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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer's harvest is keeping us very busy!

I suppose you've noticed the lack of recent posts. The gardens have been in full production and it's taking all my time to keep up with the bounty of the harvest. Bonnie and her helper, Katie, come twice a week to pick. My mom and Danny and the boys pick too.

My friend Sally has been coming on two other days to help me with the processing. My Grandma helps out as well when she's able. Today, another friend came and picked tomatoes and okra for me. (It's hayfever season for me now, so I don't venture into the gardens very often.)

The okra is finally producing, it seemed to take forever. Up until last week we were only getting about a handful at a time (off of two 70 foot long rows.) Now, it's needing to be picked every couple of days. I should have a nice basketful again this weekend at the market.

You would be surprised to see how much all of the chicks have grown. The ones that hatched in May are almost as big as the adults. It's getting hard to tell them apart. Of course their coloring is different. We love seeing all the variety of colors as they walk around the yard. My mom commented on how much she enjoys them when she was here this afternoon.

The second batch of chicks have grown a lot, too. Except for two of them, they are still tiny little things by comparison. One of them is dark brown and black, the other one is mostly white with little dark spots. The white one is our newest pet. It loves to be held. It comes up to your feet and just waits to be noticed and picked up. It wants to be petted and carried around. Nate carries it all over the place. Last week he brought it in the garden with us while we were weeding the squash. It just walked around eating bugs and enjoying being near us. But, when Nate walked away to get rid of some weeds, it tried to follow him and started peeping loudly when it couldn't keep up. We named it Peeper. It is so cute!

The gardens have changed a lot since the last pictures. The cucumbers and beans are over the top of the 8 foot trellises. The tomatoes are almost all to the top of their trellises as well. The okra is almost taller than Bonnie. And the new variety of sunflowers Danny planted are taller than all of us, even Zach . I think one of them must be close to 15 feet tall!

We got the first of our watermelons last Friday. We've been getting cantaloupes and honeydews for the past few weeks. They are so delicious! I remember now why we planted all heirloom varieties. I've even discovered that I love honeydews. I had a man at the market complain that everyone brings them before they're ripe, that they need to split open before you pick them. Well, I came home and tried one that was split open...it was the best tasting melon I had eaten in a long time. He was right. I suppose other people knew that secret as well, because I brought a split one with me this past weekend and it was the first one to sell.

All the potatoes have been dug now. Danny and Bonnie and all the kids, even little Phillip, dug the last of them Monday. This time they got some really big ones. I'm pleased because the final ones they dug were from the starter potatoes I saved from last years harvest.

This past month Danny started tilling the areas where the potatoes and a few other veges were and began planting the fall crops. We have a new crop of beans and zucchini and yellow squash and a lettuce mix that are off to a good start. Tomorrow, he's planning on pulling up the last of one row of cucumbers and planting peas. I'm looking forward to the fall peas because the spring ones didn't do well at all. We did get a few to eat as we worked, but not enough for a meal. I'm hoping to be able to get some in the freezer for winter.

Well, there's so much more to tell ... but this will have to do for now. I've got to go finish up for today. There are still tomatillos and cucumbers and okra and eggs waiting to get put away before I can go to bed.