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NEWS AND UPDATES

SEPTEMBER 19, 2023

 We have entered the season where time simply does not seem to exist. In year 40 of my teaching career you would think it would go smoothly but the science teacher shortage has me again teaching  9 classes in an 8 period day with one period two classes going at once one in one room one in the adjoining. The  big issue is I have never taught ninth grade Physical Science before so have zero residuals and must spend time creating lessons as we have no text book.  Add to that  getting ready for Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy and Physiology and the 2 college classes I teach College Biology and College Environmental

Science and some days it seems like I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It is fun creating new lessons and  I have never been one for idle time so I guess this has to be my dream schedule. However, somedays it is like a nightmare.  Getting to the point , some days after 5 or 6 hours of poultry chores and 8 hours at school I am too tired to  keep up with bookwork so  please bear with me as the day light gets shorter i will get caught up. I am indicating now as I enter the harvest season communication will be limited until early November.

 

Poultry in 2023 was a case where a smart person would just give it all up and instead watch videos of chickens on line and forget dealing with the real thing. We had a late winter and the ducks and geese started laying  a full month late and then May turned hot and dry so they slowed down or quit laying and as a result had a season about 50% of normal both in time and productivity all while feed prices kept up at a top price. Funny how they continue to eat even when they produce so little. In mid May when it should have been  a gnat free year with the dryness  we had an outbreak that was sporadic and vicious. Somedays nothing ,the next day so thick in certain pens that I lost birds( the gnats suck blood and crawl in the ears and kill them) some breeds were so stressed out they stopped breeding and laying. Egg production fell off  more than 30 %. Things were starting to pick up again in many breeds and I had great hope for the Fall season to not only replace my stock but  fill orders for those who wanted them and bam on August 23 the first day the students were back at school we got hit  with a heat wave of weird proportions. It had been bone dry for 2 weeks and that day humidity moved in . It got to 102 air temperature and we had a heat index  of 126. I could have lost a bunch but thankfully we had a good breeze. Next day 101 and heat index of 117. As it was I lost 40 to 50 breeders and the ducks which in some breeds were making a comeback  rapidly stopped laying 

 

One of our biggest problems this year was the USPS  in some cases they do great work but others it was a disaster with 3-4 day delivery to places 3 driving hours away. It was like spinning  a wheel to see if they would do a decent job. We had one hatch week that went off with near 0 mistakes on their part and our hopes rose then the next hatch over 50% were a problem. Since we can no longer insure them( they no longer insure lives) someone else doesn’t  get birds when we have to replace. I am trying to figure out a better way for 2024.

July 26, 2023

We are no longer accepting  poultry orders for 2023 delivery.  You may order now under the conditions we state on the website to get in line for 2024. If you order now for 2024 you will get a 2023 order number and confirmation and then you will get a new number in December when we set up for 2024 with a projected ship date.  I cannot emphasize enough that you take the time to read our policies on early orders and and ordering with no substitution.  We are sticking to those. We are not set up as a business to hatch  a multitude of chicks at a hatch and destroy the excess. We are set up as a breed preservation facility and  do not keep breeds based on rate of sales and or other money making  factors. If you are impatient and need something now then we are not the place to order from. If you want rare breeds that have been carefully selected for hardiness and stamina ( we have no heated or climate controlled facilities and do not vaccinate for anything) then we are your source.   We had a bad problem with Buffalo Gnats  this year from mid May until the end of June that  nearly destroyed some breeds and seriously impacted the lay rate and fertility of others. Some breeds we lost a number of breeders and in other’s they quit laying or breeding. Things are picking up somewhat now but it is usual for this time of the year for rate of lay and fertility to steadily decline.  We have also had some serious postal issues  and replacement shipments  have put us way behind.

Wednesday July 11, 2023

If your poultry order has been delayed this could be the reason. Please be patient as soon as crops are planted we will be updating status.

BUFFALO GNATS: THE TINIEST AND MOST DESTRUCTIVE PREDATOR

We are sorry to report we were hit again with these destructive little predators. They seem to favor all white birds, or white birds with colored necks and tails.. Though they hit hard in some other breeds as well. Calmer breeds seem to have the most problems  which is why the Buckeyes and Delawares took big hits. They loved the White Minorcas and Swedish Orusts and Light Brahmas. The Light Sussex were bothered but that entire building they were in  seems to get better wind flow and kept them at bay.

 

They are most active in early morning and  early evening and descend on a pen in large swarms. Pesticide lasts for a few minutes at best and a new group flies in. They are  in the birds eyes, and love to go in their ears and suck blood driving the birds crazy. In 2014 they wiped out over 100 turkey breeders in a day or so. 

 

They are miserable for humans as well and  make you think you are going insane as they swarm you face, eye, ears and nose. In some cases they suffocate the birds clogging their openings. 

 

In some pens we lost  a number of breeders in others the birds survived but breeding and laying dropped significantly.

 

As of now the gnat season is over and we are slowly regaining a sense of normalcy in the bird world. Egg  production is picking up and hopefully fertility will follow.

