Thursday, January 31, 2013

Windmill Farm Blog Becomes Affiliate of Tractor Supply!!

Winter is normally a slower time for us here at the farm.  But not this winter, seems like we have had activity going on every single day since New Years.
First of all, our Extreme Coupon class was a huge success, thanks to the instructor/s Heather Mauel and our daughter Celli Baker.  I am or should I say, WASN'T an extreme coupon person before.  I was careful about my buying; would check the weekly ads; have a Safeway and Staples reward card, but that was it.  We learned How to shop; where to find coupons; getting organized; timing of sales and promotions; cycles  and basically learning the "lingo". 
I was so surprised to learn that there are "Sale Cycles".  Not just the Superbowl sales, but national sales.  January is oatmeal month so manufacturers have lots of sales on packaged foods.  February is National Canned Food Month and also promotes that seasonal produce.  The list goes on.  Point being that if you want to stock up on canned goods, wait until that month; There is a frozen food month and lots of promotions; sales; coupons for frozen food showing up in magazines, papers, Internet.  I went shopping last week and I saved $30 on a $90 purchased!!! I was so proud of myself.  One point that Heather and Celli made is to set goals for yourself for the money you want to save.  Examples were money saved goes to pay down credit card; to buy something special for the family; taking a family vacation; or just the basics of helping to pay the PG&E bill!!
Second great news this week.  I received an email from  Tractor Supply asking me if our farm would want to be an affiliate for them and to place a banner/button on my blog.  I was very thrilled to say yes,  as we use Tractor Supply products all the time here on the farm.www.tractorsupply.com and it is a perfect fit for people who have small farms; or have animals; or need fencing; or tractor/car parts; or looking for clothes that are well made and last!!  They are going to start their Chick Days next month where they have live chicks in the store.  With my new chicken coop, this year I am going to raise my own chicks, I know my grand kids will love to participate in raising them.
So if you have a chance after visiting my blog, please click on the banner at the top of my blog or on the right side of my blog and go look at Tractor Supply.  Thank you for doing that.
Hope you all enjoy this short bit of great weather here in Northern California.  We are out disking the fields and we planted over 20 new fruit trees yesterday.  Farming season has begun here at Windmill Farm.
 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Coupon Class

We had the best Coupon Class here at Windmill Farm this morning. Heather Mauel was so much fun and inspirational. Her life story about why she started to learn about saving money by couponing was very heartwarming. We all can identify with trying to pay off credit debt; trying to find ways to have enough money to pay the rent and utilities. A testament to her ability to save money; change her spending habits is that they now own a home and a Dutch Bros business and she continues to do couponing every day.
Heather and my daughter Celli were going to take me to CVS to do some coupon shopping to give me a hands on demo, but they both had to get back to their families in Auburn. Next time!!! Thanks again Heather and Celli for driving up last night to do the class.
Frank was a good guy too, he had to be up and out of the house by 8:30 a.m. with our dogs as we needed to keep our main property gate open for the ladies coming to class. He ended up taking a buddy and drove to pick up some new fruit trees we purchased to replace some in our orchard that have died. Tomorrow we will be planting them and with this beautiful Gridley soil and farming weather, we will be picking fruit by the 3rd year.
The comets or stars must be lined up lately for people as Community Supportive Ag (CSA)memberships must be in people's mind. Funny how in one week, I receive 8 emails and telephone calls to obtain information about our farm; or to request to be placed on our CSA membership waiting list. It is very enlightening how more and more people are interested in eating fresh and eating local produce.

Aimee from Aimee's Yarn Shop in Paradise and I have firmed up our knitting class with  February 25th set for an evening class, 6:30-9:00pm.   It will be a Knit Nite where people can choose whether to learn to knit a scarf or fingerless mittens; receive a photo of the item; a pattern; hands on knitting instruction; door prizes; yummy home made baked goodies; bamboo needles and the yarn to complete the project, all for $40.

 After each class we do here at the farm, I always am in such ahhh of the young women who are so excited and motivated to learn.  They want to learn how to improve their baking skills, learn how to do canning, sew, knit, garden, save money, paint furniture, ways to improve their family's lives; have some fun and get back to the basics!!!  Since I am older and we learned these skills from our grandmothers or from school (I learned how to cook and sew in school), it could be an indicator that young women want and need to learn these skills.

