february goings-on

N. and I attended 1 day of the 2018 MOSES conference, Friday, and left feeling very ready to get to work! MOSES = Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service, and the conference is similar to the NOFA-NY annual winter conference, that I attended in January 2016. The midwest version attracts people from a much larger geographical reach, and it also seems to include fewer gardeners, who were present in surprising numbers in New York, I felt. Our workshop choices focused on branding and marketing, mineral needs for soil health, native pollinator habitat, and proper conditions for a healthy soil fungal environment (and why that's desired). There was also an impassioned keynote address by Melinda Hemmelgarn in which farmer-consumer connections were emphasized and attention was brought to some of the destruction that conventional agriculture can bring about. For me, it was a good reminder to get my head out of our small, progressive circle and remember that seriously harmful things are going on all over in the name of 'cheap', 'convenient', 'quick'. 

The conference is held in La Crosse, and for us this meant a stay at the Castle, which is always a treat. On our way back to Menomonie, we picked up supplies for the greenhouse that we are so ready to build, though it is more of a winter wonderland here then ever. 

 the drive back to the lower barn, shoveled by hand

the drive back to the lower barn, shoveled by hand

 N. shovels with more energy and more precision than me

N. shovels with more energy and more precision than me

In other news, I bought an app for the first time, in the process of planning for various warm-season projects like fruit tree planting and tree trimming, as well as cold frame and greenhouse construction. I am usually not one to spend money in such a way, but I find Sun Locator Pro to be sufficiently awesome to make an exception. I've been able to visualize, at any hour of any day of the year, the position of the sun with respect to the landscape, buildings, trees, etc.

 looking south using Sun Locator Pro, mapping the low January 22 sun

looking south using Sun Locator Pro, mapping the low January 22 sun

This app is especially interesting to use because of the immediate hills all around the farm. The sun's position seems to change more than I normally expect, I think because of the landscape producing significant shade at times. One amazing thing about first being on this property in winter and spring is seeing these seasonal changes for the first time. Today, for instance, is an exceptionally sunny day, and I was shocked that by fairly early in the morning, the open field area was bathed in full, warm sunlight, which is a huge shift from just 3 weeks ago. 

Thanks for reading!

-ppppp

Hexagon Projects & Farm