Sunday July 2, 2023

Well once we got rain and that wonderful humidity that I moved to Iowa for the sweet potatoes are producing slips in magnificent  numbers.  The sheep and our large cow Colleen are anxiously awaiting the cleanup of the starting beds. They have a section of pasture that comes about 100 feet from the starting area and when we clean out the beds they get the left over slips and roots.  The problem is we have some fantastic looking slips and I would love to see them in someones garden and not the cow and sheep bellies. We have noticed that our $8.00 minimum postage charge is not enough as most boxes start at $9.00, so we will have to adjust something next season.  We are offering this once in a lifetime special sale through July 15. ALL OF THESE ARE POSTAGE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE. IF YOU ARE A READER AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS  YOU WILL DO WELL.   Basically if you send us a list of ones you might like to try it is entirely possible but not guaranteed you might get them. Otherwise we will pick out a colorful, tasty  and area appropriate assortment.

ALL POSTPAID

6. FOR $11.00

12 FOR $13.00

25 FOR $15.00

50 FOR $20.00

100 FOR $30.00

200 FOR $50.00

500 FOR $125.00

I will begin to plant  our sweet potatoes  tomorrow. We will be back to poultry orders and follow ups hopefully once seed crops are planted latter this week

Sunday June 25, 2023

We finally received rainfall last night ( 1.63 inches). Our last rain was May 8 and we went into last winter dry and never really have caught up so subsoil moisture was low. Anyhow, we had not been able to plant anything as of this date nor had we even been able to work up our soil.  I cannot really start until school is over so the local farmers corn and soybeans were in but were looking pitiful. I was grateful nothing was planted. I had never seen the soil  here so dry and packed The reason for this message is we are now down to the wire of make a crop or lose varieties so PLEASE BE PATIENT. WE WILL NOT HAVE TIME FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS TO ANSWER THE PHONE OR EMAILS. WE ARE NOT IGNORING YOU IT IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH FOR ALL OF OUR CROPS.   We have an abundance of many varieties of sweet potato slips and will continue shipping until July 15. We will start planting ours for next years slip crop this week. Some varieties produced many slips others very few and some have yet to sprout.

Wednesday June 14, 2023

We are in the midst of a huge drought and still nothing can be planted or the ground even worked up as it is so dry. I try to water the sweet potato beds each day but it is not keeping up and  with the low humidity they are not growing like normal with  the humid summers Iowa  usually has. We  will  not be able to ship anymore this week as Monday June 19 is a holiday and we can never ship on Thursday  and if we ship Friday they will spend too much extra time in the mail and our Saturday post office hours are not when we can get it done. 

Poultry is running behind  as we have had some major USPS issues. Please be patient we are working on shipping issues and redoing orders as fast as we can. Our goofy weather this year as caused most of the broody breeds to do the broody things

Wednesday June 7, 2023

We have begun shipping sweet potato slips. It has been incredibly dry for sometime now and we have to water the beds almost everyday as the evaporation rate is as great as what I grew up with in my native Idaho. Last 10 days have been near 90 or greater in the day time and  50's at night and so low of humidity your sweat evaporates instantly from the body. Typical of my native state and not what I have adapted to the last 39 years here in Iowa. I moved here for rain and humidity and good growing and  we are not  getting it this year.  Absolutely no crops for seed are planted here yet as it is too dry to even work the ground. Sweet potatoes are sprouting well and we will be shipping out many every few days as each variety sprouts. We should have an abundance of many varieties for those who still are looking.

Wednesday May 24, 2023

Well, the school year has come to a close. A long and eventful year juggling 10 classes in an eight hour day, two periods a day having 2 classes going in different rooms and I learned to be  constantly moving and multi tasking. With a shortage of science teachers I agreed to do it again next year. I never did like idle time and this was the perfect answer to not having idle time. I have a great deal to get caught up on the farm. April was chilly and we had lows as cold as 21 the last week of April and totally froze off the young mulberry buds. I could not risk starting the sweet potato beds until May 6 just too cold or they would have rotted if planted earlier. Many ducks did not start laying until into April so hatches are behind on many breeds. Now that I am home everyday we will try for weekly updates. Poultry is updated as of today.

Sunday March 26, 2023

We are at the point where  we  are processing seed orders in a 2-3 day turn around now. Last weekend it never got above freezing all weekend , and down in the single digits both mornings. Then on Saturday March 25 we got 10 inches of snow, HEAVY WET SNOW, but it is almost all gone today. Some birds are slow to start but things are picking up. Poultry is updated as of today.

Sunday March 12, 2023

We will be starting seed orders received MARCH 8 tomorrow. Winter just wont give up more snow and cold and more promised for this week. More breeds of poultry are starting to lay  all of the time.

Sunday March 5, 2023

We will be starting seed orders received February 28 tomorrow. Making slow but steady progress. Poultry is slowly starting to increase in rate of lay, looking forward to a  hopefully good year.

Sunday February 26, 2023

We will be starting seed orders received February 18 tomorrow. It was big week for orders plus we lost 2 days to an ice storm. all totaled 0.81 inches of rain most all came as ice. We were fortunate and did not lose power but roads were a mess and chores were a challenge. All poultry and sweet potato orders received by February 25 have been set up and confirmed.

Sunday February 19, 2023

We will be starting seed orders received February 11 tomorrow. Poultry is updated as to orders received February 17. They say slow and steady wins the race so we are moving as fast as we can. We had our biggest winter snow Thursday with 7 inches then -8 Friday morning so another lost day of eggs  but things look promising for the upcoming weeks. 

