Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Frost warning for tonight prompted the first frost protection of the year. We covered our celery because it is the most frost sensitive thing we have in the ground that we could reasonably cover. The tomatoes are staked and not really cover-able, and the peppers can actually live through a couple light frosts, which is all we are expecting if we get any frost at all. The celery, however, starts having trouble at 36 degrees.

This year we bought Agribon row cover as opposed to reusing some generic row cover we have used before. Let me tell you, the diffrence is amazing. The stuff went on easily and was not to flimsy. I have confidence that my celery will be with us anouther couple weeks!

A box of garlic...


This, my friends, is what a 25 pound box of garlic looks like. And we have two of them sitting in the house. I, personally, was expecting smaller heads of garlic, but these things are ENORMOUS! So we probably have less rows then we were expecting, which is probably OK.

But here is the nice thing, from big nice healthy cloves of garlic you are more likely to get big beautiful heads next year! If we can keep the heads the same size we will see somewhere north of 300 pounds of garlic, which is a lot of garlic!

We decided to just grow one type of garlic next year, so this is Music, which is really, one of the best garlic we know about.

(And that is farmer hubby's hand, so think about how large that garlic head is!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blogging the wrong things...

I was reading a blog the other day and the person was talking about a free trip her family did paid for by the visitor bureau of a city. Another blog was talking about a cool new product she got for free. At least now people are acknowledging when they are review free stuff on their blogs, but it makes me wonder.

I must be blogging about the wrong things! I say how great the Jang seeder is all the time, someone want to send me another seeder for free to trial? Or a cultivator? Or a tractor? I will tell all my readers how great your tractor is!

Pretty please...

Warm thoughts

Everyone, please think warm thoughts in the coming days.

Maybe, leave your car windows open and run the heat?

This forecast is still a bit out, so hopefully with our united efforts we can will the frosts to hold off a little longer!
Fingers crossed (again!)

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ha ha! You said that you wanted me to blog more often, and for some reason you are reading it! You think I am going to talk about farming, but no, today's post is about the weather...
Really, in modern life most of us do not think about the weather often. Maybe if you are a construction worker or have a kid's soccer game or a weekend festival, but most of us never think about it. Well, I, and all farmers, do.

This morning I woke up to lightning and heavy rain. When I got in my car they started talking about heavy wind. I LOVE thunderstorms, but hate wind. Honestly, it scares me, and a little voice deep inside whispers scary things when heavy wind is around. When I was a little girl we lived in Hawaii and a tree fell down in a storm very close to me (in my memory just feet from me,) that fear has been with me my entire life.
But in any case, I think this morning's weather was punishment for me talking about summer yesterday! Yes, I know it is officially fall. I know there is a possibility of frost, already, on the long term forecast (Oct 10th).
I am thinking a lot about weather, this season has gone SO fast. Already I have people contacting us about next season, and I am still hopeing taht my garden will grow for anouther 3-4 weeks...
So is this a post about weather, farming, or are they basically the same?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yummy day...

Sitting in the house after pickup I am so grateful for the life we are able to live. Yes, it would be nice if the farm was self supporting and I did not have to be at a desk at 7:00 tomorrow morning, but we have so many blessings.

We had a good day, with almost perfect weather after the morning clouds cleared, it was an amazing fall day. On days like this with the fall breezes and beautiful trees starting to turn it makes me remember why we have made this (probably crazy) choice.

After pickup I came in and started my favorite pasta sauce, which is so easy! As I sit here I can smell it... All you do is set your oven to 450. When it is heating roughly chop a couple peppers, a couple onions (or 1 big), a couple garlic cloves, and plum tomatoes. Before yesterday I would have cut them in half and carefully removed the seeds but yesterday one of our members showed me how you could just cut the top off the plum tomato and squeeze out all the seeds and junk, it is like magic, really!

Anyway, just roughly chop the stuff, maybe add carrots. Let it cook until everything is soft then broil it, mixing often. When it is nice and caramelized (they will be in the oven for 90 minutes or more) hit it with a stick blender, or put it in your food processor (or vita mix if you are so lucky!) I like adding a little balsamic vinegar & a bit of Parmesan. It smells so good and tastes even better...

Everything tastes better roasted! You can do the same with canned tomatoes come winter, but this time of year with the end of summer flavors, with a glass of red wine, and it just feels so nice....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

First canning class...

Today we had our first ever Canning Class at the farm. It went really well, but I learned a lot, like everything ALWAYS takes longer in real life then in your head or on paper. But my "Guinea Pigs" were very kind. I had said the class would start at 4 and end around 6. We started a couple minutes after 4 but did not end until 7:30.

In that time the 6 of us made 24 jars of pepper jelly and 16 jars of salsa. Everyone went home with 3 jars of pepper jelly and 2 jars of salsa.

All in all I think it went well. I think the group opinion was not to do less but to just plan on scheduling more time.

