This consistently cold and cloudy winter has kept us somewhat behind on our outdoor projects, but it has allowed us to make good progress on the indoor tasks. Here’s what we’re working on (and finished with) as of mid-February.
Orchard clearing: This has been completed; every tree within the defined boundary of the future orchard has been removed. In future years we’ll continue to push the tree line back to provide more sun and air movement, but the actual intended growing area is now open for business. When the soil thaws, we’ll start developing the growing areas there and getting some fencing up.
Pasture clearing: We’ve made good progress removing excess trees and brush from our top-priority pasture of about 2 acres, with similar work to go on several other areas. We’re clearing the land until there are scattered good shade trees remaining, and will burn some off the areas to encourage native plants to return.
Water line extension: Probably the most important project, we’re intending to extend our water line out to the main vegetable field, with hydrants to serve the pastures as well. We’ve gotten away with long hoses for the past two years, in part because of consistently wet weather, but we can’t rely on that in the future. So we’re clearing a road from the ridgeline where our main water line runs, and will hire out the trenching work when the weather and ground conditions are cooperative.
Seed order: This is done, and we have most of what we need for the growing season.
Organic certification: We need to complete and send off our 2010 certification paperwork. This includes all our records from 2009, digitized and in proper format, as well as planting plans and other information for 2010. Putting all this together takes forever, and really sucks time from other projects.
Tax prep & other business needs: We insist on doing all our own accounting and tax work. and this takes time as well. We had no idea how complicated and annoying it was to run a small business until we started doing it; simply trying to understand our own tax code is a full-time job during the winter. We’re slowly plowing through all the tax work and other paperwork/regulation/red tape we need to have in order before the growing season gets busy. At least we know that everything we learn only has to be learned once, and every winter will get a little easier.
Cleaning & organizing: We try to clean & organize things before the season starts. This includes a thorough washing of all our seed-starting flats, harvest containers, market containers, etc.; doing any tool and equipment maintenance as needed; organizing our storage areas; and more.