The farm in Parma is really taking off. Most of the property is now planted with wolf berries and Jenny and her husband have the irrigation set up so that it waters the berries from the natural artesian springs. The water is recovered and returned to the irrigation canal that feeds the City of Parma Irrigation system. This means her natural spring helps feed into the rest of the waterway. Jenny plans on building a water wheel generator to power her greenhouse so that she can extend her growing season for fresh vegetables over the winter and possibly hosting gardening classes on her property for friends and community and opening her berry production for school science field trips.
Her three goats are stationed as needed for organic weed control, there are goldfish in her pond for pest abatement (mosquitoes and algae) and there are a few chickens that roam around to help take care of pests like grubs and insects. Also, in preparation for winter they have a Chickenloo- a doggloo that they can move around as needed that is insulated in which her hens can roost easily and be moved around the property for pest management and to help fertilize the soil. This way the chicken dung does not build up in one location and make the soil too hot. The “Willow Garden” was the last place where the chickens were going to roost for a “spell” as the trees will provide the chickens some protection from the elements.
They now have a full bail feeder which will reduce the amount of hay needed for the winter months as the feeder will help keep hay off the ground and catch the leaves and chaff and allow the goats to eat more of the hay and waste less. This will reduce the waste and cost. The feeder was leftover from the Double D ranch so is being “recycled.”
Coming home they put bags of peppers in my truck as they had an abundance and to thank us for our work and as a token of friendship. It was fun to go out and visit and see what was being done and the changes as things evolve and to see what resources could be procured for little or no cost to help them in their endeavors.
All of us are keenly aware these days of our country’s mounting budgetary woes and ever-increasing federal deficit. There are countless blogs and books about how we got here, so I won’t cover that.
Instead, let’s talk about the impacts that are looming on the horizon. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, budget cuts are coming. These cuts can come from government programs like Social Security and Medicare or departments like Defense and Education.
The facts are simple, our country can not continue to overspend in the same egregious ways it has done in the past. Our elected officials appear to be gaining awareness on this issue. And the cuts will come.
The important question here is, are you and/or your business are prepared for an economy where either the consumers have less expendable income and/or your taxes increase? In such an economy, the price of energy is sure to increase. What is your plan for a 10% increase in energy costs? And, since the cost of energy affects the costs of EVERYTHING else, a 10% or more increase in the cost of supplies and overhead? What if the increase were 40% or more?
In such an economy, a homeowner or business would be very well protected if it were producing its own energy from renewable sources. The question then becomes, will you get ahead of the problem by increasing your renewable sourcing now while the costs are low or will you be forced to do it later when costs are high? Or worse, will you be left behind because you can’t afford it?
This is the start of the school year. For some, college has been going on all summer long, but the kids were out. We have learned that certain stores in the area hold back to school sales and it has become a habit to buy a milk crate style tote and when things are on sale stock up on them while we can. As when a four pack of highlighters is $0.50 rather than $4.99, or composition notebooks are $0.50 rather than $2.39… we stock up. We grab the school supply list and buy what is on the list plus extras as things seem to run out around Christmas and spring break. We try to take advantage of the sales as much as possible.
This year Jenny (from Jenny’s farm) made a HUGE contribution to our efforts and donated a leather-bound 15th Edition set of Encyclopedias. As the encyclopedia is no longer in print they are becoming more rare and difficult to come by. The set was in excellent condition and I only saw a few pages that were stuck together and were easily pulled apart without damage. As soon as Canyon Springs was open for registration we started taking loads of supplies down to the school as this is only their third year of being open in that building and they are still under renovation, and the school budget is ridiculously tight.
We left a few cards welcoming the staff back to the new year, wishing them luck and thanking them for their hard work and dedication to the profession and their students. It has been an interesting long term on-going project to work with schools such as Canyon Springs and see the differences as time goes on and things progress. Our group hauled in all sorts of items that to some are not a big deal. I would agree they are not a “big deal” until you need them, then all of the sudden it is those little things that make a difference in your whole day. Books, paper, pens, highlighters, decorative boarders, pencils, rulers, crayons, safety glasses, colored pencils, composition books, erasers, boxes of Band-Aids, Kleenex, push pins, post-it- notes, paper clips…all of these are necessities and are often overlooked. We were able to see a few staff members and some gave us big hugs. One teacher sent a small thank you note via e-mail. We understand that our group’s contribution is a very small drop in the bucket to meet the gap of needs.
As one of the goals of Infinite Future is to promote re-use, it was wonderful to see Jenny and her family give a set of encyclopedias to a school that needed them. This kept the set together, out of a landfill, and put in a place where they will be used rather than simply collect dust on a shelf, or be stored away in box somewhere. We were also able to see that some projectors have been mounted in the rooms. The use of technology will aid the students as they will be able to watch visual presentations via PowerPoint and movies. This will also save time for the instructors – as they plan lessons they can spend time planning the presentations once and then edit as needed. Also, presentations can be saved and e-mailed to students who were absent for the day due to illness or appointments so the student can study at home if they have an internet connection. The implementation of technology also reduces the need for supplies such as EXPO dry erase markers.