A True Family Farm

When our boys help in the gardens they represent the fifth generation of the family to work the soil on Kimker Hill. Four generations still live on the farm today. Strong family bonds and a deep love and respect for the earth influence all of our farm practices.

Our gardens provide us with the best and purest of food, matchless beauty, and the ultimate earth science classroom for our homeschooled boys.

Sustainability is a popular buzz word among small scale agriculture. To us it means giving more than you take. Putting back what you use. Remembering that this beautiful earth will last forever and it's our commision to care for. In our gardens we try hard to follow these ideals and work with the earth's design, not against it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'll be at the Winter Market this Saturday

Hi everyone! Just wanted to remind you that I'll be at the Maplewood Winter Farmers' Market this Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

I'm bringing plenty of goodies. Right now my favorites are the soup mixes and cornbread mix. I have the Mixed Beans and Peas (the recipe is on the blog) and the Split Pea Soup Mix. I also have plenty of the Chili Bean Medley. They are all certified organic.

Today I was busy making my Pizza Dough mixes. Tomorrow I'll be working on Banana Muffin Mix, Zucchini Spice Muffin Mix, Waffle Mix, Pancake Mix and Cornbread Mix. Remember, they are all made with freshly ground, certified organic flours.

After that I'll start grinding the various kinds of flour. I love having such a variety. Each one has a little different flavor and texture and I like to experiment with combining them for a healthy delicious way of cooking and baking. If you haven't tried it yet, or want to try something new, come see me at the market and I'll tell you more about them.

I'll also be bringing my Mixed Grains. They make a wonderful breakfast cereal. I like to simmer them at night while I'm getting ready for bed. Then I turn off the heat and let it set overnight. It absorbs the rest of the moisture and is cooled off and ready to eat when you wake up. You can enjoy it hot or cold. You can make it with water or use juice for added flavor and sweetness.

It also makes a great side dish for dinner. Or try it in stir-fry. You can serve it any way you would brown rice. Each grain adds it's own taste and texture and they have various protein contents. For instance, millet has 15% protein, spelt has 17% protein and quinoa has 18% protein. It's a tasty way to add vegetable protein to your diet.

You can also get the same benefits when you bake with my 10-Grain Flour. It has all the grains as in the Mixed Grains, and of course, all the same health benefits.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What a beautiful night!

It's such a bright, clear, snowy night! This is the first lasting snow of the season, yesterday's snow melted too quickly. The boy's spent hours playing outside today.

Personally, I'd rather just watch from inside where it's nice and warm.

I hope you are enjoying it too!

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's a georgeous day today!

The kids are taking advantage of the beautiful afternoon. They are raking leaves at Grandma's house and dragging them by tarpful onto one of our gardens. Then they are wading around through the leaves to scatter them all over. It's hard to tell if they're working or playing, but they are accomplishing their goal.

When it gets a good, thick layer of leaves all over it, Danny can start plowing, or maybe layering on manure from the neighbor's cows and then plowing.

Hope you are enjoying the day, too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's kind of quiet around here now.

Things have really slowed down now here on the farm. We're concentrating on schoolwork and getting organized again.

It was nice to see such a large turnout at the first winter market this past Saturday. If you were there, you know we (the vendors) were kind of packed in like sardines. It was great still having fresh produce to sell. We had ripe tomatoes and green tomatoes, tomatillos and plenty of swiss chard. I hope everyone enjoyed shopping. My middle son was there with me and he had a great time working and shopping. He loves getting the fresh apple cider.... and chocolate.... and honey sticks.... and granola.... and...and...and... and when he gets home he even shares!

Thanks for all the support we received throughout the growing season!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Clean-up is well under way!

It's been a busy few days around here. Danny started out by taking care of the bees. He decided to condense both hives back down to one hive body each. From what we learned at the beekeepers meeting they'll stand a better chance of surviving the winter that way.

After that, he and the boys finally got the pool packed away for the winter. Then it was on to fall clean-up all over the place.

Yesterday, Danny, Colin and the kids worked together and removed all the t-posts and strings and old tomato plants from the tomato garden. Today, Danny brush-hogged over it and the squash/cantaloupe garden and the boys raked and piled up the debris. After it dries out a little they're going to burn the pile to be sure to kill any diseases that may be lurking in the old plants.

They also started removing the fencing from the cucumber rows. They removed the drip tape and soaker hoses from two of the gardens. They even got quite a bit of grass cut and the chicken coops moved. The boys managed to get quite a bit of outdoor playtime mixed in with the work (they were jumping haybales this afternoon.)

Bonnie and I worked on pulling out tomatillo plants and found an unbelievable amount of ready to eat tomatillos hiding underneath the plants that weren't affected by the frost. We have several boxes of them to put up. (Just when I thought canning was almost over!)

Today I worked on removing the debris from the gourds and then weeded the asparagus. It looks like the majority of new plants I started this spring survived the summer in spite of all the weeds and are actually doing quite well. I hope we'll get our first crop from them in the spring.

Then I started weeding the swiss chard. It looks beautiful, the frost didn't affect it at all. The chickens were thrilled, they got to enjoy all the imperfect leaves I removed. I should have quite a bit of it to take to the market on Saturday!

I guess the next big project will be removing the dead plants and taking down the rest of the fencing in garden #1. Next year's gardens will have a completely new arrangement. We need to rotate crops again. Most likely the herbs and swiss chard and the hoophouse will be the only things to stay in the same place next year.

Danny is very anxious to fertilize and plow and then let the gardens rest for the winter.

Oh, we also got our first sweet potatoes this weekend, about 20 pounds so far, and we still have about 2/3's of the row left to harvest. We're excited, it's the first time we have ever tried to grow them. We decided it was a success and we should do it again next year in greater quantity so we have enough to share.

Hope to see all of you at the market on Saturday! I'll be at the St Louis Community Farmer's Market. This will be the first one of the winter season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The frost got us this time!

Yep, we got hit hard last night. We are officially finished picking tomatoes for the year. At least it held off until after the weekend. We had lots of tomatoes and other produce for the weekend market. And, on Sunday afternoon we picked as many green tomatoes and tomatillos as we could.

It's strange this time of the year. There's a feeling of sadness at the thought of most of the plants dying. But, at the same time, there's a feeling of relief. It's a time to start looking forward to the next growing season and time to clean up from this one.

Of course, there are still the over-wintering vegetables to take care of. We have the hoophouse rather stuffed and plenty of lettuce, swiss chard, turnips and beets that like the cold still out in the open. We're still trying to figure out how to get some of it under cover before we get any snow.

We're happy it's going to warm up again for the rest of the week. It will make clean-up much more tolerable and maybe even enjoyable.