Sunday February 12, 2023

We will be starting seed orders received February 4 tomorrow. Poultry is updated through orders received as of February 8. Sweet potato orders confirmed as of February 8. We had a snow day Thursday February 9 so made good use of time. Chickens are starting to lay after some -12 the week before. Geese are acting  feisty and it was 53 today so expect lots of eggs soon.

Sunday February 5, 2023

We will be starting seed orders received January 28  tomorrow. Poultry will be updated again later this week.

Sunday January 29, 2023

I can say we are making some progress on seed orders as tomorrow we will begin working on those received January 20. It took awhile to work through orders received January 17  it was our biggest day ever for  seed orders. Poultry is updated through orders received  by Thursday January 26.

Monday January 23, 2023

I have finally reached the point where I can see what direction we are progressing.  As of  today all orders received during our closed down time of November 15 to January 5 will be sent out. When orders come in during that time a lot contain items we  may not have enough seed to list for the next season so it takes a while to  check if we have enough and make special packs etc.  As of today Rhonda is finishing  the last of  seed orders received January 13 and today a new helper Moriah will join us to help fill packets and do other jobs. We are hopeful to get caught up with seed orders soon.

Poultry  website will be updated next weekend. Lots  of orders coming in. Will try to  update  seed order progress every Sunday night.

Monday December 26, 2022

I have unfortunately set unrealistic goals  for having the seed section updated by Sunday, 1/1/23.  My intense workload at school with 10 classes in an eight class hour day kept me  very busy to the end of the semester on December 21. I simply was not able to devote the time to cleaning seed in the evenings  and such to get everything ready and our chief harvest helper and order packer has been very ill all Fall. Look for the seed section to be updated around January 5. I will try to make an update on January 1 to show where we are. Please be patient we are working as fast as we can. All poultry orders received by 12/24/22 will be confirmed and included in the sold out update on January 1. All seed orders received after November 15 will be filled in order received once we start again around January 10.

Sunday December 4, 2022

We have updated the poultry sections for 2023. Any order postmarked December 6, 2022 or later will be required to use the 2023 order blank and 2023 prices. Any orders received  with 2022  prices will be  set up and then billed for the difference. If you have sent in an order they will be set up in the book and confirmed around Christmas time once my school break begins. Orders that have come in have been worked into the sold out times as best I can at this point. I will start working on the seed sections next and  am still shooting for a New Years day  opening for seed orders. Lots of work to do, please be patient.

Tuesday November 28, 2022

We will not have the poultry part updated until December 5. I am sorry just too many things  to do. and not enough hours.

Sunday November 20, 2022

We will be not sending out seed orders again until January 2. We need this time to get the seed all cleaned, tested and packaged. Sweet potato sections are  updated and ready for 2023 orders. I will begin work on poultry section this week and will plan to release new prices and availability for 2023 on December 1. Still lots of poultry pen winterizing and sorting of breeders to do. Thanksgiving break will be packed with work. Our pre season sale was very popular it will mean some will be sold out as the site is updated for 2023. 

Sunday November 6, 2022

We will be taking a break from sending  out seed orders from November 10 until shortly after Christmas as we clear the shelves and package new seed for 2023. We are also waiting on seed packets as I guess there is a paper shortage. Nearly 100 % of crops are in now drying and processing. Hope to update sweet potato site by November 20 and poultry by November 27 then it will take some time to update seed part.

Tuesday October 11, 2022

We have had a killing frost. It as 26 Saturday morning, the first frost of the season. I guess it was pretty close to average  of October 2, since I started keeping records in 1985. This means a rapid harvest to get all material in . I have started digging the sweet potatoes with great success so far. My earliest planting of them was June 25 and as is typical those did fabulous. We will see how it progresses with those planted later. The old saying when it rains it pours is so true as far as issues go this season.  I have an intense work schedule at school with 10 classes in 8 class periods and  have a rare free moment once in a great while. As a result it means less time at home for bookwork and emails so please be patient I will get to you ASAP.  I have to prioritize  my work, the poultry and seed harvest before questions and such. Add in to that Linda has had several bouts of illness and our big helper in the seed orders and helper with harvest  broke a bone in her foot and is not able to do much. This all means I am spread a bit thinner.  Being realistic the current plan is to have the poultry and sweet potato parts of the website updated  after my Thanksgiving break, so hope for that Sunday after Thanksgiving. You can currently use this years prices for 2023 poultry orders from now until then  with the idea that you can not cancel ,of course if we cannot fill it we will issue a full refund.  Sweet potato orders please wait unless ordering assortments as amounts will greatly change, some unavailable this year will be increased to as much as 25 slips per type.

Please be patient as we progress through harvest the next 6 weeks.

Wednesday August 31, 2022

I am now into my second week of school and am rapidly learning how to be in multiple places at one time and  things are running fairly smoothly. It is of course not ideal but  dealing  with 10 classes in an 8 hour day with 7 of them being different keeps my brain active and thinking and shifting gears  frequently. I am running a bit behind on bookwork and emails here at home so please bear with me a few more days and I hope to get my system back into full function again. Just seemed like with the start of the school year and extra stuff there  at work and the needs of the crops and poultry sometimes I do get tired. I have figured out I can dictate messages into my phone and send it to the computer and save time typing so hopefully will get caught up soon. Latest blog posts were worked on while I was waiting filling water buckets doing chores, trying to use time wisely. 

