Category Archives: greenhouse

A little here a little there, and all of the in between

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Lots has been going on lately.  So much so in fact, that I’ve been distracted, but fear not dear reader, here’s your update!

Everyone, meet Carolina Proudfoot, yes that’s her real name.  She’s a student at the University of Arkansas, who is doing a chicken project on the farm to earn a minor in sustainability.  The sustainability minor is a new thing on campus.  Our farm is on a list serve for volunteer opportunities for students, and I think that’s how Carolina came our way.  She’s a wealth of chicken knowledge and we’re looking forward to gleaning lots from her.  In this picture, she’s standing next to one of two mobile chicken coops she and her friend are building.

This is Carolina’s friend.  Sorry dude, I never caught your name.  You look pretty tough though, wielding that power tool.

WOOF-pack  planted peas.

The crew also helped Carolina and her chicken coop mission.

This one makes me laugh.  John’s face is so intense.

In other news, Paul has brewed a batch of beer, after talking about it for years.  Here is his inspiration for starting his first batch, Roy Emerson.  He’s about to syphon the beer out of the fermenter and into the keg.  Fun times, and great beer!  It was one of those why didn’t we do this earlier moments.

There was a peanut gallery waiting for the spoils.

Here we are hunting for carrots and weeding in the process.  It’s fun to work inside the new high tunnel….WINK* (ahem, potential WOOF’ers).  The roof of the structure totally changes the mood, like you’re in a room outside, I don’t know, but you can help any time you want.

We were trying to accrue 60 pounds of carrots for some farm to school meal thing.  For two days we were pulling out babies, the tiniest of tiny.  We definitely met our quota of weeds.  After the first day of picking we had only ended up with 7 or 8 pounds.  It didn’t look like we were going to make the goal, but we kept at it…for the kids.

This awkward photo of me bending over, is meant to accompany the good news that we eventually did pick 60 pounds of carrots.  Paul led the team to a different bed entirely where they were able to pick carrot after carrot, with Damian picking the monster of all monsters that weighed a half a pound.

 

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Up and Over Rover

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Today it was 60 degrees.  Now, some of you might be thankful because in general people are winter shy.  Me however, am mourning the lack of winter, and have nothing but complaints over the beautiful, gorgeous, epic day today.  One thing I can’t complain about however is the lack of wind.  Why?  Well, because we’ve had this hoop house going up, and have been waiting all month, or longer possibly to get the plastic up and over the top of this behemuth…it’s been a long wait, but TODAY was the day.

In other news, a side note that helps propel this story forward, we received a new WWOOF’er yesterday, around evening time.  His name is Damian.  He comes to us from the great state of Texas, Dallas area (represent).  Now that you all have been introduced to him, the pictures that he’s in won’t seem so unfamiliar.  Moving on…

Why don’t I just cut to the chase and start feeding you pictures with captions.

Everybody, this is Damian.  Damian, this is everybody.  I’m assuming by this picture, I didn’t take it, that he has a sense of humor.

Whilst I was at school, the crew was working on finishing the south end wall construction.  Patrick, I like that you’re wearing the sweat band I crocheted.

I like this shot a lot, I titled it in my folder “Intimate Hands”.  I feel like we’re peeking in on this intimate moment of teamwork.

Whoa, the pull back reveals that it’s the brothers…that would make for an interesting plot.  I say this in jest men, thank you so much for the help.

Here is the finished end wall.

This is my artsy end wall shot from the other side.  This right here, is exciting!  Not the shot, although I think it’s neat, but the end wall.  It’s almost finished!

Forgive me, I was premature, I should have put this picture in the mix a little earlier.  This is the finishing touches to the end wall.

I like this little series here of Paul cutting the door out after the construction was complete.  I must admit, this has been a long road, putting up this hoop.  Even though the top is not on at the moment, this cutting of the door plastic, felt like a ribbon cutting of sorts.  Enjoy.

Suspense building…

HERE WE GO.  This means that the top is near.  A quorum of farmies came together to pull the plastic.  A lot of the faces were the same faces that helped us last year when we pulled the plastic on our first hoop.  Last year it was soooooo windy.  Not as windy as it has been lately, but windy none the less.  It seemed really frantic and critical to get it done and get it done quick.  This year, today, it was so calm and work at your own pace-like, totally a different mojo.  It made this process a whole lot easier.

Here’s Patrick.  Patrick is laying out wiggle wire.  The wiggle wire fits into a c-channel, which attaches the plastic to the structure.

The posse assembling, getting a tentative set of instructions.

Laying out the plastic.

I think this picture is neat.  I couldn’t decide between this one and one that turned out a little warmer. But, I like the coolness of this one.  Since it is February, we should all get the illusion that it’s cold outside…unless you’re standing underneath that plastic.

Photo credit: Mark Landry.  Awesome shot!  Richard Orr, prepare to become a star my man.

They are attatching the plastic here.  Working on the wiggle wire.  Most people are holding up the plastic.  For a time they were working in a bubble.  A few of us bystanders helped hold up more of the plastic so those guys could breathe.

