Sunday, June 24, 2007


Yesterday, I went out to the field around 7 a.m. and hoed the pumpkins and melons, then all of the potatoes, and finally the corn and sunflowers. I watered the tomatoes and squash, and then I went back to the house around 11:30 a.m. for lunch and to take care of Lara. Then, Tom and Ed and I went to Tom's garden by Dad's and we hilled his corn.

I am going to take it easy today. I was so sore when I woke up this morning from all the hoeing I did yesterday that I could hardly move. I staggered to the bathroom and downed some homeopathic remedies -- Arnica and Hypericum for the pain, and Apis for all the bug bites. Then I took my usual constitutional dose of Bioplasma and now I feel pretty good.

Today we are having bar-b-que again. Tom is putting chicken breasts on the grill and I made Paul Deen's Squash Casserole recipe (I love it!). I plan to take it easy and work on some more baby booties. I find crafting very stress relieving. I was sewing a second pair of jungle boot booties together that I had already knitted and discovered that one top section was off by one contrast row so I had to unravel it and am knitting it up again.

It is a beautiful day even though it is expected to get up around 90F. We have the whole house fan on drawing air from the north side of the house and I have the shades down on the south side windows. It is very pleasant. Perhaps later I will put together the 7 shelf metal shelf unit I bought to put canning jars on.

I bought a DVD about Artisan bread making from King Arthur Flour and we watched it the other evening. Boy, does that process look time consuming, but I figure if I set one day aside to just bake, then the process won't be that bad. The big thing is remembering to start the poolish the night before so it has time to ferment properly. Just imagine coming into the house on a crisp Fall afternoon and eating a nice hunk of toasted Artisan Bohemian rye-potato bread topped with homemade sauerkraut from the crock, a couple of slices of crisp bacon bought from Jump River Dairy over in Catawba, and melted Swiss or Wisconsin Brick cheese. Add a cup of good, strong coffee and a slice of homemade apple pie for dessert -- sounds like heaven to me! Well, this is getting me too hungry so I'm going to go check on the bar-b-que. See ya!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Community Development Conference

I attended one day of the Community Development Conference in Appleton, WI yesterday for the Farmers Market Community Kitchen day trip. That conference was the BEST conference I have EVER attended. It certainly was not for the faint of heart and I really should have taken farm brochures with me. There were professionals there from all over the world and everyone was exchanging business cards and networking. If you didn't get hung up on what methodology was used to quantify data collected for this or that study and concentrated on sifting through what was said to get to the point, there was an unbelievable wealth of useable information to be had. I was the only "ordinary" person I could find there. Everybody else was affiliated with some type of governmental entity. I had people talking to me because I was NOT affiliated with any kind of bureaucracy and they wanted my take on this or that. I met a great lady from Saskatchewan who is going to email me info on how Saskatchewan's community kitchen is run, and I met a nice guy from the USDA at the comunity kitchen in Algoma, WI who I spoke with about our Price Direct group and he gave me his card and said to give him a call when we decide what direction we want to move the group in as he gives grant money to microenterprises. I talked with a sharp old codger from Ireland and after talking family history (where my mother's family came from in Ireland and the family name) we talked about cover crops and farming practices. Wow! It was a VERY productive day. I would love to attend the entire conference next year. It is being held in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, I don't think I can in good conscience leave Tom with the kids for a whole week, and I don't have a passport; I understand with the new laws, it is difficult to get a passport and takes a long time.

While there I sat in on a rural leadership seminar that was comprised of three separate presentations. The first was held by two ladies from Louisiana who talked about a leadership module called S.A.L.T. (I missed what it stands for because I was late getting into the talk because of chatting with the lady from Saskatchewan)and they talked about helping develop new rural leaders in the wake of hurricane Katrina. The second presenter talked about identifying new entrepreneurial leaders in times of crisis and peace. She was from the University of Haifa, Israel, and her data was collected in the wake of the second Lebanon war of last year. Her talk was extremely interesting. The last talk was about doing feasibility studies for proposed projects and how to identify and assess needs. It was great. I was fascinated; it's been a long time since I was exposed to this much intellectualism and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy these types of discussion. It was just a great experience altogether and I am SO glad I went.

On another note, the road construction has started by our farm so be very careful if you plan on being out our way. While I was gone, a guy came to the house and told Tom that they were going to need to use dynamite and will be blasting some time around July 9; this guy and his wife wanted to come inside the house and take pictures of everything and I am so glad he said, "No." This is new construction and our new well is 60 feet deep with a 15 gpm refresh rate. The information is on record with various County departments and if my water supply gets screwed up somebody is going to dig me a new well, and the average well depth in this area is + or - 200 feet. Anyway, I think positive. The real problem right now is that I cannot get out to the field to water the garden. I am going to call my dad and see if he can guide me around the farm house so I can get onto the hay road with my water barrels to get to the field. The road sorely needs to be graded and I don't know if I can get the water out there without it spilling.

Talk to you again soon!

