Fair Time

Fair Time

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The boys showed their poultry on Tuesday. They placed 5th and 6th in the state fair line-up with their brown egg layer hens. This is the largest class of poultry so this was good news.

Well it is fair time at our house. Many friends observe the craziness, and wonder why we do this? It is complete chaos with full exhaustion at the end. It seems no matter how much you prepare, this is the pattern. We would do this all over again because we see the life changing opportunities that 4-H offers our children.

The boys averaged 10 general project areas and both brought two hens and two pigs. We encourage them to take basic life skill type projects: baking, electricity, shop (welding and woodworking), food preservation, safety, livestock projects and more. Through this process, they work with different adult mentors in their lives from their grandparents, parents, neighbors and friends. It is an amazing process to step back and observe as both the 4-Her and mentor discuss details about a given project area, and the amount of high level discussion and learning that occurs.

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Sam was ecstatic to place champion in the vegetable area.

The kids spend spare time throughout the year working on projects and developing life changing skills.

When I asked the boys why they like being in 4-H, they said they like taking pigs and working with so many types of animal species, getting to go to fun places, meeting more people, making new friends and it’s fun.

For us as parents we see that it teaches them leadership, responsibility, follow-through, time management, where their food comes from, how to take care of the food that we feed other people, record keeping, writing, organization, conversational and interview skills and more.

So as you take a look at your boxes this week. We want to share that Sam won grand champion vegetables and Keith earned a state fair trip and plans to show the vegetables at the Minnesota State Fair. We thank you for the opportunity for us to learn and grow with you along this journey.

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Keith’s vegetable’s earned a trip to the state fair. Looking forward to the additional learning opportunities.

What’s New?

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Look what else is going on. Kittens with their eyes opening up. Great time to start taming these farm cats so they will be good hunters.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some spinach emerging this morning and am hopeful for where it will be next week.

Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets Cooked beets: -Cut the top and the bottom off -Place in boiling water -Boil until you can stick a fork through it -Take out of boiling water -Using a paper towel, gently rub the skin off -Slice and enjoy with a dab of butter.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.
Super Sugar Snap Peas – Eat the pods and peas all together. Great snack. This is the end of the first crop. Look for a second crop soon.

green beans

Green Beans

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

Onion – Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

8-11-14 summer squash

Summer Squash

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try summer squash soup.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Here’s a resource on Cilantro from Real Simple.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

brownies

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/3 cup baking cocoa
•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 cups shredded zucchini
•1-1/2 cups sugar
•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I will substitute with applesauce.)
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting
•1/4 cup butter, cubed
•1 cup sugar
•1/4 cup milk
•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.•Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

•In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home

Project Driven

Project Driven

It was a busy 4th of July at our house. Yes, we worked outside. It was a project driven day that ended in a cookout and fireworks. There doesn’t seem to be many days where we can focus on accomplishing a lot around home, but that day we did. From weed control to harvesting the cover crop to addressing the white mold on some of our vines to installing a fence for the second round of peas, there was much to be done.

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Since we are out of our repurposed fencing, we found another way to make a pea fence. It is so much easier to harvest peas when they are growing upright.

Here’s a glimpse of what is growing on this week. Thanks again to Sam who took the majority of the photos in the blog.

Garden Science

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The first harvest of green beans. Notice all the white flowers. A green bean will grow from those flowers.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – We have a new crop planted. This is the case for many of the salad type crops. In fact, we planted it about a month ago. It emerged even though the ground was pretty hard for the young plant to push through but it did have a poor stand. We have replanted again. Just not sure how quickly it will mature to harvest stage. Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale mix – A little purple kale is mixed in with the spinach this week. There is an insect that is loving the kale this year. We are trying to trouble shoot control of this insect.

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Beets

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

Super Sugar Snap Peas – Rat the pods and peas all together. Great snack.

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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Onion growing.

Onion – Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week.

Zucchini/Summer Squash – make these into noodles, sauté and more. Check out this link for recipe ideas.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Here’s a resource on Cilantro from Real Simple.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillys

Recipe of the Week

1 pound snap peas, trimmed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add snap peas and cook until tender but still vibrant green and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and toss with butter; season with salt.

Source: Martha Stewart

Weeds and What!

Weeds and What!

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Sam’s photo of the pullets, young hens, speaks volumes. The chickens are thinking “Weeds and What! We are taking a look at the outlook of this growing season. We have a few things to tell you from our perspective. The weeds grow like crazy with this heat and humidity, and insects…lots of insects. We love to eat all of it.”