We had to stop comments on the blogs as people were  being inappropriate and attaching porn site references and other  inappropriate links. I am sorry for those who were being proper.

We are done taking poultry orders for 2022. Here is how we will handle it from now  on. Starting October 1 you can use the website and order for 2023 using 2022 prices until I release new material and prices on November 25. Only deal is no cancellations next Spring on orders placed during this time. After website opens for 2023 in late November new prices and amounts will be in effect.

I apologize to those who got confused by the July 20 update. We are not cutting back. It is just with my bad ankle for almost a month I did not get accomplished what I needed.

I encourage all to read  the short  passage that follows to help understand how we operate.

This July I volunteered my services to blood test all of the poultry entries for a county fair and it made me think of how  when things are organized and have a system they work so much better and  flow smoothly.This testing was not very efficient and lots of wasted time resulted. One of the first things that relatives who come to visit or those who take the time to completely read our website always ask is how in the world do you get all of this work done. The answer lies in what's called a system. I'm beginning my 39th year of teaching of which I taught just about every science class from grades 7 through 12 and some community college courses. In each of my science courses we talk about systems: in Anatomy and Physiology we talk about all the systems of the body and when they work in proper fashion everything is great when something happens to the one of the systems it tends to screw up all the other systems. Just ask someone who has had thyroid problems or other issues how all of the systems are related. In Earth Science we talk about solar systems, water systems and many other systems. No matter how hard you try you're not going to get water to run uphill on its own. When I have student helpers and I'm trying to teach them to dig drainage ditches away from the duck ponds it's interesting to watch how they proceed. They soon learn water will not run uphill. In Biology we talk about all kinds of systems and the importance of them, photosynthesis for example. In Environmental Science we bring all of it together talking about the relationship between systems and how when you take one part of a system out how it affects all the other parts: for example killing all the coyotes will cause the rabbit population to go berserk. Chemistry and Physics also both have their systems but what I'm trying to stress here is we have a system for how things work at Sandhill preservation Center. It may not be agreeable with you but it's the only way we can get things to work. We have limited resources and prefer to spend our time caring and maintaining the over 2,500 varieties of plants and animals that we have in our care. While you may think it's just me they ( Sandhill) can make an exception it just doesn't work that way. Our system is fairly simple. There is no insurance on day old birds anymore so anytime there are losses in shipment we have to cover for that. I understand that and take that as part of the problem of dealing with today's world but we desperately need people's cooperation to try to work with our system to make this a possible event. With every order we enclose a shipment report form. If you have losses we require that you send that form back to us by US mail by the date listed on the form, not text message, not phone call, not email but US mail. I'm sorry but if you can't take the time to use a stamp and an envelope then it really must not mean that much to you. Anything that comes in by email or phone totally screws up our system and takes valuable time that we then have to take away from other things such as caring for the animals, plants and dealing with other customer issues. The other situation is our system dictates that we send out a confirmation letter for all sweet potato and poultry shipments. We do this by US mail not by email for the simple fact we want to make sure your address is correct as we interpreted it or if you made some mistake in your address. If you don't get your confirmation letter then you're probably not going to get your sweet potato plants or your chicks. The USPS has returned both the items to us and they're not in good shape and when they come back we're out money and you don't have your product when you want it. Another part of our system is we are not able to take any cancellations for orders over the phone by text message or email they must come in by USPS mail. While that may seem cumbersome for you we have had cases in the past where one family member has tried to not let another family member get chicks or some other item.  This way we have it in writing and we can show the person with the signature that it has been canceled. While I fully understand systems are not for everyone, it's the only way we can function here. If someone wanted to take me out by sniper fire on a typical morning ,I’m at the same place 7 days a week at just about every minute. I go out the door at approximately 4:40 a.m. I have an alarm on my watch that goes off at 6:00 that paces me to let me know I should be at a particular pen at a particular time and then the alarm on my phone goes off at 7:00 usually just as I'm getting in the truck to go back and get ready to go to work. In the summer I try to vary from that system and get sidetracked and instead of it taking 2 hours and 20 minutes to do chores in the morning it sometimes takes three or more. It has  taught me how well a system works to be efficient.

 

Please understand we are not trying to be difficult but time is very  short here and the loss of even 10 minutes here and there dealing with issues sets us behind in more and more areas.

 

In conclusion, please understand the following will be diligently  followed.

 

If you have poultry losses  you must  return the form by USPS mail that is  sent with the shipment postmarked by the date listed on the form or no credit or replacements will be sent. Phone calls, text messages or emails are not acceptable. Also no cancellations by email, text or phone they must be written and sent by USPS mail.

Thank you in advance for helping make our system work smoothly in return we are able to maintain that many more  endangered breeds or varieties.