Finally Some Pictures

Here are some pictures for you! There are three from making maple syrup, seedlings in the high tunnel, and the Beaver tree.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Heat is On

The temperature today is around 85-90F and the flies are merciless. I got up early and raked some of the hay Tom cut yesterday for mulch that I put around the tomatoes, cukes, summer and winter squash and watermelons after I watered them. I came home, took care of Lara and refilled the water barrels. Then, I went with Tom to his garden by Dad's and helped him plant his squashes. By the time that was done, it was time to take care of Lara again. After I did that, I went back out to the field and watered the tree orchard and rhubarb, the hazelnut trees and the juneberry trees. Two of the apple tree cages had been blown down by the wind and I set them back up. I pulled the Persian Star garlic and will set it out to cure. Now, Tom is back at Dad's hilling his potatoes, so after supper, I will refill the water cans and go back out to the field, finish watering the plums and elderberries, and water everything in the high tunnel. If I have enough time, I'll rake up some more hay as I really want to have a lot of mulch around everything. Maybe I'll get the beans in the ground tomorrow. It's so hot I'm wondering if I should just till under the peas and try for a fall crop instead. I'll wait a bit on that. I think the county will be starting the road construction soon as the utility guys have marked everything and the survey team was back today. The potatoes need to be hilled already; I think I'll leave that for tomorrow. Whew!

I finally finished the roll of film that was in the camera and took it in to be developed so I hope to have some new pics for you soon.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Beautiful Day

It was windy and very cool today but the sun was shining. What a difference a day makes! I was very thankful the bad storms pretty much passed us up. We just had bad wind. At least we got a little rain out of it and no trees down. The high tunnel held up well.

Today, I took Ed with me out to the field. We brought the rest of the seedlings from the basement and put them in the high tunnel to finish out to transplant size and harden off. I plan to plant the pole beans next week. Ed and I put some grass mulch around the lettuce, onions, dill and beets. We stood up the pole bean tepees that were knocked down by the wind. Then we removed the Agri-bon cover from cabbages and other cool weather crops. I let Ed water the rows. I think he likes being outside. It's going to be very cool tonight, but I figure these cool weather crops can take it. I notice we didn't have very good germination on the beets, and the onions don't look very thick either. This year the dill really sprouted though. The potatoes are really looking good! I weeded around them and will have to hill them pretty soon already. The corn and sunflowers don't look too happy with this cool weather, but if they conk out on me I will try replanting. The pumpkins in the high tunnel are begging to go in the ground. So are the tomatoes and cucumbers! I was going to put the basil outside with the tomatoes, but I think it likes it in the high tunnel.

The apple trees and the perennial bed look good. I need to do some more hoeing there, too. I think I will spray everything there with Neem Oil. Speaking of sprayers, my sprayer doesn't work right and I will need to get another. I'll see if I can get a couple of them so I can label them for specific purposes, like one for Deer Off, one for Neem Oil, one for Neptune's Harvest, etc. I am imaging "storage shed".

Tom planted quite a bit today in this garden out in front of the house. He checked his garden over by Dad, but his corn isn't up yet. His potatoes look good, too.

I got the book I've been wanting: Genetic Roulette by Jeff Smith. Holy Cow! I got about 1/3 of the way through it and thought I was going to throw up. Honestly, I REALLY felt ill. Everybody needs to read that book. You will not want to buy anything from the grocery store unless it is certified organic and you will look for local producers to buy from. This is a book that will definitely give you nightmares.

I bought some music to play at the Farmers Market to attract customers: Hank Williams, The Carter Family 1927-1934, and Patsy Cline. I am not a Country Western music person, but the old time music fits my marketing style. If I had my druthers, I'd play old Blues, but I don't think the customers care for Blues very much. I thought about buying some polka music, but I've seen people start dancing at farmers markets with polka music, and I want them to buy from me, not dance in front of me!

I finished a roll of film today so hopefully it will turn out and I will have some really nice pics to share with you soon.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Planting and More Planting

We have been VERY busy planting in between the good rain that has come to us this week. Tom re-tilled a couple of the veggie sections for me and I planted early cabbages, dill, onions, lettuces and beets next to the potatoes; and Mandan Bride flour corn and sunflowers went where the wheat was last year. I split that section in half and will plant the squashes and cucumbers in the second half next week. Since it was so hot and dry early on, the oats have not made a good showing and I will till them under and put the tomatoes there. If the peas don't start showing better, I will till them under early and plant green beans sooner than I originally planned. I set up the bamboo tepees for the pole beans, and will plant the rare bush beans in between the teepee rows. The okra, hot and sweet peppers, eggplants, and melons will find their happiness in the high tunnel. Herbs will be planted here and there, wherever I find an opening: I am still working on the design for my medicine wheel garden.

Today, Eddy and I helped Tom plant his corn in the house garden by the farm. He only wants squash and sweet corn there and will put whatever else he wants in the little garden by our house. We finished just as it started to rain. Planting sure goes fast when you have help!

I drew a diagram of the field as it stands this year. I hope you can read my scrawl. If you click on the picture, it will open in a new screen and will be more readable. Use your back button to return to the blog.

Started more sweet peppers in the basement, and I know beans don't like being transplanted, but I am afraid the longer season beans won't have enough time to mature if I direct plant, so I planted a flat of pole beans: Cherokee Trail of Tears, Speckled Cranberry, Scarlet Runner, and Rattlesnake. I think we will be done with the cold weather after next week.

Well, I have to go close up the high tunnel and put the chickens to bed. I can't wait to have enough produce to take to the farmers market! Talk to you soon!