By Rosanna Bauman
Between Nine and Noon: The not-so-simple task of managing 19 different farm activities
Editor’s Note: Last week Rosanna wrote about the early morning hours on her farm, this week it’s all about noon!
By Rosanna Bauman
After loading the 219 frozen chickens for the Missouri farmer, I go into the farm office to send my column to Kevin and check bank balances. In an attempt to make record-keeping simpler for the income/expense of the different farm ventures, we maintain five different business checking accounts. The downside is the need to maintain them and ensure that the right charges are being applied to the right accounts. Next, I place a couple of phone calls inquiring about the progress on our solar-panel project. We are trying to install 187 solar panels at the farm but there is lots of financial and regulatory paperwork to complete, so it’s slow progress. The electric co-op is making things difficult. Since none of our family is especially fond of numbers or paperwork, we finally admitted to our deficiencies and hired a bookkeeper. Linda does a remarkable job of making sense of all the tangled numbers we give her. Sadly, her 94-year-old father died, so she is spending a week in Indiana arranging the funeral. Since she is gone, I check to see if there are bills that are due. Sure enough, I find a couple and quickly write the checks and post them. The phone is ringing, so I intersperse my bill-pay with answering calls from farmers who want to schedule a date to process their chickens. Our facility, ANCO Processing, is one of the 3 places in Kansas that can slaughter poultry under USDA inspection, so farmers who want to sell their poultry bring them here. It’s not easy trying to get everyone scheduled on the dates they want, so we often give advice about how to put chickens on a diet to slow their growth. Speaking of chickens…I grab my camera and run outside to take some photos of the boys who are building a brooder. The old brooder Ivin converted into a retail space for feed, so this new brooder must be completed to house the baby hens that arrive in two weeks. As the most-experienced chick caretaker, I’m interested in seeing this take shape, and making sure that it has adequate insulation and ventilation. Mom arrives at the build-site with a pan of warm brownies, much to the boy’s delight. Ava, my oldest niece at 7 years old, is outside riding her bike. When she sees me, Ava drops her bike and runs to show me that she has lost her second front tooth! Her smile now is hilarious. There’s a limit to the time I can conscientiously loiter outside, so I head back to the office to pay employee withholding taxes that are due today. Since Linda is gone, I want to make sure this doesn’t get forgotten. Late fees with the government are steep.
Joanna pauses in her work at Bauman’s Butcher Block, (our beef processing facility that’s 30 minutes from the farm) to call me to discuss worm and minnow orders for her roadside bait stand. There’s a great fishing lake ¼ mile from our farm, so Joanna has been selling chicken livers and other bait to fishermen for 10 years. She just received 290 minnows this morning, but the weekend is supposed to be fabulous for fishing, so she’s worried she doesn’t have enough worms. While taking phone calls yesterday, I had multi-tasked by chasing the last 12 minnows around the tank with a net so Jo could change out the water before the new minnows arrived.
Marvin comes in to share that he’s ordered the last of the nation’s supply of a special non-GMO soybean seed. We have a buyer who was requesting a certain bean, so we are glad that we found enough to plant 1,200 acres. Even though I don’t drive the tractors or sell those beans, we still try to keep eachother updated on farm happenings, especially when something exciting happens! We find it helps prevent confusion, and with a farm this diviersified, we need as much organization as we can! Business is picking up at our on-farm non-GMO feed mill, Bauman’s Farm Feeds, so Marvin reports the latest grain inventory. What we have in our bins must last us until the October harvest, but we aren’t certain of our future volume with so many new orders coming in. We can’t supplement our supply of specialty grains in August if we run short, because farmers have sold everything to make room for the new harvest. Suddenly, harvest feels a long way off… Because we want to eliminate this vulnerability, we discuss the plans for building additional grain storage in time for 2018 fall harvest. We would like to also provide storage services to our neighbors who are raising non-GMO grains, since they have the same challenges. If this happens, we need to be ordering the bins now so that we can install them in time to hold the harvest. We will be short a few men this weekend and Monday, as Marvin, Dad, and Steven have overlapping commitments. Marvin updates me on what they have decided to do about who is driving the truck to market tomorrow and who will kill chickens Monday.
Mom calls and asks me to bring up some shredded cheese. She’s baking burritos for lunch. It’s lunchtime already? I bike home with the cheese in my basket, reveling in the sunshine again. There’s only three boys here for lunch, so it’s a small table with only five of us. Burritos are one of our favorite fast lunches, as we keep some pre-made burritos in the freezer to pop in the oven.
Filling: Look in fridge and find left-over bits of hamburger, sausage, taco-meat, beef roast, pork BBQ, grilled chicken etc. If chicken, add a can of black beans and rice, other meats add a can of refried beans and chilis. Wrap warm meat in warmed tortillas. If you don’t have much meat, freeze the burritos and serve when they accumulate.
Toppings: Place frozen burritos in glass baking dish, top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes or until center burritos are warmed. Serve with sour cream, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and salsa.