Hi.  I was there too.  I pretended to be a tough girl and helped hold the plastic.  I almost dropped my camera trying to get a shot of me being tough, but this is what I snapped.  It’s tough to maneuver a camera with one hand.  But now you know that I was there too, and did some.  Thanks y’all who did most of the work, ahem*, Patrick, Jake, Paul Z, Barry, Pauly…and for those of you I’ve forgotten…I’m getting the flashing light, I’ve got to go…I love you all!

Patrick sacrificed and climbed up on the wall to cut the plastic to lay flat, so as not to interfere with the top plastic.  Hardcore Patrick…really hardcore.  Someone agree with me.

Here it is.  It’s happening.

Holy moly.  I can’t tell you how happy this makes us.  This was a feat.  Like the building of the pyramids, just not on such a grand scale.  High fives all around!  That’s Jo-nathan Bame down there.  He’s the CSA manager for Northwest Arkansas Local Harvest.  He’s giving a thumbs up, which you can’t see, but now you know.

There.  It’s up now.  This is EPIC.  A humble thank you to everyone who was present today, as well as throughout the entire process.

My camera is broken, and other randoms

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I feel like I haven’t been updating because I rely heavily on the images I post.  I don’t know why, my teachers in school always thought my writing held its weight on its own, but since my camera has been broken, I’ve been afraid I guess.  No excuse though.  So, I’m writing today to let everyone know what’s been going on round’ here, without pictures.

We had a wonderful volunteer come and go within the last two weeks, Sarah P.  She came to us all the way from the great land of Bentonville Arkansas, perhaps you’ve heard of it.  I don’t even have any pictures of Sarah, so I can tell you that she was blonde, had a lovely personality and smile, and was a hard worker.  I believe she had a nice time, she said it to my face, so I’d like to hope that it’s true.  Sarah, you are missed, thank you so much for your help!

The old birds have been moved to a new coop out in the orchard, to make way for the new birds to go into their old coop…that sounds funny when you say it out loud.  The new birds have out grown their apartment in the greenhouse.  I for one am glad to see them move, and get the greenhouse back.  I just went out to the orchard to see the new digs.  The chickens seem to be really happy, they have a lot of space to roam, and they are doing a great service to those trees by fertilizing them.  My main reason for going was to see my little angel Spaz.  I had heard from one of the brothers that he was a little escape artist.  Hard to believe with 8ft. fences.  I get out there and watch as all of the chickens run to the fence looking for a hand-out.  Hmmmm, no Spaz.  Maybe he’s in the coop I thought, then I look down and see him standing right next to me!  You ARE an escape artist!  I was so happy to see him.  I’m still not sure if he is a him, but nonetheless, he has feather…

UPDATE:  I had to quit writing just then, Paul had just come home and asked if I had tended to the birds in the greenhouse today.  “No” was my reply, usually the door has been opened by Paul.  Well, at that time i was just past three p.m.  I walk over to the greenhouse and walk in as Paul was walking out to a death scene.  There were a lot of birds dead, some almost dead and some very much alive.  It was horrible.  At first I felt very defensive saying that it wasn’t my fault.  I said “you didn’t tell me to open the doors”.  One might ask, Amanda, do you have to be told everything?  Well dear reader, I guess I do.  You see, I hardly ever tend to those birds.  I tend to things like my kids and the WOOF-pack.  I went back into the greenhouse to wrangle the birds that had escaped their enclosure.  I struggled putting them back in their pen.  I went to Paul and asked for help, but none was given.  Oliver said he would help me catch them.  He put on gloves, but I couldn’t let him, it was pretty bad.  I grabbed a big container and started to pull out the dead ones.  I stopped counting at around 15, at that time Paul came and helped me.  I would say at least thirty perished today due to my negligence.  It was absolutely awful, I was traumatized.  I hauled the container to the driveway and asked Paul if I should dig a hole.  He told me to leave them, I had to go to the nursing home to sit with a friend of ours, Ms. Barbara.  When I got to her place, she told me about her day and asked how I was doing.  I told her not so good, and let her know about the birds.  She said “Oh, that’s awful!” and then asked “Did you get crabbed at?”  I said sort of, if you consider the cold silence similar to being crabbed at.  And she said “Well, that’s just like a man.”  Dear reader, Ms. Barbara is 90, has dementia, but in my humble opinion is still sharp.  Then she proceeded to make me feel better, saying that these kinds of things happen, and could happen to anyone.  I told her I understood, but it had just happened, and my defensive feelings had turned to feelings of guilt and shame.  And being a Christian she said “well, just throw it out there to God then”, and she began to pray:”Dear God, bless Amanda and her family and those birds that are with you now Lord…”  I have no idea if birds go to heaven, or if God greeted them today, but when she was finished she looked at me and smiled and said “there, now the only thing to do is go forward with your life”.  I wouldn’t consider myself a religious person, spiritual, maybe, but by no means religious, however what Barbara did for me today was awesome.  I couldn’t have asked for a better friend to get me through what I was feeling.  At that moment, her cell phone rang.  She answered it and said “Oh, is this Paul?”  She looked at me and winked.  “Yes, she’s right here”, she handed me the phone and Paul said to me “Amanda, I just wanted to tell you that I love you, and that every things all right.”  Barbara had brought me up from 10% to about 95%  and Paul calling made me feel absolutely great.  As soon as I hung up the phone with him, Barbara clapped her hands together and said “See!  There’s your happy ending!”  I love that woman.  I still feel terrible for those birds who didn’t have to die, and the ones who remain have now been relocated to their new home in the old coop…whatever that riddle means.

