Tag Archives: WWOOF

A lot of Sowing and Growing

Standard

SNOW DAY!…(again).  Where was this snow in December when I wanted it?  Now that it’s March, seeds in the ground, it’s hardly the ideal weather.  However, it is giving me the opportunity to catch up on…this?  Yes, this and a few other things that I’ve been meaning to do.  We have had some cool volunteers come and go since January, so let me take some time to let you know about them.

1

This is Evan (Ohio). Megan, and John(California).  They were all here around the same time, late Jan., early Feb.  Evan is still around, but will leave us April 1.

2They did all sorts of planting, seen here putting in potatoes.

3

Jennan came here from Austin for her Spring Break.  Although she was only here for a week, she helped on a lot of tasks around the farm.  4

This is Brian, he’s local, but really interested in the farm way of life.

We’ve been planting, and taking time out here and there because this spring it is actually acting like spring!  It’s been a few years, right Arkansas!  The last few years, it got warm very early, good for crops, not for bugs.  Hopefully this will make our summer more mild…I’m no mystic, but I like to be optimistic.  (rhyme time!)  But we are back to our usual up and down weather pattern typical for this area.

 

 

Not Much…

Standard

 

What I love about winter, being in this farming profession, is that it is the one time of year that you can put your feet up…for a week or so.  December 18th, we said goodbye to the last WWOOF’ers of the season, and have been blissfully schedule-free since then.  That however, doesn’t mean that nothing has been going on.  Paul has been outside combing over the landscape, planning for this forthcoming season.  The kids and I have been holed up, homeschooling, and enjoying the moments together.  The grind will start up again tomorrow, or possibly Monday, when the first WWOOF’er of the season shows up.  I’m not even sure of his name, but I think he’s from New Mexico.  Bring it on!  It’s just crazy to think that it’s beginning again already.  No break is ever long enough when you work so hard for most of the year.  So, I’ll take these next few hours to revel in the…chaos?  One other important bit of info that has happened since the beginning of the new year is that I have eliminated wheat from my diet.  So far the results are great.  I feel amazing.  I decided to do this, because I had developed allergies last year, and the more I researched, wheat seemed to be a big red flag in people’s diet that leads to allergies.  The first three days were rough to say the least.  I didn’t expect a fallout, but it happened, and it wasn’t pretty.  The other day on the Colbert Report, they did a whole bit on how kids shouldn’t eat wheat, and how bread is just as addicting as crack…this explained everything!  Google it readers, I’m glad I did.

IMG_1100

 

Wednesday is going to be confusing…

Standard

Today we said goodbye to the last WWOOFers of the season, Sunny and Lan.  What a joy it was having them, as well as everyone else this season.  Without the help of strangers, Paul and I wouldn’t be able to do what we do.  A person can say thanks all they want, and possibly still not get their point across.  I feel like I couldn’t say it enough to prove how much I mean it.  So, I’ll just type it: thank you.

It’s bittersweet, the whole WWOOF-host thing.  All of these people who come into my life, impact it in some shape or form, and then they leave…onto the next farm, or just moving on.  Just so you know WWOOF-pack, it doesn’t get any easier, saying goodbye.  I wish you all now like I did during our ‘See you later’ speeches the best of luck.  And please, come see me.

Tomorrow is the last delivery for the Fall CSA, and Paul and I are going to be very busy harvesting, packaging and delivering food tomorrow, our heads will be spinning.  We’ve been doing the whole CSA thing for 34 weeks straight.  It’s been a lot of logistics, and long days, which turns Wednesday into Friday.  This Wednesday will be interesting, there will be no one else to cook for except my family, no casual conversation except for my family, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!  We still have game night…(which by the way Pat and Pakis, I’ve won 5 in a row, come challenge me!)

hoop3

Here it is

Standard

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!

 

Penguin Peppers

Standard

You know it has been a long season, when your plants start producing magical, yet comical fruits.  They must be saying to us, sit down and have a laugh, it’s almost over.

Not only are there penguin peppers, but peppers with funny noses:

These peppers are doing their job, showing us that plants can have a sense of humor too!

 

 

10 Degree Drop in Temp = New Perspective

Standard

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More, More, More

Standard

More HEAT, means less harvest and more canning!  The ladies kept up their kitchen wrangling and canned more peppers.  This time we used what gloves we had, which were latex, and that was our fatal mistake!  Note dear reader, that when you can any type of hot pepper, you must MUST wear gloves!  But not just any type of glove I learned.  As we started to chop, we all got the tingles in our fingers, then the tingles turned to a burning sensation.  I said “Gloves OFF!” and we went to the store to buy some blue nitrile gloves, but the damage had been done.  I whipped out my handy iPod touch gadget and looked up pepper chopping and glove choice.  Apparently the molecules of capsaicin are small enough to transfer through the pores of latex gloves, so says the internet, and my burning hands.  So, keep that in mind if you choose to participate in the fun that is canning hot peppers.  Nitrile gloves, or rubber kitchen gloves!

