May 192010
 

Busy beaver spring greetings!

Things are going full tilt here on the farm and that’s part of the reason why there hasn’t been any farm updates coming forth in quite a while. There seems to always be a time-sensitive job needing done and I’ve allowed the updates to fall down on the priority list in order to keep up out in the garden! We’ve been able to keep up better this season (although in some areas we’re still getting behind) and while there are many reasons for that, we’ll just thank the Lord first of all. He’s blessed us with a few working share members this year which has helped us keep up with the spring rush. A few of our great helpers this year are pictured below: Rachel in the yellow rain coat, Marisa in the purple sweater and Mary in the red jacket. We’ve missed getting pictures of Curtis so will try to have photo proof of him helping in the next update!

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One reason for this quick update (a full length novel would be needed to actually catch everyone up on what’s been going on around the farm) is we have strawberry season coming up soon! Current CSA members have been given first chance to reserve additional berries to their share and now I’m opening up the list to non-CSA members. I’m not positive we’ll have berries above and beyond the needs of the CSA and CSA member’s orders because of weather fluctuations which varies ripening speed, but as loaded as the berry vines are this year there should be quite a few berries available for purchase. Strawberry prices are $2.50 per pint or $4 per quart. Here’s a picture of a few early strawberries we harvested!

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Mint is also available for purchase at $2.00 per oz. or $6.00 for 4 oz. See the delicious mint muffin recipe at the end of the update!

All produce is available first come first served. If you would like to reserve strawberries or mint please specify how much you’d like and if you’d like to place a weekly order as long as they’re available. You may see if there’s produce available for purchase each week on our website at:

http://www.mitchellfamilyfarm.us/this_week.htm

As I mentioned above, projects have been flying at high speeds around here since the last update. I started writing an update several weeks back, but so much was outdated by the time I finally got back around to it (most of this update was written on a rainy day) that I decided to just about start over with a blank page! CSA shares have now been filled four weeks with a diverse mix of greens and we’re looking forward to some other crops starting to kick in soon so there will be even more variety. Indoor seeding is now done, most of the outdoor planting is finished except for a few more spring crops and fall crops which will be planted later and transplanting is nearly complete as well. Here is a picture of one of our first CSA shares.

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Both hoop houses are starting to look pretty empty now since we’ve harvested around 75 bushels from them since the CSA began. There was bok choi and tatsoi harvested early on from the hoop houses as both those types of produce started to bolting soon after the CSA began. Spinach, kale, arugula, radishes, parsley and nine different varieties of lettuce have all been harvested from the hoop houses this spring to fill the CSA shares. Our asparagus has done well this year and there have been several times we’ve had enough to divide among all the CSA shares.

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In order to prepare for the planting season Bell and Blaze helped me quite a bit by pulling a drag to help break up clods and level the ground along with harrowing and pulling the disc hiller/ ridger. We used the ridger to cover this year’s potato plantings and weed them once by throwing more soil over the potato ridge to smother out some of the early weeds. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, broccoli, cabbage, leeks and onions are all planted on ridges which the horses helped me put in. Sweet potato slips arrived about the time we started getting our last rains, so we haven’t been able to plant them yet, but the ridges are made for them. If possible I’d like to form a little larger ridge so the sweet potatoes have more room to spread out under ground.

A view from the "teamster’s" perspective.

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It seems like sometimes Bell, Blaze and I can just "click" and work together really well and other times it seems I can’t communicate with them well at all! My learning curve is so steep right now I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong when things don’t work properly. Occasionally we can be working along well and then all of a sudden after taking a breather, things don’t work so well starting up again. Lord willing, I’ll get my end figured out so we can work together as a "team" of three! Blaze is the one with the most problems as Bell usually works very good. I’m wondering if Blaze has had some teeth problems, so I just had a vet out to do some equine dental work on her. There are also some pieces of her tack I’d like to change a little and see if it’d help.

After our initial very wet and cloudy winter and early spring the Lord has blessed us with perfect timing of rains and sunshine so we haven’t needed to irrigate and could still get into the garden to cultivate, plant, transplant and do other garden work. Over all the Lord has really blessed the garden this year and we’re looking forward to a continued bountiful harvest throughout the remainder of this growing season.