Tuesday July 20, 2022

Sweet potato shipping is done for 2022, I simply do not have enough hours in the day to keep it going. I was unable to find student help this summer and it has been a challenge to get everything done.  I try to work a 14 hour day 6 days a week and 6 to 8 on Sunday. 6 hours a day is what it takes to do all of the poultry chores( feeding, watering and egg gathering) and 4 days a week I spend abut 6 hours a day doing the sweet potato plant orders. So most days in June there are 2 hours left to do other things. Sometime  in mid June I hurt my ankle and life got slower. The step tracker on my phone( I have checked it and it is pretty accurate) says I walk slightly more than 5 miles a day doing poultry chores, most of that carrying either 2 buckets with feed or 2 buckets with water. It takes me about 2.5 hours in the morning to feed and water, well suddenly with all the pain and trouble it turned to 3.5 hours. I was wondering why I put so many buildings up the hill and when something takes me longer to do than planned I get crabby. By the time I got in at night around 9:30 I was in such discomfort I did not feel like working on the website updating or doing much of anything other than prop my foot up.  It took about a month but I am slowly returning to normal but not without consequences, there just was not time in the day to get everything I hoped planted so there will be gaps in the offerings next year. I am sorry. 

Prices will remain the same for poultry until I update for 2023. Also we will not be taking any more duck orders for 2022 and if you want specific breeds of chicks please email this address to check first ( gdrowns6@gmail.com). I can use voice to text on my phone and that goes much better. I hate typing: my fingers are fat and my brain goes 5 times faster than my hands can move. I would rather have a tooth pulled with no anesthetic than type.

Garlic and onions will be shipped starting in late August.

Future updates: News and updates will be few and far between this Fall. There is a chronic shortage of teachers and  my district is not exempt. We could not find another science teacher so I will be doubling up to save the students from going online. I am a firm believer science cannot be online and be real. I will have 8 different classes( Physical Science, Earth Science, Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Physics, College Biology, College Environmental Science ). Please be patient if email responses are slow I can guarantee it will be faster if you use the above gmail address. Hope to update both sweet potatoes and poultry by end of my Thanksgiving break.

Monday June 27, 2022

Sweet potato orders that  have were received by Saturday June 25 have all been shipped out. We have an abundance of plants of many varieties left for the season closeout. We will ship out orders 4 more times Tuesday July 5, Friday July 8, Monday July 11 and the last ship date will be Friday July 15. Some specific varieties are not sprouting well but many are in abundance. You can use the following email address which goes to my phone and I can answer if some are available while I am in the  area gathering slips for our own plots. I will be using voice to text so  don't judge punctuation and grammar. gdrowns6@gmail.com .

Hatches have slowed down some , we have had several very high heat index periods and ducks are behind but we hope to catch up.

Wednesday June 15, 2022

Sweet potato orders are  progressing rapidly and there is an abundance of plants just not always what everyone wants. Some are still slow to  sprout and some are sprouting with force. Please notice around July 1 we will be updating the poultry prices and the PDF prices will no longer be valid. Feed costs  have increased  by almost 25% and since we are in this to preserve and don't keep breeds based on their volume of sales we must adjust to protect those that no one wants today but will realize in 10 years that they are worthy. For example we kept Barred Hollands, Buckeyes and Delawares for many years when they were considered unwanted now their sales help pay the feed bill for some others that are not considered worthy by todays consumer.  You can book  orders with today's prices until July 1 and then after that you must use new pricing.

Saturday June 11, 2022

The sweet potatoes are sprouting much better now and this weeks projected 90 degree heat will bring them to full force. We are progressing rapidly through orders and hope to have a majority sent out by mid week. PLEASE REMEMBER SOME VARIETIES NEED HIGH HEAT TO BREAK DORMANCY AND  WILL RUN BEHIND.  Just because a variety is slow to sprout does not make it a late variety. 8633 for example will not break dormancy until it gets very warm but will grow rapidly after that. Buterbaugh Pink will sprout almost instantly but takes a very long season. Please be patient and know we are working as fast as we can. We will have lots of slips at season closeout time starting June 25 for those who realize they can be planted then in most places and still do fine. I never get mine planted until then and that is where all  of  the roots come from that start these slips.  

May 30, 2022

 The school year is over and I can finally take a breath again. What a wild and crazy spring weather wise which effects all parts of our operation from poultry to sweet potatoes. One of the coldest Aprils  and then wild temperature swings from 70 one day to below freezing for a high temperature the next day. More wind and high wind than I have ever seen. Geese and ducks started laying a month late and guineas the true indicator when it finally settles down  started to lay on May 15 a full month late.  I typically start  the sweet potato bed the last weekend in April but as we set up the frames with thick sweatshirts and gloves in icy cold soil it would have been a complete failure had we done it that day. Finally got them bedded on May 8 only to have the next  5 days go from cold to highs in the 90's with summer like humidity. I still had plastic over the poultry building windows and the first day when it shot up to 95 with high humidity lost a bunch of breeders  to heat ( heat index was 110) when just  two days before I was cold doing chores. The rapid change was too much for some, losses were minimal but still crazy for that time of year. 5 days of heat then back to early spring and cold. As of this day the sweet potatoes are breaking ground in good force and we will begin shipping  June 6.

We will update poultry again on June 30 unfortunately we will have to  increase prices. Feed  prices  have gone from around $20 per hundred pounds to right at $25. Postage costs go up constantly  and since we include the cost in the bird price adjustments have to occur. It has always been our policy to try to make poultry affordable to as many as possible and not leave the rare material to be only available to  some. Prices of individual breeds will increase but  we will try to keep assortments as reasonable as possible.

