Monday, December 13, 2010

Does Starbucks Deliver?

No flood waters on our property. Whew! Lots of standing rain water and we aren't able to make a Starbucks run to Stanwood. (Nor was Doug able to get out for work.) But we're good! We took this picture this morning from the living room window looking northwest. The picture below was taken from upstairs using a zoom. Also looking northwest. While it appears that the flood waters are up against the homes in the background, the water is in the nearby pastures and seems to be receding pretty quickly.
Since these pictures were taken, the sun has come out and our biggest worry is to get motivated to do something other than stare out the windows. Roads should be passable later this afternoon. We can then stop trying to figure out a way to get to Starbucks, i.e. hitch hike a ride on the Burlington Northern Truck that was seen driving up and down checking the railroad tracks, wondering whether or not a bicycle would get through flood waters easier than a car, or break out a VIA and call it good! (No, we don't have stock in Starbucks ... yet! LOL) Make it a great day and thank you for your thoughts and kind words. Not to worry, we and all of our livestock are a-okay. XXOO

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hare's to you!

This is Moby, a gift, and one of seven bunnies. He is very adaptable and didn't seem to mind one bit being posed for this Christmas card picture. And, yes, we did reward his good behavior with most excellent treats!

This picture was taken through the kitchen window. You can see all of the projects that we're working on ... or will be this spring! We didn't quite get six inches of snow, but it was close! Doug went to work one day when it was 12 degrees! BRRRRRR!!!! Those "...teen" temps revives renewed appreciation for those of you who live in Montana, or Calgary, AB! (Or any of the Northern Tier areas for that matter!) Break out the woolies and enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Happens When the Earthworm Crosses the Road?

It makes a profile that looks like a twig or in some cases a branch. Interesting. It took a few winter storms for one of us to actually get out of the car and take a look at the "twigs." We don't have a lot of trees around us, so it was a mystery where the "twigs" were coming from. Not twigs ... Just for perspective, the coin ... seriously, is a quarter. So, what's amazing about the earthworm, is the shear numbers of them. The OTHER thing that is so amazing is that once in a while ... Grand Poppa goes on vacation.

This guy did NOT want his picture taken, and was very motivated to get away from the camera. It surprised me how fast he could move. Very camera shy!
This actually isn't the biggest earth worm that we have seen. Hopefully, this winter, we can get a picture of GREAT Grand Poppa ... (or GREAT Grand Momma? I can't tell.)
It's nice to know they're out there working away improving the soil in such huge numbers! It must be a family trait ... NONE of them would smile for the camera! Make it a great day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

So, What Will Happen to All Those Veggies?

So, what will happen to all those veggies, you ask? Well, shares will be sold through CSA (Community Supported Agrigulture) and our CSA customers will have the choice of having their certified organic vegetables delivered to them OR they may pick up their produce here on the farm.
However, we are adding another element ... a beautiful, well-built, take us serious, produce stand. We decided to add the produce stand so that more families will have access to high quality, healthy food at affordable prices.
Built by Brandon, Doug put skids under it and arranged to have a tow truck company come out and move it. Why didn't we build it on the site? Oh, because we thought we should move it away from the road in the winter, so people wouldn't expect it to be open. But then, it ended up being too heavy to be portable. So ...
Wa La! Isn't it cute? After all that hard work, it looks like this produce stand has been there for years! The idea is for it to be as self-servicing as possible. When we're open, people will be able to drive up, park in front of it, look in through the front opening. If they see something that they want, they can step inside, pack up their produce, weigh it, and pay for it all through an honor system.

We still have some more finish work to do on it, i.e. sealing it up, painting, laying flooring, decorating, etc. ... yay for winter!

We'll announce in the spring dates and hours of operation.

Oh, don't you just love it when dreams (goals) come true!

So much for taking a winter break! LOL

New for 2011 Season!