Not everything has been perfect this year though as aphids and caterpillars have been enjoying some of the hoop house produce, rolly pollies and other little critters have chewed a few holes in strawberries, flea beetles have loved munching eggplant and cucumber beetles enjoyed riddling some of the squash. The good side to all that is we’ve started seeing more and more lady bugs and lacewings which, especially in their larval stages, love eating aphids! I was intending to experiment using row cover over the eggplant, squash and cucumbers this year directly after planting them to help ward off a few of the worst pests for a while, but I didn’t get them covered. At this time I’m unsure it’s worth covering them since I could very possibly just seal in the little pests instead of keeping them out. To keep the leaf riddling from progressing completely out of control I had to use a certified organic pyrethrum spray to help control the cucumber beetles and flea beetles. The rolly polly and other little critter problem of chewing on strawberries had to be addressed as well so a certified organic bait with an active ingredient of Iron Phosphate (an element said to be derived from soil) was applied.

About three succession plantings of radishes and carrots are up and growing…oh yeah, a couple of those plantings are missing the radishes now since we harvested them already! Okra is coming up and the green, purple, yellow wax and Romano type beans are growing well. I tried experimenting with a little corn again this year, and we’ll have to see if we discover a way to "hide" it from the corn ear worms this year. Thankfully the potatoes are looking excellent this year and we’re looking forward to a wonderful harvest. The Colorado potato beetles aren’t munching on the potato vines too bad this year! Those snow peas we’d just gotten planted before the last update are now up and blooming!

Radishes and carrots being planted then a picture of a snow pea blossom.

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There was quite a bit of winter kill on most of the blackberries this year, but our one row of Navaho blackberries that we experimented with pruning short really didn’t have any problems whatsoever. Most of the short pruned plants are loaded with buds and just a few blossoms so we’re anticipating a good harvest from them. While we don’t have a huge number of raspberries planted the summer bearing varieties are setting on heavily.

In case you’ve been wondering, spring really has arrived and everything is growing! The Lord has been faithful in bringing forth the spring season once again. Taking a walk through the pasture one Sunday before spring was fully underway I noticed many signs of spring coming along. The frogs had started singing and their chorus rose and fell in beautiful harmony as I leisurely walked along, taking time to observe the creek rippling across a moss covered rock, zipping through a narrow strait only to slow as it dumped into a larger pool. Trickling along through a tree’s roots down stream it created a small waterfall as it plummeted down to the next series of small pools. Looking up slightly I noticed a sand plum had tiny green specks showing from the leaf buds and a tinge of white revealing where blossoms would soon appear. Wild rose bush’s delicate leaves were showing amongst their hedge of thorns and then a couple trees showed signs where a beaver had come up stream to test the flavor of a tree or two as he scouted around. All the cool season grasses had taken off miraculously changing the landscape into a variety of beautiful green hues. Robins appeared from their migrant travels and squirrels scurried about as songbirds sounded their harmonies praising the creator, Lord of heaven and earth.

Now? Well, now the sand plums are done blooming along with the beautifully laden redbud trees which had huge masses of flowers! Most of the spring bulbs have finished flowering, several of the other perennial spring flowers are blooming now and many annual flowers will soon be blooming!

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Unfortunately our "old" (it was only 5 years old) John Deere mower went kaput and gave up. It was going to cost so much to either rebuild or get a brand new engine that it was decided a new mower would probably be a better choice. Especially since we’ve had problems with the deck for several years. While the idea of a horse drawn mower was put out for discussion we decided against it for now since Granddad and G-Jean have been doing most of the mowing and the horses are needing touched up on manners an such right now. Also, several places in our yards are not set up to be mowed with horses as there isn’t room to turn around. Maybe one of these days a horse drawn mower will be a feasible option, but not at this time. We decided to purchase a zero-turning radius Hustler mower.

Worth mentioning might be some interesting spring weather observations! Friday, March 19th was sunny with a high of 65 degrees and then that evening the breeze changed and it dropped 20 degrees in one hour! By morning it had started to snow and it snowed all day with an accumulation of approximately 8"! If I recall correctly our temperatures stayed around 26 to 32 degrees for about 36 hours and then Sunday afternoon the cloud cover started breaking up a little and the temperature warmed up. By Monday evening it had melted most of the snow and the high Tuesday was back up around the mid 60’s mark again!

Having the snow day was a blessing really as it allowed Dad and I a little discussion time and we even watched a few DVD’s that Dad got as a birthday present. The DVD’s are from a well known teamster ("Doc" Hammill) who promotes the driving of horses naturally. Everything from proper fitting of harness and collars to driving safety tips and many technique hints to help communicate with horses is covered in his DVDs. The snow helped protect the snow peas which had just started popping through the ground a day or two before!

