Tag Archives: Farming

Success so far. …

 

Farming, really growing anything, even kids, is a gamble.  Ask any farmer, gardener, or parent.  I’ve had two perennial areas of frustration for me.  One is tomatoes.  We plow through loads of ketchup, tomato sauce and salsa.  We use LOTS of tomatoes.  Ripening them has been a bad bet (at best) for years for me.  Two years ago, we built a hoop house, and this year finally, I’m getting ripe tomatoes before they all freeze solid.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  I was showing people the picture like I had a new baby…  Pathetic. 🙂

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The other product has been cherries.  I planted 5 trees back in 2007, two died (I’m not nor have I ever pretended to be a orchardist), and any time there has been a hope, when I go out to pick, I’m greeted with bird poo in the trees, and no cherries.  This year, it looks like not only will we get a bunch of Rainiers but also Sweethearts.  I’m stoked.  We got about 3# off the Rainier tree and the Sweethearts look like they are ready to go now.

imageHope your garden is full of success this year!!

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How does our garden grow (so far).

Slower than I want.  Seems like it’s about two weeks behind this year, and it didn’t help my frame of mind that while we were in Costa Mesa (70-80 daytime high) it froze here and set back some cole crops, as well as nuking my beans.  We’ll the 2nd planting is coming up, and so is almost everything else.  Tomatoes are about to get planted into the hoop house, along with some other odds and ends.  I’m also looking to get some more beds prepped, and planted over the next few days.  We’ll see about all that though, as it seems the March rains are back.

Background on the photos…  In the first pic of the potatoes, you can see what’s left of the moldy round bale that hasn’t gone down as mulch, and the chicken tractor as it slowly makes it’s way out to the field (they have to start close to the house and power for a few days till we are sure the babies are transitioned out of the full enclosure of the deck brooder).  Then the spinach that went in some time in March.  Beans and peas, garlic was February this year (looks like they are not suffering from having spend the winter in the shed, not the ground) and the carrots that went in about 3 weeks ago.  And the weeds.  Just a few, for aesthetics.

There are summer and winter squash, lettuce, beets, some herbs, kale, broccoli and other cole crops too…

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Snow Day!

Most of you in the PNW will get that today was a big day.  Big snow day that is!  We normally get a little dusting once or twice each year, but with a touch over a foot on the ground at our place now, and more supposedly on it’s way, we have been loving it.  Not to say it’s without hardship.  My lunch hour today was spent pushing snow around.  Our loafing sheds were not built with the intent of supporting more than a foot or so of snow, and so, as I wrapped up with some of the day job work, and had a quick bite, I had to commit the next hour to snow clearing.  The last time I had to do this was several years ago, at about 11pm, with my wife in the hospital (20 weeks pregnant with our second child) and our first, at 4 years old, tucked into bed.  I had the baby monitor on my hip and as I struggled to the top of the step ladder with the push broom, I though to myself “please Lord, just don’t let the power go out” cue the drums, and snap lights out.  3, 2, 1…  and back on again.  I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry…

Today was much better.  I didn’t drag the SLR around with me, but snapped a few quick shots with the cell phone…

Chickens don’t mind the snow, if cracked corn is involved.  Ducks don’t seem to mind either way.  Unless large globs of snow are falling off the trees, then it’s every duck for herself!

That would be the pygora (with the high end thick warm coat) coming out of the loafing shed.  The Nubians? no thank you.

I managed to break the handle off the broom (I supposed they are not meant to push 14″ of snow around), and while in the new tool shed replacing it (can you believe I actually had a spare?) a House Wren managed to fly in the open door…  Very confused about getting out, but he finally figured it out.

Paths were cleared for the turkeys to get to the water as well.  Apparently they don’t have the ground clearance for deep snow…

The two edged sword of working from home?  I ended up working till right before dinner, cause well, I was almost done, right?

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‘Tis the winter of our discontent’

Probably better to say ‘we hope the winter of our discontent is behind us’.  I know it’s still winter, in fact we had our first snow yesterday, and they say more is on it’s way, and frankly I have a lot of hope for this winter (or what’s left of if) and for the rest of 2012.  That’s not to say 2012 has gotten off to an auspicious start.  I am cautiously optimistic that the five plus days of influenza that completely leveled the oldest and youngest members of the family are behind us.  The past week has not been without excitement, a 105 fever in our youngest was her first chance to go to a hospital as the patient (my girls do love to go to the hospital!).  Her stay was brief (less than two hours on site), and I was grateful to see them home, as I had my own 103 fever.  The only one to emerge unscathed was Mommy (Mom’s never get a break do they?)