This picture was taken from our second floor. If you look toward the horizon on the far right (north) was our 2010 garden. The hoop house with the green peppers in it is still standing. The two brown areas to the left (south) of our 2010 garden are our expansion areas.

Center garden has about 300 bales of grass hay around it. The grass hay will be hand spread over our "trashings" (not real trash, just aged dead weeds, vegetable trimmings, etc. We don't call it compost because the "trash" isn't being regularly turned or held at required temperatures for three or more days.) and of course, alpaca manure. This will sit until spring, minimum of six months, if not more. Then, in the spring, weather dependent, it will be turned under and the area will be prepared for planting.

The far left (southern most) garden was spread with aged cow manure, and it also will sit undisturbed through the winter.
So, we have three 70x260 foot areas! Yay! What fun will that be????? And, you ask, what will happen with all those veggies? Wa La! Coming soon, to a farm near you ... a Produce Stand!
Make it a great day! And stay warm and cozy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2010 Season Ends

Dear Diary:

October 16 - Frost

October 17 - Frost

October 19 - Assess Frost Damage

October 20 - End 2010 Season

Whoa! That was fast! All of our veggies were slowing down, and we were pretty well running out of our staples, carrots, green beans, etc. We were hoping to squeeze ONE more week of deliveries out of the garden. But the quality as well as the volume dropped off just as fast, and the frost put the BIG SKIDS on ALL of our crops, particularly our warm weather crops. As quickly as our spinach popped out of the ground, we were sure that there would be several harvests, we did have one small harvest. As for the corn, even though the silk was dry and brown, the kernels inside didn't form very well and therefore didn't ripen.

Our growing "pains" (snigger, pun intended) were weather related. For instance, we had our tomatoes covered, in a hoop house, with the ends open. (I in my ball cap, dreaming of beautiful, sweet, juicy tomatoes.) Then BAM! A couple of days of warm weather and high humidity was all it took for the wilt to set in. Within a few days the entire crop was infected. Yes, I did grab about 14 green tomatoes off the vines (what I could carry at one time) and put them in the greenhouse to ripen. They did ripen, and they didn't have much flavor, similar to cardboard. (And, yes, when I was a curious kid, I did chew on a corner of some cardboard. No flavor and salt wouldn't have helped it.)

We'll keep posting throughout the winter. We do have some exciting plans for next year that we want to share with you. i.e. garden area expansion, produce stand, etc.
(This picture is what we think may be a "hybrid" between a dog and a coyote. The picture was taken through our bathroom window a couple of weeks ago.) Happy trails! XXOO

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Got Spinach?

This is just too cool! In the foreground is spinach and in the background (at the top of the raised bed) is a variety of choi. You would NOT have believed how quickly the seeds popped out of the ground ... it was within a few days of planting it! Now that's exciting! We're still waiting for several varieties of leaf lettuce, which was planted on the very same day, in another bed to show itself. May have to replant that.

The corn is trying to ripen. Maybe it will and maybe it won't. If we could just get a few really nice warm days, we MIGHT be in business! In the foreground, the zucchini, and other summer squashes are still producing. Slowly and steadily! (And, uh, yes, that is fog in the background. On the news yesterday the warning for Stanwood was "ZERO visibility due to fog.")
This year's harvest, despite all of the whining, netted approximately 2,000 lbs in a nice variety of vegetables! We've had years where we've had twice that ... but we are thankful for what we did harvest this year ... it has been tough on every farmer we've talked to.
So the season is winding down ... whether it winds down slowly and we are able to harvest corn, and the newly planted spinach and choi ... or it drops off fast ... we'll just have to wait and see what mom nature has in store. Which is half the fun of gardening, isn't it? Anyway, like I always say: "There's always next year!" And, THAT, my friends is another chapter! Make it a great day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Got Rain? Got Mud!

