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.

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!