Oct 082014
 
mff-email-header2014-10-08“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:12,13Throughout the year I’ve had several thoughts on various topics and wanted to share them in farm updates… Unfortunately it seems like life is busy and at times I don’t know how to properly prioritize things and allow “good” things to take up the time that I should be doing the “best” things. Comparisons of our lives and seeds, plants either growing or dying etc. are just a couple of the topics I’ve missed the opportunity to share.2014-10-08Plow
This time I want to take a few moments and share a thought I had recently. After repeated tillage there develops what is called a “plow pan”. It is a hard, compacted layer of soil formed at the bottom of where your implements work the soil. Over time this compacted layer of soil becomes so hard that it is impenetrable for most crop’s roots.Once plow pan is formed it is very difficult to break up and it can be really expensive to bring in heavy machinery to penetrate deep enough to get below the compacted soil and break it up.Due to the plow pan being so compacted water is not able to absorb very well below that depth, plants roots are hindered from reaching deeper moisture and minerals and over all crop production usually declines.2014-10-08Daikon2The Lord has designed a few plants that form tough penetrating roots which can break through the plow pan and allow passageways down into the soil below. One such plant is a special radish called daikon. There are several varieties within this sub group but they all do their job. Some of the daikon varieties under correct growing conditions can penetrate down 3′ and be over 1″ in diameter! Now that’s a radish!

Some farmers are now planting them in fields with plow pan and allowing them to grow to maturity before cutting them off then allowing the remaining root to rot. Once rotted the daikon root becomes organic matter to boost soil health and form a passageway for air, water, earthworms and other plant’s roots to go deeper than formerly possible.

In the same way the writer of Hebrews shows that we are to help others be strengthened. Let us “…make straight paths for your feet…” so as others follow our trail we are leading them deeper in love and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Is it always easy penetrating the hard pan in our lives? No, Jesus said, “‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24b) but He also will give us the strength to do this.

2014-10-08-rootsAs we serve the Lord He gives us what we need to accomplish what He asks of us…just think what it would be like trying to penetrate the hard pan without Him! We’d be like most other plants trying to dig through plow pan. Your roots would simply turn at a right angle and follow along the hard pan until you became weary, dry, malnourished and ultimately give up producing a meager harvest at best and non at worst.

There is hope in the Lord for He has gone before us as the first root to penetrate the hard pan. As we follow Him we have passage into the deeper, richer, moist soils of His strength and power. When we die to ourselves and serve others we become the next rotting root that feeds and strengthens those coming behind us.

Let me encourage you to grow in the Lord and follow Jesus Christ. He has gone before us to break up the plow pan in our lives. Though it is not always easy, follow His ways and enjoy the rich depths He has for you. Grow in Him, in His root’s passage way, as you keep digging deeper…the good thing is you’ll never reach the end of His root’s path because He goes far beyond anything you can imagine!

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Farm news!

Up, down, wet, dry, hot, cold, sunny, rainy, windy and calm! Sound like Kansas yet? We’ve had it all in the past couple of months although the Lord has blessed us with an exceptionally mild summer and a beautiful early and extended fall!

Our first frost, thankfully not a killing frost, was last Saturday, October 4th. That’s a good week and a half earlier than I usually count on! While we have gotten dry and have had some mild drought this year it has been a blessing for the Lord to send relatively consistent rains throughout the summer and early fall months.

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A little over a week ago the Lord blessed me with a good friend and neighbor who attends our church to volunteer to come over and help me for part of an afternoon. I was in the middle of trying to get some cover crops planted in all the bare fallow areas before an anticipated rain. He brought over his tractor to pull the grain drill while we lightly tilled the ground with our tractor to break up the crust that had formed from a previous rain. The Lord blessed and helped us get the areas planted in oats and/or wheat and clover. Now we have a beautiful carpet of green beginning to appear!

I had broadcast and harrowed in some grass seed a couple weeks earlier in a couple of sections but apparently the seed was too old as it hadn’t come up with a beautiful rain we received after I planted it.

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The Lord has closed the door on several fall crops but thankfully we still have a few coming on! Our green beans have taken off and currently the cucumbers are doing well. I’m experimenting with some Asian type cucumbers this fall along with my usual sweet, tasty, burpless varieties. There is an explosion of beautiful bell peppers (a few reds and yellows but lots of green) and parsley now! The basil and Swiss chard are still producing fairly well also. It varies from week to week but we do have varying quantities of okra being harvested…this week it did very well!

Due to the diversity and quantity of crops we currently are only packing orders on Tuesdays but as it’s available we have produce in the cooler available for purchase throughout the week first come first served.

Yesterday we had a very good harvest and currently have Bell peppers (a few red, yellow and green), cucumbers (both Asian and burpless varieties), green beans, beets, parsley and basil available for purchase in the cooler.
I’m also currently in the beginning stages of trying to clean up some areas I have let go because I couldn’t keep up. Interesting how fast things can accumulate, weeds can grow and such when you don’t get around to them in a timely fashion!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAG-Jean and I have been canning, freezing and dehydrating all summer preserving food so we can enjoy it this winter. What a blessing it is to have our own preserved foods throughout the winter months!

