Sunday, June 29, 2008

CSA Harvest & Some Pictures

We had our first CSA harvest last Thursday. We divided up 15 shares of what you see in the above picture. We had scarlet globe and icicle radishes, green onions, rhubarb, mint and dried chives. It wasn't much but, it was all we had ripe for the first pick up. We felt a little strange giving such a small amount. But, that's what it's about, people realize it's a get what's in, kind of thing. In a few weeks we will probably be heaping the baskets full as everything starts coming ripe. We did already get one report from a member that the radishes were the best they ever tasted. That was an encouraging thing to hear.

In a couple weeks or so we hope to open the farmstand as well. Between the other growers and us, we have tomatoes, peppers, green beans, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, leeks, rutabaga, peas, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, rhubarb, eggplant, lettuces, spinach, swiss chard, herbs, potatoes, sweet corn, various squashes, watermelon, cucumbers and pumpkins all at various stages of growing right now. Barring any unforeseen crop failures, we should have all of these in abundance as the season continues.

Other news at the farm is that the first batch of broiler chickens is well under way and should be ready around the 3rd or 4th week of July. Our second batch just arrived last week. Altogether we currently have 108 meat chickens. We will be ordering more chicks as the season progresses. We had a couple dozen or so rouen ducks born recently, so we could offer a few of those if any of our customers are interested.


Our kids love to take pictures so I thought I'd post a few of the ones I thought were rather striking. We're not sure which one took these, they take so many they forgot. It was either Shalea or Ryann or both.

We have tons of photo opportunities around here.


Until Next Time

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Taking Root

Pretty much everything in the green house is taking root. We lost a few plants during the transplant phase but the rest are bouncing back and perking up. The other day a lady gave us a few dozen tomato plants. Every year she starts more than she needs and usually gives them away. She couldn't find any takers so since we did the farm stand last year she wondered if we could use them. We sure could and they were twice the size of our biggest ones. We were saving a few beds for succession plantings but, these are far enough along to probably produce way sooner than any of the ones we already had and we put them in the saved beds. Kind of succession in reverse. What a blessing.

The top soil we use has a lot of weeds in it so our beds are already pretty weedy. We have had good luck in the past by choking out the weeds with mulch. So when ever we get a chance we'll be hauling a bunch of it up to the green house and mulching all these beds. In the mean time we have to pull weeds. Actually they are easy to pull out and in fact I personally find it a little relaxing. In the above picture you might see Kelli and Shalea "relaxing" at the other end. Well I don't know if they feel the same way I do.

Here's an example of one of the beds planted with various things. Green beans mostly here with a few herbs and a squash plant. I think some radishes are in this one too. We used string to mark off the square foot sections. It's kind of nifty doing it like that. Real neat and tidy. This is our first time ever trying this. The only draw back that we're finding is it is a little slow going when you have a lot to plant.

We planted more carrots in the outside gardens and I resorted to putting in short rows like we have always done in the past, instead of 16 tiny seeds per square foot. Our old way is much quicker. But, not as tidy. Plus we'll have to thin them out later too. But then again those thinnings never go to waste as we put them on our salads even if small. I put in a bed of rutabagas the old way too as those seeds are even smaller than carrots.

It's been cool weather in these parts so far this season. There's even talk about possible patchy frost in a couple nights. Well I hope it doesn't frost but, this is the north woods. Anything can happen here. I was talking to an old timer awhile back and he was telling me about a frost they had in July, way back when and he lost his whole garden. He did tell me what year it was and the exact date but, I don't remember those kinds of details very well. Anyway, he pretty much gave up on gardening after that.

This is cranberry country. I remember hearing that when ever there is a threat of frost the cranberry growers flood the bogs to protect the plants. We always have to be ready to cover ours plants here, any time of the year. That's why this green house is an invaluable thing to us.

We had 5 goslings born last week. Here's ones of the cuties.

Picking through some weeds to see if there's something good to eat!

Protective papa standing guard over the 5 babies. This old gander won first prize at the county fair about 9 years ago.

Until Next Time

Picture Says It All

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

FDA has tomato Salmonella reports in 17 states

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -

U.S. health officials said on Wednesday they are still receiving reports of people falling ill from eating Salmonella-tainted tomatoes and that they now have 167 reported cases from 17 states.
Representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they are continuing to search for the source of the Salmonella outbreak, which has hit New Mexico and Texas the hardest.

Sounds like it's going to be a good year to be raising your own tomatoes. Another fine example of why we need lots of local farms and households growing food instead of everything being controlled by a few multinational corporations.

