Wanted: Warm weather!

Sunflowers

I finished planting the last of the sunflowers this morning.  They are really struggling.  I don’t think the weather is helping one bit.  It will be really warm one day and then cool and rainy the next day.  Sunflower seeds will only germinate in warm soil.  Soil temperature must be over 50 degrees Fahrenheit for seeds to germinate and for plants to grow.  It looks like things are going to start warming up this week so we will see if this helps…

Beekeeping

I went out to look at my hive last week and I cannot see much brood or eggs.  Brood are baby bees.  If you don’t have brood, your hive will die out in a couple of weeks.  Honey bees only live for about 5 weeks so if you don’t have eggs being laid continuously, your hive will die out.  I figured that my queen is dead/gone.  I called 3 different places but nobody has queens for sale.  One person mentioned that the cool, wet weather has been bad for the bees too…

Herbs and Garlic

My oregano , parsley and thyme made it through the winter and have been growing like crazy!  So, I have been frantically harvesting and drying as much as I can before we are set to move on Friday.  I have had some dill self-seed itself so I have a great crop of dill.  Also, just pulled some scapes…

A Means to an End…

Something has been on my mind a lot.  I hope the following makes sense but it might come out as a lot of gibberish…
I am so excited to get our farm started with Mark.  I completed our business plan this past January (btw..thought of some changes already for the Business plan but that is for another day).  Immediately, I could see that this farm endeavor is going to cost a lot more than I had previously thought.  I am not naive but it is hard to deny when you can see the Excel spreadsheet with all the expenses listed…
Also, this past January, I was offered 20 new clients for my Support Broker job.  I currently have 4 jobs…farmer (sunflowers and jam making), Support broker, Executive Director for Families Together, and caretaker.  Mostly, these jobs work well because I can do most of the work from my home.  Having children with disabilities can make it difficult to have a regular 9:00-5:00 type of job.  So, this has been a great compromise to have many small jobs and this kept me busy but not overwhelmed.  
The 20 new clients doubled my Support Broker work and has thrown a lot of things out of balance. Of course, this was a great opportunity and hard to pass up.  However, some of my new clients live 100 miles from Moscow.  I am required to meet with my new clients face-to-face once a year.  I started the year by driving to meet my clients as their plans were coming due.  Let me put in a side note here…I am not allowed to count travel time toward my hours and I do not get reimbursed for mileage.  This was taking a huge toll on my time (and gas money).  I had to make a difficult decision to not travel to see any of my clients,  Instead, I have asked everyone to come to me.  This was a difficult decision because I really do want to provide good service but the traveling was just taking too much of a toll on my time.  
I am still feeling a little overwhelmed at all the new clients and the extra work but it gets easier as I am able to meet people and learn their needs.  To keep me motivated, I have made all the work monies that I get from my new clients go into the Farm business checking account.  I have already saved up enough money to buy a used Polaris Ranger.  I really wanted a small utility vehicle to use on the farm and my friend was getting ready to move and did not need his anymore.
He also gave us a little trailer that the Ranger can pull.  I think this will really come in handy for cleaning up downed/dead trees, watering new trees (going to put a big water tank on the back), gathering apples, and eventually hauling pounds and pounds of chicken feed…
Now, I am saving up for fencing.  I have been reading about using dogs as livestock guardian animals and I was surprised to learn that they should be fenced in with the livestock.  I guess I just thought they would know their boundaries but it seems that is not the case.  Besides, the fencing will provide another layer of protection against predators.  So, within the bigger fenced area (which will be most of the farm!), we will have the chicken coops with their portable electric netting.  (See, I did not have this fencing in the original business plan…).
So, things have been busy and I don’t expect it to slow down any time soon!  I look at it as a means to an end to getting our farm and that is helping to keep me motivated and less overwhelmed.

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