So, back to reality and the harvest! The zucchini pictured in the bowl toward the top is the biggest one that we've harvested this year. That should say something about what a slow year it has been for us. We just aren't getting the sunshine and warmth to bring on the bounty of years past! While being grateful for every teeny tiny little veggie that we are blessed with, the small harvest does put a BIG, HUGE damper on how much is available for sharing. ("Damper?" .... uh, no pun intended!)

What a picture! Doug's muck boots. He said he was four inches taller and weighed ten more pounds by the time he was finished harvesting!
It's the worst thing to have to walk in the garden when it's so wet. Can you tell how compacted our footprints are? When each one of those foot prints dries, the clay soil will be so compacted that the areas where we stepped will be as hard as a sidewalk. Bad, bad, bad for the little plants and their root systems. Hark, though, there is always hope! Using cover cropping and allowing the soil to dry out before it's tilled will bring it back. (OR, we may just let it may sit fallow for the year to give it a rest. We'll see. )
All in all, though ... we have harvested a LOT of great food this year and at least we're getting something! AND, I would do it all again in a hearbeat! So, you make it a great day!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gone Fishin!

Fishin' buddies, Sheila and Brad in the cabin of their C-Dory. Captain Brad driving the boat thus ensuring that the ladies had a good time fishing to their hearts content!

What a wonderful way to spend a day! Just love livin' here in the Pacific Northwest. We spent Friday morning trolling around 'The Shipwreck' and Possession. Visiting and laughing the entire time. No sign of any fish other than a few herring, including the ones we were using for bait.
It seemed like there were more seals than fish! We either saw SIX seals or the same one at least SIX times. In spite of the seals, Sheila, proved she had the better rigging. She caught a couple of fish that were released. Not a bite for me though, even though I was using fresh herring and a white flasher similar to a favorite one that was lost due to novice knot tying. Seriously, though, I thought the color coordinated outfit would bring in the fish to at least have a look at my fashion statement!

Gracious hosts made for a fun, inspirational day ... not to mention feeling spoiled. So, it didn't matter that the salmon rejected the bait offered! (Just a matter of time, though ..... and place .... and the right bait! Big smile.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting there!

This is soooooo exciting! We are getting there! This is a picture of PART of our harvest for this week's delivery. Swiss chard in the plastic bags. The veggies don't look perfect, but boy do they taste good! Fresh, local AND organic ... doesn't get much better than that! It's going to be fun to see how far into the fall/winter we can go ... since we got such a late start this spring. This weekend we'll be planting cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, radishes and chinese cabbage in the raised beds.

Birds, Apples and Anxiety

Actually, this is kind of gross. But, doesn't this apple look yummy ... never mind the scratch marks on it. I do believe that those scratch marks have been caused by hungry starlings. They seem to be foraging pretty hard this year as it's the first time that we have had a bird problem with our apples. Our trees are about six years old.
So, if you turn the apple around, wa la! Yuk! We have almost an entire tree that looks this way. This was an almost ripe apple. When we find an apple like this, there's usually a wasp or two feasting as well. We (Doug) has been making apple crisp from the few from this tree that can be saved. The green apples are being overlooked by the starlings, robins, etc. (SHHHHH) Since we are certified organic food producers (and lovers of wild life) there won't be any shooting going on. But there is a plan underfoot involving a stuffed penquin and a bird of prey ... one of many winter projects.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beets Me!

Check out this beet!!!! It wasn't going to seed either. So, after all of the whining about the weather ... there were a lot of vegetables that did really well ... peas, carrots, onions, lettuces. Did I mention beets did really well too?
We're looking forward to bumper crops of zucchini (yes, zucchini!), cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Corn and winter squashes are still "iffy."
We were surprised that out potatoes, usually a staple in our garden, didn't do that well. We think it was because of the wet spring. Still taste awesome. Homemade hashbrowns ... ymmmy.
Oh, yes, uh, back to the beet, one of our CSA customer does canning with her mom, so this beet was sent home with her. Weighing in at least a lb, it should fill a pint jar. Can't wait to hear back from her. How fun is this????!!!!

