.  A gentle mist coats the world outside in a blanket of wetness and I know how this day is going to shake out.  Cold hands, wet feet, stiff back.  For the last couple of days we have been battling the elements. This spring of ours has come in fits and spurts.  Just when we thought it might be changing, we were slapped with another day of snow.  It didn’t last, but it made it’s mark by delaying yet another planting.  As Joy and I look back at our carefully laid out garden plan, a pattern begins to emerge, one of constant delays.  It started right at the beginning of the season with plantings in our greenhouses delayed due to frozen soil.  Usually the soil in our greenhouse is ready to rock by mid February, but not this year.  Then in March, our first planting of cucumbers succumbed to a stretch of cold weather even with it’s greenhouse protection.  The same might have happened to our tomatoes if we hadn’t looked ahead at the forecast because this last weekend we saw overnight temperatures in the low twenties.  Thankfully Joy, with the help of my friend Mic and my mother, got all of our crops covered so we only lost a little section of early basil.  Such is life as a gardener in Wisconsin. We roll with it, knowing almost certainly our day in the warm sun will come.  Our lost crops will get replanted along with all the other crops until finally we are caught up.  It’s a never ending dance growing food in this beautiful state and really sometimes I think I’ve been doing this work so long I have to continue to remind myself it is only the beginning of May.  Soon enough, asparagus will be popping and the tangy taste of Rhubarb will grace our tables, then strawberries, tomatoes and all the rest of the bounty.  For now we count our blessings for the tasty greens and aromatic ramps, and the crunchy radish which bursts with a mild spring flavor.  As I shake off the last of the daily chills and sip a frosty brew, I dream of warmer days and all that is to come.  

~Farmer Rufus  

Welcome Back To Fresh Food

April 24th, 2019

 

Over the last week, as the days have warmed and our plants have put on some real growth, we have begun to reap the rewards of a return to fresh food.  One evening a couple of days ago, I was putting in a little office time while Joy was preparing a meal.  Believe it or not, it was the aroma of the salad which hit my nostrils and awoke my appetite.  It was almost as if I could smell Spring and the vibrance of life.  The arugula led the way with it’s pungent aroma, with tatsoi, baby salad greens, and some garlic chives playing important support rolls.  And oh my goodness the flavor!  Upon eating my first mouthful, I was immediately transported back to my first little garden I planted out in the mountains of Colorado.  My Colorado garden was my first foray into what would become my career.  While I didn’t realize it at the time, the freshness of the food triggered in me an insatiable need to always be around food, not just any food, but the food I dug right out of the ground from seeds I had planted.  In growing the little kitchen garden, I sowed the seeds of life which would bring me back to the farm I grew up on.  It triggered memories in me of all the farm fresh food I ate as a child.  The joy one gets from walking out one’s door and plucking dinner right from your own back yard.  While at the time it wasn’t as clear  what my life path was going to be, it was clear to me I needed to do this work.  It certainly wasn’t clear to me that  I would have this opportunity to do work I love and share it with a community of people who love food and farming , which is you!  This work can beat you down at times , at times it can be frustrating but in the end there is nothing I would rather do more.  There is no place I’d rather be more than in one of my gardens, hands in the cool earth. There is no work I would rather do than the good work of feeding my fellow humans.  So here we go, week one of this twenty eight week journey.  Through the wind, the rain, the heat, the cold we will show you what Wisconsin can grow.

~Farmer Rufus

 

April Snows Bring What?

April 12th, 2019

As I sit in my office typing, the world outside rages.  A heavy, wet blanket of snow and ice coats everything. Once again we find ourselves thrown  into a wintery wonderland, except it isn’t so wonderful. It’s down right brutal!  It is especially difficult to deal with when we are faced with a constant, energy sucking wind.  For the last three days, we have had constant 20 plus mile an hour gusts rocking our house, beating on our greenhouses, and snapping heavy tree branches.  I honestly have never felt our farmhouse move like it did yesterday when the wind was at full strength.  It’s hard to even convince myself to get out of bed.  “What for?” the little voice in my head asks.  I’m not one for dwelling on the stuff that bums me out though, so I drag myself out of bed. Once I have a cup of coffee in me, I find the motivation I need to make it through the day deep down inside me.  The silver lining to this kind of weather is it forces me to spend time in the office.  This is a good thing because it is so easy for me to shuck those responsibilities in exchange for more time outside.  When the sun is shining and the weather is sweet like it was at the beginning of the week,  I can’t wait to get outside. Well honestly most days I can’t wait, but in the spring it is especially difficult to stay indoors.  This is one of the main reasons I think farming aligns with me so well.  I have a hard time sitting down and staying inside.  When the wind is whipping, you can throw  the insatiable need to get out into mother nature right out the window.  I’m like a whole different person. Honestly, I’d rather just go down into my dingy basement where I can’t see or sometimes even hear the nasty weather.  Otherwise, I escape to the office, which is where I find myself for the third straight day.  As I said earlier though, this can be a good thing. My unruly desk is now tidy and the backlog of data entry, paperwork filing and bill paying is behind me. I can, for a few days at least, know with full confidence that I have taken care of business.  Once the wind dies down this evening, Joy and I will once again venture out, assess the damage and move on with the season.  At least this year we didn’t spend a day outside trying to set up miniature hoops over plants we put in one of our outdoor gardens while a similar storm raged around us.  Now that was an act of futility.  One year older and perhaps a bit smarter………maybe.