We are as always hopeful about what the future may hold.  Our goat Pollyanna is back from her boyfriends, and although she doesn’t look pregnant, our little weather is about as disinterested in her as he could be.  She brought a friend with her as well.  Eloise has come to live with us.  And heavy with child is probably an understatement.  I’ll get some photos for her own post, but she is now the largest goat in out herd, and Polly looks small next to her…  We are looking forward to late spring, and fresh milk from our own goats again!

We have also made some feed changes at the farm.  Although we will not be getting ‘Organic Certified’ (probably worth it’s own post) we will be feeding an all organic diet to the food animals on the farm.  The chickens went Organic around Christmas, and the goats are down to the last 8-12# of 100% natural but non-organic feed.  My goal is to source as much raw organic feed locally as we can (grains and such) for all the animals.  A hoop house and more gardening are also in the plans, along with cutting out some things that we have deemed ‘time sucks’ for us.  More on that later as well…

For now, it’s a warm fire, food and waiting till things start growing outside again.

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4H for fun!

We’ve been at this farming thing for some time now…

As we walked through the fairs that we frequent in late summer, we kept hearing a repeating line “mommy/daddy I want to show one of our animals”.  Even when a young steer bolted straight at us in Sylvana, sending the 65# handler flying like a rag doll, she still stuck to her guns.  Although she’s thinking that for this first year she’ll show one of our chickens.

And that brings us to 4H!  Although you can show animals at fairs without 4H involvement, given out home school bent, and the opportunity to have her involved in ‘extracurricular’ activities, we hopped on board.  It was a ‘girls night out’ for her and mommy the first two meetings (and I just hate having one on one time with my little one 😉 so it worked out great).  This last week though, given some family illnesses I got to take her.  There is a wonderful air of ‘organized informality’ to it, with the older kids running the show.  This last week was elections (see below) and then meeting in the different groups (chickens, goats and camelids) to discuss goals and other things of note.  It was cool to see the older kids leading the evening.  Only a couple of times did parent’s even chime in, and typically only to direct an idea or discussion back on track.  It also struck me that most of the kids running/elected to the various positions were also members of FBLA.

So, here are a few quick shots of the voting (other than this I was too busy to hold the camera)

Little people practicing democracy!

The anonymous foot shot strikes again!  I’ve got the OK from some parents to post recognizable photos of their kids…  If I get 100% then the pictures will be more fun next time.  Kids are always fun.

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We be Jammin.

To Rusted Root, Beach Boys and Michael Franti.  And yes, the raspberries are now ripe.  More goodies for us.  They are all a bit weedy, but no less sweet.  Most of these will go into freezer jam, some we will do ‘cooked jam’ for gifts and to save freezer space.  Assuming all goes well with the dairy goats we will end up using a lot of this for yogurt as well…

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Cluck Cluck. Laying hens for sale!

There is a quote that goes something like ‘the best intentions….’  We have wanted to grow more of our own meat for a long time.  We also wanted to try to support the heritage, non commercial gene pool.  Well live and learn.  There is a reason Cornish Cross are so popular.  We could have had two batches out the door/in our freezer in the time it’s taken to get these girls to where they are now (almost 16 weeks).  We brooded all these girls together, and transitioned them into chicken tractors when they were old enough to handle the cold.  We pulled the roosters out of the pens about two weeks ago, they are milling around with the goats.  Now the hens intended for eggs are almost ready to transition to ‘big girl food’ and move on out to the chicken yard.  We had planned on butchering any roosters, and the extra hens that we have.  Then folks started asking if we had any chickens for sale.  We had planned on selling/processing the old hens, and most of them have sold.

So, we have decided to offer up the young layer hens for sale as well.  They are $18 each, and with a minimum order I’ll deliver them to you (within a reasonable distance).  I did some quick math and each of these birds is worth about $125 in eggs in 24 months.  Boom.  Feel free to shoot me an e-mail me adam@adalynfarm.com or call 425-610-6723 for more info…  We are down to Buff Orpington’s (listed as recovering by the ALBC), but plan on doing this next year with more variety.

Looking big!!!

Will you take me home?

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