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, April 27, 2009

Time to recover!

Wow, what a busy weekend! We accomplished so much in the gardens.

Saturday, Danny finished tilling & hilling all the gardens. Then we started planting potatoes. We got all our seed potatoes saved from last year planted then started planting another heirloom variety that we decided to try. After that Danny and Zach rolled out haybales over them. We're trying out our own variation on the "Ruth Stout method" again. After the hailstorm damage last year, we don't think our results were typical. We're hoping for a much larger return per plant this year.

Then we finished our preparations for Earth Day on Sunday.

The weather cooperated nicely for Earth Day, it was sunny and warm, but a little too windy at times. The turnout was a big success. It was nice to see many of our regular customers and to meet so many new people that we hope to see again at the summer market. Our boys had a good time exploring and learning. We were all very glad to get back home though.

Today we're all trying to recover. Surprisingly, Danny managed to find enough energy to plant a couple rows of veges after work.

We'll, I need to go candle the eggs that we're incubating. I'm very hopeful that by this time next week we'll be taking care of a bunch of chicks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Progress in the gardens!

We had a very productive day today on the farm. Danny re-tilled at least parts of all the gardens. Then he used the new hiller attachment on the tractor and started forming the rows for planting.

After that, he started planting seeds. He direct-seeded okra and swiss chard. Besides that he cut a bunch of grass with the push mower to get grass clippings to put in the gardens. He even mulched the onions.

Meanwhile, Zach was busy cutting grass with the riding mower. I love the way the yard looks just after the first cutting. Everything is so green now, we can really see a difference in the field in front of the house where we moved the chickens around all last year. It's funny, you can see exactly where the coops sat with each move. The grass is so much darker and thicker. It's hard to tell that it was mostly weeds the previous year. The chickens did a great job of eating the weed seeds and providing a multitude of fertilizer.

I was busy working on the front flower bed. I got quite a bit of weeding and mulching done and planted a few new plants. I added 2 new varieties of peonies and a new variety of bleeding heart. Right now, the bleeding hearts and the violets are in bloom and the peonies look like they're just about to bloom.

I also worked on potting plants to take to the market. I'll have quite a few with me at Earth Day and even more at opening day of the Tower Grove Farmers' Market on May 9th. So far I have crown vetch, daisies and violets. Tomorrow I'll be potting 2 varieties of hostas.

Time to get some sleep, tomorrow's another busy day.

Earth Day at Forest Park is this Sunday

Please come and join us at Earth Day this Sunday, April 26th, in Forest Park!

The celebration is located all around the Muny. We will be in a new location this time. The entire Tower Grove Farmers' Market will be located in the Food Education section. It will be to one side of the Muny, more centrally located than last year.

We have been very busy making preparation to be there. I have been grinding lots of flour and making lots of mixes. If you didn't get to the market early last time, you missed out on the new Buckwheat Pancake Mix. I sold out rather quickly, I'll be bringing a lot more this time. Come give it a try. It's made with certified organic, freshly ground buckwheat and flaxseed as well as steel-cut rolled oats. I may even be giving out samples of the finished product. Danny picked up the permit today to be able to sample our products.

For those of you who have been waiting patiently, the Amaranth has finally arrived and I'll have it with me at the market. Also, I have the Golden Flaxseed once again.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reminder about the market tomorrow

Just a little reminder, I'll be at the St Louis Community Farmers' Market in Tower Grove tomorrow from 9:00am to 1:00pm. It's the last one for the season.

I did get the new mixes, "Denise's Healthy Buckwheat Pancake Mix" ready in time for the market. Come and try one for yourself.

Hope to see you in the morning!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Changes on the farm

There is so much happening on the farm now! The little peach trees have bloomed. Flowers are popping up all over. The peas have sprouted in the front flower bed. The chickens are back inside their movable fence. Or maybe I should say, we're trying to keep them in. After all these months of freedom, they're not too happy about being restricted from the gardens. But we are trying, because every time they get out they eat the seedlings popping up in the gardens.

You should see the progress Danny and the boys are making on the new chicken coop. Both ends are up and connected, the doorways for us and the chickens and the openings for the nesting boxes are all cut out. It has a trap door in the floor for easy clean-out and its almost ready to put on the top. Danny's making it up as he goes along because he couldn't find plans for what he wanted. I think it's going to look like an old-fashioned covered wagon when it's finished. We're trying to find a good name for it, so if you'd like to make a suggestion, feel free.

I've been trying to hurry him up building it, because I expected to have a lot of new little chicks by now, but none of them hatched. I'm disappointed, but I'm about to try again. This time I'm going to use an automatic egg turner in the incubator.

We have lots and lots of little plants in the basement. There are literally hundreds of tomato and pepper plants. They've all been transplanted into larger pots now and are getting bigger everyday. We have about 15 varieties of tomato plants, most of the heirloom varieties. The Brandywine and the Old German Striped varieties are really taking off. Last night when I went to water them, they were so tall I had to raise the grow lights over them again. We also have a number of herbs that are growing quite well.

It looks like we'll have plenty of plants to bring to Earth Day at Forest Park. It's on Sunday, April 26th this year. It was a lot of fun last year. We hope you can join us.

I'll also be at the St Louis Community Farmers' Market this Saturday, April 11th. It's the last indoor market we'll be at this season.

I've been working on a new mix for Buckwheat Pancakes. If you'd like to be one of the first to try it, come see me on Saturday. It's wheat and milk-free, but I add milk and yogurt to the mix when I make it at home.

Hope to see you soon!