Monday, November 23, 2015

Frost and Fencing

The long fall is over and winter is beginning to take hold of the landscape. Frosty mornings and plants finally giving in to the hard cold. The muddy, mucky soil firming up, but not yet frozen.

Frost on clover.
The hard frost always brings some finality to the season, sets us to shift gears. It's always welcomed, it's always beautiful.
Frozen broccoli plants drooping, giving in to the cold.
The long fall meant a more work, in some respects, but it also gave us more time to get farm projects completed. Our biggest project this fall was getting a second "winter pasture" set up for the grower pigs. This meant a second winter-proofed shed and another permanent fence.

Two weekends ago we harvested the cedar fence posts. That may sound like a lot of work (trust us, it is) but with the price of cedar it's worth it! The hillside where we harvest also has native pasque flower, which needs open area, so we are in essence helping to restore the habitat as well. Cool beans.

We moved the kids into the area with electric fence and began to build the fence around them. We got all the posts in place weekend before last and hurriedly filled in the post holes (with mud) as the rains began.

This past weekend John put in the t-posts and we aimed to finish the job up. Next step, bracing the corners and gate posts. Below you can see the horizontal beam on the H-brace stabilizing corner posts.

After the braces went in we added tensioners for increased stability. The thick wire is wrapped high on one post, to low on the other post. Then, the small piece of wood you see is used to wind the piece of wire, until it is tight. Now time for the fence!

H-Brace in the corner with tensioner in place and Dot hanging out in the background.
Hog panels (16') went up, a small gate for us humans and two big gates for moving animals and buildings. Huzzah! Pulled the electric fence out and there we go :)

Princess approves of the fencing job :) A beautiful sunset
celebrating the fruits of our labors.

 •     •     •

Goods still available for Thanksgiving dinner! Holler if you need 'taters or squash. Have a wonderful holiday!

Friday, October 16, 2015

CSA Week #18 ~ Wrapping up the CSA season!

Week 18, the final delivery of our regular season shares. It's always a bittersweet end. I love seeing our awesome and enthusiastic members every week, but it's also nice to move on to the next wave of chores and projects. This year we will be will be delivering our first "Fall Share" in two weeks, plus we'll likely attend a few markets until we bring our inventory down a bit. Cheers to a great season all!

CSA Newsletter Week #18 ~ Featuring: farm news, info on Fall Shares, produce still available, recipes for radish butter & winter squash-chipotle quesadillas and a poem.

CSA Box Week #18 ~ October 14, 2015
In the Box: butternut squash, broccoli (half shares), red & gold beets, parsnips, yellow onions, 2 bulbs garlic, acorn squash (tan), 3 green peppers, 2lbs German Butterball potatoes, red onions, radishes--Cincinnati Market & White Icicle, pint ground cherries and Brussels sprouts.

A look inside a packed box.

The young herd is growing! After CSA finishes some of our time is spent cleaning up the field--removing crops that are left, planting next year's garlic crop and removing fencing and debris, tilling in what we need to and removing the rest. We will be finishing up our greenhouse and preparing the pigs, pig shelters and pastures for winter. We are expecting the next round of piglets in December after all!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

CSA Week #17

Today and yesterday were absolutely beautiful days for harvest! Ending up in beautiful and bountiful fall CSA boxes. The ninth week of deliveries for our A-week half shares, which meant their final delivery. Next week will bring the final week for everyone else.

CSA Week 17 ~ October 7, 2015
In the Box: 3 green peppers, carrots, broccoli (half shares), 3 red onions, large butternut squash, 8 jalapeno peppers, 5 yellow onions, 1lb parsnips (half shares), 2lbs Nicola potatoes, Dinosaur kale, mixed radishes, 1lb leeks, 2 bulbs garlic, sage (half shares) and basil (full shares).

CSA Newsletter Week #17 ~ Featuring: farm news; info on Fall Shares; Featured Veggie: Parsnips; recipes: Grilled Parsnips, Parsnip & Potato Puree, Butternut Squash & Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs.

Half Shares all packed up.

Full Shares all packed up.

Radishes washed and ready for CSA boxes.

I can't believe I picked basil in October! It's starting to look a little rough, but it is aromatic and tasty as ever.

Parsnips, a fall treat.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

CSA Week #16

Week 16 boxes were hefty with butternut squash and potatoes! Fall broccoli began coming in, tomatoes and cucumbers end.

CSA Week 16 • September 30, 2015
In the Box: leeks, cucumber, Valencia tomato, broccoli head (full shares), Waltham butternut squash, Caraflex green cabbage (half shares), pint cherry/grape tomatoes, yellow and red onions, herb bunch: sage, 2 Russian Red garlic bulbs, bunch carrots, 2lbs Nicola potatoes, muskmelon (some half shares, not pictured).

CSA Newsletter Week #16

CSA Week #15

CSA delivery from September 23rd. This is a couple weeks late! Needless to say we are keeping busy on the farm ;)

In the Box: 4lbs baking apples, 2 bulbs Georgian Fire garlic, yellow and red onions, Thelma Sanders acorn squash, Valencia yellow tomatoes, bunch celery (half shares), Kennebec potatoes, muskmelon (some half shares), brussels sprouts, green peppers, cucumber (full shares), pint ground cherries, green cabbage.

Week 15 CSA Newsletter

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apples :: Wealthy

Mid Season • Sweet

Early September

Refreshing, sprightly, vinous flavor. Crisp, juicy flesh that makes a great pie. An excellent fresh eating, dessert or baking apple. Wonderful for single-variety pies.

Originating from Excelsior, Minnesota on Peter Gideon's farm, 1860. The random result from planting seed from a Cherry Crabapple. Named after his wife, Wealthy Gideon.

Offspring: Epicure, Haralson, Laxton's Fortune, Red Sauce, William's Pride.

6 weeks

Wealthy has a long blooming period, making it a great pollinator for other varieties.

Apples :: Prairie Spy

Late Season • Sweet

Prairie Spy apples at market.
Late October

A sweet apple with excellent flavor, which only improves in storage. Good sized, firm and dense apples. Great for fresh eating, cooking and storage. An attractive fruit that is cherry red over green-yellow.

Introduced in 1940, by the University of Minnesota.

Parentage: Unknown.

Extra long keeping winter storage apple. Keeps 3- 5 months in storage. Stores very well until mid-January, then waning in quality into March.

We have several trees at our off-farm orchard.