March 21, 2022

There will be no March 22 hatch as I  had guessed we only had at most 3 days two of which were very marginal when it was warm enough to gather eggs  during the time for this hatch. Things are changing rather rapidly now. We had 3 days 2 weeks ago when it did not get above 20 even during the day and today it was 76. I think the birds will pickup  and lay more and make up for lost ground. We have updated as of today the sold out items. 

March 13, 2022

I have reached what I call the crazy season where we have changed time and there is a ton to do outside in the daylight with gathering eggs, preparing the garden etc.. This means computer time starts to disappear. We are at the point where seed orders are in about a 2-3 day turn around now.  3 degrees Saturday morning, 56  for a high today ( Sunday) . Eggs froze solid yesterday and today I used the hose to fill duck ponds.

February 27, 2022

I finally got the 2022 pdf catalog finished and uploaded and the proof off to the printer. Never enough hours to keep all caught up. Still been below zero though not a lot ( -4 or so) but cold enough to keep eggs frozen so the March 22 hatch will be slim. Weather looks promising now so April 5 looks better. Got up to 42 today after a morning low of 12 and the ducks and geese loved the melting ice and snow puddles. Seed orders are processed through February 22. 

February 20, 2022

We made more progress on orders this week and all seed orders received through February 14 will go out Tuesday. All poultry and sweet potato orders received through February 19 are confirmed. We still do not have the PDF 2022 catalog ready yet. too many projects, not enough hours. Please  make checks  out to Sandhill Preservation Center not Heirloom Seeds.

February 13, 2022

We made more progress on orders this week  and weather is constantly up and down making it a challenge to figure out  when winter will end and the poultry will kick into  production. Friday the high temp was 40 in the morning and by the time I got home from work it was in the low 20's and then Saturday and Sunday never got above 15. Spent some time battling technology and trying to be more independent on website stuff  and  finally figured out how to get the 2020 year in Review on the site and update books we are selling out of as well as updating our supporters and donors. My sincerest apologies if I forgot anyone, it wasn't intentional. We appreciate all who send us rare seed starts, donate their time and expertise and those who financially support our projects. Seed orders received through February 4 will go out tomorrow. We are still battling email issues as our service provider as done upgrades. Most of the "good emails" go to the junk box and all the nasty  inappropriate stuff ends up in the mail to have to delete.

February 6, 2022

We made some progress this week and the weather improved a teeny bit with greater hope for warmer weather in the future. Today it reached 40 for a high and felt like mid summer. The ducks and geese so enjoyed the puddles that started to form. We will be mailing all seed orders received by January 28 tomorrow. Still setting up poultry and sweet confirmations.   We are having unreal email issues so please respond when we answer  so we know it has gone through.

January 30,2022

It has been rough week and progress has been slowed. I  came down with a fever on Monday morning and was sick  and missed work through Wednesday. Still weak and  with several  days near -20 chores were a challenge for me. Sick or not the poultry, sheep, pigs, and cow need care a couple of hours each morning and evening. I am sure I could recover more quickly if  I didn't have  that at the start and end of each day. We had more lambs this week and  it is a real pick me up to watch them play while moms are getting their tidbit of grain. The 16 little guys were playing king of the mountain on the hay bales as I put them in the pen even at -20.  Just as I was ready to go back to school Linda came down with a bad sinus infection and then our main office helper Rhonda got sick on Friday so our seed order progress slowed . We will work hard to get back on track but this is the heaviest order time of the season so please be patient. Seed orders going out tomorrow will be everything received through January 18 which with the day after MLK day was a huge volume day.

I am continuing to set up poultry orders and will update the website this week, sweet potato confirmations are being processed as well.

Please refresh your browser once in awhile as  we are getting lots of orders for items that are listed clearly on the website as being unavailable for 2022 and have been that way for close to a month. It really slows our progress when we have two stop and check to see what is going on.

We are having considerable problems with our email server and mail simply  does not get to places and in some cases were are not getting messages either. Not sure yet how to deal with this. It is every helpful when we respond to a message if you will acknowledge receipt so we know you got it.

Hoping for a warmer and healthier week.

January 23, 2022

I finally have most all seed cleaned, and jarred , just a few more okras and it will be done. We had a  few mice issues in the seed shed and even though we had a bumper crop of Sarnowski Polish  Plum tomato the mice got all of it, same with Mandan Bride Corn. One of the hazards of having over 2000 varieties to try and keep track of.  Orders are starting to move along. Tomorrow all orders received for seeds through January 14 will be mailed. I will update here each week on Sunday night where we are on  shipping. Had a few delays this week as Linda had to go to the ER on Tuesday and the cold weather makes chores a longer experience each day. She is doing slightly better but still has a lot of back pain. We were thankful it was not a kidney infection or a reoccurence of the 2018 nightmare but the back pain is most likely  a result of all of the issues from the  botched surgery in 2018. Hoping for warmer weather  to get here soon, those -30 windchills make morning chores at 5 am a less than fun experience.

