Monday, March 26, 2018

Change Can Happen Mighty Quick!

Here we are in November, 2017.  A hard rain was coming down, the wind was howling, swirling through the valley.  We were warm and snug in our little stucco farmhouse.  Surfing the web, drinking coffee, planning and looking forward to our 2018 growing season.  In fact, our farmhouse does such a nice job protecting us from the weather, including August's hot sun, we didn't realize the direction or ferocity of this November storm. 

At the computer, I heard a "thunk" noise, but didn't get up to look outside.  Doug happened to be coming from the kitchen with a fresh cup of coffee and looked out the living room picture window that looks out to our produce stand. 

This picture is what that "thunk" sound was.  A southeast gust of wind had smacked up under the overhang.  It flipped our produce stand completely upside down on it's roof.  Must have been more than a gust of wind!  Our produce stand had been sitting in this location since 2010, it was built out of 2x6 construction, there was an attached deck with steps, flower pots sitting on each side of the deck, and a cooler sitting inside of it.  Deep breath, and a sigh.   Call the insurance company.

The stand was left upside down in the yard for a while, in order for the yard to dry out enough to drive on and for us to mourn, decide how/what would replace it.   We tried several things including checking with tow truck companies for ideas,  purchasing new straps to wrap around the stand, pulling on it with the tractor, and hearing loud cracking sounds while tugging on it, Doug was unable to roll it back to it's original position.  Did I say, we (me and Doug) loved that produce stand!  The only decision left was to take it apart.  It was tough, not only because it was so well built, but that it was such a fun part of our farm. 

So, we were left with no other choice but to replace the stand.  The new stand will have more storage/produce space.  Being surrounded by bright green pastures, and sitting in front of a big bright red (eventually) barn, our lemon twist yellow farm stand will definitely be noticed by passers-by.  See next picture:
Don't you just love a happy ending?   As soon as the ground dries out and the new gravel is brought in, we will be setting up our new yellow produce stand.  Make it a great day! 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

So many projects, so little time!  One of the projects is to "fire" up this blog and post what's happening on the farm.  2017 gardening season got off to a slow start due to our main gardens staying so wet until well into June.  We didn't do so well with the cool crops, but the warm weather crops went gangbusters!  The Zucchini and patty pan squashes produced all summer long - it was awesome!  Finally opened the produce stand in late August.  It's a joy to be able to grow healthy, high quality reasonably priced food.  Stay tuned! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Apple Blossoms

Took these while mowing.  Spring is always a busy time around here.  Getting the gardens tilled, transplanting strawberries, figs, and kiwi.  More pictures to follow. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Knee High by the Fourth of July! Yes!

Doug posing in the corn in the small garden next to the barn. This corn was planted on May 3rd.  We planted another crop on May 8 out in our Main Production Garden and the seed rotted in the ground.  So, this year we won't have a really BIG corn crop, this one will work. We'll save the extra corn seed for next year.  Buckwheat and rye cover crops will be planted and we'll plan and dream of corn for next year.   

Below, Doug - 'Out standing' in his field.  And yes, the corn is really knee high.  It's been soooo long since we've been able to grow a decent crop of corn.  Our fields stay wet for so long in the spring that it's tough to get the corn planted early enough for it to ripen by BBQ time. 

Oh, that's a 'deadly' cabbage moth net (formerly known as a fish net) that he is holding.  We had a cabbage moth derby one year, he won with 121, but I came in a close second with 118.  

1937 Dodge with a boatload of flowers.  This picture doesn't do it justice ... unless you can click on it to bring it up closer.  Just another fun, small project.  

Take good care.  Not sure if we will get the produce stand opened.  Just starting our CSA season ... always look forward to that!  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

Just a few pictures that were taken early in the spring.  So far, it's been a beautiful 'growing' spring.  It's been too nice to be inside on the computer.  The small 'experimental' garden by the barn and all but one raised bed, are planted.  We have a small amount of corn, potatoes, carrots, beets, cucumbers and melons up.  All a testament to our wonderful spring growing weather ... and did you guess ... it's raining outside right now ... so, here I am at my computer! 

These blossoms are on a Satsuma plum tree ... the blossoms have fallen.  For the first time in two years, there is fruit in place of the blossoms.  Due to the drier spring, the bees were able to pollinate it.  For the past two years, spring was so wet, that the bees didn't fly.   All but a couple of our fruit trees have fruit on them.  If you look close, on the right is Cletus the goat and Winnie the pony. 