Next week on our farm, we will be working the soil to be ready to plant some spring items.  I used to plant earlier but I got tired of loosing half of them to the late frost.  I am cleaning out our greenhouse to get my little plants started.  The cycle of growing is just around the corner.
Annie and Bella always want to be on the other side of the fence!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jams, Jellys, Pies May be Coming to Windmill Farm

I have all my seed catalogs out on my desk, making my lists to purchase; making my lists of items I am going to grow; making a drawing of my fields. It is always exciting to start out fresh each year and visualize what our gardens will look like mid July. Our plans includes many more varieties of vegetables that we may not have grown before. I particularly want to grow more cut flowers this season to not only enjoy myself, but to make available as an added item to market.

Many farmers are excited because Cottage Food Permit Bill AB1616 came into effect January, 2013. It now allows farmers to sell non-potentially hazardous cottage industry items prepared at the farm directly to a consumer. Items such as jams, jellies, food items, dried fruits, baked goods, pie, nuts, honey, and many more items. This will open up an area for our CSA customers to enjoy many more items from our farm. As an example, some fruits ripen quickly and need to be harvested quickly. Our members may receive the fruit/vegetable once in their basket before it is too ripe to eat. We can prepare jams, jellies or dry them and be able to give them to our members in a different form. Or be able to sell the items at our roadside stand or by email/Facebook however we wish to market them as long as they comply with the local rules and health standards.

I contacted our Butte Co Environment Health Dept and received all the information needed and will be going to obtain my permit next week. Cost $48 + we will need to have our well tested for another fee. I believe it will help many local organizations too as it used to be a nice way to make money for non-profits, to have a bake sale as a fund raiser, but laws stopped making that an option. This new Cottage Food Permit opens up an additional way for, particularly small farms, to find new sources of revenue.

Did you know that there are about 275 CSA farm in California? And it is stated that most CSA farms are relatively small less than 20 acres on average. The UC Ag Dept states that in 2010, there were over 32,938 CSA members which is a lot for so few farms that offer this membership service.

One item I want to grow this year is cotton, I don't know why but I have found it fascinating. Maybe just a few rows. I was able to obtain some cotton right from the field last year and used it during the holidays. I thought some of my CSA members may find it interesting in my floral arrangements or to see cotton in its' raw state.





I rarely have a chance to actually go shopping for items for the house, I mostly use Internet shopping. But our friend, Tina needed me to pick up an item that would not fit into her small car so we went to Marshall's. I was surprised to walk into the store and find 2 items I immediately loved. Took them home and I am loving them. I had read that one new color for 2013 will be the color Tangerine!!! So I am officially-in style.

Don't forget about my Extreme Coupon class scheduled for this Saturday, January 26th 9-12pm. Still a few openings, should be a very informative and fun class.

My next class, Learn to Knit, have Tea and Cookies class just recently scheduled for a Monday evening, February 25th 6:30-9pm. Aimee from Paradise Yarn shop will be teaching it, we will be providing, wonderful homemade refreshments; door prizes; instruction; handouts; needles and yarn. Call if interested for more information. As always, space is limited because they are being held in our home.

Enjoy this burst of warmer weather-from Windmill Farm to your house.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snowdrops Blooming-January Birthday Flower

I am trying to keep up with my goal for January and to clean out cupboards, drawers, closets, under beds and wherever I keep things stashed. Not easy as the weather is getting a bit nicer, a bit warmer and it is beckoning me to be outside to work in the garden.

