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, April 29, 2010

The Queen is coming!

This winter was very hard on the bees. Many beekeepers in the Midwest lost hives and we were no exception. Two of our three hives did not make it. Fortunately the one that did survive is doing very well. It has a strong queen and she is producing nicely.

David Sullivan (my “mentor” from the local beekeepers club) is going to help me make a “split”. That involves dividing a colony in two, leaving the original queen with one half and providing a new queen for the other. It sounds simple enough but there are tricks to it. I’m glad David will be helping. Our new queen is coming from Ohio and should arrive mid May. – Dan

(Nate wishes we had a bee suit that fit him better.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eggs for Sale on the farm!

Is anyone interested in buying true free-range eggs directly from us on the farm?

The summer market is open now. You can still buy directly from us, or you can get them at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 8:30 to 12:30. The prices are: One dozen large $4.00 or jumbo $4.50. You can e-mail us @ drwissman@sbcglobal.net for directions and available times for pick-up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

19 chicks and preparing for more

Well, no more chicks hatched. I guess 19 new little chicks is pretty good. Almost half of the eggs I started with actually hatched. I suppose that's where the phrase "don't count your chickens before they hatch" comes from.

Oh well, I cleaned out the incubator thoroughly on Saturday and put in another 41 eggs. Now we wait all over again.

Today we moved the chicks out to the brooder in the garage. Bear told me it was time, one of them nearly hopped out of the box in the kitchen. I know it's best for them to be out there, but I miss being able to watch them while I work. They're contented in the brooder, and not too far away to go check on them frequently. They like being held. If you hold out your hand, they will climb on and just sit there and let you pet them.

Friday, April 23, 2010

3 more little fluffballs!

After my last post, 2 more chicks hatched yesterday. Another one hatched today! That makes 19 altogether.

They have had quite a few visitors. Everybody wants to see how cute they are!

There are still a number of eggs in the incubator, we'll see what happens tomorrow. As soon as the incubator is empty, I have another basketful waiting to go in.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

16 baby chicks have hatched so far!

The first one hatched just as we sat down for supper yesterday. The next one hatched a couple hours later. At 5:30am there were 5 more waiting for me to let them out of the incubator. By 8:00am 2 more were waiting for Nate to find them and within a few minutes he got to watch as 3 more hatched. He was bouncing off the walls with excitement.

It's been very difficult to keep the boys focused on schoolwork today. They keep running in the kitchen to see if anymore are ready to hatch. We got to watch as 4 more hatched. Even Grandma Gerke was excited and got to watch 2 of them hatch. I took a picture of Grandma, Bear and Nate hovering over the incubator.

Baruch has been camera crazy. We have so many pictures of the chicks. They are all turning into cute little fluffballs and are providing the entertainment for the day. It's really fun, and relaxing at the same time, to just sit and watch them.

I'll keep you posted about the rest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The chicks are about to hatch!

Tonight I took the egg turner out of the incubator and then put the eggs back in again. Within just a few minutes I could hear the chicks peeping inside their shells. It shouldn't be long now until they begin to hatch!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Incubating eggs!

Last Friday, I put 41 eggs in the incubator. We are all excitedly waiting to see them hatch.

My neice came to visit on Monday and saw the incubator. She got so excited. She wanted me to lift her up to watch them hatch. She asked which one I thought would hatch first. She was very disappointed to find out they had about 17 days left until they hatch. Last year, she was here almost every day and got to watch as most of them hatched. This year she's usually at school and she's afraid she'll miss out.

None of the hens decided to go broody. At least not yet. I'm still hopeful.

More sprouts!

I have lots more little sprouts in the basement. In the last two days, the sweet peppers, hot peppers, cilantro and more eggplants have sprouted. Soon it will be time to transplant them into larger containers.

To make room, Danny is recovering the hoophouse in greenhouse plastic. When he's finished, we will be able to move quite a few plants out there. It will help to toughen them up a bit before we plant them in the garden.

On Friday, the plan is to plant potatoes and onions and as many greens as we have time for. We also have to get ready for the market on Saturday, so Danny and the boys will be doing more planting on Saturday while I'm at the market.

I will be bringing tomato plants with me on Saturday. I'll plan to bring a few of each variety, but if you want very many of a specific type, let me know ahead of time and I'll bring extra.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I need more room!

I'm out of space for transplanting tomatoes. Grandma came and helped me transplant tomatoes a couple more afternoons this week. We got a lot accomplished, but we had to stop because we're out of room under the grow lights.

All the transplants are growing nicely and I should have quite a few ready to take to the market on April 10th. It will be the final winter market for the season.

It shouldn't be too long until I have more space to work with. Danny worked hard today getting the gardens ready to move the onions and kale and lettuce out from under the grow lights and into the garden. He got part of gardens #1 & #2 tilled and the raised rows ready to plant. He also got all of garden #5 tilled and hilled, ready to start planting potatoes and onions.

Our seed potatoes are ready to be picked up tomorrow. We ordered several different varieties through the Missouri Organic Society this year and they've finally arrived.

Enough for now, the timer just beeped, I have 3 loaves of my Honey Oatmeal Bread ready to take out of the oven. Mmmmm.....mmmm.......it smells wonderful!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Federal agent on the farm!

Yesterday, we had our first visit from the USDA Farm Service Agency. Actually, it was a very nice, friendly, helpful and informative representative of the agency here in Franklin County. She is helping us in our efforts to expand production capabilities on our farm. Our goal is to set up a rather large hoophouse that will allow us to extend the growing season on both ends.

We recently got to check out a friends' hoophouse nearby, and it got us excited about the prospect of getting one ourselves.

Time will tell.