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.

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.