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Farm Update: Communication

August 7, 2016

 

I started this update on August 3rd and here it is Aug 6th and I'm just getting it out to Farm Share Owners. There are a bunch of things that are slowing down the farm, preventing good communication, and we apologize for the inconvenience this causes. At the same time, the productivity and liveliness on the farm is increasing, which is part of the chaos. There are some things happening that will get the delivery schedule, which has been seriously delayed without good communication from Theo, back on track. The picture above is of Dori's udder, swollen in anticipation of the imminent birth of her new calf.

 

Delivery Schedule

Salem, Hubbard, Beaverton, Portland will all happen on Monday. The Damascus delivery is on the way, being delivered by a farm share owner who lives there and was here harvesting her hog, so it will be there tonight.

 

Portland beef share owners in this harvest: you will receive your beef on Monday if you have not been to Harrisburg to pick up.

 

Eugene and Corvallis: Delivery date is depending on milk production, which is depending on calving. Hopefully will be complete by Tuesday.

 

Other drop points: Delivery date is depending on milk production, which is depending on calving.

 

All delivery slips and delays will be balanced by extending milk shares an equal number of weeks or by delivering extra milk when we have an overage and extra milk is requested.

 

Therapeutic priority: Some people find that health issues (food allergies, asthma, eczema, etc.) are resolved when they are drinking our milk and eating our eggs, and when they go off (our milk in particular) the issues recur. We will prioritize keeping a steady supply of milk to people who are using it as "medical milk" if you inform us (same with eggs).

 

Milk Production: Bummer Cows vs Imminent Calving 

We lost two calves in a row. Full production from those cows would have kept milk production on schedule, which was why they came to the farm, but that plan didn't work (one cow died and the other is not producing). Clarabelle is also in the milking line and is recovering from lameness in her foot which has reduced her production. Cow issues throw a wrench in the works, particularly Theo who handles or manages most of the milking, calving, and treatment. The time involved in working through cow issues really impacts communication.

 

Buttercup is currently the only fresh cow in the milking line, and she produces 2-3 times as much as any of the other cows each day. Imminent calving from Dori, Bessie, Sadie, and Frida will triple or quadruple our production, and that will put us back on track with deliveries. Bessie's udder is dripping milk today, and both Dori and Bessie are looking pensive, so one or both should have their calf soon.  The cows that are coming on line are all your favorites, and are known good producers. 

 

Bottles: You can Procrastinate Returning Them

Currently, we have an excess of bottles on the farm. The delivery coolers are all full of bottles, and that slows down loading deliveries. Usually our plea is the opposite (people hang onto bottles too long). Our low milk production has created a glut of empties here. Once the new barn is done, we will have better bottle storage. Hopefully I will regret this in the next couple weeks, but please hang on to your bottles, if you have some room to store them, until our milk production recovers.

 

Lid Cow Pics: Matching lids to cows has been difficult. Only Anna and Maddie are the milking cows that currently have labels made. All the cows about to calf have their labels, so the matching should get easier. We like to have each jar have the correct cow's picture, but sometimes you just get the name written on the jar and a blank lid or another cow's picture.

 

Reminder: Please don't remove the cow labels from the lids. We will reuse the lids and labels as long as we can.

 

Eggs

 

As all the new laying hens come up to speed, I don't anticipate any issues with egg share deliveries. Our laying flock is now officially huge. We are behind on egg mobile construction, so many of the hens are truly free-range.

 

As our egg production increases, we will deliver extra eggs again for a while when we can and certainly when you request them. They keep for weeks on the counter and for months in the fridge, so you can have extras on hand.

 

[We must apologize to some of you. We had some unruly hens insisting on sitting on the eggs in areas not approved for brooding. Then we had a few issues with egg collection and packing by visitors and some developing eggs were delivered. For that we apologize and beg patience as we stabilize processes around our increased soy-free and free-range egg production We know (believe me we know) that it can really mess up a farm-to-table experience to crack a sketchy egg into a recipe.]

 

Team Day 1

We have a team of enthusiastic young farmers here this week. One goal is to free Theo (yes me) up for some administrative and management catch up (like this communication) and to get a jump on animal facility set up so that we can streamline production. Day 1 is looking good.

 

Hay Siri! An iPhone Upgrade Fail

My iPhone 4 stopped supporting the accounting and communication apps I use for the farm, and the power button on the phone broke.  So I upgraded last week to an iPhone 6S. The upgrade process was a real fail due to some kind of (certainly known) Apple problem with sticking old Apple ID's. Geesh, that process was frustrating and time consuming and ended up delaying already delayed communication.

 

So, now the new phone is working (at least I think it is). I use an iMac mostly for these kinds of communications, but delivery communication is all done from my iPhone. 

 

Septic Fail, Spring Repair, Toolshed and Barn Construction

The main septic system backed up to the farmhouse last week. The spring that feeds the farm has some leaks that have to be addressed to optimize our use of the water rights. These kinds of issues divert our abilities to even think straight, let alone plan and communicate. The checklist for the next few months is long. But we are in this for the long run and we are getting through the checklist one item at a time with everyone's help.  Kira and I are working on behalf of a large farm-share owner community to help decentralize and purify their food supply. We know that you understand the benefits of local, clean sources of farm-fresh food and that getting there may have some bumps and glitches along the way. We are honored to be on this ride with all of you.

 

Harvest

Farm share owners who come to the farm and work beside us for a day or two tend to gain the benefit of understanding. There are "aha" moments here that make things like slips in deliveries and delivery communication, not necessarily excusable, but at least understandable. Walk around the farm today with a bowl, and you will come back with a bowl full of the most amazing blackberries ever. It is harvest time here. A crazy, lively, busy time with pears, apples, berries, along with the meats, eggs, and a great dose of sensible traditional health information. It is why you are part of the farm. Come to harvest your hog. Help us collect and pack eggs. Pick berries. Meet the cows. Feed the calves. The more familiar you are with your farmers and your farm, the easier this challenge will become for the whole community. ...and you can carry home the fruits of your labor. It's harvest time.

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