Category Archives: Organic Gardening

Here it is

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It took me a week to get these photos up, but good things come to those who wait.  If you don’t see yourself here, it’s not because I didn’t care…Thank you too!

It’s been a long season, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of strangers, who turn into friends.  Thank you to WWOOFUSA, as well as WWOOF, for helping farmers and volunteers connect!

 

Hoop House Hoopla

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We’ve been really busy here on the farm, our main project right now, on top of EVERYTHING else is re-erecting the Mothership.  If you aren’t a 2-greenthumbs superfan, let me fill you in.  Last march our hoop house, the Mothership, was blown down in what we later found out was a F1 tornado.  Look back into my archives, there were pictures and tears shed.  But NOW we are putting a new Mothership back up, better than ever.  There were lots of hands involved in this, there are some pictures on my other farm blog Ozark Alternatives and I will add some more here as well.

 

I would just like to add that we also pulled the roof up and over!  There are no pictures of that, because all hands were on deck.  FARM LIFE!

10 Degree Drop in Temp = New Perspective

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The weather has cooled slightly, instead of being 100+ degrees, it has dropped into the 90’s!  Some people don’t feel a difference, it’s HOT any way you look at it, but for those who work out in it, it makes a difference.  Plants hae bounced back, insects are flying around again, and we even got a little rain.  We wasted no time and got back out into the field, prepping and planting.

 

Planting a salad mix, and laying the drip line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting beans.

 

 

 

 

 

Covering the seeds up.

 

 

“Sweet Jane”, came to us all the way from the great land of Long Island.  When she left here the other day, she had to return to start school again.  I don’t think she was very excited about it, she said that she’d rather stay in the field.  I agree, since I too am in school, and would rather be in the field as well.

 

The chickens are feeling the difference in the heat as well, their egg production is back up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there such a thing as too much cilantro?

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Around here, we just pulled out what was left of our winter cilantro crop from the smaller hoop house.  I had a grocery sack full of it in the fridge, and i stood gazing at it yesterday just before dinner.  I want to ask you dear reader, what would you have done with it?  The old me, say a few months ago, that me, would have thrown it away.  At that time, I only ate it fresh in soups, salads, and other foods like salsa and burritos etc.  The new and transformed me, made cilantro pesto with it.  Have you ever heard of that?  Have you ever tried it?  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  I’m going out on a limb here and saying that I like it more than basil pesto.  Yup, it’s that good, and so easy to make.  If you have a food processor, get to it!

Cilantro Pesto

1 bunch cilantro, fresh (or more if you’re hooked)

5 cloves garlic minced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt to taste

Put it all in your food processor and whiz it up.  Taste it.  If it doesn’t taste how you want it to, add more salt, or more walnuts, or more cheese, or even more oil.  It’s something you have to work with and design how you like it.  Cook up some of your favorite kind of pasta and add the pesto to the pasta and stir it up.  Serve and enjoy.  It’s totally yum, it would even turn a cilantro hater, like my son into a cilantro lover.

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.

 

Christmas into the NOW

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I know I said that I got a banjo for Christmas, and if you didn’t know that, now you do.  That’s what I’ve been up too, no pictures though to share, I’m shy.  However, I DO have other pictures to share with you, you know, to keep you all further kept up on the happenings in this endeavor.

Christmas day chess match.

Santa lettuce beard.

Carrots out of the Missouri Angels’ garden.  If images like this don’t tickle some sort of feelings within you, then I don’t know what will.  These are BEAUTIFUL!

We grew a lot of leeks this year, and are very proud of them.

#LEEKS!

I think I’m going to create a website of pctures of Isaac holding produce.

Carrot harvest.

Does this make you want to plant a seed?

Pickin’ and grinnin’.

I’m not so sure what caught his fancy.

This one always has a smile.

Seeing this makes my mouth water.  Wouldn’t it be great if fast food restaurants served this through the drive-thru window?

Ok, ok, here it is…the BANJO!

You want to know what else is going on that some of you have been waiting so patiently to see?

The new hoop.

Make it happen!

There you go dear reader, this is pretty current.  If any one in the regional area feels like helping to pull the plastic up over the top of this rig, let me know.

It’s here take #2

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Today!  Today, today, TODAY!!!!  Today is the final day of our first CSA season.  It is quite exciting around here, and yet doesn’t seem real.  It feels like only yesterday that we delivered for the first time and said, “Twenty-three more weeks to go.”  At that time, the end was not in sight.  As the countdown drew closer to the finish line, the sentiment was more like “Pump the brakes.”  Now, here we are, at the end.  This isn’t the end however.  We have committed to ten more weeks, for those who want to sign up for a fall/winter share.  The bulk of the work for the season is coming to a close though.  A thank you is in order for all of our customers this first go round.  Just know that there was a lot of work and effort from both farmers involved, to bring you the best local food experience.  Thank you for believing in the value of having fresh, local vegetables delivered.  Thank you for understanding the working relationship with your local farmer and how important that is.  And lastly, thank you for giving it a shot!  We hope to see many of your faces again next year!  To Mother Earth, let’s have a more mild summer next year, I missed having copious amounts of tomatoes.

