Apr 212011
 

Hello!

Our hoop house greens are really coming along nicely now and especially the bok choi and arugula have exploded! The bok choi almost literally “exploded” as it’s started to bolt and this is likely the last week that it will be available. There are also some other greens ready as well such as: Tatsoi, lettuce, spinach and soon some mustard greens and Swiss chard. Prices are as follows and all produce is available to anyone interested first come first served.

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· Bok Choi: $3.00 per lb.

· Arugula $2.00 for ½ lb. or $3.50 per lb.

· Tatsoi $3.00 per lb.

· Spinach $4.00 per lb.

· Swiss Chard $3.00 per lb.

· Mustard greens $3.00 per lb.

· Asparagus $4.00 per lb.

· Lettuce (mostly butter crunch) $3.50 per lb.

Mom’s laying hens have been busier than we can keep up with and we have a healthy supply of eggs now! Please pass the word along to neighbors and friends as we’re becoming over run with a spring flush of eggs! The egg size is still small, but they are starting to increase in size a little on average. These are hens raised on pasture and organic grain. Most cartons contain at least one blue or green egg from one of the Americana hens.

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If you would like to get in on this wonderful farm fresh food, eggs are available on the honor system in our display cooler and you’re welcome to come any time. There is an envelope in the cooler for the money and the white board has all the egg prices on it. For produce please place your preorder by 11 p.m. Friday for Saturday morning pick up between 9 and 11 a.m. or by 11 p.m. Monday night for Tuesday evening pick up between 5 and 7 p.m. If these pick up times don’t work into your schedule let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule.

Unfortunately it looks like there is some very sad news coming from the blackberry patch…nearly all our second year canes have died out which would produce this year’s crop. We are thankful to see most of the plants are budding out from the roots, but there won’t be a blackberry harvest this year. On the flip side our strawberry patch is looking excellent! One variety is nearly in full bloom now and the other varieties won’t be far behind! I expect most of the strawberries will be u-pick this year so get your knee pads on and berry pickin’ hands ready as it looks like we may have another spectacular harvest!

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G-Jean and I have managed to squeeze in time to transplant a couple rows of strawberries and they are off to a great start now! For some reason the peach and apricot trees which bloomed and produced a little fruit last year didn’t appear to bloom at all this year. I was in hopes they’d continue to get a little more fruit each year from here on if a freeze didn’t catch them. The garlic has been putting on huge amounts of spring growth! If the bulbs are anything like the tops we may have one of the best garlic harvests we’ve ever had!

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It has been a week and a half or so since I’ve been able to hitch up the horses, but I’ve been very thankful in how well they’ve been progressing. Dad and I have done chores with them, hauling hay and water around to the other livestock and they are learning to stand and wait patiently while I work. No, they aren’t always perfectly patient, but they’re doing much better than they were doing! They also helped me finish up the long winter’s project of getting our south perimeter fence rebuilt! I’m so thankful to have that job done that words can barely touch it. We still need to fence across the old pond, but neither our neighbor nor we plan to have it accessible to livestock so it shouldn’t be a problem for now.

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Since Dad and I burned off the big pasture Granddad has been going in and whacking a bunch of the small tree sprouts and black berries off with the Kubota and brush hog so we can cut part of that grass for hay if we need to. Dad and I are very thankful for the help as we’ve not had time to get around to it.

Most of the family has been taking a considerable amount of time working on Granddad and G-Jean’s addition the past few weeks. There hasn’t been a lot of time for other work around the farm once the building project was underway, but you can’t miss where the carpenters have been! It has been a blessing for me to have the privilege of working with them along the way as I can continually learn ways of saving time and making the job go more efficiently. To get an idea of how fast this crew is flying here’s an overview of what they’ve accomplished in each day. I’ve tried to be as nearly accurate as possible on the progress for each day.

Before other folks started working on the addition our family did prep work to get ready. This included taking out one of G-Jean’s flower beds. Thankfully several folks came in and dug up many of the perennial flowers so they weren’t a complete loss.

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Other prep work projects were cutting down the front yard’s elm tree…

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…and jack hammering out the front porch’s concrete.

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Day one, Friday: The footer was dug, forms made for the slab, got the fill gravel spread, some of the septic lines laid and glued in place.

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Saturday, Dad, Granddad and I worked on finishing up placing the conduit for the plumbing, setting the septic lines, making sure our incoming electrical conduit was set correctly, leveling the fill gravel and compacting it.

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Carpenter’s work day two, Monday: Set all the rebar for the footers and slab as well as drilling some holes and setting rebar in the log house’s slab to help keep the new addition from settling unevenly from the existing slab.

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We also gathered up some of our farm’s wonderful limestone rock in order to displace some concrete in the footers, then we poured the concrete. While the concrete was curing a little they put together two of the walls on the ground.

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Day three Tuesday: All the walls were stood up into place (and fit nearly perfectly every time! Each wall was also covered in OSB and Tyvek vapor barrier. One-third of the roof trusses, were also installed.

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Day four, Wednesday: The remaining trusses and all the roof’s OSB was in place by noon! Since it was threatening rain and the lumber yard didn’t have the tin in yet they had to tar paper the roof. Some of the concrete board siding was painted one coat and a small footer was poured for laying up a rock facing on the front of the house.

Day five, Thursday: I believe there were five guys that day, but I was unable to help as other farm projects were calling very loudly for attention! I did help get one load of rock for laying up the front of the house. The tin for the roof came in so it was installed, all the trim concrete board was painted, all but one window (which didn’t come) was installed. If I recall correctly all the interior walls were framed up and installed too! It wasn’t fun putting the tin roof on as nearly all day there was a stiff, gusting breeze, but they did a great job despite the difficulty. Quite a bit of my day was involved in taking down and cleaning up last year’s tomato cages. I’m still not done with cleaning up the cages, but hope to finish up soon.

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Day six, Friday: Around ¾ of the house’s rock front was laid, concrete board siding installed, outer doors framed in while Dad and I started running electrical wire for the house. That day it was blowing and cold then it decided to rain as well! The contractors just set up a temporary awning and kept working on the house. It seems like that was part of our Easter storm, but some of the cool front’s effects still seem to be hanging around!

Saturday Dad and I finished running most of the wiring to all the receptacles and lights. There certainly was a mess of wires running back to the breaker box!

Day seven, Monday: Nearly all the insulation was in, sheet rock hung and the shower installed. While the sheet rocking stilts certainly make a person look a little funny they save a lot of time and energy. I didn’t try on a pair until after the contractors left, and they make a very difficult thing look simple! They don’t mind walking over, around and through stuff, even climbing ladders with them, but I was taking baby steps and still getting all messed up!

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Day eight, Tuesday: Finished sheet rocking and mudded all the sheet rock in the addition two times. Around half the soffit, fascia and trim were installed as well as all of the outer rock wall facing was finished.

It has been a good experience thus far and I’m enjoying the learning process as I go along trying to help and stay out of the way!

Better hop back to work!

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell crew

farmers@mitchellfamilyfarm.us

www.mitchellfamilyfarm.us

(620) 330-1966

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Bloom report

Mom’s creeping phlox have been beautiful!

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Columbine are blooming and a few iris have opened up.

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