January 16, 2022

I think all parts of the website are current for 2022 except specialty page which I will get to this week. I have decided it is more than a full-time job just to try to keep track of the website. I wondered why we sold so few books last year and realized the link to what people see and what is on the manage page are not the same so all last year it appears the book page was not visible to the world. We are phasing out of books other than the 2 I WROTE AS POSTAGE IS KILLING US  so look on that page next week for specials on what we have left.  As of mail on Tuesday  Rhonda and I will have all orders up to those received January 7 processed and mailed. It took awhile to get through all of the ones people sent while we were not taking orders as so many ordered items that we were not going to offer in 2022 for seed shortage reasons. All poultry order confirmations through orders received by January 15 have been sent. Will start adding more photos as time allows.

Check back here next week for what I am hopeful  will be a weekly Sunday  night update on things.

January 2, 2022

I didn't quite accomplish the goal of getting all sections updated.  For those anxious to get started ordering each section that is updated has updated for 2022 at the start. Tomatoes, cotton, peanuts, gourds and sorghum as well as flowers and herbs are not yet ready. Only ones with major changes will be tomatoes. Will work each night this week to get all sections done. 

November 29, 2021

The sweet potato section  is now updated. I will update seed sections as I am able and post updates every Sunday night. Finished seeding out the last of the peppers today. Lots of seed to clean and process yet. 

November 22, 2021

The poultry section has been updated for 2022. Pictures will be added as I get them taken over the next few weeks. The order  form on both the home page and the poultry page are fillable pdf's and are ready for 2022. Sweet potato sections should be ready within a week.

October 31, 2021

PLEASE READ TO PREVENT CONFUSION.

Reality check time for me. Harvest is abundant and taking many hours to deal with. I have yet to start sorting breeder birds for the poultry. With the upcoming time change  and colder weather it will force me out of the seed harvesting and I  will switch to moving birds in the earlier dark evenings.  We have mounds of seed to clean, process  and germ test so please give us some time and realize we will need from November 15 until the end of December to clean, process, germ test and package up seed to get get ready for 2022. We will not be filling seed orders during this time until we get all of those other tasks done. We will announce when we are ready on this page. It is my hope to have the sweet potato and poultry sections updated by the day after Thanksgiving. It will be pushing it but I need a deadline. I have  baskets and buckets of peppers and eggplant to seed out and  we are still fermenting and saving tomato seed. Sweet potatoes are all dug and in the basement with totes everywhere waiting for me to finish alphabetizing and determining how many of each we can offer. Never a dull moment and never enough hours.  The piles of squash  and watermelons are  overwhealming, but the muskmelons are finally all seeded out. I have yet to pick the corn, sorghum and sunflowers. Beans are just about finished, Rhonda our worker has picked and shelled more beans than she  cares  to ever see another bean again. Please remember our operation is different as we grow over 80% of the seed we sell so it takes us more time to get it all ready than the places that just repackage the bulk seed they buy. We also have lots of questions about ordering this time of the year. Please remember you will get seed packaged for the current year. Fresh seed from this years crop does not make it into the packages until we start the new season on January 1. The packaging of fresh seed  takes place in December.

Next update will be hopefully Thanksgiving Day publishing  the new poultry and sweet potato  sections

September 10, 2021

We are no longer taking poultry orders for 2021. Please wait until we get all poultry updates made in early November  to place orders for  poultry for 2022. You will see gradual changes to the poultry listings as I make announcements here and add new blogs. I really am trying to make an effort to start working on all of the blog ideas that I was sent.  Our website is controlled in such a way I cannot update to the public just parts. Therefore you will be able to see  a gradual change to the poultry listings as I add news and updates and other blogs. We will announce here and on the poultry page when 2022 poultry listings will be updated and orders can be sent.

August 28, 2021

My goal was to have all new poultry buildings done by this date and we came real close, but lumber prices and shortages and the proverbial shortage of time prevented total goal completion. I still keep hoping for a 26 hour day. I posted a blog today of our progress with our poultry building projects and as of this date we only have one more to go but it has no occupants for it , it is for expansion and extra pens for other breeds we already have. The turkey, guinea building  will probably (hopefully) get started this fall and be ready to go by mid year next year and then I will be done and hopefully all birds will be in raccoon and opossum proof pens. Earlier this Summer a family of raccoons(herd) ripped some wire and got into my guinea pens and destroyed most all breeders in one night. Our Soil and Water Conservation Service has decided trees are bad and the small creek 1 mile south of us had tree lined banks and was a home for many forms of wildlife. Now they have removed all trees to create a large free flowing ditch that  Heaven help us when we get a heavy rain as there will be no trees to absorb the water and no roots to stop the flow. All I can say having been an earth science teacher for 38 years and studied erosion and how to slow it down is " Louisiana enjoy our soil ,it will be there soon". The creek bank trees were home to many raccoons who now are homeless and  many moved to my 2 acre woods and the neighboring cornfields for summer as fall approaches the carrying capacity  of my small woods  will be far exceeded with raccoons. Each and every night I see tracks everywhere around the new buildings trying to break in. They have become rather perturbed with me and have now decided to get even and are destroying all of our sweet corn seed patches.  Another lesson learned: there is always something to try to keep ahead of when you are trying to maintain 200 breeds of poultry and 2000 plus varieties of seeds.  Now that I am back to teaching everyday I don't get to see everything each and every day in the garden and things get away rather quickly. My teaching load is heavy this year as I have a class each and every period of the 8 period day. Free time this fall will be scarce. We are excited to be nearly done with our building venture and appreciate all  who have helped in any fashion.  Ethan will tear down the last of the old 1990 primitive structures on.  Monday. I was going to leave one to remind of where we started but a picture is enough at this point. I still have enough bumps and bruises on my head to remind me to never ever again build a short building that  I cannot walk upright in. Praise God they served their purpose and there are many breeds alive today and in many hands and much better populations than 30 years ago so  the time had come to upgrade. We finally got some rain this week so  are hopeful for a decent harvest on many things. Still very dry but  the 1.35 inches total over 3 storms was greatly appreciated.