Friday we're going to winterize the beehives (or at least get a start on it) and begin removing t-posts and fencing and pulling out the dead plants to get the gardens ready for fertilizing and plowing. We've decided our gardens aren't ready to go completly no-till yet. They are still in need of more organic matter mixed in with all the clay.

It's making me tired just thinking of all the work to be done!

Monday, October 20, 2008

No frost yet and none in the forecast for this week!!

Whoopee! The frost missed us! I hope it missed all of you too!

I'm so happy to still be able to look out and see the beautiful flowers blooming. The cosmos are taller than I am. The zinnias are still blooming but the cold nights are slowing them down.

The gardens are still producing! The leafy greens and the root crops are loving the cooler weather. We have lots of mustard greens and turnips and radishes and the beets are almost ready to eat. It looks as if we may even still have ripe tomatoes this weekend. I know we'll have lots of geen tomatoes.

Today I'll be putting up what's left over from the market. I'm going to freeze tomatoes and work on Bread & Butter Pickles and Dill Pickles. Tomorrow I'm going to try to make another batch of Not So Hot Salsa, Zachary informed me at the market that I'm all out of what I made earlier in the summer.

This evening we're going to the Beekeeper's Meeting. Time to ask lots of questions about getting them ready for winter.

Gotta' get busy!

No frost yet and none in the forecast for this week!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh no, they're talking about a frost!

What happened? I thought we were safe for a while longer. At least they're only saying "possible frost in low-lying areas." I hope being up on the hill will spare the plants for a little while longer.

Just in case, Danny covered what he could. He and the boys also moved all the potted plants either into the house or the hoophouse. Over the past week or so he's been transplanting into the hoophouse as well.

I even talked the boys into cutting enough flowers for several large flower arrangements for me. They are so beautiful! Especially the cosmos. This is the first year we've had so many. We didn't even know how big they could get, the plants are over 5 feet tall and covered in blooms. I took several pictures a few weeks back but I still can't figure out how to post them.

Bonnie is supposed to come and pick tomorrow afternoon. I hope there's still plenty to pick and the frost doesn't arrive tonight. If it holds off, there will be quite a lot for the market Saturday.

The large watermelons are finally ripe. Zach brought in a 29 pound watermelon this evening (he couldn't wait to weigh it!) It looks great! He wants to cut it open tomorrow. That will be a great snack while we're all working hard. I think I'll cut up some for samples too. Come and try it!!

I made something new this week: Dilled Green Tomatoes. I think I'll wait until next week to bring them with me, and to sample them, so they have plenty of time to soak in the garlic.

Tomorrow I'll be baking all 3 kinds of muffins: Banana, Zucchini Spice and Green Tomato with raisins. The Green Tomato Muffins were a hit for the last two markets. I think I'll make extra for this week.

Here's hoping we all avoid the frost tonight!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another beautiful week and lots of ripe produce!

We have an abundance of ripe produce to be harvested tomorrow. It's difficult to believe this is almost the middle of October. Normally, we would be preparing for the first frost by now. Instead, Danny and the boys got to swim last weekend and based on the forecast, they're planning on swimming again this weekend.

This whole growing season has been pretty crazy around here. At least now we're getting to enjoy an unusually late season harvest. The tomatoes are ripening nicely, the cucumbers are still setting new fruit, the watermelons are finally ripe, more cantaloupe are ready to enjoy and the eggplant look great. Even the new crop of lettuce, radishes and turnips are ready to pick. The swiss chard looks wonderful. Even the gourds are producing prolifically. We even got our first bottleneck gourd last weekend.

Danny and the boys went out to check on the bees. They are still very active and filling the hives with food for the winter. We were hoping to get some for ourselves but it looks like we'll have to wait until next year. Oh well, we did each get to sample a little of it.

It's supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny Saturday. I hope to see lots of you at the market. You'll have lots plenty of choices!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Update on the guineas

Daddy and baby are doing fine. Sunday morning when I woke up, Danny told me to look out the bedroom window. They were both sitting atop the boys swingset. I'm surprised the keat is strong enough to fly that high already. I'm glad though, it's chances of survival are much better that way.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Beautiful day at the market!

The weather cooperated beautifully at the market today! It was great to see so many of you there!

Hope you got to try my new Green Tomato Muffins. I used my Zucchini Spice Muffin recipe and substituted the green tomatoes in place of the zucchini. I'll plan on making them again for the next few markets. If you missed out today, you'll get another chance.

It was nice to have so much fresh produce available. It appears we'll have even more next week. The watermelons weren't quite ready for today but they should be perfect by next weekend. Some of them are huge!

Danny was busy at home while I was at the market. He got the hoophouse re-covered and ready to start transplaning into for the winter. He plans on building another one before it gets too cold.

He was also busy working on the new chicken coop. When I drove in he was painting the base of it. He's starting with a trailer framework. So far, he's removed the original wood, sanded the frame and now he's painting it "John Deere Green." He's getting the boys excited about the project, and getting them to help too. Yesterday, Zachary helped paint for a long time. They're all happy to be included in the planning and choosing the materials and looking forward to actually helping to build it. The idea is that having it up on wheels will make it much easier to move. And it will hold a lot more birds than the old ones.

There's always plenty to do around here!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Green Tomato Cake was a hit!

I can definitely recommend the Green Tomato Cake Recipe. I made it yesterday and it was a big hit. In fact, there's none left.

I did make a few modifications to the posted recipe. I only used 1 3/4 cups of sugar. For the flour, I used 2 cups of freshly ground Combo Flour (wheat berries and flax seed) and 1 cup of unbleached flour. I left out the nuts and the coconut.

Tomorrow I'm going to try something new. I'm going to make my Zucchini Muffin Recipe but substitute green tomatoes in place of the zucchini and add 3/4 cup of raisins. If we like it, I make some for Saturday's market and you can try it too.

On a different subject, we've been having fun watching the guinea family as the keats are growing. Yesterday, we got to see the five surviving ones learning to fly. They were so cute. We all excitedly cheered them on.

Today, we were disappointed when we couldn't see most of them. All we could find were the daddy and one baby. They've rejoined the chickens and were safely sleeping in the big coop when I checked on them earlier. The keat was protectively tucked under daddy's wing. I wish they had all been locked up last night!

On a brighter note, we should have lots of fresh produce this weekend. The weather has been cooperating quite nicely this week and the garden seems to appreciate it. I'll have lots of swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes-both ripe ones and green ones, tomatillos, radishes, spicy mustard greens, basil and lettuce. I'll also have smaller amounts of acorn squash, gourds, cantaloupe, parsley and beans. If even appears that we have several varieties of watermelon that will be ripe and ready to pick. These will be our first ones this year. If they're ready I'll try to sample some at the market.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pictures of the keats!