When I saw this photo, it cracked me up. We are all so serious about the outlook including evidently the chickens.

There are several concerns right now: 1. weeds – growing like crazy; 2. insects – between potato bugs and a number of plant eating nuisances – there are a few areas to get under control; 3. replanting another round of crops – don’t like to mud the seeds into the ground, but Mother Nature isn’t giving us many options.

This sums up the week. The crops are growing and will have more of a chance once we get the competing factors under control: weeds and insects.

The majority of the photos in the blog were taken by Sam.

Garden Science

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Keith’s photo of the weather last Thursday speaks volumes with the stop sign saying it all. This weather has been a bit crazy for all of us. From what we can tell, the weeds and the bad insects are loving it. Frankly we need these extremes to stop.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.

• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.

• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

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The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.

Rhubarb – Last Week of this one. One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte.

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Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

 

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Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

 

Spinach – Love this mixed in a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.

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Beets – The entire plant is edible.

 

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Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple.

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The first harvest of Super Sugar Snap Peas.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – Rat the pods and peas all together. Great snack.

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Young Walla Walla Onion – notice the root system and also notice on the stalk how it appears to be braided.

Onion – Young Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week.

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Cilantro will also grow back after you cut the stalks with the leaves. Wash and enjoy the flavorful leaves.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.

Recipe of the Week

Lazy taco

Lazy taco…add a side of fruit and a glass of milk, and you have a well balanced, colorful and fun meal for the family.

Lazy Tacos

This is a family favorite and a go to recipe in our house. Thank you to Steve’s Aunt Coleen for sharing this idea with us many years ago. This dish can take on many options depending on your family’s tastes.
Crush corn chips and layer taco favorites on top such as:
taco meat
onions
black olives,
tomatoes
lettuce
cheddar cheese
chilli beans
salsa
cottage cheese
salad dressing
Note: with all of the fresh produce I would also try a variety of vegetables.

 

Hidden Surprises

Hidden Surprises

More often than not we get caught up in what is going on in our lives trying to accomplish what is expected and/or needed of us. It’s important that we stop and look around whether it is a pleasant surprise or a challenging surprise – how we view it often determines our end outcomes. Take a look at our hidden surprises this week with most of the photos through the view of our youngest photographer.

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These hot humid days have lead to weeds and more weeds. While it can seem overwhelming, spending time with this character one on one in the garden with some music playing, watching the sun set and the fire flies light up the fields…well it is priceless, and I wouldn’t change those moments.

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As we returned from a weekend full of baseball, we were in the process of getting chores done so we could move on to the next activity. As I headed to the garden and looked up, I was amazed to see this magnificent beauty and reminded of how privileged we are to live in the United States. Keith and I tried our best to get as close as we could to it, but it didn’t let us get to close.

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Well these challenging foes known as potato bugs are out in full force. This is an adult potato bug, and they love to eat the leaves of the potato plant. The problem is without leaves a plant cannot conduct photosynthesis and without photosynthesis the plant cannot create food to create potatoes. Trust me…they will eat the ENTIRE plant.

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Potato bug eggs are orange and as they hatch out, the young are a deep brownish/orange with a black head. They begin eating the plants shortly after they hatch. Oh how they are a nemesis.

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While these may appear somewhat similar to a potato bug…they are a beetle that will eat all vining plants and frankly whatever looks good to them. Checking for insect issues on a regular basis helps to keep us out their weeding and the plants growing.

Garden Science

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Some of the potato plants are starting to flower. That is a good sign that the plant is maturing and starting to grow potatoes. The potatoes do not grow out of the flowers. Potatoes are a tuber that will grow under ground.

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It’s a great sign that the peas are flowering as the pea flowers will grow into our pea pods.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

Wash the rhubarb and cut off the white ends, any damaged areas and provide a fresh cut to the other side if it has become slightly dried out. Then cut your rhubarb into 1/14-1/2 inch pieces.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat.

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Red Beets, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and Outrageous red lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach – Love this mixed into a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.
Beet Leaves – The beets are growing on their own so I thought we should check them out.

Radishes– Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. We are nearing the end of this crop for a little while.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.

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Hosta Leaves

Hosta Leaves – I put 10-15 hosta leaves in a vase and it looks so gorgeous!

