Sunday, April 25, 2010


You've seen this picture before.  On the left is my Grandpa Lowell, on the right is his brother, my Great-Uncle Donald.  They were the second generation of Flynn's to live on and work this farm.  They were partners, as you can see noted on the side of the truck, but eventually, as their families grew, they decided to divide the farm between them.  Our road runs right down the middle of the original farm, conveniently splitting it in two, so Donald took the west side and Grandpa took the east. 

This morning I'm wondering if these men ever imagined that 65+ years and 3 generations later their grandkids and great-grandkids would even still live in the area?  More to the point, would they have guessed that their great-grandsons would become great buddies? 

Could they have foreseen that these two boys would run free around the exact same farm where they grew up, and that they, too, will share wonderful memories of working and playing with their cousins on this lovely family land?

Maybe they did.  Maybe they somehow knew that, even in a vastly different time, the bonds between our family and our land were strong enough to keep us close to home.  Or that they were strong enough, at least, to bring us back when we had decided to take on the outside world for awhile. 

I bet if they had thought about it they would have seen the possibility.  At least they would have felt the hope that it could happen that way.  I know that I'm guilty of thinking that way once in awhile.  Thinking about whether this farm will stay in this family past my generation.  Will my kids, or Laura's kids, or Matt's future kids come back to Irish Grove after they've tried on the outside world for awhile?   What about the Donald Flynn side and their kids?  Will they?  It's anybodies best guess, really; everyone must make their own way this world.  But I think I'm safe to say that Grandpa Lowell and Uncle Donald would be pretty pleased to see these kids, these boys, in this day and age, tearing around their barnyard.  I know it pleases me.

One question remains, however, and it's something that haunts me from time to time.  Do you think Grandpa Lowell and Uncle Donald could have imagined this?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blog Catchup #2: Going Retail

Yes, you read that right.  Irish Grove has gone retail.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I don't move too quickly.  I decide to do something and then I have to think about it for awhile.  Some people may call that procrastination.  But for me, it's my own way of time-testing my ideas to make sure my decisions are sound.  My nature is to be impulsive and I've found out the hard way that impulsiveness is a terrible trait to have, usually by making a bloody fool of myself.

So, yes, I finally applied for my egg broker's license after deciding to do so about a year and a half ago.  Which means this decision must be really sound.  And I'm taking about 15 to 20 dozen eggs per week in to Choices Natural Market, where they are being sold next to some "Big Organic" eggs.  Time will tell how they fare, but for now it's pretty exciting to see our products in a store. 

If you're in Rockford and want to see for yourself, look for our label:


Try a dozen and let me know what you think.  I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Catch-Up #1: Manure Spreading

I realize that winter and snow are very 'yesterday', but I'm playing blog catch-up. It has been such a crazy winter that I've left you out of the loop on farm happenings. In fact, I've even left you out of the poop loop.

That's right. We had a lovely, odoriferous time not so long ago, on a nice, wintry day in March.

The picture above was my view from the driver's seat of our JD 4020 tractor. I realize that JD 4020 means nothing to most of you, I just added that to prove how farmer-ish I really am.

Marcel was working the blue tractor, loading up the spreader with manure.  (That's a NH TL90A, in case you thought I didn't know.) 

It takes a little more finesse to work the loader bucket.  I can do it, but Marcel can do it better.  See?  I'm farmer-enough to even admit that someone's better than me. 

Oh wait, farmer's never admit shit like that.  Strike it from the record.

Once the spreader is loaded up, off I go.  Driving a 4020 with a loaded manure spreader takes finesse, too.  Finesse and lots of skill.  Ahem.

Anyways, I make my way through the stone-quarry pasture, out onto the road and up to the field south of our house.  The field will be put into corn this year, so any extra nitrogen is always helpful.

Here's the view as I spread the goods onto the field:

You use a hydraulic control to lift the back gate and then start the PTO, which spins some forks at the end of the spreader.  The PTO also moves some fins on the floor of the spreader which slowly push the manure from front to back until it's all out and on the ground.  Pretty nifty. 

And smelly.  "Smells like money", as the farmers like to say. (God, I'm impressing even myself today.)

In the meantime, the cows are totally put out and complaining, and a few are acting all uppity.  I  overheard one say, "Humans!  Look at 'em.  They can't get enough of our poop.  They're squirreling it away as fast as humanly possible, as if it's something other than yesterday's hay bale.  God they're gross."

Hm.  I guess I failed to impress after all.