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posted Mar 4, 2012, 9:39 AM by Denny Hunt   [ updated Mar 9, 2012, 10:48 AM ]

Late updates are the norm.  I have many excuses. Trust me.


So where do I start.  A lot has happened around Blankity Blank since the last update. 


I am training my mule Marshall Cash to drive. I do about 20 minutes to an hour with him in the round pen twice per week.  He does the rest.  I am blessed so far in that all these animals are at least as smart as I am, but probably smarter.  I would report that if I was better at paying attention.  We are making good progress considering I am pretty new at this and that I am not only training him with traces and a single tree, but also some false shafts that mimic what he’ll have on him the proud day he gets hitched up to his new buckboard spring wagon.  I found the wagon on craigslist up in Middletown.  My resistance was down.  One full price bargain later, my cousin Jim in his flatbed and I were hauling it over that nasty-twisty road back to 101land. It fits nicely in the red barn.  The potato business supports none of this non-sense, but I might get next to the last laugh with the way the world is turning.


One thing leads to another …


Actually – this is the non-sense. The practical, sustainable transportation is secured.  But no – being a petroleum man stuck at the end of a much loved and equally despised era; measurements were taken and there is no way that I can transport the mule AND the wagon in one trip if I were to use the freeway. Even if I took the wheels off, the wagon did not fit in the van.  The van had other minor shortcomings as a farm vehicle although it could tow my two horse slant load damn near like a dream.  I could also haul ten bales of hay in it as long as my shop vac was working after unloading.  OK.  This part is getting long – so I spare the reader a bit. Sold the van and bought a low mileage ’95 Ford E350 with the big 7.3 diesel and 8’ x 12’ flatbed.  Problem solved; saved a little money and the insurance is less.  Everyone’s happy; especially the guy who sells diesel.



Mom holds Cash while I balance on the fence with a camera.


Cash fuels up thanks to some sun and rain.


If all I had was family, the mule, a yurt, and some seed potatoes I would be just as happy, but that is another blog.


Ann of Siri and Homberg and the proud builder of Anny’s All in One reports that I will be getting mine late. Not too late.  I am not fussing.  There will be too much do whenever it gets here and she probably won’t like my proposed payment plan anyway.  She keeps improving it and still managed to reduce the cost slightly; the right woman for a very inspiring job.  Really, I can’t wait – but Cash is teaching me to be patient.
 
 
This is the ad that will appear in the Small Farmer's Journal.
 
 
This pic shows the recent improvements.
 


Hooked up and ready to go.
 
 
The spud plow with some of my drool on it.
 
 
Spring tooth cultivator.
 
 
Chisel plow at depth.
 
Patience potato farmer!
 
We are announcing the dates for the Potato Growing Classes and the Gopher Trapping Classes.  We will have the classes in March, April and May.  


Potato Growing Class

Two classes

One offered on March 17, 8AM to 12 noon

and the other on April 8, 8AM to 12 noon

Blankity Blank Potatoes and Produce
4784 Blank Rd 
Sebastopol CA
$20 cash (bring on the morning of the class)
reply via email to reserve space
20 participants maximum
Check out www.blankityblank.biz

We filled up this class in 7 days last year, so please don't wait to reply if you want to attend. In this class we will cover the basics and the details of growing potatoes with emphasis on growing them locally without chemical fertilizers, pesticides or heavy equipment. In order of importance, we will focus on soils, nutrition, pest management (gophers!), planting times, dry farming, stages of growth, harvest, storage, marketing, Korean Natural Farming, Permaculture and a little history. Class will be held indoors and coffee served for those who want to come a little early. A potato seed catalog with a growing guide is included. Class starts right at 8AM!

What is the difference between a potato that you grow and one bought in the store?

What is the dirty dozen food list? What is a Bodega Red? What is a certified potato seed?

These questions and many more will be answered.

For those who can stay after class a we can do a short farm tour and maybe you can some take home some seed potatoes depending on our supply at the time. 


Gopher Trapping Class


Two classes 


One offered on March 31


and the other offered on May 5


Time: 10 AM to 2PM

Place: Blankity Blank Potatoes and Produce 4784 Blank Rd Sebastopol

Cost:  $20 cash (bring your money on the morning of the class)


20 participants maximum.  The classes may need to be consolidated on one or the other dates above depending on response.


A variety of traps will be provided.  Coffee served for early arrivers. Please bring your own lunch.  Traps will be set before lunch and checked afterwards.  


This year will be your instructor’s 70th year of gopher trapping. She will share her secrets for successful trapping and “how to think like a gopher!”  


Our totals on our little farm were 227 for 2010 and 152 for 2011. 


You will learn times of day when gophers are most active, other methods in use at the farm for gopher reduction, how to set and use a variety of traps and many more things needed to save your plants and crops from the ravages of Sonoma County’s number one plant pest.


Please reply via email to reserve your spot!



PLEASE PASS THE WORD ON THESE TWO CLASSES !!! THANK YOU !!!


I am re-doing the class outline and some of the content since I am better educated now.  I think the area where I’ve learned the most is coming from the perma-culture world.  I have some aversion to certain aspects of that world, but some of it is getting beaten out of me and rest is just what is common to many such movements and can be safely ignored, forgiven or simply not included.   The class is almost 4 hours long and I try to cram in as much information as possible. The fall asleep ratio is about 1 out of 20 so I guess that is okay.   Unfortunately the price is going up on both classes, but we need to take care of business and like everyone else, we are getting the business kicked out of us by the soon to be worthless US dollar.


The pigs are doing great.  They have a larger area to root in and no escapes.  I switched the solar charger out for a 110VAC fence charger. They don’t get out.  I think they are getting close to about 200 lbs.  The Tams are late bloomers and now all 4 are about the same size +/-.  I really enjoy them.  I can watch them for hours I don’t have.  They are really entertaining and as reported, quite smart in their hog-like ways.  I am still feeding them better than what might be necessary, but frankly I wish I could feed them better.



These are the two Tamworth Barrows.



An Berkshire comes up from behind.


Rooting is the name of the game.


Happy pigs will often run just because.


The business end.

The pigs head to the freezer in April I think and that would be nice because anytime after that is too close to Potato Field Prep and Planting Time.


Cheers from Potato Land!


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