Happy March from all of us at HEP, Lori here with your monthly update of what’s been going on.
It was great seeing you all at the All Hands gathering last month. That’s always fun for us because we get to learn new things, and we get out of town for a spell. DJ was so impressed with it all that his mouth ran non stop; after the sessions, in the hotel, on the way home, at home, at work, and hasn’t really stopped yet. Y’all lit a fire under that young’un.
Here’s what we’ve been up to. We had an informational meeting for people wanting to participate this year on March 4th. 24 families were represented with 31 people, not counting us. At this meeting we laid out what the program was about, and the expectations of both sides, we got contracts signed, seed lists turned in. We answered tons of questions which was awesome because it showed us that they were engaged with what was going on. We even did an impromptu lesson on making seed starters from water or soda bottles and yarn. They saw the ones we had made and were wanting to make there own.
On the 7th Scott and I went to Princeton Supply to get a large portion of the seeds the participants requested, while we were there I got a text that said “BABY GOAT!!! WE NEED TOWELS!! Oh gawd it’s coming!!! It’s here!!! Twins. I was excited, cracking up at the text and sad that I missed it all at the same time. From there we went and got some peck buckets and other supplies. The next couple days were setting up for the Planning and Planting class which we held on March 11th, we had 33 people there for that one. We got the plow schedule set up for the ones that need it, and gave out the seeds, soil thermometers, buckets, hori-horis and what scuffle hoes we had.
There were a couple families that couldn’t make it to the informational meeting so we rescheduled for today. Only one of the ones that wanted to come the first time showed up today, and 5 new ones. That brought us 6 new families. Their Planning and Planting class will be held in a few days after we refresh the seed supply and get the other tools in we need for them. After this we will combine the families into one group if possible, if not we will double up the classes. We’re flexible like that.
While we were doing all this and ordering seeds and things we couldn’t get locally, I had my crew try to get a temporary pig pen put together because on the 10th DJ comes to me and said “we have pig nipples dragging the ground” which meant birth was imminent. They almost got it finished but ran out of screws for the gate. They figured they’d finish it up in the morning. Well, by morning it was too late, we had 6 piglets. The two other females are ready to birth at anytime, and so is our other goat. I now have a lady trying to convince us that we need 2 of her llamas.
We will be selling the piglets and putting half the proceeds into the program and the other half will go towards our food pantry.
Anyway back to business. One of the participants called me last week to ask a few more questions, and offered to help us haul the fertilizer when we get to pick it up. I thought that was the greatest thing ever. When we had our informational meeting, we requested that the participants send us an email when they want to have something included in the blog, I got one last night that I will copy to the end of this.
Tomorrow, Scott and DJ will be heading to Athens, Ohio to get seed potatoes. Thanks to Mary Nally at Community Food Initiatives for letting us know about that at the gathering, it saved us a lot of money that we can use towards other seeds since we have more participants. I would have liked to go, but I will be giving a presentation at one of the churches in our Diocese, It was requested that I bring order forms for our value added products. Gotta make that money!
We have a lot of wait on right now; we’re waiting on picking up the fertilizer, waiting for the Hortonova net to come in, waiting on seeds and tools to come, and waiting on plants to be available.
We have been prepping our garden spots at the center and planning new ones. The tools and equipment has been cleaned and serviced so they are ready to go. We had Southern Highlands start some of their seeds inside so they will be ready to plant when it’s time. Some of them are in our featured image.
Here is the promised note that one of our families wanted to include their thoughts to this blog. This is a great little family, they have a little disabled son that really liked being at the center for the meetings. They gave me permission to use their names.
Tim and I are super excited about being a part of this program! We have been making our plans and plotting our ground for planting season. While the weather was nice we got started breaking our soil for the first time also. Our family can not wait to harvest our fresh vegetables and be able to put some away for the winter. Thank you to all those that are involved in making this program possible for our communities. Happy Planting!
Tim and Estella Crabtree and family
Until next time, May Mother Nature be good to y’all. Let’s Grow!