Category Archives: Organic Gardening

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.

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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.

 

CO-OP Shots

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CO-OP Shots

Ozark Natural Foods, our local food CO-OP, sent out some representatives to take our picture to put above the produce section, along with other local farms and farmers who sell to their store.  Store Produce Manager, Pauline Thissen, has been a pioneer in publicising the importance of local foods to the area and is a steadfast supporter to many local farms.  It’s been a long time coming to get this picture taken, but it finally happened and should be up in the store by next week.

Something tells me Isaac had the camera, but I’m not so sure.

We’re all starting to congregate in front of the hoop house.

(L-R)Jake”Snake”Jones, David Dallago, Marine Champion, Patrick Jones, Paul Chapracki, Amanda Wunderlich; (Front) Jonathan “Disco” Bame, Isaac Chapracki (in lap), Oliver Chapracki (with fist raised), Pauline Thissen, and Laura (I don’t know her last name, she’s our latest WWOOF’er from Missouri.)

Things were starting to get a little out of hand.

I’m sure Paul took this picture.  He really wanted them to get some “Depth of feild” and gaze into the hoop house for the shot.

This shot is definitely one of Isaac’s.  He is notorious for butt shots.

He also took this picture of Marine.

It was so hot this particular morning, we were all a little batty.

We all had a great time though.

The day the fennel and my glasses died

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The day the fennel and my glasses died

Once the tomato tasting and the farmer’s market was a distant memory, meaning later that afternoon I took a look at my “Bronze Leaf” fennel plants and noticed that they were nothing but stems.  The culprit(s) were little caterpillars who eventually turn into the blue swallow-tail butterfly.  At the time there was only one of these critters on the plant, but there must have been more that escaped my radar.  These types of caterpillars attack dill, fennel and parsley.  When you touch them these orange feelers pop out of their head.  It must be their defense.  That and a sour stink that they produce.  It doesn’t wash off easily, so if you see these beings and you don’t want them to destroy your plant(s), I suggest wearing gloves to remove them and fling across the yard.

The culprit…atleast the one who I caught.  These jerks stripped this plant clean.

This is me touching it to get it to show its defenses.  Also, I should note that my glasses fell off my head here and landed near my feet.  I decided to leave them there since I was going to take more pictures and they weren’t hurting anyone there on the ground.  Make a mental note Amanda, I thought to myself, your glasses are right there.  Don’t step on them.  Check.

Here is this creature showing its orange defenses, before I flung it far, far away.  CRACK!  What!  Oh NOOOOOOO!  I just stepped on my glasses and broke them.  Now I dislike that critter even more, and my fingers stink from touching it.  So consider this a loss on all fronts.  My fennel is toast, my glasses are toast AND my fingers stink.  Serendipity.

Taste this!

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Taste this!

These are Paul’s shots form when he snuck into the tomato tasting event.  He wanted a behind the scenes look at people trying our tomatoes.

A delicious tomato any way you slice it.  All day at the farmer’s market people asked, “How do you know it’s ripe?”  Because if you notice, there’s a lot of green on it.

These are one of my favorites.  TASTY!  They’re all tasty, but this Peron variety is really sweet.

This is the variety that a total stranger came up to me at our table and told me they were delicious.  That felt nice to get some props from the event.

Another shot of the Chocolate Stripe.

Thanks to all of those who came out to support the Ozarks Slow Food movement and the local farmers who produced all of the lovely tomatoes present.

Sell Outs!

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Sell Outs!

Here are the pictures of the table from the day we sold out of our wares at the farmer’s market.  It was very hot this day and also the tomato tasting event held at the Botanical Gardens, by the Ozarks Slow Foods movement.  Remember they bought several varieties of our tomatoes for the event.

 

The sign that mentions “Certified Naturally Grow” caught one woman’s eye who had a few bags full of produce.  She came over and asked a few questions about what it meant.  She said to me “Thanks for the information, I think I just bought produce littered with chemicals!”  I didn’t want to tell her she was right, but we are “certified” to tell you that we DON’T!

Blackberries, Okra, Chocolate Stripes, Peron’s and beautiful flowers.

That’s pretty much all she wrote.  Everything flew off the table and it was a great feeling, I’m not going to lie.