It has been a very long time since I’ve taken time to write a farm update! There’s not time to write about all the exciting things which have happened since the last update, but here’s some of the highlights!
Though I was late getting the strawberries covered our mild winter didn’t seem to affect them much. It started warming up in mid March so it was necessary to pull all the mulch back off again so the berry plants wouldn’t smother! Our warm spring weather has continued to hold warm enough that nearly everything is a month ahead of schedule…elm trees bloomed the last of February, sand plum, red bud, willow, forsythia, a few plums, apricots and peaches all blooming the first to mid part of March. Now nearly all the early spring plants have bloomed and everything has transformed into a vibrant green array of beautiful landscape. Currently the strawberries are blooming so in a few short weeks (probably 5-6 weeks) we should start having a few ripe berries, Lord willing!
Our asparagus has enjoyed the early spring jump and is up and going. If you’d like to be on the waiting list please let us know! It is $4.00 per lb.
Blackberries and red raspberries will soon be in full bloom as well if this weather holds. Many of the perennial plants are showing tell tale signs of the severe drought last year. Thankfully with Dad’s persistent tillage during the drought, the Johnson and Bermuda grasses have been almost eradicated in some sections of the garden.
Mom’s pullets have started laying eggs now and they are producing some delicious eggs! If you’d like some of these scrumptious eggs come on out and get some on the honor system. We keep a few dozen eggs in the cooler and you can put payment in the yellow envelope below the egg shelf. Please come between dawn and dusk.
This winter after completing Mom and Dad’s roof I took on the project of tearing apart the small breezeway which connected Granddad and G-Jean’s log and trailer houses together. Other family members also pitched in to help. Once the breezeway was out thankfully Dad, Jena and Granddad were able to help me move the old trailer house out with the Dodge. We weren’t sure exactly how the truck would handle it but thankfully it did amazingly well. I’d never driven a rig quite like that before and we wanted to cross a couple small waterways on a slant. The Lord had given us a small dry spell which allowed us to pass through them, but instead of hitting them on a slant to help pull through I cut the corner a little quick and hit them straight on. I was certainly thankful the Lord helped us keep a truckin’! That’s about the only time I’ve been thankful the Dodge is as tall as it is as we had to turn the receiver hitch over in order for the trailer house to have enough tongue clearance.
With the trailer house out it was time to start the ground preparations for making a 10’x16’ addition back on where we tore the breezeway out. The room is to store pantry items, mud room for farm boots and coats etc. While we were making the addition anyway and with the back side of the log house’s roof in the condition it was in we decided it would be best to also put tin on the log house.
My family helped get the ground preparation completed and the big day came to finish off the last touch up items before pouring the concrete slab. I am extremely indebted to a dear family friend, who came out and helped haul in some fill rock from our rock pile, install the rebar and finish touching up the forms to help us get ready for the concrete truck before it arrived. Dad took a few days of vacation and our friend came out a few more times throughout the week and, praise the Lord, by the end of the week we practically had the addition weathered in just in time for a good rain shower!
Over the next few months I mainly worked on the addition but also had a few other projects pop up here and there. I don’t have all the trim work done yet, but it is in livable condition. Lately getting the garden prepped for spring has been a marathon with all our beautiful weather. I pray the Lord will protect all the berries and trees since they’ve budded out so early and regardless of what happens I praise the Lord since He knows what’s best and works everything together for the good of those that love Him.
Within the last few weeks three of Mom’s cows have had calves! They are certainly cute livewires!
Several of our international college student friends have had birthdays this year already which we’ve celebrated with them. One Sunday dinner recently we celebrated three birthdays the same day! However, we were celebrating Dad’s birthday that day even though it was late. He had been working some extremely long hours when his actual birthday was and we decided to wait until later. G-Jean and I also had fun decorating Jena’s cake this year! Jena has been blazing through the EMT courses and is now a certified EMT and has already completed clinicals for her EMTI certification which she hopes to complete in May.
In late March, I (Farmer Josh), went up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to complete two work days required for applying for an internship at Growing Power. After a slight wait they got back in touch with me saying that I was accepted in to their internship program. This will be a three month commitment. My first work day is April 9th. While I’m away it will be best to contact G-Jean by phone (620) 336-3281 or Mom via email or Facebook if you’re interested in any of the berries, asparagus and eggs.
Growing Power is a very interesting, multi faceted operation centered around urban agriculture. Acquaponics (growing both Tilapia and Yellow Perch in their systems) vermiposting (composting with earthworms to get richer worm casting and worm casting tea) micro greens, leafy greens, eggs, all kinds of produce and a huge composting operation are a few of the thing they’re doing. If you would like more details on what Growing Power does see their website at www.growingpower.org
Farmer Josh & The Mitchell Crew