Recipe of the Week

 

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing
3 Tablespoons apple juice
2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 cups bite-size pieces spinach
1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1. In small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until blended; set aside.
2. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Remove chicken to cutting board.
3. Add dressing to skillet; stir to loosen any pan drippings.
4. Cut chicken into slices. Among 4 plates, divide spinach. Top with chicken, strawberries and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Source: Taste of Home

Weeds and More

Weeds and More

There is always something to do at our place. We replanted some crops and did quite a bit of weed control. We are also closely monitoring potato bugs and some other critters that are enjoying a few of the plants. We will let you know what we find out. Here’s some highlights from the week and a look at what to expect in your boxes. Enjoy and thank you!

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Sweet potatoes have been planted. They come in groups like this which are slips of plants that are alive and have a root on the bottom of each plant slip. We are grateful for our neighbors that order these from Tennessee for some good seed stock.

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The potatoes have been hilled to provide more soil for the potatoes to grow in, and it provides more soil over the potatoes as they grow so fewer newly grown potatoes have the greening of the tubers from the sun. We will probably hill them one more time this week.

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Weeding is a continuous process. Keith spent some time out with the vines this week making sure they didn’t have any competition around the plants to ensure good opportunity for pumpkins, squash and gourds. I think this plant is sure glad to not have any competition for the opportunity for good growth.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte. Here is a little history on rhubarb.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! Check out these recipes from Martha Stewart.
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.
Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

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Spinach leaves will grow back after you cut them. We can usually get a few harvests per plant.

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads


Radishes – Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. Read a little history on radishes.
Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill.

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Cilantro will also grow back after you cut the stalks with the leaves. Wash and enjoy the flavorful leaves.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.
Herb Pots – Pick your variety in a pot to bring home and keep throughout the season. Check out this resource on herbs.

Recipe of the Week

4-10-12 Making rhubarb tort (21)

Enjoy! Delicious right out of the oven with some ice cream. A great way to enjoy this spring crop and celebrate June Dairy Month.

Rhubarb Torte

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup butter
Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
6 oz package of strawberry or raspberry jello.
Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Rhubarb should be cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle jello powder over rhubarb.

Topping
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
Mix with pie cutter or fork and spread on top of Jello. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Growth in View

Growth in View

It’s been a busy few weeks. Some of the cold rainy weather has given way to heat and the plants and weeds are enjoying it. Some of the vining plants have really bolted.

Our young plants we transplanted like our cabbages, eggplants, tomatoes and more that our neighbor Blake started for us are trying to find their way through these interesting weather changes. The cabbage below is one of the young plants we transplanted over Memorial Day weekend prior to some heavy rain. Here is a quick look at our activity. Stay tuned the activity is about to pick up as we dive into June.

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Purple cabbages were planted. Check out the root system.

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Dark Detroit red beets growing.

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Super Sweet Sugar Ann Peas…a favorite!!

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Cucumbers growing… the young plants smell like a freshly cut cucumber at the this stage.

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Green beans… note that the green bean seed shell is still on the plant.

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Installing drip line irrigation under the mulch. It’s all fun and games until work needs to be done and mom get’s out the camera.

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Installing the mulch for the tomatoes.

This is exhausting work. Maybe if I lay here long enough they will think I am asleep.

We also did an agriculture in the classroom in Sam’s classroom about seeds. Here we were doing a seed sorting activity. The students had a great time examining and looking at the difference between the seeds.

Springing in to Action

Springing in to Action

We had quite a swing in weather this May. We are so grateful for some days to plant and some days in the low 80s to dry things up and help with some germination. It appears that the frost we received maybe singed some of the leaves but doesn’t appear to be hindering the plants. We are now waiting for the rain to stop, sun to shine and wind to blow to finish planting. Here’s a look at some of our activity.

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The herb pots have been planted.

 

Tornado Clean-up…

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We burned the giant brush fire from the debris we had from this fall’s tornado. Thank you to everyone who assisted with the brush clean-up. This allowed for us to open another field and plant it.

chicken pen

We have been busy cleaning up from the tornado damage from last fall. That includes rebuilding chicken pens. We finished a pen for the pullets, young female chickens.

 

In the Garden…

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More ground was worked for the vining plants like squash and pumpkins.

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Young radishes peeking out of the ground.

 

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Lettuce growing.

Green beans shooting out of the ground and breaking open the seed pod.

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Super sugar snap peas … a favorite.

 

In Other News…

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The hens like to keep it interesting this was a very wavy hard shelled egg. It could also be described as wrinkly.

 

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An interesting work trip took Kristin to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to visit with the communications team to learn how they communicate with America’s farmers. Here she is in the USDA TV studio.

5-21-19 seed sorting in 3rd grade

We led an agriculture in the classroom activity in Sam’s class about seeds. Here the students are doing a seed sorting activity. They learned many fascinating things about seeds from how different they look to how important it is to have good seed genetics so the seed and plant can grow in challenging conditions.

