I think I am going to take a vow of silence with anyone but Wally … but I cannot do that because I need to communicate minimally with the farm’s customers. My sharp tongue gets me in way too much trouble and I have little control over it. It’s like it’s a mad animal always trying to get out.
I guess I have a strong sense of worth, too much honesty and too little tolerance for a lot of things.
I waited until I got home to take any pictures and most of what I took was crap. Many of my fellow classmates have upgraded their cameras since we started the program, many talk about upgrading. I have not. The DSLR camera that I started the program was a Nikon D70s until it started not working reliably and I bought a used Nikon D90. I was taking a summer photography class at the time and needed a working camera to finish it. I purchased a second new D90 a few months after that. Reasoning? You never know if a camera will malfunction and I keep both cameras in my bag with difference lenses on them because I do not like changing lenses outside.
Lenses: I prefer prime lenses. They are noticeably sharper and faster. I purchased a Nikon 50mm and a 35mm and used them a lot, then bought a Tokina 100mm macro and fell madly in love with it. I shot most of my vegetable portfolio with it. The problem with it is unless you are using it as a macro lens, you need to be able to get a good distance away from the subject which is not always possible. I ran into trouble with that doing portraits.
So, I researched and purchased a Nikon 60mm macro (Nikon calls it Mikro) and so far, I like it. I use it in place of the 50mm. I’m still learning to use it and have put the 100mm up for the most part until I learn to use it. I purchased all but the 50mm lens used. I also have a Nikon 18 to 105 zoom that I rarely use but keep in my camera bag and a Tamron 70 to 200 which is not even in my camera bag at this time.
I buy as much as I can used … especially clothing. Why buy new if you can do the leg work and get perfectly good things for far less money?
I think about buying a new camera and have done a bit of research. I would eventually like a full frame camera and have decided on a refurbished Nikon D800, but I highly doubt I will spend the money on said camera ($2,000+ for a refurbished model) for a very long time. I still feel like I have not fully utilized my D90 cameras.
Last night was a perfectly good example. I wanted to take some pictures of the pigs, but it was very overcast and where they kept is dark due to vegetation. I tried to get close to take pictures of them, but given they are dark pigs, the pictures did not come out (the focus was too shallow). It is simply lack of skill on my part, nothing to do with the camera or the conditions. I screwed up because I have not been working hard enough at my craft.
On my way home, I visited with an old-school farmer that I’ve known for a long time. It was a bit depressing. He said since he’s been farming, he’s seen a lot of climate change that has made him unable to grow things like he used to be able to. I do not know if that is true or not, but I AM GOING TO TRY HARDER at the crops this season. I am chomping at the bit to get going now and plan to start seeds in the greenhouse this weekend. I do not know how that will go. I have not worked hard enough at my craft there either.
Because of my inability to go with the flow I have not been able to fully market the farm. I do not know if it is my lack of skill or my refusal to feed our ducks high protein (read: GMO, soy and corn-laden) laying pellets or pay twice as much for organic and keep lights on them that they do not lay more regularly during the off-season; or my refusal to haul my rabbits 80 miles to be processed at an inspected facility so I could sell them at farmers’ markets or restaurants or my lack of inclination to even go to farmers’ markets any more. As far as the raw milk goes, there’s not much I can do about that either. I notice a farm in Gastonia aggressively and quite publicly advertising raw milk from cows fed GMO-free food for $5.50/gallon. I have no idea how she’s affording to do that. I saw on a Facebook post a while back that she sold 25 gallons of milk in one day. I do not know how she’s doing that either.
During the winter months, we feed our cows high quality hay that most recently cost us $145 for a 800 pound bale; they also get Chaffhaye which costs us $16 for a 50 pound bale. Their feed mixture is about $17 for 50 pounds. All of this feed is corn, soy and to our knowledge, GMO-free. For the two cows, only one of which is giving us milk at this time, they go through a 50 pound back of Chaffhaye in about two and a half days; 50 pounds of feed maybe lasts three days and they eat at least 50 to 100 pounds of hay a day. That does not factor in my time in caring for and milking them.
I’m doing things very, very wrong. There are far fewer regulations in growing vegetables than there are in livestock products so maybe that’s where I should focus my efforts and forget the rest.
Until later …