Green tomatofest at our stand this Saturday!

Get out your best recipes for green tomatoes! My husband and sister informed me that we now have an abundant supply of large green tomatoes! I will be bringing boxes of them with me this weekend.

If you have a favorite green tomato recipe, please post it for all of us to try!

Here are a few recipes I found and want to try.

4 to 6 green tomatoes
salt and pepper
bacon grease or vegetable oil
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Dip in meal and fry in hot grease or oil about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side. Serve as a side dish - delicious with breakfast!

Or, try this variation:

4 to 6 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
salt and pepper
flour for dusting
2 eggs, beaten
cornmeal or bread crumbs
bacon grease or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper the tomato slices; dust lightly with flour. Dip slices in beaten egg, letting excess drip off, then coat well with meal or crumbs. Fry in hot grease or oil until browned, turning gently (about 3 minutes each side). Keep warm in a low 200° to 250° oven if frying in batches.

For a healthier option, try:

4 to 6 green tomatoes, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and pepper on both sides. In a shallow bowl mix beaten eggs, milk, and water. Put the all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl. Dip each slice into egg mixture, then into flour.* Dip each slice into egg and then into the flour again. Arrange tomatoes in large, shallow, greased baking pans, or bake in 1 pan, in batches. Tomatoes should not touch. Bake uncovered in 400° oven 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
For crunchier coating, dip slices the second time into egg mixture then into seasoned bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs, with a little Parmesan cheese, if desired

I even found a recipe for:

This spiced green tomato cake is surprisingly delicious, and it's a great way to use green tomatoes before the frost gets them.
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in pecans, raisins and tomatoes.
Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan. Top with coconut if desired. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. .
Serves 12.

I think I may bake this in muffin pans for Saturday.

4 quarts sliced green tomatoes, loosely packed
1 quart sliced onion, loosely packed
1 cup pickling salt, divided
1 pound light brown sugar
6 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
2 small red chile peppers
1/3 cup mustard seeds
1/4 cup celery seeds
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
Place sliced tomatoes and sliced onion in a large bowl; sprinkle salt over them; stir. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Place in a cheesecloth bag, and squeeze gently to remove excess juice (personally I would just drain well). Discard the salt liquid. Combine remaining ingredients in a large kettle. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 2 minutes. Pack tomato mixture and liquid into hot sterilized 1-quart jars (with 1 piece of the chile pepper in each jar - cut if necessary), leaving 1/2-inch headspace; wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on ring bands. Process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes.
Store in a cool dark place. Store opened pickles in refrigerator. Makes 4 1-pint jars or 2 1-quart jars.

For more recipies check out this website: http://southernfood.about.com/od/greentomatoes/r/bl10712d.htm

Hope to hear more suggestions from all of you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reminder, I won't be at the market tomorrow!

Just wanted to remind everyone that I won't be at the farmer's market tomorrow! We get to do something as a family. We'll be going to the Special Assembly Day in Spanish Lake to learn more about putting Bible principles to work in our everyday lives. We're all looking forward to it.

It's been a very productive week putting up a lot of produce. My little sister came and picked even more today. A little break will be greatly appreciated.

With help from friends and family, I had a record breaking day (for me) making dill pickles. Today I made 33 quarts of them. Yesterday I only managed 14 quarts. Plus, we put up tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos and squash in the freezer.

We are all ready to call it quits for the night.

Oh, I have to tell you, I got a bunch of pictures of the guineas this morning. The parents have started bringing them nearer to the house. They are so fun to watch, I kind of got carried away with the camera! I'll try to get Zach to post them for me.

Another exciting thing happened today, Danny brought in our first honey from the hives after he went out to check on them and put a super on the second hive. It tasted wonderful! He says both hives are very busy making more!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Our gardens are water-logged again, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ike. At least the rain seems to be over, it was nice to see the sun this afternoon. I hope we get the warmer weather they're promising for the week ahead. We have lots of produce just waiting for the heat to make them ripen.

We're finally getting enough tomatoes to continue making salsa and start putting some up in the freezer too. I love being able to take out a package of frozen heirloom tomatoes in the middle of winter and make fresh spaghetti sauce or use them in my Mixed Beans and Peas Soup. It makes up a little for all the hard work during the summer.

If you haven't tried it for yourself, pick up some at the market. All you do is wash them in cold water, cut them in half, take out the core and them put them in freezer bags. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before closing the bag. After that, just put the bag in the freezer. Then you, too, can enjoy fresh tasting, naturally grown hierloom tomatoes in the dead of winter. It's worth trying!

I'll be putting up a couple gallons of them tomorrow!

I won't be at the market this weekend, but I'll be back again on September 27th.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New babies on the farm!

What a nice surprise we got yesterday. We found 10 tiny keats (baby guineas) trailing behind their parents! They are so cute! I'd like to show you, but they have very protective parents and we haven't been able to get pictures of them yet. I'll keep trying.

The boys are so excited, they keep running outside to watch them. Then they come back and give me the latest update on them. Apparently, 6 or 7 of them are brown and 3 are white. Strange, both of the parents are grey and white. Of course, they'll all change colors as they mature.

I'll try to post pictures soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hi Everybody!

Well, we're ready for a big weekend at the market! I've been busy making lots of pickles this week. Our cucumbers are producing very well now. Earlier in the week I made 55 pints of Bread & Butter Pickles and today I made lots of Spicy Dill Pickles and Old-Fashioned Dill Pickles. I'll be sampling tomorrow! Come try them out!

I'll also have lots of fresh produce: tomatoes, assorted beans, cucumbers, peppers, basil, parsley, mint, swiss chard, eggplant and several varieties of squash.

Hope to see you there! I've got to get to bed now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We've finally got ripe tomatoes!

Hip, hip, hooray! Last weekend we got our first ripe tomatoes. Today was the first market we had enough to bring some with us. If you we're fortunate enough to get some of them I hope you're enjoying them as much as we are!

We've been enjoying them all week, just eating them fresh, making salads, salsa and tomato sauce. I especially like snacking on the new Jelly Beans and Yellow Pear varieties.

Last night Danny grilled pizzas for us. They were fantastic! We tried something new for us. I used my Pizza Dough Mix, spread out really, really thin on stainless steel cookie sheets. Then, Danny made a pesto sauce with lots of fresh basil, garlic and olive oil and we spread it on the dough. We topped it with sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms and black olives. We covered it all with shredded mozzarella and he grilled it until the dough was crispy and the cheese was melted. It was so delicious. My mom said it was the best pizza she's ever eaten!

