Friday, December 7, 2012

Dudley Farm Cane Boil

We spent last weekend at the annual Dudley Farm Cane grinding, and everyone had a great time.
It was a little sad to see how this park is changing under new management since Sally retired.  The old people who volunteered and worked a few years ago had really high standards for maintaining this park as an incredible historical resource, but I think the new people maybe just don't quite understand it or have the same good standards.
For example, their corn crop had failed.  It's never failed in all the years I've known about the park (seven years, I think).  They said it was too dry for the corn this past summer, and they didn't water it and it died.  Years ago I asked Sally if they irrigated the corn, and she said they always plant it at a later time so they get the summer rains.  I'll bet they planted it at the wrong time, because we got plenty of rain last summer.  This year they were selling ground corn from Georgia.  It worries me that the Dudley corn will be lost.

Another thing that was very different was that the boiler for the sugar cane juice had cracked, and rather than repair it they decided it was "too historical" to repair (??) and so they built a new cane boiling area up front, which outwardly resembles the old one but has a lot of ill thought out flaws, such as the boiler smokestack facing the wrong way, etc.  It's too bad!
But we still had an amazing time there.  I'm so glad this park is still around.  Morningside Nature Center used to be like Dudley, until someone who used to work for Disney World got his hands on it.  I'm afraid Dudley might be going the way of Morningside.

Ethan was there as a volunteer with the Barefoot  Boys.  They do ax-hewing demonstrations.

Baby Clo and I hung out and knitted in the background.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Countryside Organics: The Ongoing Customer Service Nightmare

I wish that this would damage their reputation a heck of a lot more than it will!!!!

A few days ago I looked at our finances and discovered that Countryside Organics took the liberty of using our saved credit card information to charge us unexpectedly for the retro-actively charged bill they made a mistake with without our permission.  I'm pretty sure that was totally illegal.  I called the manager, Keith, who apparently is the evil mastermind behind this whole "rip you off and screw you over" situation they have created for us.  He tried to pretend I had given him permission.  NOPE.  At the end of our conversation I think he realized he was winning the Biggest Douche in the Universe contest, although I doubt he would ever admit it to himself.

Because they chose to take our money (without permission) on the same week as our utility, phone and car insurance bills, we are lucky to have a few savings, or we would also be paying late fees, bank fees and facing our car insurance being canceled.
This very upsetting situation is huge for us and our farm.  It has prompted us to completely re-evaluate what we are doing and feeding the past couple of days.  I've been having moments of thinking that this is just too much for us--we can't keep doing this and we should sell all the animals.  We are determined never to give them another cent.  The way they've taken liberties with our money has made me afraid for them to have our financial information.  We might have to give away the rabbits, and I am going to be finding a grain grinder so that we can grind our own chick starter.  Mostly what we have relied on them for is rabbit food, kelp, salt, mineral lick for cows and goats, chick starter and field peas.  Even if we have to pay more for these things, it will be worth it.  The only consolation is that I know I'm not the only customer they are horrible to.  It's only a matter of time before someone else starts a better company and blows apart their monopoly.