The week in Agriculture or More Mad Farmer News!

Lately, life has been a bit of a whirlwind at Miss Eff's. Last week -- I had two food demos, two cider pressing and two speeches. Yea ........ you would think I would be talked out. Not so much!! Got another speech today.

What I am ......... is exhausted!!!

Last year, Miss Effie's applied and was accepted into Animal Welfare Approved. We were the only farm in Scott County and one of the few in Eastern Iowa. (Seriously, does it really matter that we were the only farm that applied?? Can't we just forget that little fact??)

Animal Welfare Approved certifies good husbandry practices -- basically, I take really good care of my girls and they are provided plenty of feed, water and fresh air. This Tuesday was our yearly audit to verify our compliance with the program and to continue our certification.

Now -- this year, we added an additional coop,

more roost space,

enough nesting boxes,

and more yard space -- we have 720 sq of yard space

plus 2 additional runs that we can isolate chicks or smaller more-venerable animals. The old coop, pictured above, is now being used for a brooder house for a couple of weeks more .... then the chicks, the silkies and my glamour girls ..... Eva, Zsa-Zsa and Liz Taylor will live together.

They are concerned that the girls may not have enough "pasture" space. I lived in several apartments smaller than that and no one was concerned about my pasture space!!!!

From October (first frost) to about mid-April, they can roam to their heart's content. But the rest of the year .... my income is based on flower sales and my girls have yet to differentiate between pigweed and zinnias! Once they have that figured out -- they can have total run of the place.

Then there is the fact, I could be painting a target on their backs.

Both our fox and coyote population has increased. If you read the adventures that Sheepie Neighbor had with one of our neighborhood predators, you know that fox will be a problem even in the middle of the day. So I really like having the girls where I can see them!

Hopefully, we will pass inspection.

We still have some work to do..... the duck area needs to be expanded. Honey is building another duck hut today. We have a little more cleanup as the new chicken run was home to our rock pile so that needs to be moved. And I have to "fluff". A new garden will go in front of the coop -- I have some magic lilies, 60 tulips and a peony that will go there. An arbor will welcome everyone and I will place a bench along the side of the shop for just a little chicken ambiance!

More farm news....... I adopted another duck.

Detour is one ugly ugly duck!!!! A Muscovy drake, Detour ran into a snapping turtle and lost part of his beak and bean. (Trivia questions.... where is the "bean" on a duck?) He is 14 pounds ..... one big boy compared to my little mini silver applewood hen! Hopefully, he and Lucy and the mixed colored call ducks and the Seuss crowd ... will get along. So far ............... so good!!!

Yea ..... the neighbors are checking out the new guy!!!

And one more bit of news. You know how I sing to the choir about the benefits and joys of local foods. To be honest, I sometimes get discouraged. OK -- I feel like I preach and preach and preach and I can't make a difference with my own family ............ how am I going to reach the masses?????

Last week -- I spoke at a Staff Development day at our local junior college. I had a great time. They were interested and welcoming and inquisitive. But you never know........... until I received this:

Again, I was so impressed with your message and became so motivated with supporting the farmer's market and our local farmers and businesses because of your words. I always have enjoyed the Farmer's Market, but until I heard your message I really did not understand the whole importance that our local farmers depend on us. I will buy everything I can from our local farmers before I do Hy-Vee from now on! Thank you!

YEA!!!! Today ----we won one for the farm team!!!


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