We've also been enjoying lots of fresh beans. We have 4 varieties this summer, Fortex green beans, Purple Royalty beans, Long-Red Chinese Noodle beans and Marvel of Venice yellow beans. They're all stringless varieties of pole beans. Danny's been grilling them, too. He tosses them with olive oil, minced garlic, italian seasoning and coarse seasalt. They look so pretty when they're finished.

It's so nice to have lots of fresh produce again. We finally feel like we've recovered from the storm. We have lots of cucumbers, eggplant, several varieties of squash, swiss chard, peppers, basil and of course all the varieties of tomatoes.

Monday I'll be starting on more dill pickles and peach preserves.

I'll try to get some pictures posted soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

I've gotten so much done this week! The cloudy days have been very helpful in getting a lot of weeding and mulching done.

Inside I've been busy too. I finished the Good & Hot Salsa, then I made of batch of Fiery Hot Salsa yesterday. Today I got 9 quarts of dill pickles finished, some Spicy and some Old-Fashioned. I'll have all of them with me at the market Saturday. If you get the pickles though you'll want to let them sit a few more days to absorb the flavor.

Back to work now, I still have more to prepare for the weekend.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What a hot week!

We had a good day at the market Saturday, but it sure was hot! While I was gone, Danny checked out the damage to the gardens from the storm Friday night. Things looked pretty good, except for the peppers. They can't get a break this year. There was a wooden crate sitting in the yard above the garden where the peppers are. Well, there was so much rain, in such a short time, that it carried the crate and most of the mulch, across the top of the plants in the raised rows, all the way to the bottom of the garden. It bent over all the plants in it's path. Fortunately, Danny was able to uncover them and straighten them back up. The poor little things are still "hanging in there."

My little sister and her husband came over in the evening and helped weed the okra and the peppers. We also tried to put the mulch back where it belonged, but it's too big a job for one evening.

Sunday felt even hotter and then it brought another storm at bedtime. This one lasted all night. We couldn't belive the lightening display. It went on for hours, I finally fell asleep watching it. All together, we got over 5 inches of rain this weekend.

In the morning it was still misting rain. I decided to take advantage of the cooler temperature and go out and get more weeding done. After so much rain, it's easy to pull out the weeds, but shaking off the mud is a very messy job. I had to stop several times and clean the mud off my glasses. I got all the rhubarb and asparagus weeded and part of the gourds. Then the sun came out and it got hot in a hurry. I kept weeding for a while though. I'm really glad I did. I found 2 nice size bird's nest gourds and probably a hundred more little ones. They're growing on an arch trellis and it gave me a little shade to be able to keep working a little longer. Finally, the heat and humidity were just too overwhelming and I had to go inside.

In the evening, Danny and I went out to work the bees. We moved one frame of brood from the busiest hive to the other, not-so-thriving hive. We'll see if that helps them get established faster. Then, Danny put the second hive body on the thriving hive. It has almost all the frames filled in now so we're giving them room to expand. It is so fascinating to watch them. I'm happy we took the plunge into beekeeping.

Now I need to get busy again. For all those who have been waiting patiently, I have a new batch of Good and Hot Salsa cooking. I'll have it at the market Saturday. Come by and try it out. I'll be sure to have samples.

Friday, July 25, 2008

See you at the market tomorrow!

Hope to see everyone at the market in the morning! I'll have all the usuals plus more fresh veges. Danny picked beets, turnips, radishes, basil and lettuce this evening. My little sister picked 3 kinds of beans: red, purple and green (but there's not many so first come first served.) I picked lots of rainbow swiss chard.

It's hard to believe but we got hit by a major thunderstorm just after we finished picking. I guess we'll see in the morning if it affected the gardens.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great news!

Guess what I found? Our first 2 cucumbers! After the rain yesterday, I decided to weed the beans and cucumbers. Quite a few of the cucumber plants are large enough now to reach the trellis, so I was trying to train them upwards. I was so excited when I lifted one and found 2 cucumbers ready to pick and another one almost ready. I also found quite a few red noodle beans close to being ready.

There are vegetables all over the gardens now. There are a few small eggplants, tomatillos, green tomatoes, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots and lettuce. Plus the rainbow swiss chard is looking great. I'll have quite a bit to take to the market this weekend.

Tomorrow I'll be starting the day pulling more weeds, it's supposed to be fairly cool again and three days in a row should get the gardens looking pretty good. I hope anyway! I'm being very careful to add more mulch as I go, it makes a big difference. The areas with the most mulch are so much easier and faster to weed.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The heat is speeding up recovery!

Thanks to everytone who joined us at the market yesterday. It started out raining on us, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. It didn't get too hot until the very end.

The heat this past week may be melting us but it's really helping the plants in the garden. We got our first few green beans this week. My sister came and picked a handful this evening for her son, he's 8 months old and he's going to have green beans for the first time. She was waiting for the most healthy, naturally-grown ones she could get. I hope he likes them!

Oh yeah, I got to eat the first ripe tomato a couple days ago. It was delicious! I can hardly wait for more. We're finally seeing green ones here and there but none are turning color yet.

This evening, Danny & I went out to check on the bees. It was the first time I got to work with them. I was glad to have the beekeepers jacket, the heat makes them a little more difficult, but they're not aggressive at all.

Both hives seem to be doing well. We removed the feeders this time and put in the missing frames. Now we'll see how well they do at filling them in. One hive is much stronger than the other, it looks like it's almost ready to put on the first super. I hope that means we'll have honey this fall.

Well, I need to get to bed. I'm going to try to go out early and get some weeding done before it gets too hot tomorrow. The weatherman is predicting record high temperatures this week.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Hail Damage...

Here are some pictures of the hail damage. They were taken about an hour after the storm. As you can see, the plastic on the hoophouse was shredded, but it lasted long enough to save most of the plants inside. The plants on the picnic table were on the back porch when the storm hit. You can see the one container of peppers that survived in tact. They were on the bottom shelf at the very back of a plant stand protected by the rail posts.

This is all that was left of the beautifully colored swiss chard.

Our dog, Buttercup, was injured in one eye by the hail. She's okay now.

This was one of the potato beds. Before the storm, they were good-sized plants in full bloom.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The gardens are definitely making progress!

I found new seedlings all over today, the zucchini, yellow squash and cantaloupe all had more sprouted than the last time I looked.

Danny got the new raspberries planted yesterday. We decided to put them in this year's pumpkin patch. Now he needs to make trellises for them. Although that may have to get put on hold for the time being.

The cantaloupe and cucumber plants my mom and dad transplanted seem to be doing well. Of course it's going to take some time to collect all the newspapers that were covering them and are now scattered all over the place.