AUGUST 14, 2020

Wow! what a difference a few days can make to change your whole plans and  outlook. We had been in need of a good soaking rain and it was promised on Friday night, then Saturday night, then Sunday night and well when I watched the news at 4:30 am Monday morning it showed a small cluster of storms near Yankton, South Dakota. The weatherman indicated it would die out before it reached us and being a long time weather observer  I agreed.  I also told my student help when they arrived at 8 that we would probably have to make plans to fix and start up the irrigation system on Tuesday as our rain chances were slim. I had a chance to explain  how when a front goes through in the mid morning it doesn't have enough power to deliver much rain and the prime time is about 2-3 pm after a sunny morning. We worked awhile  and it was unbelievably humid and very hot and sunny.  I checked the radar on my cellphone about 9:30 am was surprised to see the small storms that were in South Dakota at 4 AM had expanded and slowed down. Instead of coming through around 11 am like it was predicted it looked more favorable for rain now. When I checked again about 11:30 I told the workers to go home and not get too far from home as the storm was expanding and developing a distinct bow with the arch of the bow headed straight for us. I told them it could get ugly. I did not know at the time how ugly it could get.  About 1:30 it got  very dark and the wind went from calm to over 50 mph in a few seconds and then well over 70 mph and trees started crashing everywhere.  We ran to the basement and things started shaking and I know we had to have gusts in excess of over 90 mph. The storm lasted for over an hour and when it slowed down some and I surfaced I could see trees in our yard in a mess.  The garden areas near the house looked like a flat pancake. I was fearful to walk to the farm building end of the farm where our old home (now seed storage and office area) were as there are 3 huge  soft maple trees to the west and north of the office. I feared they would be on top of the office and also feared the barn would be down and also all of our new poultry buildings.  We had no power as I could see our neighbors down the road (who were building a new house ) and the house was wrapped around the power poles. A quick survey revealed all livestock: poultry, sheep, cow and pigs were fine and then I took a walk over the hill to see the backfield with the 5 one acre isolation plots. We have a driveway from the backfield to the top of the hill to get hay to the hay shed and it had multiple large trees across it. It will be days before that is cleared.  After crawling over trees and such I reached the back field to see the best looking corn crop we ever had flat to the ground. It didn't even look like corn. Highest plants looked about 5 inches and some of the varieties were over 12 feet tall the day prior. Bush bean plants were nearly pulled out of the ground and squash and melons were in some cases nearly twisted out of the ground. The vine crops were in better shape as they were to the east of the corn rows and the storm came from the west so  it gave some protection as the rows run south to north. It looked like there would be nothing on many things. I had several long rows of sorghum that in some cases the plants were already 8 feet tall and they were pounded to the ground.  That was Monday about 5 pm.  Austin ( my student helper) and I walked back there this morning only to discover that 90 % of the corn had resurrected itself with some bending  and was looking decent. What appeared to be a total loss will be a reasonable crop. We hand pick each ear anyhow so  the only problem now is we can not till between the rows and the weeds will take over some. Melons, squash, zinnias and okra all will recover. Bush beans will be a challenge but have some potential. In our front 10 acres  it appears the strongest winds came diagonal across the property from the northwest corner over the hill skipping over the top of our house and diagonal across the front garden areas. We will be missing some sweet potatoes( ironically the most popular varieties ) for 2021 as they were ripped out of the ground and thrown everywhere. Many peppers and tomatoes were also ripped out and destroyed. The corn patches in the front  field in many cases were not planted  until July 4, 15 and 25 so they were small and as of today look great and will make a good crop if the season is long enough.

 

We will not have an August 25 hatch as we did not get power back until Wednesday at 3 pm so we were off for about 49 hours. It was a challenge to get enough water for the animals. In winter I need about 70 5 gallon buckets each day in summers heat with all of the young stock it was far in excess of 90 . The Calamus Volunteer Fire Department graciously brought out a tanker truck twice to let us fill containers to get things cared for.   We are  praising God for the protection we had and minimal damage and inconvenience.  We are praying for so many in the area that lost so much. Many lost buildings, silos, and entire crops.  Our hatch Tuesday was challenge first the chicks had to be packed by flashlight Monday night and then we had to pack the computer and printer  up and we found a friend from church about 5 miles away that still had power and went there to  print postage and paper work and then find a post office that had power and was open. It was an eventful day.   

We will be filling seed orders on Monday as the post office should have power by then. We are working as fast as possible to get refunds to those who did not get poultry.  I hope to get 2 to 3 blogs posted this week before I go back to teaching on August 18. I cannot imagine those who live in hurricane prone areas how they deal with storms like that. I hope this is a once in a lifetime experience for me.

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