I hope everyone walked away with the confidence to try their own canning at home. I feel like Julie in Julie & Julia "No fear! No fear!" Easy and safe as long as you follow some basic rules.

I guess more classes are in our future! Need to buy more stuff!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When will the season end

The past couple pickups I have had people ask "So when is the season over?" The answer is I don't know, it depends, as so many things in farming do, on the weather, and more specifically our first frost. Once we have that the our pickup days are numbered.

It is easy to point to a day on the calender and say that is our first frost, but what does that mean? It can frost on our farm on a day when the heat-island effect caused by asphalt, dark roofs, and buildings keep cities and suburbs warm enough not to frost.

It can frost on one side of the valley but not the other, or in the valley or not out. Or depending on the wind direction flip that the opposite way and frost up here, but not down there.

It often frosts later by the lake, but not always. And, of course, it does not always pick the same days to frost every year. That would be nice of mother nature, but it is not nearly that easy.

Add to all of that the weather patterns seem to shifting world wide and your guess is as good as mine.

The government is nice enough to put out a chart that tells me at the Akron Canton regional airport there is a 10% we will see frost by October 4th, a 50% chance by October 19th and a 90% chance by Nov 3rd. For a hard frost (28 degrees) which will kill even some "frost tolerant" stuff 10% Oct 20th, 50% Nov 2nd, and 90% Nov 15th. So basically we know in October it will probably frost at some point, although 1 year in 10 it will frost before then and 1 year in 10 after that!
But the question remains, "What about our season?" If everything goes well weather wise our season will run to our full 18 weeks which will put us into the last week of October/first week on November. We can usually go a week or two past the last frost. Some things can happily keep growing past frost, and others you may see in bulk your last week, enough onions to last you a while, for example. We are just about to start the winter squash, which is a storage item, and we have cover to protect lettuce and beets from lighter frosts. However, if we see an early and hard freeze our season might end a bit quicker then we planned. Right now the forecast looks good for the next two weeks. So keep your fingers crossed...

(Who knew farming would be so tiring on the fingers!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A bunch of leeks, 2-1/2 pounds of poatoes, 1-1/2 pounds of onions, a bunch of chard, a bunch of leeks, 3+ pounds of tomatoes, 1/2 pound of cherry toms, 5 jalepenos, 4 sweet peppers, and a head of garlic...

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Baby Radishes...

Aw, they are so cute! Baby Radishes.

The late fall rows are all growing well, actually really well. Farmer Hubby was thinning radish rows yesterday, we have a few hundred feet in for our last weeks of pickup.

We are still working on tuning in our Jang seeder, Which we LOVE! but we are still playing with seed spacing, and it is a fine line between having too many in a row, and having to thin really heavily and to few, and feeling like you wasted row space.

Row space is important, not because we are at a lack of dirt, but rather a lack of well prepared soil. Prepping the areas costs money and time. We have a problem sometimes with our soil crusting on top. It is caused by a lack of good organic matter in the dirt. The problem can be resolved over time with a lot of organic matter being worked into the soil in the form of cover crops, green manures, and compost. But to get the soil really nice is a process that will take years. When we did our soil tests when we moved to this farm three years ago we found our soil nutrients were just north of non-existent.

In order to help we work in (organic) fertilizer into the row when we plant, but the crusting was still happening, we need years of cover crops to deal with it. In the mean time we did our research and found that Yucca extract can be used as a soil drench and will help reduce crusting. So we watered in the fall rows with some and it made a huge difference! Our adorable baby radishes are evidence.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hundreds of dollars...

One of the hardest things for me (the former city girl) to get used to is just how much EVERYTHING costs on the farm. And as you get larger things get more expensive.

The most recent expenses were both a bit of a shock to me.

First, was an expected one. Next year's seed garlic. Do you know how much seed garlic costs? A lot! We got a great deal on 50 pounds of Music from a supplier in Canada but the garlic and 10 pounds of French Shallots came to almost $500... For garlic! I hope everyone loves there garlic next year, because let me tell you, that money would buy a LOT of carrot and beet seeds! Obviously, we plan on having it for more then just the CSA next year, but still that is a lot of garlic! Next time you see it at the market, realize that your farmer paid a lot for it, some garlics go for $20 a pound and more!

The second expense was not expected, at least not yet. New tires and wheels for the tractor. We have been looking at the rims all year and thinking they were pretty rusty and should be replaced this winter, they just needed to hold out for the winter! Unfortunately, three weeks ago they went. As timing goes in farming land it was pretty good. Our fall crops were in, and although we do have some field work to do, cover crop to put in and the last 400 feet of potatoes to dig it was pretty good timing, and we were able to limp the tractor back to the barn and jack it up.

The money was in the bank so we immediately ordered the new tires and rims, but nothing in farming is quite that easy. It turns out someone at some point put a none-standard tire size on our tractor and the centers for the tires (the things that hook the rims to the axles) are the wrong size. Buying tires and rims that matched the centers we have would have more then doubled the cost of them, so we bought new centers at $160 each.