This evening I finally started planting the watermelon seedlings that have been patiently waiting in the basement. I got about half of them in the ground and then got sidetracked weeding the eggplant. By the time I got back to planting, a storm had blown up and I had to go indoors. At least there was no damage this time. Just a downpour and then a beautiful double rainbow to enjoy when it was over.

The bees seem to like their new home. We're seeing them all over the place. I felt sorry for them last week. They had only been here two days when the hail came and took out all the flowers. But the clover came back quickly and it seems to be their favorite thing anyway.

It's fun watching the boys with the bees. All three of them want it to be their turn to take care of them. Yesterday, the two oldest went down by themselves. Zach couldn't resist tasting some of the honey and the comb. Danny told him he's not a beekeeper he's a predator. They all wish they needed to be checked on every day. The youngest one is jealous that he hasn't had a turn to wear the beesuit and help dad. I can't say I blame him, I'm still waiting for my turn too.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Things are sprouting!

Yesterday, my little sister came to see me. She dragged me out of the house to look at signs of improvement all around the farm. It helped that she brought her kids with her. They brought lots of hugs and kisses and I got to hold the baby and play with him while we walked around.

First she took me out to see the long row of lillies, there are lots of new shoots with buds on them. It looks like we will get to enjoy them this year after all. One of the red and yellow ones is already blooming.

Then we went to Grandma's house. Lots of her flowers are blooming again.

Next, we checked out Danny's grapes. They are putting on new leaves and she helped them along by removing some of the damaged ones. It looks like they are all going to survive.

She pointed out a few new blooms on the sunflowers and a lot of new leaves. The cosmos and daisies and crown vetch are all beginning to bloom too. We even discoved the tiniest zinnia blooming. The plant is only about an inch tall and the flower can't be bigger than a dime, but it's determined to live.

In the garden, we found that a lot of the seeds Danny planted the day before the storm are up. The beans and cucumbers are several inches tall. Even the cucumbers he planted the day after the storm are up about an inch.

The lettuce is growing again. There was enough swiss chard to have some for supper last night. There are even new carrots and radishes. She even pointed out six new blooms on the eggplant.

My mom and dad came a little while after she left and brought cucumber and cantaloupe plants from my uncle. They even stayed and planted them for me. We had to cover them with a sheet of newspaper to protect them from the sun. They are pretty good-sized plants, almost as big as the ones we lost. Maybe we will have a crop to harvest before long.

Oh yeah, we also had a friend bring us some dill and cilantro seedlings on Sunday. The gardens are greening up again.

Gotta get back to work!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Things are looking up again.

Today was a nice day at the market. Not too hot, a nice breeze, overcast but no rain. Thanks for all the encouraging words and offers of help.

It's been almost a week now since the hailstorm and I haven't cried for two whole days. There are actually signs of recovery on some of the plants. Yesterday I discovered that one shredded hosta has sent up a new shoot and is getting ready to bloom. And one poor, bent-in-half sunflower is blooming on the ground. There's even one zinnia with one flower.

In the gardens, a few things are starting to put on new leaves, like the swiss chard and some of the peppers and tomatoes. Most of them, however, were broken off at the ground and had to be replaced. With quite a bit of help and encouragement from family and friends, we've managed to transplant a lot of tomatoes and tomatillos as well as peppers. Danny is handling the situation much better than I am. He has worked really hard removing debris and replanting a lot of seeds and transplanting a lot of seedlings.

We've had quite a set-back but we're trying to look ahead and concentrate on the crops to come. I'll keep you posted as things begin to sprout again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Starting over again!

I'd like to tell you all is well here at the farm, unfortunately we were hit hard by a hailstorm on Sunday afternoon. It's hard to believe a few minutes could change everything.

We had golf-ball size hail that seemed to last forever. It did damage on it's way down then bounced back up and caused more damage on it's way back down again. I've never seen anything like it before in my life. I got the camcorder and recorded a few minutes of it until it changed directions and I had to shut the door and head for the basement. The tornado sirens were blaring and we were all really scared.

When it was over we surveyed the damage. It's just unimaginable. There's nothing left of the gardens. The hail shredded everything. There's just little stubs where the vegetables were. Even all our replacement plants were on the back porch and got shredded too (except one container of peppers.) The only other things left are the swiss chard and chives in the hoophouse. They survived but the hoophouse didn't, it too is in shreds.

In the morning we were enjoying our surroundings, the first sunflower and three zinnias were blooming, the entire fence-row of tiger lillies were in full-bloom, the daisies and crown vetch were a mass of yellow and pink. The whole flower bed at Grandma's was blooming. Everywhere we looked made us happy.

Now, it's all gone. I spent most of yesterday crying. Everytime I look out a window I see something else that was destroyed. Even our house and vehicles are damaged. It is so overwhelming.

The only up-side is our family and friends. As soon as they heard what happened to us they started coming to our rescue. Sam and Billy at Sunflower Savannah told us to come and get plants. They sent tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos (I can't believe this will be the third time we'll be planting tomatillos this year!)

The next day, one of our extra moms brought over more tomato plants. Then my little sister, my brother-in-law and his mom (who brought the plants) came and helped us start replanting.

At Danny's work, others were calling around and finding out what we could do to try to save some of the stubs we have left. They even sent organic remedies and formulas we could try.

My uncle is sending cucumber and cantaloupe plants that he needs to thin in his garden. We've had several other offers of help and some are coming tomorrow evening and others are coming to help on Friday.

We really appreciate all the support and love we are receiving!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Excited about getting bees!

Guess what? Today's the day we get our bees!!!

I've been wanting them ever since I got honey from Femme Osage Apiary at the Tower Grove market two summers ago. I started asking questions then and have been doing research ever since. We've gone to lots of beekeeper meetings and asked lots of questions.

Before the meeting this past Monday, we finally got our equipment. Danny and our youngest had fun painting it together a couple days ago to prepare for their arrival. Today, all the boys are helping to clear the area and get set up for the bees.

They've all had fun trying on the beekeepers jacket with the veil and playing with the smoker. I keep telling them they're going to wear it out before we get to use it. Even Danny came in a little while ago to tell me he started a fire in the smoker so he could "try it out."

This evening we get to go pick up the bees. We're all going together to see what a large beekeeping operation looks like. We're just starting with 2 hives.

Our main reason for wanting them is to help with pollination in the gardens. But, we're also anticipating the delicious honey they will provide. We were afraid we were starting too late to get any this year, but were assured at the meeting we should get at least one super of honey by the fall. We can hardly wait!