~Farmer Rufus

 

March 2019 Newsletter

March Gladness

March 28th, 2019

 

The month of March may be my favorite month.  Our sunlight is returning and sprinkled in with the cold days are a few warm ones, a reminder we are not far from green grass and spring flowers.  March is the month when our greenhouse production returns in earnest, when on a sunny day we can enter one of our houses and be engulfed in warm fragrant air, heavy with the sent of vibrant healthy earth.  Our greenhouses are very much alive in March, all the little plants we stuck in the ground on a cold February day are finally taking off,. They are establishing a tiny foothold, staking their claim to a little patch of ground and stretching their chloroform rich limbs upward towards the ever strengthening sun.  On these sunny warm mornings in March, I am extra anxious to get outside.  With coffee cup in hand, Joy and I make our morning rounds.  To the greenhouse to uncover plants and turn off heaters, then to the chicken coop to check on our birds.  Our chickens take on new life as well, their feathers begin to renew and take on a healthy sheen. Egg production, which has lagged during the winter months, begins to increase as well.  After our morning rounds, we retreat back to the office. This time of year is also about making lists and checking off projects.  List making has taken on new importance this year as Joy joins the farm in a more full time capacity.  I have always been more inclined to work on whatever project seems the most important at the time.  Admittedly though, this isn’t the best way to go about things.  So now we make lists, and honestly it is satisfying to check off the projects as they are completed.  Each day is a new day and with the new day comes a new list.  March is also the month we make maple syrup.  There is nothing more satisfying then sitting in the quiet of the woods, the only sounds are the occasional hoot of a distant Owl and the hissing of a gently boiling sap pan.  Boiling maple syrup is an escape, a chance to hide in the forest far from the homestead. It is a time to practice the age old tradition of extracting a small amount of the maple trees’ liquid goodness and converting  it into what has become our main source of sweetness.  We will use this syrup in all things sweet in the farmhouse kitchen.  Though we don’t have a big sweet tooth in this family, it is a staple in our morning coffee and a welcome addition as a topping on ice cream.  Yeah! March!

 

~Farmer Rufus

 

February 2019 Newsletter

Snowfebruary

February 23rd, 2019

Boy time sure does fly!  We are already closing in on the end of February, mere days away from our first greenhouse planting.  Joy and I have been working diligently throughout the winter to prep for this new season.  With each season, comes renewed energy and a renewed passion to do better than the last year.  For us, 2019 is about a deeper openness and connection with our community.  Throughout these cold dark days, we have sat in front of the computer with bleary eyes, putting together our new website, which will be a vast improvement over our last site.  It will be much more active as well, with almost daily posts to our “Dear Farm Journal” blog or Newsletters.  We will also be posting short video clips to help paint a picture of Keewaydin Farms, your CSA farm! 

Not only is time flying, but in the last few weeks, the snowflakes have been flying as well.  Today we sit in the office rebuking the need or perhaps even desire to venture outside.  It’s nasty out, windy, snow whipped, and blindingly bright. So inside we shall stay.  Honestly, I enjoy days like this. I like the slower pace of these days. I pour an extra cup of coffee and lounge in the office with Joy in the desk next to me and Gizmo sprawled out on his little pad.  The usual anxiousness I feel to get outdoors fades away as I realize there is no need.  There is no need to struggle through an outdoor project. There is no need to freeze off a finger or two.  There are plenty of indoor projects which routinely get kicked down the road, waiting for just such a day…because kicking indoor projects down the road is what I do.  For instance, today we have been working on alphabetizing our customer list.  For some reason, in the distant past of my business career, I thought it would be a good idea to enter customers onto said list ,first name first instead of the most obviously correct way which would be last name first.  Why?  I don’t know!  I did it years ago and never changed it. Oh I did start entering in names the right way the next year but never went back and corrected this organizational nightmare.  Until of course, the Queen or Organization, Joy Nicole Miller came along.  With mostly kindness and not more than a handful of sideways glances she has gone about fixing this mess.  We make baby steps toward a smoother operation. This is who we are, work smarter not harder….I need to get outside!

~Farmer Rufus

 

January 2019 Newsletter

Well hello!  It has been awhile since I have sat down at my desk to pen a quick newsletter, not that I haven’t been writing. Joy and I have been keeping a farm journal, her idea, and so between the two of us, we have a running written dialog capturing our daily life.  I’ve enjoyed ascending the stairs to our second floor office with a cup of coffee in hand to jot down a few quick thoughts. It really has been a nice way to start the day.

I just wanted to say thank you to all who responded to our end of the year survey.  You shared so much great information with us and made some really great suggestions, as always.  What I heard from everyone who responded was overall deep satisfaction with our CSA program.  Most enjoyed the ease of pick ups and were satisfied with our communication over the course of the year.  Of course, we do still have work to do.  As in other years, several people asked if we could send out an email at the beginning of the week listing what would be arriving in their box to help with the weekly shopping.  In the past, I have attempted to do this but usually run out of energy for it mid season. However, this is just an excuse. I see the importance of it and pledge to make it happen.  Another point brought up by people was the lack of diversity of items during our winter share.   I totally agree with  this and  admit I could have done a better job of planning.  It also didn’t help to have those massive rains during August which delayed some of the plantings for the crops we harvest for our winter share.  It’s so interesting how events several months in the  past play out in our gardens.  Mostly though, I need to address the planning and implementing of gardens and greenhouses. Thank goodness I have Joy in my life because she is going to keep this ship floating straight and true with her organizational talents. Speaking of organizing, our gardening year has gotten off to an early and productive start.  Joy has spent a couple days in Greenhouse 1 weeding an cleaning out beds in preparation for the rapidly approaching season.  In addition, we have resurrected an old Woodmizer sawmill, more to come on this adventure.  We continue to organize around the farm like never before. I can’t even begin to tell you how satisfying it is to get organized.  Man have we found some real treasures as well!  Yeah for organization!