Yes, Farmers Do Work in Winter

Kevin and I have been keeping ourselves busy.  In my late state of pregnancy (39 weeks and 1 day!) I have not felt as productive as usual, but we’re still doing really well.  I tend to set unreasonably high expectations for myself, so I thought I’d write a quick blog post to let everyone know what’s been going on and also as a little pick-me-up reminder of everything we are accomplishing.

winter-work-desk

This is the “farm office”.  Otherwise known as Kevin’s desk in our second bedroom.  I’ve been doing a lot more office work than outdoor work, as you can imagine.  Over the past few weeks I’ve set up our 2017 Quickbooks so we can easily send invoices and track income and expenses.  I’ve also set up a PayPal account and a Mail Chimp account and learned how to use it.  In the past I’ve used Constant Contact and other paid services to send mail, but early on, a free service is going to work great for our small business.  It just means taking a little time to learn the ins and outs of the program.

Other “boring” work has been to write and post the job description for our Assistant Grower (know anyone/college kids interested in farming?  Send them our way!), figuring out how to do my own payroll (thanks Elena Coleman from Crooked Row Fields for helping!), marketing our CSA shares, updating our WordPress website, and spending some fun time at the RMV getting our new-to-us truck registered!

I did a lot of work on the crop plan/field maps/greenhouse schedule/seed order before the end of 2016.  We had income left and I wanted to make sure to spend it before the end of the fiscal year.  We got our seed orders in on the 27th of December!  Crop planning is lots of fun, and it’s always a nice “treat” to take a “break” from other administrative work to do it.

And then the seeds come and I get to organize them!

2017-seeds-organized

seed-catalogues

 

We get a lot of our seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  They have incredible organization on their website and ordering from them is very efficient.  But there are lots of other great companies that we like to support, so I try to take the time to go through multiple websites when ordering to compare pricing and spread the love ($$$).

 

Our potting soil is ordered and coming in the with big shipment to White Barn Farm in February.  We don’t plan on starting any seedlings until March 1st.  There is always a push to get going early (mostly from sheer excitement), but we’ve decided the net gain from starting onions in February is not worth the added effort and fuel to heat the greenhouse.

Kevin and I are very glad to be working together again.  One of the challenges that we face is our tendency to gravitate towards gender-normative roles (Brittany in the office/greenhouse/farm stand, Kevin building a greenhouse/fixing a tractor).   Right now, those roles make sense: it would be unsafe and much slower for me to be trying to lift heavy boards or pound posts.  But we try hard to be aware of that tendency and counter act it when possible.

Luckily, we’ve got an excellent community of farmers and craftspeople who want to help us out!  Kevin has had some great help from lots of our friends building this greenhouse.  Many thanks to Rob, Jess, Kenneth, Chris, Laurel and Greg!!

 

We are also very luck to have Jim Brueckner of Wind River Tree Care as a friend.  He is the person who originally introduced us to Mr. Nickerson, and has been a great supporter of us since we met in 2011.  He came over to help cut away a few overhanging branches that might have fallen on our greenhouse in the future.  Check out this video!

Talk about a skill!  If you need some tree-work done and don’t want machines driving through your lawn, definitely give Wind River Tree Care a call.  Jim is really talented, and incredibly friendly too!

We’ve also gotten some help from our landlord, Mr. Nick, who refuses to slow down, even if he is 91 years old!  Together with Kevin he dug out a few big rocks that were in the way of the greenhouse ground posts and helped us put up a utility pole so our electrician can run power to the greenhouse.

Our baby is due any day now, and I’m ready to get going!  We’ve got plenty still on our to-do list, like marketing and selling CSA shares, ordering more supplies, researching tractors and implements we need to purchase before April, hiring staff, finishing the greenhouse schedule and field maps, filing taxes for last year, finishing the greenhouse . . . the list goes on.  But we are feeling pretty on top of things.

Want to help?  The biggest thing you can do to help is spread the word about our CSA.  We use the CSA funds in spring to purchase tools and supplies, a really important part of making our farm successful.  If you are a member you can get a $25 discount for every new CSA member you recruit!

It hasn’t been all work.  We’ve spent some great time with family and friends over the holiday, got to go for a walk on the beach in Sandwich, spent plenty of time at the doctor (I’d rather do almost anything than go to the doctor), and have been putting some of the finishing touches on our house.  We are very lucky to be starting a family and a business at the same time.  We are grateful for all the support we receive from friends and family and look forward to the rest of 2017!

My next blog post will be from the other side.  🙂

-Farmer Brittany