Monthly Archives: January 2012


Need I say more.

When we had our business meeting last week and discussed all the necessary plans and purchases I would be lying if I didn’t admit to just a little stress. But my husband has taken care of it once again, finding exactly what we need for a great price and now we can cross tractor off our to do list!

It’s a Yanmar 26 horsepower. It arrived yesterday with free delivery, love the customer service up here, seriously. We purchased it from Olson Power and Equipment. If you are in the area and need any tools they are great people. We also found out they rent equipment so for the occasional heavy duty labor that needs a bigger tractor we have a source for that and once again they deliver, yah!

The kids had a great time riding the loop with their dad and it is really starting to look like a farm now. In a few short weeks our chicks arrive. Plans are already made for the greenhouse, and packing shed. Things are starting to role and things feel great.

I even have a new pastime.

I love going out after the snow and looking for tracks. This one was almost run over by the tractor but it gives you an idea of how big the bird was that left these wing marks as it is framed perfectly in the tire tracks. There were 3 such tracks, this being the heaviest and the hopping mouse tracks were no more after this. I thought hawk, but Proeun said owl. It’s great to see the evidence of wild life.

The Business of Farming

Farming really offers you everything. I remember talking with a wonderfully intelligent woman I knew who felt that her work no longer challenged her. I thought in my mind that I will most likely never have that problem. Between raising 4 eternal souls, homeschooling them, running a household and business with my husband I am always challenged–in a good way, mostly.

Now is the time for the business of farming. Words like marketing, cash flow, customer retention, asset aquisition and such become part of bed time conversation with Proeun. Decisions have to be made, big decisions like greenhouse placement, cooler placement, tractors, soil amendments and organic certification.

It is a challenge, but I love a challenge. I am so so blessed to be on this journey with my husband, and he loves a challenge to.

So this week, many many phone calls will be made, probably a few big purchases and plans will take shape.

We are also blessed to be presenters at this year’s Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference. We have attended the conference for the past 4 years. Now we actually have knowlege to share. We will be presenting on business plans for long term funding and advanced marketing–sharing your story. One thing I love about this conference is the international component. When I present it will be translated into at least 5 languages–Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Karen and Bhutanese. Amazing to think that I have something to share with people from so many backgrounds.

The Minnesota Organic Conference

This weekend Proeun and I had the privilege of attending the Minnesota Organic Conference in St. Cloud. Thanks to my parents who graciously came up from the cities to spend the weekend at our farm and help with the children and some organizing! Thanks mom and dad!

Anyway this was our first year attending the conference and our first year attending a conference with a real farm waiting for us. By real I mean one with a house on it and one we have access to for all the little dreams and plans taking form.

And the conference had just the information we needed. Proeun attending a 1/2 day workshop Thursday on keeping bees and we discovered Cannon Bees very close to us. Great mentoring options there.

For the actual conference Proeun and I divided our time between workshops. I learned about both hoophouse production to extend the season and the viability of greenhouse production for all winter use. Proeun learned all about bovine genetics and meat processing in Minnesota and we both attended the workshop on small scale poultry (the chicks are ordered and will be arriving early next month!)

Then there was the trade show where we learned all about fertilizer options and organic certification services. We also found a great local place to buy strawberry, raspberry, elderberry and asparagus plants.

As you see our youngest was learning the ropes. The youngest often comes with us for logistic reasons while nursing but now our oldest is showing an interest in the learning side. Every night when we came home Two wanted to hear all about what we learned and what our plans are. Maybe next year we will have 2 children in tow. Notice I didn’t bring the good camera, just way to much to carry and keep track of.

Of course I am all about the food. This conference actually has a “forager” as part of the planning committee. Here are some of the great breakfast treats.

Eggs, apple cider and cherry juice so simple and so so so good. At one of the workshops I went to about agriculture in Norway and Denmark the presenter said that in the early 1900s when communism was sweeping Europe the leaders in Norway, which was a pretty poor country at the time, decided that to try and combat the threat they would work on the nations food, increasing quality for everyone and standarizing some favorites–such as open face rye sandwiches with butter and herring for lunch.

It is an interesting concept that keeping peoples stomach happy can combat revolution, but apparently it worked. Now the food in Norway is famous for quality and taste. I am all for a food revolution and enjoyed every bite this weekend.

The homestead

January 1st 2012 was a landmark day for us. On this day our family woke-up for the first time on our homestead. Since then it’s been all joy and work and details and a whole lot of fun. Sorry we have been absent for so long–rural internet is not a given we are discovering.

Our days have been filled with lots of exploring as we set up home and farm operations so we will still be busy busy for the next couple months but here are some pictures from our recent wanderings.

A new favorite past time is hooking the dog, who doesn’t stay still much, to the sled and letting the children dog sled. We need a bit more snow now though.

We also enjoy identifying tracks. Not too sure on these, maybe a young raccoon.

At least once every day the children thank us for moving. Now are we plan our chick orders and details for the next season they are so engaged, this is really the family farm. So amazing how easily we settle into our dreams but that they seem even more amazing when they are achieved. I have to pinch myself now.