Same Blog, New Look

I’ve jumped on the WordPress bandwagon after having my blog running on the b2evolution platform since around 2007 or so. WordPress has so many free, user-supported features, while b2evolution seems stagnant.

The next step is to revive my poultry newsletter, which is running on software so obsolete that it pretty much doesn’t work anymore. Soon…

U.S. Patent #35

Another of the patents from my day job at Citrix Systems just issued. “Systems and methods of using the refresh button to determine freshness policy,” U.S Patent #8701010. This was from my Web Optimization Period. It was filed in 2007 and only now made it into the light of day.

That makes me either inventor or co-inventor on 35 U.S. patents. See my patents. Sadly, the patent attorneys obfuscated my nice clear description, so the text isn’t a fun read.

When to stop using lights

It’s March 29, and I thought I’d mention that the traditional period for using supplemental light to keep the hens laying is September 1 through March 31. By April 1, the increasing day length makes supplemental light unnecessary.

Farmers traditionally set the day length at 14 hours when using supplemental light. The days aren’t that long on April 1, when measured from sunrise to sunset, but it doesn’t take much light to stimulate laying, so that seems to even things out.

The big boys use a different algorithm: keep the day length constant at whatever it happens to be on Midsummer’s Day at their latitude, meaning that there’s just one night a year when the lights don’t come on at all. Those of us with fewer than a thousant hens probably can’t measure the difference, and the convenience of not messing with lights until September carries some weight.

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Raising Chickens for Meat and Profit

It’s been twenty years since Joel Salatin created the grass-fed chicken industry by publishing Pastured Poultry Profit$ in 1993.

The book has many praiseworthy aspects, one of which is that Salatin describes in great detail the methods he was using at the time, and the thinking behind them. Lots of people have copied his methods, with varying degrees of success. (Farming is like that.)

Something unusual happened along the way, and I think it’s something Salatin didn’t expect. Because it’s the only detailed book on the topic, his single example of how to go about raising meat chickens on pasture has been accepted by many as the only way, and sometimes this gets people into jams.

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Online and Offline Predators

I logged into the blog the other day and was informed by the blog software that I had a quarter of a million comments awaiting moderation!

Of course, none of these comments seemed to have anything to do with my blog. I was just being victimized by one of the botnets, whose zombie army of infected PC’s was endlessly uploading exhortations to buy various kinds of junk.

I disabled comments altogether to keep it down to a dull roar. Since spammers are the worst programmers ever, the botnet hasn’t really noticed, anymore than they noticed that not one of their last quarter-million comments has been posted. You can see why these guys aren’t holding down a real job.

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More Farmer’s Market Tech

We’ve played with a lot of different technologies at the farmer’s market. Electronics used outdoors need to be rugged, easy to protect from rain, and usable in bright sunshine.

Back when we made people order fryers in advance, we brought a Panasonic ToughBook so we could take the deposits and enter the orders on QuickBooks. We stopped doing this when we started bringing chickens on spec, rather than just to fill orders. Because every cop car in the country seems to be equipped with one of these, used ToughBooks are plentiful and affordable on eBay and other places.

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Pre-Season Work

We’re gearing up for a busy year in 2013 and are catching up with repairs and upgrades before the busy season starts, with contractors doing the difficult parts.

The upper part of the barn roof has been redone. In the Seventies, corrugated roofing had been nailed over the original cedar shakes, which didn’t hold the roofing panels securely enough, and they were starting to blow off. So we had that all taken off and re-roofed with new steel roofing that Karen had acquired at bargain prices.

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Come to the Indoor Farmer’s Market!

The Corvallis area is lucky to have an Indoor Winter’s Market, where year-round produce such as greens and eggs are available every Saturday, plus items that store well, like roots and bulbs and frozen meat and canned goods and honey, and also baked goods and other yummy stuff. Not for us is the notion that farmers’ markets are a summertime thing!

I’m surprised this hasn’t caught on more. Oregon has mild winters, but so do a lot of places. And it’s nice to have the market in a large, heated building when the weather is nasty out.

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