And here is where the farming fun comes in. They are, of course, back ordered! (The centers that is, we had the tires and rims in 3 days!) The centers ship tommorow, so with any luck this weekend when I am teaching the canning class Farmer Hubby will be on the tractor getting the ground ready for the garlic. Fingers crossed.

Fingers crossed seems to be a perpetial thing in farming land... Sometimes they start to cramp.

Monday, September 21, 2009


This weekend I watched Julie and Julia and it made feel ashamed of my blog. My pitiful lost child, floundering on the Internet with nothing more than an occasional photo to keep it going. Assuming ANYONE still reads it at all.

Believe it, or not, at the height of my posts I often had well over a 100 readers in day, occasionally spiking much higher. And now, well. I am too scared to even look at my statistics!

My Farmer Hubby claims that Facebook, in general, and Farmville, in particular is to blame for the sorry state of my blogging. I must, reluctantly admit, he is most likely correct. Farmville, if you did not know, is the most addictive game on the Internet. Well, Farmville, Farmtown, Lil’ Farm, Happy farm and I am sure there are more. But those are the four I play. YES I ADMIT IT I PLAY 4 STUPID FARM GAMES! Although my Level 26 (almost 27) Farmville Farm is the most impressive, with a barn, farmhouse, hot air balloon, and I have earned a TON of blue ribbons, although I need 24 more “neighbors” to win my Influential Neighbor blue ribbon. So if you play Farmville “Won’t you be… my Neighbor.” (Mr. Rodgers song is now stuck in my head!)

I admit it, I may have a problem! MAY…

All I need to do for my blog is spend a few minutes a day and throw some random thought into the Internet right? It should be easy. Right? Well, not really.

For one thing it is SO hard to know what to blog about. I could blog about all our farm activities. But that would be very boring, “Kids came out today and helped weed the fall lettuce and beet rows.” Followed by “Farmer Hubby weeded the fall cabbage and broccoli today.” Followed by “Helped Farmer Hubby try to salvage some of the fennel row by hand weeding & trying not to get the little ferny plants.” And maybe a “I love our wheel hoe, but welcome an affair with a cultivating tractor!” Somehow, seems pretty repetitive. So I need to come up with more than just field work.

I could go on for years about food safety, but again – BORING! You all already know what my feelings are on that, and probably agree for the most part that we have to be careful small farms are not sucked up in the frenzy of food safety regulation.

It would be nice to blog about our life, but that always seems so strange, and not quite safe or right. And really, anyway, does anyone care that my brother-in-law is going to be deployed to Afghanistan next late spring and we are hoping to be able to fly to Germany to visit them before then (yes, the army deploys troops from Germany, leaving their families in a foreign country for a year with no husband/dad). But I cannot be specific because you never want to blog when you will be away, so the same goes for farm events we plan on attending this winter. And in general, our life is not nearly as exciting as many people's, bound as it is for most months of the year by the boundary of our farm.

So what do I blog about?

I read blogs where people have set up a structure. Like Monday is Gardening Tip day. Wednesday is random photo day. Friday is article day... But that requires a level of commitment I don't have and it does not interest me at all.

In the movie Julie imposed a structure to her blog and gave herself a deadline 500+ recipes in one year. That will not work for me! The blog is not my project, the focus of my non 9-5 job life. It is just a little part of my none "job" life. After all there is the farm and everything that comes with that. So there will be no crazy self imposed deadlines in my future or my blog.

So here is my resolution. If I have not blogged in the past two days I cannot play Farmville until I do! Since if I do not harvest my Farmville crops in a certain time frame they will die, that will give me incentive to blog more often. If people comment so I know I have real readers, that will give me motivation to keep going, for so often blogging is like talking to yourself and that is just plain crazy. (As if being egocentric enough to assume people care about my blog is not crazy in and of itself.)

So please, comment often and help me keep blogging. I have started a small list of blog ideas, if you think I should talk about something let me know and MAYBE I will listen.

Wish me luck & readers... If anyone is out there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kittens think Cleaning time is great!

See two little GAP violations sitting under the washing table. They thought the ends of the leek leaves were great fun to batt about...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Today's shares

2-1/2 pound yukon gold, a bunch green onions, 1 pound red onions, 1 big white onion, 6 hot peppers , 8 sweet peppers, a small bag of cherry tomatoes, 3 or 4 tomatoes, a head of lettuce, half a pound green beans, and one or two summer squash...

Friday, September 4, 2009

With love

Someone far away sent me flowers... They are beautiful and brought a smile to my day...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week 10 share...

One summer squash, 2-1/2 pounds of Yukon Golds, carrots, a mixed bag of tomatoes, a small bag of cherry toms, about a pound of green beans, a head of lettuce, green onions, a few candy onions, a bell pepper, and a either a small eggplant or small cabbage. Sunday's share will be a bit diffrent...

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