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Thursday, September 30, 2010

You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me . . . GE Profile!

It's been a very sad week inside the house at Goodness Grows Farm.  I've been mourning the loss of my new used dishwasher.  About 9 months ago, my original Maytag dishwasher that we purchased for the house when we remodeled, stopped working for the second time in 6 years.  It had nothing to do with using well water (as many suggested) we have a whole house softener and filter.  Our lines are clean!  We deduced that it was the control panel that malfunctioned, so after some investigation into prices online, we came to the conclusion that between the service call (even using a non-Maytag associated repairman), parts and labor, we'd have about $300 into the dishwasher which is basically a new dishwasher.

Being the craigslist loving folks that we are, Erik immediately started watching "the list" for a replacement. He found this one (please excuse the fingerprints):

It is a GE Profile and I LOVE IT.  It has three separate spinners that force water into the machine and clean the dishes.  This was such an awesome deal.  The guy selling it was a contractor who had been contracted to remove the "old" stainless steel appliances from a kitchen in a condo.  The lady who bought the condo wanted black appliances.  This dishwasher was only two years old and was used by someone who spent half her year in Florida.  It was perfect.  

It has many different wash cycles and the best part is that you can select which level of clean you need, not like my old, plain, Maytag, that you just pushed the button and had to wait over 2 hours for the cycle to complete.

This one has a "Speed Cycle" that completes a cycle in just 34 minutes!  44 minutes if you choose the "heated dry" option!

There are lots of other options too -  china/crysta, rinse only, glasses, normal wash, anti-bacterial, pots and pans . . .  it's wonderful!

And it's not working : (

So now, my new best friend is:

And my kitchen sink looks disgustingly like this:

And my kitchen countertops look like this:

And I can't stand it!

Erik is going to check tonight to see if it is possibly the waterline that is causing the problem.  It's a sad day in my life that I'm actually hoping that we have mice and that the mice crawled behind the dishwasher and moved the waterline and that's why the dishwasher isn't filling and running.  

Otherwise, I fear it's back to craigslist.  And I can't go back - I've lived with a high end appliance for almost a year now - going back to a low end dishwasher will be too hard.  

At least that's what I think until I go into the kitchen and see my sink full of dishes and realize that any dishwasher would be better than having to stick my hand into that gross, food filled water to clean my dishes!  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Goodness Grows Farm and Market?

About a year ago, we're not really sure how, but are assuming that through an internet search, a family of Burmese immigrants found out about our little farm and contacted Erik about coming to the farm to buy fresh chickens and goats.  Since then, we have made contact with several other Burmese families as well as some families from Nepal.  *Yes,  I know that the country of Burma is now known as Myanmar.*  If you are like me, you would have had no idea what I was talking about if I had said, "Myanmarese" instead of Burmese.  If you would like to learn a bit more about Burma/Myanmar, here is a link to Wikipedia.  I know it is not considered a completely reliable source, but it does provide a lot of information regarding the country and gave me some insight as to why the Burmese would be immigrating to the States.

With that background information, imagine our surprise when the first family arrived and not only did they buy chickens, they slaughtered them right here in our garage.

I admit, I was a little creeped out at first, but it hasn't been such a bad experience and it is a way for us to expose our kids to some hands on ethnic diversity as well as address the life cycle on a working farm.  We've been able to use the experiences as ways to explain to our children how in other countries, people do not have the luxury of grocery stores the way we do and that many of the people that come out to our house came from places where they had their own farms and often killed their own animals for consumption.  They are a bit more hands on than we are, but part of that (again we assume) is because of their religion.  At least one family has explained to us that because of their religion, they are not permitted to purchase their meat from a non-religious butcher.  Some of the families are Muslim and just like the Jewish faith has "Kosher" products, these Muslim families have the same religious reasons.  Again, that is what we assume.  We do not always understand enough of what they say to get a real firm grip on the reasons they butcher here.  I took these pictures last year of some families plucking chickens here and they even did one for Walker.

There is a giant learning curve in terms of providing product for these families as some families only want goat and chicken and shy away from ducks and geese, while others jump at the geese and ducks. Almost everyone has turned down interest in lamb and hog until yesterday when Erik had to quickly run to a local farmer for a hog.  Erik has spent the last 4 or 5 months traveling to auctions purchasing animals and reselling them to the Burmese.

Some people find this practice cruel, but it is actually a very practical method of culling our herds and disposing of other animals that otherwise serve no further purpose.  One lesson you learn quickly by living on and managing a functioning farm is that feeding and caring for animals is expensive.  Often, the animals we purchase at auction have outgrown their purpose.  Some animals were purchased to be "pets" but once they grew up, no longer could be accommodated in their current setting.  Other animals are often older and are likely going to die anyway.  Then there are the animals we acquire because the economy is still rough for folks and having extra livestock mouths may mean not having money to feed your family.  We feel it is unethical to resell an animal we are culling (getting rid of) from our herd to anyone else.  For instance, occasionally we will sell a non-producing doe to the Burmese because it would be unfair to sell her to another farm when their expectation would be that she would kid.  (Note:  Animals culled for medical reasons are never sold for consumption purposes).

Some families just kill the product here and then take the animal home to cut it up and divide it among others.

We found out just last week that some of the original families that buy from us actually bought in great quantity from us not because they consumed it all but because they would go back to their community and re-sell the product.  They wouldn't give our information to their community members because they were worried that we would not be able to keep up with the demand of all the families wanting product from us.  We got a chuckle out of that because if they only knew how much Erik hustled to get product here so that he could satisfy orders, they wouldn't hesitate to hand out our business cards!  

We normally see these folks every weekend.  They usually come on Saturdays and Sundays and the faces vary week to week based on their work schedules but we usually see the same folks every other week.  Today was an unusual week because we had three car loads both yesterday and today.  This has been a very good business experience for us as these customers do not particularly care about the age of the goat, chicken, duck or geese.  Some of the families are very generous and have brought us samples of the food they make with the product they buy from us.  Once they even brought us a big bowl of what we assume is Mohinga, a traditional fish soup.  It was tasty.

Our children are very curious about the Burmese and enjoy going out with Erik to help the customers.  They Burmese often bring their children with them and they try to play with our children.  The younger children do not speak much English, but the school aged children often serve as interpreters.

In fact, sometimes I think they have a little too much compassion.  Here are some pictures of the kids attempting to convince me that they love  these chickens and they must come live in the house as our pets.