9/9/10 - This beet is a Detroit Dark Red, which is an heirloom variety. It was cut up and enjoyed and it wasn't woody. Have you ever had grilled beets? If you don't like beets, try slicing them about 1/4 inch thick, brush with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and grill away!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two Surprises!

It's so amazing to me how quickly time whizzes by! Didn't I just update this blog last week? Uh ... NO! That would be last month? Really?

So, here's some small farm news! We met up today with Sheila at Smokey Point Plant Farm. She brought us a copy of the newly released book "The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook" by Debra Daniels-Zeller (

Yay! New veggie recipes! I like it and will share the recipes with our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers. It helps answer the question: What am I going to do with 12 bazillion pounds of beets (or insert veggie of choice) ??!!!! The recipes look great! Can't wait to try them using our fresh produce. (Oh, here's a small point ... Whispering Winds Farm is listed in the book as well. AND, there is a picture of our heritage barn in the book too!)
This great book is available from the author through her blog or Amazon. Yes, I am blatantly marketing this book ... timely topic to go with fresh tomatoes!
Yes, Virginia, there are ripe tomatoes in our hoop house! The second surprise! Happy Day! Yay!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bountiful Beginnings ....

Isn't this a pretty picture of our veggie harvest this week? In alphabetical order: beets, carrots, garlic, lettuce, green onions, shallots, sugar snap peas. And out of the picture are parsley, dill and peppermint. We've been having great weather for these crops.
Bottom picture, not only are they pretty, but they taste great too!
Ah, this is what it's all about!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Planting ... Oh, Yay! Finally!

Gosh, it's hard to believe that two weeks ago it was rainy and cold ... today was spent turning soaker hoses off and on, throughout the garden.

So, here we go, off to a rough start, but being an optimist, we will at least get something to grow!
The bottom picture is of one of the two hoop houses that Doug, with Bob, Angie and Kellie's help put up over the last two weekends. As soon as the hoop house was up, we planted three varieties of tomatoes in it.
In front of the hoop house (the bottom picture) are potatoes, and in front of the spuds are brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and the little dead looking things way in the lower right corner are Chinese cabbage and baby Choy. (Alas, the tender little greens seem to be a favorite of the millions of flea beetles!) Hopefully, we can take care of their nesting grounds and larvae by putting the ground cover over the top of them.
The top picture is looking east and is of the second hoop house, which is full of peppers and eggplants. They were looking pretty droopy today ... I think they were shocked ... like the rest of us ... at the heat. Soaked them with water and they perked back up.
We're trying spring lock on the plastic this year, (from Steuber's out in Snohomish) also Doug put perlins between each plastic pipe so it should strengthen their ability to withstand the wind. Although, while we were installing the second hoop house the wind gods did pay us a visit. You would have laughed to see us running around trying to hold the plastic down before it shifted out of place! In all of the running around, we didn't panic ... it was a mission! (We did it ... remind me this fall to pick up the plastic and not let it sit on the ground all winter ... arrggghhhh ... what a mess ... my head band was covered in mud!)
These hoop houses do have a lovely creaking sound when the wind is moving around them. So, we will see how long it takes before we hear (or see) the plastic fluttering! Seriously, I had a nightmare about seeing half of the plastic blowing in the wind. With luck, (and Doug's ingenuity) they'll make it to November this year!
Make it a good one!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

And the Good News Is ... !

And the good news is we have a second "cover crop" growing in our main garden ... and we didn't even need to plant it! (Uh, you guessed it, they're weeds, but don't they look awesome! LOL) The bad news is that main garden is slow to dry out, so other than a few spuds and a few brussel sprouts ... and LOTS of weeds, we're waaaaaaay behind in the "main garden" planting race! You know, the race against time! Can't go with just one day of warm dry weather, needs to be at least three and four would be better.