The week in a nutshell

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So, I know I mentioned that Kyle and Karen came, well, Emily also came to join us.  She’s from Iowa, on her way to do an internship on the Heifer Ranch down in Perryville Arkansas, so naturally she came here first.  I think I might have a picture of her, sorry Emily, it may not be the best one, but I promise to get a better one of you before you leave.

Emily and Kyle prepping and planting carrots.

You need to watch out for this one!  She is as fierce as that side eye she’s giving us.  Try playing a strategy game with her, she’s got it on lock!

PAKI!  The Pak-man, who at 26 found out that he’s not Greek.  It’s a funny story, and if you come and volunteer I’ll tell it to you, unless Paul is still here…then he can tell you himself.

Carrot planting.

Here’s Karen.  She’s been hiding, but someone found her and snapped this picture.  The water drops look neat at the bottom of this shot.

Teamwork.  Look at them all bending at the hip.  Don’t they know they should bend from the knee!

Few of us have seen this.  Before this picture was taken, only Marine and I had seen this operation in action.  This is the law of nature at its finest, a hornet grasping a cicada, before it drags it into its hole in the ground.  It’s quite an amazing sight to behold.  Now you all know, you can share in the wonders and joys, heartbreaks and…I don’t know, MOTHER NATURE PEOPLE!

Hmm?  What’s going on here?  This is what I like to call Amish paradise!  Kyle here is running a trencher, digging a trench to my house for a water line.  It’s not going into my house…yet, but there is now a spigot in my yard!  When I saw the spigot finished, I wanted to cry.  That’s what love is.  Water.  In your yard.  All day long.

Paul P. is running the trencher through the garden for a grey water something or other.

The Missouri Angels are looking at these pictures, biting their lips because they missed it.  You’ll be back.  And here’s another tidbit fellas.  I beat Paul P. at Settlers of Catan.  I stole the red pieces.  I think that’s his weakness.

Chicken coop for the orchard in its beginning phase.

Aha!  I make an appearance.  Yes, I guess I’ll help for a minute, but not a second more!

Moving whatever piece that is into the chicken yard area.

Amanda, why are you wearing an apron?  Well dear reader, because I’m a domestic, it’s my uniform of sorts.  Also, Emily and I had just finished making 29 jars of wild plum jam for the CSA.  Go ahead.  I dare you to say something.

This is exciting!

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WE are finally up on the “Wall of Fame” in the produce section of Ozark Natural Foods!  Pauline Thissen, produce manager and neighbor, has been an advocate for bringing local foods to your table Fayetteville.  I think the pictures on the wall are a great visual to help connect the buyer of the produce with a face.  The farm names are posted by the local products that they have provided.  Now shoppers, you can look up at our pretty faces as well.  Also, check us out in the latest issue of The Nutshell, the CO-OP’s bi-monthly newsletter, where it talks about the farm, however my name is not mentioned (ahem) as one of the farmers (ahem)…but I guess that’s what this blog is for.

There we are!  One big happy family, staring down at you while you shop!

So much excitement and all before 8am!

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So much excitement and all before 8am!

This morning Paul comes in and tells the team over breakfast that plans have changed.  The original plans were to work on digging more row space or picking blackberries.  However some of the eggs under the rumps of our diligent chickens are starting to hatch, so plan B, make a new coop for the baby chicks.

Paul and Patrick are discussing plans for the new coop.

Finding materials to work with.

There are always usable pieces lying around.  Pat is putting the pieces to be used into a pile.

PS.  Don’t call it a come back!  The Missouri Angels were gone for about ten days visiting their family and such.  They made plans to go to New Mexico, but the farm there told them they were full at the moment, so they came BACK.  They couldn’t get enough, and I guess neither could we.  It feels really great to have their help once again.

Jake and Laura are stitching the holes in our deer fence.  So far so good on the security front, the sweet potatoes are still there.

Laura is going to LOVE this picture!  Sorry girl, I caught you blinking, but it’s funny.

So I’m in the house doing some activities with the kids, when Paul comes in and tells me about a problem with the chickens.  He mentioned how he had about four dozen eggs under four broody hens and that we have lost some to what he thought were other chickens.  That may be true, but within his next breath he mentions a SNAKE.  I gasp at the thought.  We were all excited about the possibility of babies, I don’t want to hear about a large rat snake entering the coop and eating them all.  For some reason it made me think of the book Rikki Tikki Tavi.  Then Paul tells me that it’s dead.  Dead?  Did you kill it?  I ask.  He explains that it somehow slithered  through the top that is covered with chicken wire, realized that it wouldn’t fit and came back out.  Mr. Rat snake must have been greedy and hungry, because it stitched itself back through the chicken wire one more time, only to meet its untimely death.  Chickens 1, snake 0.

It totally grossed me out getting this close to a dead snake.

An inside view.

Jake “Snake” Jones, sharing a moment with his brethren.

Crazy huh?  We don’t know what to do about it.  I personally don’t feel like cutting that snake out of there.  So if there are any volunteers, please raise your hand!  Maybe the snake can serve as a reminder to others to steer clear.