Ask me about it at the market tomorrow! I'll have swiss chard and radishes again, plus turnip and beet greens and purple kohlrabi for the first time this year. I may even have a few hot peppers.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beautiful day at the market!

What great weather we had at the market today. The sun was shining, it didn't get too hot and the wind didn't try to blow us away! Thanks to all who joined us there, we really appreciate your business.

Thanks also for all the nice in-person comments about our blog. It's very encouraging! I'm happy to hear we are helping others with what we're doing.

I took a stroll through the gardens when I got home. I did a little weeding in the squash patch and then a little more in the herbs. Then I checked on my newly planted kohlrabi plants. I really, really, really hate rabbits right now! Out of the entire new row of plants, they have eaten all but 5 of them!!! Anybody know of a good way of keeping them away from the garden, other than high-velocity intercranial lead therapy? lol It's way too big to fence off all the garden areas and they just keep hitting one section after another.

Well, after the stroll, we all enjoyed Danny's cooking. He made grilled chicken breasts, potatoes and onions. We also got to have a big helping of our rainbow swiss chard. It is so delicious, even our youngest practically inhaled it.

Now I have got to get some sleep.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Planting again!

Well, yesterday was as busy again as usual. Danny planted six varieties of cantaloupe, and I got five varieties of watermelon started. I know they should have been in sooner, but better late than never.

I also transplanted another row of kohlrabi. The plants in the first row are really growing well, we can see the kohlrabi bulbs forming now. If you've never watched them growing you really should. It's the only plant I know of that has the bulb grow above the ground. Mother Earth News called them "space cabbages" and I can understand why. It shouldn't be too much longer now until they're ready to eat!

All over the gardens, things are really taking off. For a while it seemed most of the activity must have been going into the root systems. But now things are starting to get taller. The tomatoes are almost tall enough to start weaving them. The cucumbers and beans are getting closer to the trellis.

The okra Danny replanted last week are all up and trying to catch up to the first ones. The radishes and turnips are doing well. The lettuce and herbs have sprouted.

The only down side this week is with the potatoes. We walked back to check on them yesterday and some of the plants had no leaves left. We discovered these nasty-looking, orange, squishy, sticky bugs all over the place. Danny looked them up, they're potato beetle larvae. We have got to get rid of them! Quickly! He sprayed them with diatomaceous earth (organic friendly, all-natural) and by last night it seemed to be working.

My co-op order arrives tomorrow! Thankfully! I have been out of wheat berries since last Friday, so I haven't been able to make any of my products that need it. Tomorrow is going to be crazy. I don't know yet what time pick-up will be, but I'll be working like mad to catch up once it arrives.

I think I'd just better apoligize in advance for anything I don't have on Saturday. I will do my best to restock, but there are only so many hours in a day. Come by and see how well I do.

I'll have quite a bit of swiss chard and radishes at the market this week, as well as about 7 dozen eggs. I'll even have a dozen guinea eggs. This will be the first dozen this year available for sale, up to now I've been keeping them all for myself. If you have never tried them, they are the most wonderfully flavored eggs, they are very small, but the yolk is the same size as the jumbo chicken egg. They come from the most beautiful bird...from a distance only, they have the ugliest head you can imagine.

Sam, thanks for the comment, I hope you get to celebrate soon!

Stop by, say Hi! and stock up on Saturday! See you there!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Time to celebrate!

Yeah!!!! I finally finished planting the tomatoes (all 230 of them) and replanting the tomatillos, since the frost killed the original ones.

I also got the sunflower/zinnia beds weeded and the zinnias reseeded! And, I got enough weeds out of the long flower bed that we can actually enjoy the peonies, they're beautiful!

The boys discovered the first ripe strawberries yesterday! They taste wonderful! Unfortunately, the kids fed a couple to our dog, Panda. He decided he loved them. While I was pulling weeds, I looked down to find Panda eating the strawberries in my basket. You should have seen the disappointed look on his face when I yelled at him to stop, he gave me those big sad eyes and walked away slowly. A little while later, Danny started laughing out loud, Panda had a strawberry face. Now I just hope he doesn't find the ripe ones before we do.

Today, I need to continue preparing for the market on Saturday. I should have quite a bit of swiss chard this time. The warmer weather is really helping it to take off. I love all the bright colors. If you haven't tried it yet, stop by and get some for yourself. We love it steamed with onions and a little salt and butter.

I may even have the first radishes for this year. I could see some popping out of the ground yesterday.

If you want eggs, you'd better come early. I'll probably have about 9 dozen by Saturday, but they go quickly.

I'll have quite a few plants for sale this weekend. I have heirloom and hybrid tomatoes, a few sweet peppers and a lot of hot peppers, airplane plants, aloe, as well as Pam's Pumpkins. This is my sister's variety, they produce very well.

Last fall, we had a party and all the kids, with help from their parents, scooped out the seeds and then we seasoned them and toasted them. It was a lot of fun! Afterward, I took some of the pumpkins home and turned them into filling for pies. See what you can do with them!

Hope to see you Saturday!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We had a perfect day for gardening yesterday!

Danny and I worked together to plant more tomatoes, peppers, rosemary, rhubarb, grapes and eggplant. Danny also planted garlic for the first time. We've wanted to try it for the last two years but never could find the time and space at the same time.

Today I'm going to work on weeding the carrots, beets and turnips. I also need to get more onion sets planted. The last ones are all up and look great, so we decided to add more. I also want to get more zinnias planted. We seeded them once, but only a small percentage of them sprouted. So, I'm going to try again! Zinnias are Danny's favorite flower and we usually have hundreds of them in the front flower beds.

Gotta' get busy again!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thankful for a rainy day!

I was so grateful to wake up to rain today! I didn't have to feel guilty about working indoors. I was able to get a lot accomplished in preparation for the market this weekend.

Besides, I needed a break from the sun. The wind abated somewhat on Tuesday afternoon, at least long enough to get all the sweet potatoes planted. Then on Wednesday, I spent most of the day in one garden or another. My mom helped me plant lots of tomatoes, 87 at last count, we're estimating there's just about 100 left to go. Zachary put in more t-posts to stay ahead of us and all three boys worked on cutting grass and bringing us the clippings to put around the plants. My grandma even came out in the afternoon to keep us company and give us moral support. We set her up in a nice comfy lounge chair and she got to enjoy a little sun that way too. I also got 2 rhubarb plants and 26 asparagus plants in the new garden plot. Thankfully, Danny got home in time to help me dig most of the holes for the asparagus, they need really deep holes and I was very tired by then.

