Saturday, July 18, 2009

What month is this?

We had a couple 90 degree days some weeks ago and that seems but a distant memory. This has been one of the coolest July's on record with just about every day and night being below average temperatures. Tonight the low is supposed to be 47 degrees. Gardening is a challenge under these conditions to say the least. It seems more like September here.

But, at least we haven't seen any frost,,,,,,,yet. That reminds me. An older gentleman we know in Rhinelander told me once of the last time he ever gardened. I don't recall what year he said it was but, it was some time ago. It was a July and he had a garden in the back yard. Well, he heard the frost warnings aired on the evening news so he ran out to the garden to see if it was too late to cover his crops and he slipped on some ice and fell down. Needless to say his garden was a complete loss. That was the last time he ever gardened. Seems unimaginable that a person could fall down on the ice in the middle of July. But, that's life in the Northwoods.

Today we opened our farm stand for the season.

We took our old horse drawn sleigh out of retirement and we're using it to display the vegetables and produce.
Got lots of positive comments on the rustic appearance.

Between us and our other growing partner we had small potatoes, onions, pea's, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, rhubarb, garlic and home made bread and strawberry preserves.

Today was our best opening day. It usually takes a couple days or so for people to really start coming in once we put the signs out. This time it was just a matter of minutes before they started pulling in. I figure since we do things slowly that maybe they were anticipating it already. For instance last week we brought out the canopy stands. Then earlier in the week we pulled up the sleigh. Then we put the two canopy stands over the sleigh. Then this morning we put on the canopies. People look at our place when they go whizzing by on the highway. When ever something is different they take note.

A couple weeks ago we canceled the CSA for this year, mostly because of Kelli's sister getting ill. Between that and the different weather we've been having and not knowing how to deal with that, we figured it would be best to bow out. It was too stressful. Too many uncertainties. However we went against the golden rule of Community Supported Agriculture and refunded everyone. Usually CSA's are nonrefundable. But, due to the circumstances and the fact that we hadn't yet had even one pick up for the shareholders it was best to refund them. It was only fair. They can still shop at the road side stand if they want.
Kelli's sister Doreen is doing better now. The doctors didn't think she was going to make it. She had three separate health issues going at once. Her heart, diabetes and a cyst that had turned septic and become gangrene. It was very much touch and go for a while, quite a few days actually. She is now recovering in a nursing home. She is 39 years old. But, now her biggest concern is her finances. We saw some of the bills. Just part of it was in the tens of thousands of dollars. We're pretty sure all said and done it will be in the hundreds of thousands. A half million dollar debt wouldn't be surprising.
Their brother is organizing a big yard sale to help raise money for her debts and just to pay the normal bills. Doreen rents a house with their mom. They share the living expenses. But, even the best of yard sales would only bring in enough to maybe chip off the very tip of the iceberg.
This is a big reminder to us how messed up our health care system is. I'm not an advocate for the government to try and fix it but, something needs to be done. Too bad the health care industry as a whole didn't sit down and try to fix it themselves before the government takes them over too!
Well, I need to wrap up this post. Just checked the temperature for Rhinelander and it is currently 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
Until Next Time


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning Russ and family!

Good to hear that your sister(in-law) is making a recovery! What difficult and emotional times you all are going thru!

Your garden stand looks sooooooooo great!!! The old work sled looks great!!

Yes, this has been a very strange year for weather here in ND as well! LONGGGGGGGG winter, late spring, MUD, snow in June, frosts into mid-June, cool weather but we have been blessed with abundant rain and the prairie is sooooooo green and thick---cattle belly deep in grass! Crops and hay are tall.

Gardens look wonderful but were planted late. Starting to pick a variety of produce but tomatoes, corn and beans have a ways to go.

Best wishes to you all!
He is Risen!


9:11 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I love your market. I wish either I was there or you were here so I could come visit! My sister dreams of having a small market one day. I'll have to direct her to your site!

6:46 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Hey Steven,

“Cattle belly deep in grass” Now that’s quite a word picture! There’s just something about animals grazing on lush green grass that makes me happy.

Today (7-21-09) I saw a man selling sweet corn in Rhinelander. It’s grown a little ways south of here I believe. Makes that much difference. Our Painted Mountain corn is barely knee high.

Did you get a good turn out with your most recent workshop and cottage tour?


Thanks for the comment. Sometimes with dreams all it takes is to just jump in with both feet and do it. Like that commercial said that went around a number of years ago, “just do it”. But, I know it isn’t always that easy. The timing has to be right also.

We’ve found that selling things this way is quite enjoyable. In my opinion selling directly to the consumer is the only way to farm in this day and age.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Lynn Bartlett said...

Hi Russ, we have not had a 90 degree day yet this summer! The boys planted lots of sweet corn, and we hope it makes it this year. The same for tomatoes. And our raspberries just started in spite of how cool it has been. At least the woodticks are pretty much gone for the season!

Glad to hear your sister-in-law is doing okay. When my Dad has his open heart surgery we were amazed at his bill; the computer generated bill reached all the way across their lawn.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farmstand looks great! Hope to have one like it soon.
Glad your sis is out of the woods.
Get her over to
to get a handle on those medcal bills!!
- Micah (former Northwoodser, now gardening in the deep south of Michigan ;)

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning Russ and family!

Another bright, beautiful day out here on the prairie. Hasn't rained in 2 weeks and the grasses are starting to turn brown---normal for this region--this abundance of rain has been 'abnormal' but really a blessing!!!

Some farmers are cutting some of the better prairie hay as their cattle don't need it for grassing. 'Make hay while the sun shines'---followed by 'put up as much as you can, cuz you don't know whether any will grow the next season'.

Yes, our herb workshop was very well attended--around 30 people. Actually, too many for a close look at the plants during the 'herb walk'---lots of interesting people with lots of interest in the subject!

We broke out 2 acres of prairie across the creek to expand the gardens--bought a new rototiller that mounts to the 2-point hitch. Now, I've been hauling manure and compost to build up the soil structure and fertility.

Gardens are doing great--corn is slow.

May the Lord continue to bless you and your family!


10:02 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Thanks for the comment. And thanks for the tip about

Sounds like you’ve been busy as usual. Glad the workshop was a success.

Take Care and God Bless,

9:22 PM  
Anonymous wl said...

It's the month that they're pushing the NAIS through, tacked onto an already ugly bill, HR 2749. My friends on the west coast are complaining of a heat wave, meanwhile, while we get rained out at work every other day, it's never enough to water the gardens... Weird year.

7:43 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Yes it is a "weird" year. We've never seen a growing season like this in the 11 years we've been here. And it is even more weird with what is going on with this Country, with the financial system and politics and all.

10:28 PM  

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