Blog Archives

Reflections on Competing Online for Grants

We’ve competed twice now, following the rules explicitly, only to be passed over for consideration.

In this post, I’m not pointing fingers, or laying blame on anyone, just laying out the facts as we see them.

In the first competition, the winners were young women (it was a women only contest), who are developing high tech companies. What we found curious was that none of these high tech businesses appeared to have any social networks, as determined by zero votes in the Social Media phase of the competition.

In the second, most recent competition, the Social Media phase counted for 25% of the criteria. The remaining criteria was based on your plan for using the money, how you determine success, etc. To me, if you got more votes than your competitors, your “social score” should be higher. I guess our other scores were much lower.

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Posted in Agvocating, Cajeta Project
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And the Four Country Gals thought things would slow down after the market season…

Wrong!

We’ve been busier than bees foraging for pollen.

After the Farmer’s Market season, we moved into the next phase with our udderly incredibly addictive Cajeta. We have now received our official “Process Authority” letter. That means as long as we follow our formula precisely, including the process we use, we may, in fact use the traditional raw goat’s milk.

Getting that approval saves us thousands of dollars, and a lot of labor. That means the prices for our Cajeta will remain in the ballpark of our projections. It also means we can move forward with building our facility, and awaiting kidding season. We now have 7 girls who we believe are pregnant.

We lost our prized matriarch,  Posey, and that will be another blog post later.

100_7793Just this morning we were looking at the remaining kids and will probably send two more of them to the buck this winter.

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Posted in Around the farm
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A summer review of our DHA Family Farm activities

During the summer, we get all wrapped up in our day-to-day operations. From late spring when the babies are born, and planting all the veggies, it seems day runs into night, and back to day again.

So, here we are, smack in the middle of summer harvests.

This year, we began using the new twin high tunnels, most often referred to as hoop houses. We began planting April 22, nearly a full two months earlier than our normal outdoor planting dates.

We’ve harvested sugar snap peas, radishes, green beans, tomatoes,  broccoli, squash blossoms, beets, swiss chard, two kinds of arugula, basil and cilantro. Still to come are more tomatoes, more broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spaghetti squash, peppers, radicchio, carrots, and potatoes.

Along with those veggies, we also have straw-bale beds with several kinds of lettuces, spinach, peppers, and more potatoes. And, then there are the onions,

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Posted in Around the farm
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Working with highly alkaline to sodic soil

This a personal diary of how we’re taken a nearly wasted piece of property and turned it into a productive Certified Organic produce operation.

We bought our home with 9.62 acres in August 2005. It took two years to clean the property of junk that was strewn about. Only after that were we able to think about gardening.

We played around planting what we thought would grow on what would become our main garden plot. First it was about 20 by 40, growing to nearly 40 by 50 and finally under two hoop houses each measuring 20 by 52 with a 2ft path between them.

In 2011, we decided to become serious about gardening, applying for an NRCS EQIP grant in the Certified Organic division for two hoop houses. While we didn’t get it in 2012, we did win the competitive grant in 2013.

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Posted in Certified Organic Garden, High Tunnel
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Our Farmer’s Market Cargo Trailer

We’ve added another piece of labor-saving equipment to our fleet. It’s a 6×12 foot, single axle cargo trailer. It has a side door, as well as rear double doors, lights, jack-stands, and an added plywood interior.

This past winter, we evaluated the past season, and were planning the next year’s business. The topic of continually loading and unloading the truck came up. Each week, we’d have to load the market display on Tuesday night, then unload it at the market, reload it after the market, and finally unload it again when we got home. With 2013 bringing two markets a week, we began calculating the work, and the risk of injury. After all, some pieces of the display weigh 50 lbs a piece.

Knowing we would be reimbursed for the hoop houses, and also knowing there would be a hefty tax refund, we began looking at cargo trailers.

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Posted in Around the farm, Cedar City Farmer's Market
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  • Goats helping photographer
    Hey, we'd love to help you take your pictures.
  • Coco's little calf born July 30, 2014
    Coco's little calf born July 30, 2014.
  • Cindy feeding Chaffhaye
  • working in the kitchen
    Bev recording milk weights, Shari stirring the Cajeta
  • The first two little doelings.
    The first two little doelings.
  • Mom with Thor
    Mom is cuddling our new buckling, Thor.
  • cargo trailer
    Our Farmer's Market cargo trailer.
  • Hand digging trench
    Shari pitches in and digs up broken water line.

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