Friday, February 26, 2010

Not too many heads, just too little time!

I realize that I haven't blogged for almost a month. This is not because I have had nothing to say, but more like I can't find the time when I am wearing THAT head and when I get to the next one, there is more happening and I figure I'll write about it, but ... I can't find the time so I go on to the next one... well I think you get the picture.

One head at a time then...
Country Store Clerk - she has been rather hurting in the work hours since the first of the year... as little as 16 a week, which is half of what I will take but not nearly enough. Everyone has been cut back, it's winter and the economy is lagging sales a bit, but really mostly it's winter. I "let it be known" among my coworkers that I would like more hours and they have been making a good effort to call ME (instead of our newest "warm body" AKA Miss TextALot) who just turned 18 and is in no way needing to support herself. So there is hope, as the snow birds return and more folks are out and about.

Hex Painter - I have one order on the table, albeit a large and relatively lucrative one: 2 identical 4' signs for a barn and two smaller ones for posts, one with the farm name in the border around the design. They proved somewhat hard to draw and to paint (most tend to be one or the other) but are almost done. I have applied to be juried for a booth at the Common Ground Fair (was rejected last year) and will be applying as well for a booth at the American Folk Festival which I think I have a good chance of getting. Not sure how lucrative it will be for me.. I need to have a bunch of stock painted up, as booth charges run $400 and have to be paid by mid-May if I am accepted. This may prove a challenge but I think I need to go for it. Selling just a couple of the 2' signs would cover the fee, to put it in perspective. I am also going to be attending two outdoor markets with both produce and my art, but more about that from Farmer Jj. I still have plans to paint the garage/outdoor workshop "barn red" and add a large (6' or larger) hex to the west face of the building.

Graphic Designer - As the hex sign business slowed, design has begun to pick up again. I have several projects on the table, including a print project for the Park Service at Cape Lookout, web and print work for my newest local Maine cleint, Dan Pelletier of and I am doing a bit to help out my massage therapist, with updates and edits to the web site for River City Therapy and Wellness Center. I had considered letting Vision IPD go by the wayside, but the timing had not yet seemed right to terminate the business; now I am feeling led to be a bit more aggressive in my promotion, including (come actual spring) erecting my large sign after the garage/shop is painted.

Farmer - I am pleased to have scored a rototiller through Freecycle this winter and am planning to take it to the local shop for a once-over early in March. This, I am hoping, will be one more tool to help me keep the weeds at bay. I realize that one of my biggest problems is the runner grasses... but what beat down most of my crops last year were just plain ol' WEEDS. Getting Artie, the pickup, road-worthy is still on the top of the heap with increased emphasis this year. I had high hopes of making a good start with the proceeds from the big hex order, but alas those bucks went to am emergency repair for the Subaru. Eventually I will see those funds returned to me, but the timing here is unknown. With Artie running it will be possible for me to get inexpensive -- or even possibly free -- loads of manure and to haul straw which I will need as well. It also will make going to market a lot easier!

Speaking of market -- Stone Soup Collaborative (, soon to be live) will be at the Downtown Bangor Market on Thursdays this summer, as well as being represented Thursday AM and Saturday on a regular basis at the Brewer Market... or at least that is the plan. We have been accepted at the former, just applied to the latter. Both allow artisan wares as well as produce, which is one of my main criteria for a market. The veggies pay the bills and allow the hex signs (and maybe other Crafty and herb-related wares) some exposure. I am determined to get a strawberry patch started this year, though the cash flow issues will have an impact on berry bushes that I had my eyes on, darn it!

I am planning to play with some lower cost greenhouse/cold frame/high- and low tunnel ideas this year, keeping in mind that portable units don't need building permits and (I am hoping) temporary structures don't either. This I must research... My goal is to prolong the season a bit for our fresh eating and maybe push the season a bit in the spring for market in 2011.

Newer plants for the garden this year include starting several dye plants, "baby bunching" leeks for market and hardy leeks that allegedly hold over winter with a simple straw mulch, here in Maine. We will see...

Caregiver - This is a hard head for me to name, let alone write about. K's health continues to decline and no one seems to be able to make any headway into putting the brakes on, let alone turning the tide. He is actually beginning to talk as if he were talking himself around the idea of wheeled transport, though he has yet to "give in" and use one of the varieties available at some of the stores we frequent. The last few trips to town he has been unable to complete our shopping at Walmart, being pushed to return to the car by pain and weakness. He often sleeps much better at night, but also still falls asleep during the day and retires earlier and earlier in the evening. Standing long enough to cook a burger is pushing his limits; he no longer is able to stand long enough to clean up after his cooking -- a fact that troubles him badly -- nor to do dishes or vacuum regularly. Thus, more an more of daily life tasks fall to me on an ongoing basis.

Home repair and maintenance projects will have to be brought into the equation this year... the plumbing has not gotten worse, but is not likely to improve on it's own (Can someone please invent self-healing pipes and apply them to this trailer retroactively?!) The roof WILL need work (this will likely be the year I learn to deal with metal roofing, IF I can come up with the $$, keep K off the roof and hire one of my local young friends, who has some knowledge of this material, to show me and help wrangle large metal kites up here on the hill) and the dog yard enlarged (a relatively cheap and easy project... I just need more long 1x4s from the local saw mill and a couple of days to cut and screw) and the front porch and steps re-designed and re-built.. with provisions for wheeled transport and fitting UNDER the greenhouse canopy in mind. Greenhouse is also on the wish list...

Volva - I continue to receive the Words of Wisdom, and tend the daily, weekly and other Fires. There are times I feel very far away from everything that matters most, but I know that it is temporary and mostly due to having too many heads and too little time (or maybe not enough practice switching heads while juggling hot irons and teakettles of steaming water, who knows! lol

Anyway, that's life "in the slow lane..."

"Oh, life on the farm, it's kinda laid back... " -John Denver

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