Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Learning New Social Media Skills For Farming-Flowers-Video Downloading

OK, I got it about Social Media.  I use it, I think I have a basic understanding about it.  I took some classes, I read, read, read everything I can AND understand about how to use social media for business.
Does it all apply to farming?  Honestly, at first, I didn't think it did apply to our small farm.  But since using each new avenue of information-Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogging, Youtube, Website, initially they weren't.  As I got better about it, as I posted more, as I used more options to enhance visibility, I think it does help.
I don't use Twitter, just because I really think I am too old to want to let my "friends" know what I am thinking and doing every minute of the day.  Nor do I have the time to bother about it.
I do make time for Facebook and have fallen in love, with Instagram.  And of course, I have blogged about our Windmill Farm and our life here for almost 7 years now!!!  I wish I had thousands of fans reading it, but I just plug away and don't take sponsors or take the advise of other well know bloggers as to what to do to get your blog known.
An added feature I have used on Facebook is the "boost" feature.  I think I have mentioned this before.  If I have a special class coming up with an instructor I am bringing in to do the class; or a special class of my own that I would like a good attendance, I use this Facebook ability to widen your audience.  There is a cost associated with it but it is based on how many days you want it to run; and what number of people you wish to target.  Each time I have used it, the visibility of my page has increased and I do pick up a few new people to attend my classes.
I do all my updating and posting of photos on the social media in the morning before we go out and actually do our farming business.  During the day, I try and keep my phone with me to snap some pictures of what we are doing.  And lately, I have been using my video feature by taking these mini clips of our property.  I have had some good, positive response to them to keep them up!!!  It is hard to let loose of your private, personal life.  But since Frank and I seem to work our gardens, our projects all the time and that has become our main focus, why not!!!!  So my dogs and I cruise around in the Gator and take mini movies and are posting them to Instagram and both Windmill Farm and Paula Carli pages on Facebook. (I tried posting videos here, to blogger, but haven't been able to figure it out yet!  Maybe next time)
I love Pinterest and still check out new pins about every other day. I use it a lot when getting ready for my classes, by checking out other tutorials of those specific topics, to see what other people are doing.  I make new boards up for my various projects, such as upholstery; crochet projects; gardening; macrame; etc.  Pinterest has beautiful photos, but within the last year, I have found something disappointing about it.  It has a feature where you can go directly to the site that had the original photos.  Since now all social media is world wide open, the link can take you to ADVERTISING!!! Even my main feed in Pinterest has provacative photos selling stuff.  Or Flicker account which is just a bunch of pictures.  As an example, there is a photo of a particular potted plant I like.  I want to know more about it so I click on that feature to go to source and it ends up on just a photo board, no information, nothing. Or goes to an advertising board.  Bummer.  Like all hackers and horrible people, they use these social media to promote their ugly business!!!
Now Instagram has sorta, kinda, become my passion and I sorta, kinda am finding myself a little addicted to watching some farming, gardening videos on Instagram and looking at such beautiful pictures of flowers, gardens, decorating, food and-knitting and crocheting projects.  Since I have so many interests, it is hard to confine myself to just a few topics.  Then there is a section on Instagram mini videos of unusual pets-videos about people who have pet pigs, pet fox; horses that do funny things, ferrets, the pictures are posted from around the world so it opens up a whole interesting viewing arena.  It is funny about addictions, you have to control them.  My worst is food.  Sorry, I am not a 95 lbs person, I should be for all the work I do.  But I am not, so I am constantly struggling with that addiction.  I don't smoke or drink.  We only have the TV going after dark, normally during and after dinner. BUT, Instagram, since on my phone, can be watched in quick, short bits of any new pictures or mini videos posted.  It is accessible all day long and it is fun!! I really feel myself being inspired after watching it, to plant different things, to try harder in my gardens; but mostly, I am entertained.  So I thought if I am interested in this, I need to start thinking about using it for our farming business!
So I have been posting these mini farm videos out in Instagram, in hopes to find others who may be interested in seeing what we, Windmill Farm are doing here in Gridley; to be inspired and possibly, to take a glimpse now and then during their day, to check out what we are doing.  To keep up with our projects; to see what Annie and Bella are doing; the chickens, whatever!!!

If you are like us and sometimes poo poo all these new Internet ventures out there, take a little step outside your comfort zone and do look into these new social media avenues to expand your business!  I am having a blast capturing glimpses of our day, here at Windmill Farm and sharing them "out there" in the never, never land of the Internet.  Go figure! Check out our Instagram, Facebook pages for all my new videos.  And Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram for photos of the farm too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Using Wood Shavings In Garden vs Straw

I love a neat and tidy garden.  It isn't always the case with me, but I try to keep the weeds pulled and mulch around the base of my vegetables and flowers.  I have found that if I put straw under my cucumber plants, the cucumbers grow straight and have less blemishes on them.
After weeding and raking up all the weeds, it is a very satisfying to spread out the straw around the base of the tomatoes or flowers knowing the job is done. (Unfortunately, when I let the chickens in the gardens, they love to scatter it all over the place looking for bugs).  Part of my working tools in the back of my Gator is always a broom.  To sweep back the straw around the bottom of the plants.
I have noticed, that some of my STRAW still has seeds it it which causes the following year to produce more weeds.  A couple of years ago, many articles were written to re-cycle grass when mowing out into your gardens for mulch and weed control.  I did that, but boy was that a mistake!!!  Do NOT use grass.  Put it in your mulch pile, not in your gardens.  I never had so many weeds as when I used the lawn grass in my gardens.  It was as if I seeded my gardens with lawn seed!!!
This year I decided to try something different.  I purchase animal shaving for the chicken house.  The price of the shavings was comparable to the straw and I thought, no seeds!!!  And the smell is wonderful; and good for mixing with the soil at the end of the year; AND a good moisture control around the base of the plants.
I purchased 6 bales of wood shavings and 2 bales of straw and I am experimenting around my gardens.  I still used the straw under my cucumbers and around the base of the beans.  But around the base of my tomatoes, peppers and half of the dahlias, I am using the wood shavings.

So far, the weed control is about the same; but the wood shavings are not producing NEW weeds due to seeds.  The straw is helping with keeping weeds down, BUT it is also creating some new types of weeds from the seeds left in the straw.
At first, I thought the wood shavings might break down too fast and be a waste of money, but so far, they are holding up and continue to provide good bedding.  
I wondered if the shavings did keep moisture into the soil and so far, it appears to me that it does.  
I pulled away the dry shavings from the base of the plant and found that the soil was still moist.

All in all I think I will continue to use the bedding shavings.  I am liking it very much, especially around my flowers.  
Having the flower beds look as nice as the flowers do, is important to me.  I do have classes here at the farm, where we might go out and cut flowers to do an arrangement class.  I do have potential flower customers who are looking for wedding or event flowers, go out into our rows to look at blooming flowers and the better the rows looks, the more clients I may get too!!
Wood Shavings versus Straw???  A little of both is my choice.