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As part of the activity, we planted seeds in Sam’s class garden.

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

It is hard to believe that 3 1/2 week’s ago we were in a winter storm warning, 2 week’s ago we had five inches of rain, and this week actually feels like spring. Don’t let that fool you, the winter survival kits are still in our vehicles.

We have been busy with this beautiful weather. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Growing rhubarb is a good sign of spring.

We planted four varieties of potatoes in eight rows thus far with 74 per row. We will plant one more variety plus sweet potatoes in this area.

We plant marigolds to help bring in beneficial insects to eat bad insects. At the end if the growing season, we collect last year’s dried Marigold flower heads which are full of seeds, and that is what we plant in the spring.

We also enjoy doing agriculture in the classroom presentations in Sam’s school. The most recent one was on pigs.

 

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The seed planter that we use for some of the crops has different seed plates (the white circular piece) for different kinds of seeds. For example a carrot seed is much smaller than a green bean seed. In addition the spacing between seeds vary depending on the type of crop. The seed plate spacing them out accordingly.

The 4-H pigs arrived this weekend, and everyone is happy about this. The pigs were born in January weighing about 2-3 pounds and will be full grown in July when shown at the county fair when they will weight approximately 240-280 pounds.

Planting Walla Walla onions… hoping this year the birds won’t pluck them all out after they are planted. In total nearly 1,000 onions were planted.

The boys till the ground and drag the fields ahead of us planting in order to prepare a conducive seed bed.

Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Last week we were able to accomplish a good deal of clean-up. The last few weeks have provided quite a variety of different weather conditions to work outside. We are grateful to have accomplished what we have.

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Yes, we did receive a few inches of snow on October 14. Way to early!

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Once the snow had melted and the fields looked dry enough, a variety of steps were taken to close out the fields. First, we harvested the seeds from the flowers that help to bring in good insects to eat the bad insects. First up were the Marigolds. The cool thing about Marigolds – I love harvesting their seeds from the dried up flower heads that are filled with a ton of long skinny seeds. Place in dry paper bag in a dry place and next year plant the seeds.

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4 O’clock plants flowers dry up and produce a seed not a group of seeds like Marigolds. But you can still harvest the small black seeds and store in a dry place until next year.

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After all the seeds were harvested, we mulched the plants with the mower.

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Tilled the gardens.

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The ground was wet from the snow and the rain over previous weeks which caused the tiller to plug with mud. So getting it unplugged employed a variety of techniques.

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Once tilling was completed, we seeded the fields with rye grass for a cover crop. Thank you to our neighbors for the use of the seeder to speed up this job! See he’s going so fast my pic is blurry:) Yes, we do work past sunset at times and have been blessed with beautiful evenings.

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We rolled the ground to get good seed to soil contact. The plants will begin to grow and will start re-growing just like your lawn in the spring.

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We also worked on the popcorn harvest.

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The boys used their Great, Great Grandpa’s corn sheller to harvest the popcorn seeds. The next step is shaking out the extra corn silks and corn “wings” to have seed that is free of natural corn “debris.”

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In addition to all the garden work, we also have to work on rebuilding chicken pens, gates etc. Building skills together one job at a time.

Clean-up Continues

Clean-up Continues

The clean-up continues this week. The weather we have had has kept life interesting. Between rain, snow and freeze warnings, we have been able to keep pumpkins available for sale, cover up the carrots and beets that are still growing, winterize our chicken pens and keep some of the flowers I overwinter from freezing.

Here is a quick view of our week. Please keep farmers and their families and all who work in production agriculture in your prayers. This is a tough year to be farming for many reasons, one of the joys of farming is the harvest, but Mother Nature is not being kind. Thank you in advance.

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The boys have put a lot of work into their pumpkin, gourd and squash stand. In addition to selling the pumpkins individually, they have a $25 and $50 package that would look nice on your front doorstep. Thank you for your support.

 

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Yes, this did take all of Saturday afternoon to set-up. Pink pumpkins are being sold to support breast cancer research.

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The boys also had fun bringing some fall cheer around the neighborhood. We all love the different colors and shapes of the pumpkins and gourds. We hope that they bring smiles to others.

 

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This week’s freeze warning brought about some quick actions to provide the opportunity for carrots and beets to continue growing. This row cover provides frost protection, 75% light transmission. It is porous to water and self ventilating.

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When it wasn’t raining we were trying to clean it all up. Pulling up the mulch and putting away the dripline irrigation system.