Today, I am rather stiff and sore from all that hard labor (I talked to my mom and she is too!) But a bigger reason I needed a day out of the sun is because I got very sunburned on my arms and face yesterday! I should have at least worn a hat, I have "raccoon eyes" from wearing my sunglasses and even my scalp is red. My son says I need to write 100 times in aloe, "I will remember to wear a hat and put on sunscreen!" I wish he'd of thought of it before I burned. He brought straw hats out to my mom and grandma, but not to me. Next time I think I'll remember! On the bright side, my hair is much closer to my normal summer blonde and it's still May.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What a great weekend we all enjoyed!

The weather was beautiful, although we did feel like we were all going to blow away at the market Saturday. Many of us had to take down our tents, I resisted until the wind blew it across the aisle and into the next tent. But we had a great turnout again, thanks to all our returning customers.

While I was at the market, Danny was busy here at the farm. He got all the eggplant transplanted into the garden. He direct seeded 4 varieties of beans & 2 varieties of cucumbers. He also got half a row of peppers planted.

Sunday afternoon he got an area tilled for the sweet potatoes, another area for the pumpkins and a third area for the asparagus, rhubarb and garlic. Then he finished planting the rest of the row of peppers he started on Saturday.

I got the boys to start spreading hay on the sweet potato bed while I worked on companion planting 3 kinds of onions in between the rows of potatoes. Then my mom came to help. She worked on uncovering potato sprouts that were having a hard time getting through the thick hay and evened out the hay on some of the rows. Then we both started working together to get the peppers planted. We got 4 more rows in before it got too dark.

Yesterday, I took the boys to the homeschool field day, there were over 250 kids participating this year. Needless to say, by the time we got home, I didn't feel up to planting anything. But, Danny and I did go to the beekeeper's meeting in the evening. Hopefully, before too long we'll have our own hives. We're working on it!

Today I need to plant the sweet potato plants that arrived while I was at the market Saturday. They look really healthy, I have them in glasses of water right now. I had planned on planting them Sunday, but the directions that came with them said not to plant them on a windy day. So I decided I'd better wait. I certainly hope the wind dies down enough today to get them all in. On this hill, it's almost always windy, just in varying degrees. I also need to be planting tomatoes so if it doesn't, I guess I'll just be planting more tomatoes.

Time to get busy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What a productive day!

Wow, we accomplished so much today!

Danny got all the beds for the peppers, eggplant & spinach formed up, put the soaker hoses in place, then covered them with black plastic & put down newspapers & mulch between the rows. He also installed the new drip tape in the tomato garden. This is our first time to use it, but it comes highly recommended. And he still had enough energy left to grill pork steaks for dinner!

The boys took advantage of an actual dry, sunny day & got all the grass cut & the clippings delivered to us in the garden.

I started production for this week's market. Then, later this afternoon & evening, I got 51 more tomato plants in the ground & mulched with the clippings. I also planted a few more potatoes.

Last night I started potting the kohlrabi & squash sprouts in the basement. I was shocked by how many roots the squash seedlings already had. This afternoon, I discovered the kohlrabi transplants had grown an inch overnight in the new pots. Now I need to go do some more transplanting & watering in the basement so I can get to bed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The potatoes are up!

Finally, the potatoes are up! Discovering that yesterday evening certainly perked me up! Surprisingly, all 3 sections have emerged above the hay, even though they were all planted at different times.

It's beginning to look like we are going to be waterlogged forever. I can't believe it stormed again this morning. I got a few more tomato plants in the ground yesterday, but I had to stop because of the mud. I was hoping to get a lot more in today, but now I don't think it will happen. We've moved most of the plants into the hoophouse now & they seem to be doing well.

Oh, I got another nice surprise yesterday, when I started to water the pepper plants in the basement, I found 3 jalapeno peppers. What a strange spring, I can't even get the plants into the ground, but they're producing anyway!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thanks Everybody!

Thanks to all who joined us today for the Spring Kick-off Celebration at the Tower Grove Farmer's Market. It was wonderful to see such a crowd, I think that was the market's biggest crowd yet! Thanks to Patrick & his crew for doing such a great job organizing & running it! We really appreciate all our returning customers, as well as all the new ones!

I'd love to hear your comments on the products you've tried.

Thank you Kelly & Chris for your comments. Chris, it was exciting to see your comment already posted by the time I got home from the market. I'll check out your blog next.

Hope to see everyone again next Saturday!! I promise I'll bring more Pizza Dough Mix, sorry to everyone who missed out.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Good morning!

Wow, that was quite a storm this morning. But the plants in the garden seem to be happy & the plastic stayed on the hoophouse, so I'm happy too. Recently I transplanted swiss chard & kohlrabi, the rain really perked them up. I also got carrots, radishes & beets direct seeded, but they're not up yet. Hopefully the rain will speed their emergence, I can hardly wait.

I love looking out & seeing green in the garden, & with the swiss chard in now, red & yellow as well.

The mulch is doing a good job keeping the weeds in check. It will save us so much time as the summer goes on.

Unfortunately, with the frost we got Monday night, all the tomatillos I had transplanted died. We had them all covered, but it didn't help. They were all black when we uncovered them. Oh well, lesson learned. It's a good thing I hadn't put the tomatoes in yet! Fortunately, I had checked the planting guide & realized it was just too early. Of course, that was after I had finished planting all the tomatillos. We definitely have spring fever & want to put in everything at once, but we're trying to practice patience.

That reminds me, I wonder if any of the potatoes are up? I think I'll go check.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day Was a HUGE Success

Thanks to all who made earth day such a success. It was a great day! The weather was perfect! We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting. It was wonderful to see so many of our usual customers and to meet so many new people.

We hope you were able to attend, and we hope to see you again at the Tower Grove Farmer's Market. We'll be there all summer long, beginning May 10th for the big kick off.

Now it's time for us to concertrate on planting. I have 240 tomato plants to try to get into the garden in the next week. Danny got the garden plowed & hilled & mulched last week & started putting in the t-posts. This week he & the boys need to finish the job.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Earth Day is Sunday!

Hi everyone! Thanks for a great market on Saturday. I'm so glad the weather cooperated & so many were able to attend.

Now I'm busy getting ready for Earth Day this Sunday, April 20th. We're excited! I've been told there were about 20,000 people there last year. I've also heard there is even more to see & do this year.

I'll be sampling some of my products, so if you haven't had an opportunity to try them, here's your chance.

I'm also bringing pepper plants to sell, both sweet & hot varieties. Last year it was difficult to find hot pepper plants, so I decided to start them myself. I have the old standards, as well as varieties I've never grown before. The plants look beautiful, especially the variegata peppers. Last year we planted them in big planters in the front of the house. This year we will again, but we're also putting them in the front flower bed, they're so pretty.

