Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is it freaking spring yet? The countdown has begun.

Every year, about October 31'st or so, I start asking Kim; "Is it spring yet", I think I even wrote an article on here and for the Lost River Market and Deli called that last year. Well, I'd like to report, since implementing animal agriculture and working on the orchard (including cutting out the back lane and cutting 8 billion cedar posts) I am happy to admit, that until today, I was clean and sober from the "spring delusion".

Unfortunately it wasn't meant to last and here I am, approaching the middle of January and finally feeling that insatiable urge to make an excuse, any excuse to play in the dirt. But something I have also noticed about this "spring disease" is that not only is there a countdown in days but also in terms of what must be done/purchased and how long I have to do such a thing or purchase an item I need, couple that with being slightly obsessive compulsive and you have the makings of a 500 item long "stuff I need/stuff to do" list, which is actually all good because it will keep my mind off of the cold weather, plus I'll be doing some wine making and rabbit hunting over the next few weeks.

Anyhow, high on the agenda is finishing up putting a raised bed into the larger of the two greenhouses as I have detailed here. Luckily this season I don't have to buy much of any seed, at this point it's a waiting on other people to send their trades or for the seeds I did order to arrive game.......then I can stare at the pile of seed and dream, be obsessive compulsive, and start thinking, "where the hell will I have room for that." I do love it!

This year we ditched our old seed starting flats and humidity domes, after four years in the greenhouse they were shot, we started looking around for alternatives and found a really good, cheap, easy to store, and long lasting alternative. Translucent plastic storage boxes from the dollar store. They are about 6 inches deep and a couple feet long, soil blocks fit perfectly right on top of the lid and then the box clicks down and locks in place on the lid locking in heat and humidity and locking out seed eating rodents.

This week I'll be harvesting all kinds of worm castings, farm more than I have ever had access to in previous years, this is something I am very thankful for, the investment in time and space and money for the expanded worm heard in "The Wyrm" was well worth it! I'll be putting up a blog post detailing this process later this week.

We also added a lighting timer to the turkey/guinea coop this past week, in order to trick the turkeys into thinking that spring had arrived since game birds are highly photo sincitive, in the past four days we have seen 3 hens lay, with one laying on a daily basis, and the Toms now breeding the hens quite regularly. Exciting times. Even the guineas are getting "busy". I should have enough turkey eggs in a week or two to fill up the Hovabator and get an early hatch, which would be nice since then I could spare culling the two small toms for Easter celebrations.

Saturday I recieved in the mail the scion wood for the Khazakistani wild apple accessions I requested from the USDA ARS GRIN GENEVA station via Phillip Forsline. I believe there are 6 or 7 accessions of four or five pieces each of scion wood, more than enough to replace the bud grafts that I made last year which didn't take and likely far more valuable in the long run.

On the 20'th of this month I should be recieving the Jumbo Guinea stock from Ideal Poultry along with the 7,000000000000 rooster chicks they will place in the box for warmth which I didn't really want, but you know what? I ain't picky and I'll feed them up on cheap cracked corn and have a freezer full of meat in a few months, and let me tell you from experience, that chicken you buy at the store, it isn't chicken compared to homegrown chicken, I don't even think it's real meat!

I've also got 20 turkeys coming in March, including the amazing little Midget White turkeys I've been so excited to obtain. Seriously considering putting in a $40.00 order for a dozen eggs to for some Beltsville small white turkeys.

Still got to build another large rabbit hutch for the new rabbit stock we picked up this year. Not enough time or money, and yet by spring I'll have forgotten about this whole "is it spring yet" dillema and see only the sun shining and green plants growing and know that it is and will always be worthwhile!

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