The snowdrops are blooming in the yard and I always associate them with January pushing through the snow in Nevada City. I remembered about having flowers associated with our birthday and looked that up. The flower birthday history is believed to have originated in the Roman Empire. The birthday celebrations included honoring the Roman Gods and decorating their alters with flowers. During Roman birthday celebrations family and friends offered congratulations and brought gifts, the gifts included flowers which started the first traditions and origins of Birth Month Flowers. In case you want to remember what your flower is for your birth month:

January - the Carnation or Snowdrop
February - the Violet or Primrose
March - the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus)
April - Sweet Pea or Daisy
May - the Lily of the Valley
June - the Rose
July - the Larkspur or Water Lily
August - the Gladiolus or Poppy
September - the Aster or Morning Glory
October - the Calendula
November - the Crysanthemm
December - the Narcissus

I am dying to show you photos of how my new chicken coop is going, but want to wait until the house is completely finished. Frank works on it a little each day when the weather is the warmest spot to be hammering away. It is going to have a very different roosting rack, I saw it only once in a photo of a new large scale chicken farm and thought it a good idea. As Frank is working on it, the free range chickens keep cruising around it checking it out. It is about twice the size of their old coop, taller, has warming lights for those very cold nights and a place available for a brooder or chick container for when I want to raise my own chickens from the chick stage. They are all going to feel like chicken princesses. Too nice!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SAVE BIG in 2013-Extreme Couponing Class to be Held at Windmill Farm



Our farm will be having a life changing class on January 26, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. We will be hosting an Extreme Couponing morning, where we learn to change our buying habits and make them into smart saving habits. Never pay full retail price again. And we aren't talking a few dollar savings, we are talking up to hundred of dollar savings, depending on how much you normally spend on food and other products for your family.

Super Saver Heather Manuel of Auburn will be teaching us all the secrets and she will be making it fun and easy. AND it just doesn't include items that you think you don't use any more. The savings are for just about anything that you want or use by your family.

Join us at Windmill Farm for our first class of the season. Please call 530-846-3344 or email me at windmillfarm@sbcglobal.net. Space is limited so please contact me asap and I will be glad to add you to my confirmed attendance list. Here is the information:

DATE: Saturday, January 26, 2012
TIME: 9:00 a.m. - Noon
PRICE: $25 includes refreshments, door prizes, instruction, class handouts, information specific to our area.
PLACE: 535 Obermeyer Avenue, Gridley, Cal.
CONTACT: Paula Carli-846-3344 or windmillfarm@sbcglobal.net

Saturday, January 5, 2013

January Goal De-Clutter, Get Organized, Get Moving


My head is full of 2013 ideas, for remodeling, planting my fields, decorating, cleaning, organizing, editing, learning new skills, the list just goes on. I have 4 different magazines all open at different spots where I want to take the time to read an article, just trying to find the time. On my desk I have my new calendar with post-it notes as I am making up my project/classes that I will be teaching here at the farm for the year. I need to get organized!!
I have made up 5 folders of ideas on the corner of my desk that need attention. I Pinterest ideas and projects every morning and even print out a few and put them on Frank's corner desk that may require his handiwork (he just loves this :-)). I have started getting calls for people to sign up for our 2013 CSA (Community Supportive Agriculture) farming business and made up a folder for that too!!! I think we all are bracing ourselves lately, wondering with anticipation, caution, as to what is in store for us this year.  Especially people in business, we are always looking for ways to increase productivity, lower costs, spend less and to live within our means, no matter how small that may be.
What I have decided to do is divide up my year into projects by the month.
January is my month to clean, organize, toss, DE-Clutter, re-think, re-vamp the inside of my house, garden and my farm classes that will also revolve around that concept. I have found a great blog called Delightful Order. She has some terrific ideas and tools on her site that have inspired me.
One tool at the top of my list that I use all the time is my Brother PTouch label maker. I have also purchased some plastic tubs, some to use to sort what goes to the thrift shop, items to re-cycle, a tub for items that goes in the garage, another for what stays. My life is always so much calmer and easier when it is free of clutter and in some sort of order, at least for a while, anyways!!!
Speaking of re-cycling I saw on Pinterest a fun up-cycled item made from men's ties. How clever.
And I have two re-cycled or up-cycled items I want to make for my gardens. I think the ironing board lady would be cute to have right as you walk into my vegetable gardens and I can change out veggies or flowers in the granite pot, too cute.


I will keep you posted as to how my January revamping is going. 

Would love to hear from you out there in blog land. Any interesting goals/resolutions you have for yourself?

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