Now is the time to purchase preserving quantities of bell peppers and parley if you want to preserve some for later! Currently we also have a fair amount of okra and green beans available in the cooler.

Soon frost will be coming and end our growing season. It will be time to take down the cages and trellises putting them in storage. Cleaning up all the crop residues, rolling up drip tape, doing a final fall tillage, planting a cover crop and mulching strawberries will be the last stages of putting the garden to bed for the winter months.

I miss the garden during the winter months but the Lord’s seasons are so beautiful to watch as one transitions into another…it is fun to anticipate what is next!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy 15 minute garden has continued to be a fun experiment and has done well. Since I already have a garden I figured if I could grow it then anyone can because I know the mechanics car, plumbers plumbing, electricians electrical etc. are always in need of tending to. Well, yes, I did get behind some and didn’t have maximum production from the 15 minute garden but it has produced a lot of food over the course of the growing season and is still doing well.

Lord willing I hope to compile all my notes and production records one of these days so individuals can see it doesn’t take a lot of time to produce a sizable portion of food for your family throughout the regular growing season.

Time for me to get back to work again but may you enjoy a beautiful fall day seeking to grow deeper in the depths of the Lord.

Farmer Joshua and the Mitchell crew

 Posted by at 3:39 pm
Jun 262014
 

mff-email-header2014-06-26

2014-06
During a discussion with a friend in regards to how important faith is to the very foundation of a daily Christian walk I realized once again how no one part of the Christian walk can support us. As our bodies are made up of many parts, each supporting one another, scripture says each Christian has a specific task in the body of Christ. Our basis and motivation in what we do is love. God is love (1 John 4:8) and the greatest commandment is to love God with all we have and are, then the second is like it, loving our neighbor as ourselves. (Luke 10:27) However, with love as the basis for our motivation we must carry out that love in faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.Considering this we are blessed as we walk in faith, which Hebrews 12:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We believe what we do not see and look forward to the day that we cannot see but have been promised. Verse two continues on to say, “For by it the men of old gained approval.” James writes in James 2:14-26 that our faith must have action with it. Works must accompany our faith so that it is actively participating in what we believe. On the flip side of having faith without love 1 Corinthians 13:2b says, “…if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

If time allowed we could go on but I believe this gives the general picture. We cannot take one part of scripture without the whole if we want to live a life pleasing unto the Lord.

Keep love as the motivator behind all you do and search the Bible for how all these other aspects of scripture circle back into one another so as to make the complete picture of who God is and how we are to live our lives.

As some of the crops are doing even now in my garden we must keep actively growing upwards, seeking the “sun” (God our father who sent His Son) among all the weeds in life. It is a struggle but with the Lord’s help as Aunt Donna has done recently for so many tomato plants, God can help us be freed from our bondage of weeds and bindweed which try choking us down, and be free indeed!

Greetings from a blessed Mitchell Family Farm!

The Lord has been blessing us with some beautiful rains and sunshine. With these blessings also have come the other blessings of crops zooming upwards and outwards and beginning to produce very well! Praise the Lord!

If you are interested in preserving quantities of the following crops now is the time to place your order! Several of these crops will be peaking their production right away! These include green beans, beets, cabbage and squash/zucchini. Our basil is also beautiful and on sale now and would make some wonderful pesto to eat fresh and make extra and preserve in the freezer!

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Just the other day G-Jean started the first of our canning for this year by getting some beets in jars and sealed up. We’ve also frozen several gallons of strawberries while they were in season. It is always a blessing to have so much of our own produce year round as we preserve through the summer so we can enjoy it during the winter months!...because I can.

A website we recommend for information on home preserving food by canning, freezing and dehydrating is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Home preserving takes time but the results are so rewarding!

Lord willing soon we’ll be shredding a bunch of squash and zucchini so we can freeze them for making squash bread later. I heard just the other day they make a great marmalade type preserve… I’ve never tried it before but it sounds good! We’ve also used them with several other crops to make delicious stir fry.

We are still in catch up mode around here. The forest of weeds continues to be felled a section at a time! I have renewed the strawberries, applied some natural fertilizer and need to get the drip irrigation tapes back in the rows before the vines grow too much more!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cucumbers and green beans are beginning to mature and we are looking forward to a bountiful harvest! Our next harvest of green beans this week I anticipate will be or nearly be one of our peak picking days.

Aunt Donna has been a tremendous help around the house for Mom and out in the garden for me as she’s helped on pack days and weeded the vast majority of the tomatoes! Thank you very much for taking time to come visit and then working with us Aunt Donna!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All the livestock are enjoying the lush green grass now! We brought up the hay mower to check it out (should have done that a few months ago but didn’t get that done!) so we can, Lord willing, begin cutting hay this next week!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is never a lack of things to do…I just have to decide which to do!

May you also have a blessed week!
Farmer Joshua and the Mitchell crew

 

 

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 Posted by at 12:25 pm