There's so much going on this week at the farm. Danny's on vacation from his off-farm job, so he's tackling all kinds of projects. Today he's going to try to plow the tomato garden so we can start planting next week. I'll be glad to get them in the garden, the plants are huge, they're too tall for the plant stand.

I'm planning to get the rest of the potatoes planted today...it's supposed to be 70 degrees. We're all going to work outside together.

Well, I'd better go join the rest of the family, they're already busy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Morning! Reminder about tomorrow's market.

Good morning! Just a reminder that tomorrow we'll be at the St. Louis Community Farmer's Market in Tower Grove across from the park on Arsenal off of Grand. The market runs from 8:30am to 12:30 pm. Just look for the signs posted nearby & in front of the building.

Well back to work, I still have 4 kinds of flour to grind, muffins & muffin mixes to make.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The New Vineyard

PhotobucketWell the weather broke a little Wednesday so I got a helper and finished up the trellises for the new vineyard (at least phase 1 anyway). So far I have 98 feet of trellis installed and ready. That should support about 12 vines. It's a simple 2 wire Kniffen system. I plan on starting with several varieties of table grapes and graduate into more of the wine grape varieties. We want to have grapes to sell at the markets and I really want to try my hand at home wine making!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It feels like spring!

Finally, it's a warm, sunny day!

Since my last post, Danny managed to plant 2 peach trees, despite all the rain. Now today, he's working on grape arbors. Before long, we'll have several varieties of grapes planted. Of course that means I get to practice patience, since we won't get a good crop for a couple years. But at least we've gotten started!

Oh yeah, we also got 6 rows of potatoes planted. This is our first try at potatoes, we're hoping it's not too wet for them. We're using the Ruth Stout method. We'll let you know how it turns out.

I'm working on getting ready for the last winter market this weekend at Tower Grove. Hope you can join me. Check out the listing on the side for the address if you haven't been there yet. It looks like I'll have herbs, swiss chard & even turnip greens ready to pick by Saturday. I'll have free-range eggs, too. And, of course, I'll have all the usuals; muffins, grains, flours, beans, peas, mixes, salsas, pickles, relishes, dried pineapple & mango.

Zachary's working on getting more pictures posted soon!

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Some More Pictures

Here are some more pictures of our farm. Please tell me if you like them.

Zachary, Chief Designer/Author

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Great news!

Danny built me a new, larger plant stand for the basement & I spent most of the day yesterday transplanting & watering & moving the tomato plants to it. I can hardly believe it, but it is completely full & I still have more plants to transplant!

I wish it would stop raining for a while. Even the hoophouse is waterlogged. I was hoping to start planting in there this week, but I can't even walk in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Denise's Mixed Bean Soup Recipe

After many requests at the market, I finally put up the recipe for Denise's Mixed Bean Soup. It's located beside the blogs on this page. Try it out for yourself, if you haven't already. If you need the mix, let me know or come see me at the market.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Thanks For a Great Market

Thanks to all who helped make the market a success on Saturday. I hope everyone is happy with what they got. I'd love to hear your comments on my products. What do you like best? How do you fix it? I'm working on getting some of my recipes listed on the blog, but I'd love to hear about yours.

If you missed the market, you can still get some of my products everyday at Local Harvest Grocery & I'll be at the St. Louis Community Market on April 12th.

Is there something you'd like to have me hold for you? You can e-mail me at drwissman@sbcglobal.net & I can have your order ready in advance.

I've also had a lot of questions about buying from us locally. At this time we don't have an on-farm stand, but I do occassionally make special arrangements if you want to buy directly.

Joy, thank you for your comment. It was nice to meet you at the market!

Have a great day!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Just for FUN

Just playing around with posting some pictures from last year. We'll put up some current ones soon but right now all there is to look at around here is MUD!

This is a picture of one of the mobile chicken coops (called tractors). The electric poultry fence keeps them safe from predators. The fence is large yet very portable. It and the coop are moved every few days so that they always have fresh pasture to scratch on. Makes for HAPPY, HEALTHY chickens!

That's King the rooster and some of his girls. Most people don't realize it, but you don't have to have a rooster in your flock to get eggs! The hens lay just fine without him (although the eggs will not be fertile). But they seem to like having a man around anyway.
We have LOTS of pics to share! We'll post more as we have time.
PLEASE leave comments!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Market This Week!

Well, our new fence for the chickens has arrived. Yesterday we moved the chickens pen again & put up the new fence & put the charger on. It's time to be sure they don't escape, the peas are sprouting & they won't stand a chance if the chickens see them.

We have so many little plants in the basement, I've run out of room to transplant them. I need more grow lights again!

Now it's time to begin to prepare for this week's market. This Saturday, March 29th, will be the last winter market at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood for this season. We'll be there with all the usuals, a whole assortment of Certified Organic Grains, Freshly Ground Flours (whole wheat, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa, rye, ... & of course, my Combo Flour (wheat & flaxseed) & my new 10-Grain Flour that was an instant hit!). Plus, I'll have all my Healthy mixes: Pancake Mix-Regular or Milk-free, Waffle Mix, Pizza Dough Mix, Cornbread Mix, Banana Muffin Mix & Zucchini Spice Muffin Mix. I'll also have lots of Certified Organic beans, peas, lentils, popcorn & whole wheat couscous; plus the various mixtures of them: Chili Bean Medley, Mixed Beans & Peas & the newest one, Split Pea Soup Mix. Oh yeah, dried pineapple & mango, too.

Want more...we now have our Dealers Egg license & I'll have quite a few dozen eggs from our free-range (within reason) chickens.

If you get there early, you may even manage to get some fresh-picked Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard. It's finally recovering from the chicken raid in February!. The snow storm detached just enough of the plastic on the hoophouse for them to squeeze in & they devoured everything. It was great for the egg production, but not the vegetables.

Hope you can join us on Saturday! I'd better get busy!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's a sunny day finally!

Yeah! The sun is finally out! We have had so much rain this past week. We are very happy we live on top of a hill. There is so much flooding going on near-by. The sunshine is putting us all in a better mood. The cats, dogs and chickens are all busy running around. I'm hoping the peas will pop out of the ground today, I'm ready to see green in the garden again!

Friday, March 14, 2008


We now have several hundred pepper and tomato plants growing. Yesterday, I started kohlrabi, eggplant and swiss chard. It's very exciting to watch everything growing and imagining what they'll look like in the garden. Even more exciting, I just found 9 green tomatoes on the plants in our kitchen picture window!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting Busy

Well, we're off and running for the year. We are getting a head start in the basement. We have little sprouts popping up every day. So far, we have tomato, tomatillo and pepper plants getting bigger all the time, and our peas finally sprouted yesterday.