Other good news is that we have our raised beds planted with lettuce, carrots, beets, garlic, onions, radishes, peas, herbs, asparagus for next year and we slipped some canteloupe in one and have it under reemay for protection. We'll see how that does. AND, we've had two very small veggie deliveries ...

One thing about it, when we do get our seeds/starts in the ground, they'll hopefully make up for lost time and grow like gang busters ... right? Can't help but be optimistic! We'll get there! Looking forward to a great growing season! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Got Rain?

This is a holding tray that over the past couple of days filled with rain water. We did have about an inch of water in the bottom of the tray prior to the rain. Getting ready to plant more lettuce. Here's where procrastination paid off ... didn't loose any seeds. The trays are now out of the weather, ... in the barn ... under lights. (This is such a waste ... we'll need the water in July/August. And thus are the laments of a gardener!)

You wouldn't believe how much standing water we have! These pictures don't let you appreciate the slogging around the back yard. Best stay off of it.

Just more water at the base of the main garden ... we're getting a much later start than we anticipated. Potatoes are under the burlap, pac choi is the little bit of green that can be seen in one of the rows.

Ah, spring, and to think the day before we mowed thru this spot! This is the pond that forms at the lower end of our main garden. When this is full, the garden doesn't drain as well. (See the above picture.) We think this is more water than we had in January and February! (These pictures were taken on May 28. The ducks are happy and ready to move in. LOL!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Yes, I think his tractor's sexy!

What a beautiful day today! Looks like we will be ready to get our spuds in ... and a whole bunch else! Ground is cold, but dry!
Happy Mom's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Researching ...... and Waiting!

Waiting for what? Waiting for the yard/garden to dry out, weather to warm up, wind to stop blowing for ... 5 minutes, please! Didn't I read somewhere where April's average temperature was lower than January's? HMMMMM.

Enough with the whining! (Sorry, can't help myself, gotta lot a garden' to do and I'm ready! YAY!)

On with the reason for my blog ... for those of you who are a part of our CSA. This year Seeds of Change offered 'stevia' seeds. Some thing new ... I'll try it!

Quickly ... Stevia is a plant native to South America. It's MUCH sweeter than sugar. True! I pinched a small piece of a leaf from one of the starts in the greenhouse, and as Cisco Morris would say OOOOOOO LA LAAAAA. Wow! It was really sweet. According to this article, it's been around for a long time! (Author's note: I don't know if Cisco has ever tasted stevia ... I just like the way he says OOOOOOOO LA LAAAAA when he's all excited!)

Anyway, at one point there was some controversy over Stevia's use in the U.S. The controversy seems to be subsiding a bit. If you would like to read an FDA comment, go to the FDA site and search 'stevia.' A couple of short blurbs will come up. Apologies, couldn't get the direct link to the comment(s) work.

Looking forward to a great weekend! Make it a great day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ready Set Grow! .... Hopefully!

Don't know about you and yours, but the spring storm that hit a couple of weeks ago, knocked our socks off, not to mention knocked over the fountain. If you look at the Dec blog, you will see the fountain standing!

We not only got hit hard by the wind, but it's been so cold that the veggies are having a hard time getting started. Even the cool crops that like the cold weather. AARRGGGHHHH!

Just because we're getting off to a slow start, isn't slowing down the planting! We've got onions, lettuce, beets, garlic, garlic chives, carrots and peas planted. We'll be working on spinach and radishes this next week.

Oh, and my WSDA organic inspector will be meeting with me in the a.m. Looking forward to a good report card! (As a side note: Our vegetable growing operation is listed on the state's website. Every business that is certified organic by WSDA is listed by county on the State's website. We're proud to be a part the program and our customers can be confident that we are growing the best veggies that Mother Nature will allow!)

So, since we are getting started on our planting, I will be more diligent about keeping our blog updated. We have a lot of new projects happening. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have questions about what we are doing.