Monday, June 29, 2009

Spud Fest

I'm excited to report that we have spuds this week. Half share folks will be getting one pound and full share people will get two pounds. These would be considered new potatoes so many of them are quite small but very yummy. We still have lots more to dig (plus they'll get bigger and bigger) so you'll be seeing them quite often for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

Here are some photos of our spud endeavors:

The spud patch.

A few new tators.

Here I am digging them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Lambs

Here are the new twins born last weekend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Third Box Notes

Sad news on the chicken front this week.
The hen that recently hatched out eggs was living in a temporary brooder/shelter with her chicks. I went out there Wednesday morning to check on them and found their set-up completely ripped apart (like, literally ripped apart). I’m certain this was an attack orchestrated by raccoons. Their water and food dishes were strewn about and the chicken wire was totally mangled. The hen lost some feathers but is otherwise O.K. Sadly five of the baby chicks are missing and presumed eaten. The remaining chick survived the attack only because is got trapped in a ball of chicken wire rubble and apparently the coons were unable to extract it. I’ve put the hen and chick in a dog crate which is not really the best because it’s kind of small but a better deal then being savagely murdered by a raccoon.
Once the chick is bigger, I’ll be able to release these two into the chicken coop. It would be nice if I could just put them in the coop now, but if I did that the other chickens would probably attack the chick (chickens are weird that way). Anyway, the chicken coop isn’t exactly the safest place for chickens either. Last summer our coop was hijacked by raccoons who gained access by breaking a window.
It’s really amazing how many predators chickens have. Over the years we’ve lost our fair share of chickens. Here is a list of bad ends that some of our chickens have come to: eaten by raccoons, attacked by an owl, attacked by a hawk, hit by a car, drowned in a stock tank, attacked by a sheep, attacked by a goose, attacked by a weasel. Other predators of chickens include: foxes, dogs, cats, fishers, pigs and other chickens.
Predators are one of the main reasons that chickens on factory farms are raised in cages. If my chickens were all caged I’d still have all those that have been killed by predators. But I’d rather expose my chickens to their predators and take the gamble; I think they like their lives a lot better this way, even though they have an increased chance of living a shorter life.

Actual Garden News
Now that I’ve talked your ear off about chickens, here is some garden news. Everyone is probably thoroughly tired of green onions, it looks as though we’ll be seeing more variety in the boxes next week. I’m thinking we could see the first of the spuds and perhaps beets will make their debut. This is no guarantee since my garden seems to cleverly evade me every time I try and make a prediction about it.
Other new developments in the garden include; I spotted two little tiny green peppers today, all of the cherry tomatoes are blooming and some of the big tomatoes are blooming. Expect the very first peppers and tomatoes in late July. Then expect the majority through August and into September. Approximately 1/3 of the spuds are blooming and maybe ¼ of the peas are blooming.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Second Box Notes

So second boxes have all been delivered, here are some of my thoughts on them:

Digging Deep
We really had to dig pretty deep to come up with salad greens this week. I’m pretty sure the plants haven’t yet fully responded to all the rain we’ve gotten. I’m hoping next week we can send more your way.
A second thing we really had to hunt for was radishes. This I was not terribly surprised by as radish season has just started. Most of you received a small bunch of a type of radish called Cherry Belle they are little petite things that are generally the first to produce. A few of you got some Easter Egg radishes which are quite a bit bigger (some even resemble turnips) and these should be more prevalent next week. It also appears as though the white radishes, which are a spicier kind, should start showing up next week as well. A handful of you did not receive any radishes and instead got extras of something else, I’ll be sure you get some rads next week.

It’s still Early
If you are thinking the boxes are a tad on the sparse side, you’re right. June is not the most productive month, even though it sometimes seems like it should be especially when the temperature hits 80 degrees. It’s a central Wisconsin/Minnesota fact that most vegetables can’t be planted until right around Memorial Day. As a result, the most productive months end up being August and September (July isn’t half bad either) so be prepared. In the meantime, please bear with us through these lighter weeks.

Like all gardens right about now, we are getting slammed with weeds and have been working some long days to clear them. We’ve been getting lots of help from my parents and a few other relatives. Luckily Boyceville Elementary School is out for the summer so my 10-year-old nephew is available for weed picking (he’s really pretty efficient).

Other Farm News
Speaking of my nephew, he found a hen in my haymow with some freshly hatched chicks, very cute. This is the first time a hen has actually hatched out chicks as the brooding genes have mostly been bred out of chickens. I was really concerned about the health and well-being of this particular hen because I hadn’t seen her in a couple of weeks. I’m glad that’s all straightened out and hope the chicks do well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's Raining!

What a great rain we're having. This should really give everything a boost. Here are some photos of our packing shed which is actually the old milkhouse:

We've been working on this building since last winter. At one point we were worried that it was going to separate from the main barn and collapse into a pile of rubble. Luckily we were able to bring it back from the brink.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Box Notes

Our first deliveries were this week and I was for the most part happy with what we came up with for all your boxes. I hope everyone found their boxes, if you had problems please call or e-mail me.

What to do with your empty box
Keep your box at your house (if you have space issues they actually break down quite nicely) and bring it with you next week when you come to pick up again. The co-ops will hold them for me and I’ll be reusing them. Please be nice to your boxes they each cost $1.58 and it is my hope that they will last us all season.

Arugula not up to snuff
I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed with the arugula, I had no idea flea beetles could be that hungry. Even though it does still have decent flavor, the texture is all wrong, probably due to the billions of holes eaten in the leaves. Usually I harvest arugula several times, but I’m going to till the rest of this batch down and we’ll take a shot at growing a fall crop of arugula. It is true that I could spray the plants, I do have organic pest spray, but I’m reluctant to spray salad greens since they are a little trickier to wash and even though it would be an organic spray, you’re still not suppose to eat it.

Speaking of washing, I will be rinsing your lettuce and other greens but I will not be washing much else. One reason for this is that many types of produce actually keep longer and retain their flavor better if they are left unwashed. A second reason is that I strive to pick your produce and get it to your drop-off spot as soon as possible and washing would take up quite a bit of time meaning your boxes would sit longer than I’d like them to.

Another word on comfrey
If you planted your comfrey plant and it wilted I can pretty much guarantee that it’s not going to die. I sold many, many comfrey plants at the farmers market last year and at the end of each market, I would dump any plants that didn’t get sold into the woods. Many times these plants would perk up and start growing for awhile until they realized that they were never actually planted and weren’t living in any dirt.

The drought
I’m sure you are wondering about the severe drought that is currently affecting the metro area. We are not as bad off as the Twin Cities. Our area has been classified as in a moderate drought. So even though I would love some rain, we are not in such a bad way yet. We did receive about ¼ of an inch of rain last week, Menomonie (a town about 25 miles from us) got an inch.

Monday, June 1, 2009

More Pictures

Onions! There are 15,000 of them.

Pumpkins, gourds and ornamental corn patch.

Our perrenial and flower garden.

Garden Pictures

Part of the tomato patch.

The west half of the big garden. It's nearly two acres and has the majority of our produce.

A stand of comfrey.