Monday, June 09, 2008

James Bartlett A Good Reason To Vote

Well I know I'm over here in Wisconsin but, people from all over read this blog. Since I know that Jim Bartlett is a good guy I thought I'd make a plug for him and his run for the ND senate. If more people in this country were like him we'd be a whole lot better off as a nation. For all you ND people be sure to vote for James Bartlett!

Friday, June 06, 2008


You've heard of people running marathons, well it feels like we're doing a plantathon. I suppose though, for people who are used to doing even moderately sized farming our efforts are but a pittance. But, for us this is the most we've ever tried to accomplish all at once as far as crops go. It's all hand work since we are planting in raised beds and such. We're just trying to get enough of each thing planted. It will be an ongoing endeavour as we are also doing succession planting.

So far the green house is mostly planted. Lots of tomato and pepper plants. Some herbs. A few onions. Zucchini, yellow squash, egg plant,watermelon and celery. Seed plantings of green beans, carrots, radish, beets, leeks, lettuce, and more tomatoes. Not everything is warm loving however, because we're also trying to do companion planting from a book Kelli got called Carrots Love Tomatoes. There's more planted in there but so as not to bore you with all the details I won't make a complete list here.

We are ever grateful of all the helping hands people have contributed to the cause so far. The Heise clan has been instrumental. Friends from Illinois, Dawn, Dusty and Jessie were here for a short vacation and helped tons too. Thanks you guys! Thanks to everyone!

Today Kelli and I and the kids planted a 4' x 18' bed of beets outside. We put nine seeds per square foot. That's 648 beet seeds that went in there. Before that I planted two 4' x 18' beds of carrots at 16 seeds per square foot for 1152 seeds in each bed. If they all grow that will be 2304 carrots in just the two beds. That sounds like a whole lot but, last year we put in a bed that measures about 5' x 22' or 24', ( can't remember exactly) of carrots ( not by the square foot) and went through all of them between what we ate and the farmstand. Plus at the end of the season a couple different fellows bought bag fulls of them after we got all we needed for the freezer. So I'm pretty sure we're going to need alot more carrots. People loved them.

Several weeks ago we got around 600 onion bulbs planted. Looks like it won't be long and they'll be ready to eat. Actually we could be eating them now but we want to be sure to have enough for all the customers.

Been trying to keep weight on the ewes. I ran out of good hay before the pastures started greening and I got some horse hay which they lost weight on. Then when we did get them out on pasture it was too quick and they got diarrhea. By that point when I realized they were getting thin I had started giving them grain too, so I wasn't entirely sure if it was the rich grass or the grain that was making them loose, since they hadn't had any grain before that. So I withdrew grain feeding. They quickly ate down their main paddock and they got over the diarrhea so I brought them up close to fatten them up and to clean up around the buildings. Which made them loose again. After about a week their weight is stabilized and the runs have pretty much subsided.

We are finding that lactating ewes sure let you know when they want something. When they clean up an area of stuff they like they nag us relentlessly until we move them to a better spot. We only have the three, a whole herd would be deafening. I think I now kind of have a glimpse, if even a small one, of what it's like around Scepaniak's farm during weaning time with all that bellering. They're pretty good at harmonizing to bad it's not more harmonious.

Making more beds and planting will continue for, I don't know how long. Until it looks like we'll have enough for everyone and us too. That actually can be a challenge. Like with our eggs, they are in such high demand sometimes we find that we short our own family of them. Then we have to quickly put a hold on them since why else are we doing this if not to feed our own selves.

I suppose, if we keep doing this every year we'll get a feel for how much and what exactly to plant. We'll see what goes over and what does not. What we can grow successfully and what we can't. However we did do a survey so we aren't exactly going into it blind. People let us know what kind of produce they like. I'm quite thankful for that.

Another blessing is the fact that I'm not in the truck anymore. I find that I have alot more stamina to work around here without driving 400 (used to be 500 plus) plus miles a week. Our new helper is working out well so far. I tend to fret over things but, I'm gaining confidence as I see him getting more and more proficient. I tend to watch the clock thinking to myself, "ok, he should be in such and such a place at such and such a time" and then here he comes right on schedule and I breath a great sigh of relief. So as time goes by I'm not watching the clock quite so much. And not worrying quite so much.

Can't control everything anyway, a person needs to just put it all in the Lords hands and trust come what may, it all works out to the glory of God.

Until Next Time