Our method was to de-seed MOST of the peppers, so that there would be some heat in the jar, but that they wouldn’t be so hot that you can’t taste anything for a week.  They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.  What’s that?  You want to know the method?  Alrighty, I too had to look it up and found an ever so useful blog, where the writer said that she has not worn gloves and been fine, but when her kids want to help, she does wear gloves.  Do yourself a favor and wear gloves.  We canned in half-pint jars, so adjust your recipe accordingly if you decide to go bigger.

For half-pint jars, pack the jar full of peppers, leave a head space.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt and fill with a mixture that is half white vinegar and half water.  So for a full pint, put in a full teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons if you are canning a quart.  You process in the hot water bath for ten minutes.  It’s the simplest thing I’ve ever canned, no cooking involved!  The prep is what will get you!  So remember the NITRILE gloves.

It seems like all I’ve done is take pictures of people working, but don’t be fooled.  I was in there, educating, chopping, and…taking pictures!

I recommend that you give pickling peppers a try, it’s so easy, and they turned out really tasty!

Ozark Alternatives

It Was a Scorcher Today

Standard

Growing up in the Central Valley of California, where summer temps reach the 110° F or warmer, I thought I knew heat.  It was mother loving HOT today.  A friend said last night that when you have a fan going in a blistering hot house that you turn it into a convection oven.  Well, I believe I’m fairly well done now.  “They” said that the temps would be between 105°-107°F, yo no sé, all I know is….what was I just saying?  Sorry, I’m a bit sun-scorched.  One day, I’ll live in a house with air conditioning, but right now I’m putting in my time, on this whole homestead thing…I’m earning my stripes so to speak.  Chime in though, tell me I’m crazy.

See more pictures, of Heidi, Laura and I doing our thing at dusk, because that’s the way we do it around hrrrr.

Visit:  Ozark Alternatives

And thanks : )

When Weeding Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting REAL

Standard

We have encountered infestation upon infestation this season, the first time ever for us to have to battle so many wars on so many fronts.  When things like this happen, and you grow organically like we do, you need to figure out some options.  What isn’t an option, is what most people would flock to, some Sevin dust, or some sort of Monsanto product.  Us fringe wackos use things like diatomaceous earth, or neem oil, or Pyrethrin.  Things that work, but aren’t a 100% knockout punch.  This morning, one of our WWOOF’ers, Heidi, and I were weeding in a bell pepper bed, and we had scores of uninvited guests also present with us.  These pictures I am about to show you are graphic in nature, and not suitable for all eyes.

These are Blister Beetles.  When squished, or if they get on you and give you a nibble, they have a defensive secretion that causes your skin to blister.  The chemical they secrete is harvested in certain species of beetles and used to remove warts.  I wasn’t expecting this kind of excitement at 6am, but at least I had on socks and shoes.   Poor Heidi had on shorts and flip-flops.  We soldiered on, the whole time thinking “NO WHAMMIES!!!”


Not only were the beetles on the pepper plants themselves, but on all of the weeds we were pulling.  I would sweep them to the side with my glove and then pull.  What’s the saying?  Hindsight is always 20/20?  Well, in hindsight, we probably should have got the hell out of there…it was like weed pulling Vietnam.  Poisonous bugs EVERYWHERE, that harbor a blistering agent…those sneaks.

The thing about these bugs, is that there are 7500 varieties of them.  These happen to be striped.  The ones we fought off in Big Poppa (Hoop House #2) were all black…they were goth blister beetles.  AND, these bugs were not there yesterday.  Ladies and gentlemen out there in cyber-land, if you know how to communicate with these devils, please let me know.  I’d like to make peace and show them some nice and tasty weeds to munch.  Isn’t that strange when you think about it?  Mammals and insects are no dummies when it comes to a tasty snack.  They wait until it’s practically ripe even…I just blew your minds, chew on that for a while.

It was definitely a party.  I went on one of those google searches to find a picture of a blister from a blister beetle.  I found the most gentle one to share, they can really tear a person up…so you’re welcome.


The Pirate Ship

Standard

A recent turn of events has brought a new (old) hoop house into our lives.  These pictures tell a story of their own.

Paul and the boys went to go look at it, and this is what they found.  This vessel has definitely seen better days, but it’s still seaworthy!

I feel like we need Linus to come over and wrap his blue blanket around this and tell us it just needs a little love.

Paul, Jake, Patrick, Grace, Yosha, and Paul Z. went to the site to take it apart, and were able to get the whole thing down in one day!  The hardest part will be where to put it!