This was a little frog that was hiding in the weeds in the raised beds.  I was surprised at how close he let the camera get.  This was a great day for tackling the weed 'cover crop' in the raised beds. 
Make it a great day and I'll get out the trusty camera and take some current pictures ... these we taken sometime in early April. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Looking forward to Spring!

Here's why I'm looking forward to spring.  These pictures were taken Spring, 2012.  

Another picture from spring 2012.
Baby barn owl.  He fell out of his nest in the barn.
We took him to Sarvey's Wildlife Center.

We used leather gloves to pick this little guy up.
He was hissing at us the entire time we were
helping him.  Can't blame him.  We would
have put him back into his nest, but weren't sure if Mom
hadn't kicked him out.

Not sure what type of bird of prey this is. I thought it was
an eagle, but it could be a turkey vulture by the shape of
it's wings.
Ah, spring!  Check out that blue sky!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Favorite Tools

(Before I start, please note:  Our produce stand was a huge failure.  It was only open for about a week, then it froze and the season was all over for us.  With the late spring start and an early freeze,  'I give up ' Mother Nature!  Time to start thinking about next year.)
We had our Focus on Farming event here in Snohomish County in mid-November.  One of the questions that was asked of a our panel was, "What are your three favorite tools?"  Since I garden in the style of my grandmother, mostly with small hand tools and anything mechanized like rototilling, was left to the men.  So, my favorite tools are a rototiller, a hula hoe, and a seeder per the following:  
The above is a picture of our 5 HP Craftsman walk behind with an 18 inch tiller.  It has been a 'godsend' piece of equipment.   We (Doug or Bob) can till about 50-60 foot rows in about three hours.  Yes, I do hand tilling, but it's a row here and there.  A senior citizen such as myself can 'manage' a straigh line, and as long as there is no turning involved.    I still haven't gotten the knack of a well-done, efficient turn.  And, as long as there are no hoses, plants or people in my way, it's not a problem.        
  When we are planting, we customize the width of our rows to accommodate the tiller, we plant roughly 24 inches.  This allows for plant growth and squeezes more plants into the garden. (DUH?)  We were planting our rows a tractor tiller width (48 inches) apart, but that wasn't an efficient use of our space. (another DUH???!!)  
Okay, moving on ... below are my other two most favorite tools.  On the left is a hula hoe ... it's one of those tools that when you are in the 'rythym' of using it, all of the stars are lined up and life is good.  Because of it's curved corners, it's great for weeding close to the plants. 
The other tool, the one on the right is an Earthway seeder, with interchangeable seed plates.  Yes, and one year, (Bob can attest to this) not too long ago, I forgot to check the seed plate to make sure that we had the right one in it! Arrgghhhh

We have successfully and easily planted from seed: beets, carrots, green beans, corn, lettuce, pumpkin and cucumbers.  The pumpkin seed was a little bit too big for our biggest plate.
The Earthway made the planting of those itty, bitty seeds really fast and no bending!  I planted 32-60 foot rows of corn in about an hour or maybe less. 
Our goals have never been to be a big dollar producer, and make our money from selling vegetables.  HA!  We would have been out of business in the first two years!  Even if we would have been perfect, Mom Nature jerked the rug right out from under us!  Our goal is to grow high quality food using as little fossil fuel as possible and share our experience with people who want to grow their own food.
Food production wise we have been averaging about 4,000 lbs of food per year.  In 2012 we were hoping to produce 6,000 lbs by hand, with little equipment, but with the late spring and early fall, we fell short. 
I like to think that beginning food producers/gardeners/farmers will learn from our mistakes. Some of the mistakes have been 'what were we thinking!?' kinds of mistakes. And, yes, embarrassing to admit. Learning from one's mistakes is what happens when you are 'self-taught.'   Neither my grandmother, nor my mother explained why they gardened the way they did. In the spring, my mother could toss tomato seeds into the ground and by late August we would be eating  tomatoes right off the vines like they were apples.  I didn't know what happened in between, but to this day, I remember the first bite and that tomato juice running down my arm! YMMMM  And, BY GOLLY I'm going to figure it out!  Even if it means growing cherry tomatoes!  Make it a great day!  Happy Holidays to you and yours!