How I spent my 30th birthday

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We started off by playing hookey from the Sunday farmer’s market, shhh.  It was very nice to not have to get up early and schlep everything in the truck and schlep it all back, but it did feel like I was skipping school and quite possibly was going to receive a call from the principal.  Paul did the honorable thing of making breakfast for all of the WWOOF’ers and the family, and we went to work on the farm (not me).  We shared lunch as well, and McKenna surprised me with a cake and candles, then she took off for Arizona.  THANK YOU MCKENNA!  And everyone else for keeping the secret cake in the fridge a secret.  After lunch Paul took the kids and I out to the “country” to visit Mark Cain who owns Dripping Springs Farm.  Talk about one of the kingpin growers in this area!  We had been invited out on several occasions, but those of you who glance in this blogs direction or share the same profession know that the farm never sleeps.  But it was a special occasion, so we went.  I wore my bathing suit, because I had heard of this epic swimming hole and I was ready to wash the 20’s out of my hair!  This farm is off the beaten path, traveling for mile on nothing but dirt roads, did I mention epic?  Mark was very nice, taking time to show us around and talk about all of his goings on, we’re such big farm nerds!  I feel like I didn’t take enough pictures, but I have some to share, I hope Mark doesn’t mind.

Isaac was asking if he could have a pepper.

Mark picked Isaac a ripe one, purple mmmmm.  I’m glad he did, because Isaac might have ripped half of the plant off.

Inside one of his hoop houses.

This is the outside of the structure.

A view from the inside corner.

 

Another hoop full of snapdragons!

Isaac kept thinking this whole process boring, and kept trying to drag me to the creek.  I wanted to go badly too, but I also wanted to finish the rest of the tour.  Don’t you realize where we are Isaac?  This is Dripping Springs!!!

Onions drying upstairs in his barn.

Garlic curing downstairs in the barn.

 

There are no pictures of the creek.  It didn’t occur to me to bring the camera, but for good reason.  The creek/swimming hole was magic, heaven on earth, see to BELIEVE!  So, you’ll just have to volunteer some time to gain access…and it’s totally worth it!

Action Packed Father’s Day in Washington County

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Action Packed Father’s Day in Washington County.  Here’s the link to our Father’s Day news spot.  The clip at 10pm was much better, they gave a shout out to Ozark Alternatives.  This must be the 5pm clip.

For Mr. Dale

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I was really pleased to know that a neighbor of a friend of mine reads my blog.  When I saw him recently the first thing to come out of his mouth was how I had a “buy local” sticker on my foreign automobile.  The second thing was “You need to update your blog, and with close-ups of all of your hot volunteers!”  I’ll try my best Dale, and for the record I think he meant hot, as in it’s hot outside and therefore they are hot…it’s just a guess.  Like I had said before, on day one of the CSA we received Nora and Will from Brooklyn.  Shiori and Keyohei were here as well.  A few days after Will and Nora’s arrival, Hayley also arrived from Albuquerque.

 

Kyohei and Nora in the hoop harvesting potatoes.

 

 

Part of the “Take” before being washed.

 

Everybody, this is Will.  He’s planting cucumber seeds.

 

Rose kicking butt as always.

 

A picture courtesy of Isaac.

 

sweatshirts?  Yes, remember I’m behind in posting all of these lovely pictures.  Nora ate as many peas as she picked, if not more.  You would too, they were AWESOME!

Crew cleaning onions while Oliver just watches.

 

Kyohei and Isaac cleaning radishes.

 

You want to know what I love about Jonathan?  He’s a thumbs-upper.  Those are my kinds of people.

 

Hayley keeping it real…and forgive me girl if I misspelled your name.

These were some great people and great volunteers.  Thank you Will and Nora for bringing Brooklyn to the farm, and to any future Brooklynites who are interested, BRING IT!

Car Accident

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Today we were supposed to welcome two WWOOF’ers coming from Little Rock area, originally from Japan, Shiori and her friend Kyohei.  Unfortunately someone hit her car as they were preparing to leave town.  So, we will welcome them on monday instead.  In other news, Farmer’s Market take two tomorrow.  Paul, the kids and I will b e standing out in GORGEOUS weather hustling.  I’m so glad the weather will be nice.  Last week, if you read, rained and only a few people showed up.  Hopefully the crowds manifest themselves tomorrow.  Also, to all of the Mother’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day!  I can’t forget to call mine tomorrow, I’ve been so busy, I didn’t even mail a card…I feel bad Mom.  I LOVE YOU.  It’s because of her that I have a green thumb.  What a true inspiration she has been in my life.  Shiori, Kyohei, we will see you Monday afternoon.  To all of my other WWOOF’ers past, I hope your journeys are going well.  Thanks for the post cards ; )