Several of our young orchard trees bloomed for the first time this year!

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Our latest interesting weather, besides the blessing of rain this past week, was a frost May 8th! I’ve talked with folks further north around Emporia, Chanute and Parsons, Kansas, but none of them received frost that morning! I suppose we were just in a little micro climate as we saw a low of 36 degrees and got frost that no one else I’ve talked with had gotten. Nearly all the garden was planted at that time too and I was very thankful the Lord protected the tomatoes from the frost. Most places where there was grass or mulch a good bit of frost covered everything, although it was soft since the temperature was at the upper end of the frost range. Apparently anywhere there was bare soil our sunny warm days had warmed the soil enough to radiate heat back up and keep the garden plants from frosting. Praise the Lord!

Before all our garden planting Dad helped me move the pigs into their new pasture pen. Their new area is located around a Johnson grass patch which they’re helping me get rid of by digging up the roots and eating them! The mama and (then) baby pigs hadn’t cleaned all the Johnson grass roots out of their old pen, but had helped some. They did however, manage to pack all the fall plowed, loose soil down very hard for the top few inches. Since the soil was still wet beneath I plowed fairly shallow. It was a blessing to have a three point, two bottom plow given to me this winter and that was the first time I’d used it. This new plow worked well although the little Kubota said that was a hard pull. Dad recommended I scoop up about 1/2 bucket of compost to help weight the Kubota down a little and discovered that it did help some. After the newly plowed soil had dried a little (about one day I think) I disced it and let it lay until the next morning and then disced it again. The sunshine (it actually peaked out from behind the clouds which was amazing at that time) and wind dried the top of the soil out very quickly and caused there to be a major clod problem since the inside of many clods were still a little muddy while the outside had baked hard.

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Once the discing was done I harrowed it with Bell and Blaze, but while the harrow helped level everything the clods still stubbornly stayed. Our 8" snow came and went, then came a two inch rain, but both times the clods would dry hard on the outside before the ground beneath would dry well enough to get on to break up the clods. Although we did eventually break up most of the clods I’m still figuring out how to handle these problem clods. A simple method is to not plow when it’s too wet, but it was a little late by the time I was done plowing! In high organic matter soils there’s usually not as much problem with clodding so I’m striving to improve the soil’s organic matter which in turn improves the soil (and plant’s) health.

With Dad and Granddad’s help we built a drag from some old scrap pieces of two by tens and twelves. After nailing and bolting them together we put a clevis type setup on the front so we could run a chain through and hook it up. Bell and Blaze used it several times and if the clods are not too dry or wet it works very well at pulverizing them! Since the lumber was so old and sections of it are rotten I will need to build another one to last, but I wanted to make sure it would work in our soil before buying good materials.

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One day Dad was using the Kubota with either the spring tooth harrow or disc depending on the section of garden he was working and then I’d come along behind with Bell and Blaze using the drag. It was pretty neat how much we could get accomplished with the two power sources! Poor Blaze was getting tired by later in the afternoon though and I had to quit before I really wanted to so she wouldn’t be over worked.

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Mom and Dad "ran me off" for three days so I could visit my friend, Jakob, of Rich Hill Missouri before CSA started. I had a good time while visiting and learned several things. There was even an opportunity for me to run a two-man cross cut saw for a little bit which is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time! While we didn’t use the saw much at least it was a taste of how it works. While I was visiting, Jakob’s soil was just dry enough to plow (still a little on the wet side) so he had to plow while the weather was fitting. We still had a chance to visit some and he introduced me to a few other families in his community.

Jakob gave me a praying mantis egg case while I was at his place and I got to see a few of the little guys after they hatched a few weeks later! May022010_0062 Apr242010_0104

An interesting side note to visiting Jakob is that his community has an auction each year with lots of horse drawn machinery, tack, harness, etc. and we had received a notice of when it’d be. We wrote the date down on the calendar and I took off so I could be there for the first of the two day sale. However, when I drove up the area was empty! Calling Dad from my cell phone I had him double check to make sure I was at the correct place in the community…yep, sure was, but was exactly a week early! Jakob was home so I spent some time with him and had the opportunity to use a hand crank drill press and cut off a big limb of a walnut tree with the two man cross cut saw. That’ll get you warmed up in a hurry!

Before I left Jakob’s place he told me a gentleman in the community could probably answer some of my questions about the auction so I took off down the road. It was pretty muddy and pulling the trailer behind the truck made it a little interesting. Doubling back after talking with the gentleman about the following week’s auction I didn’t quite make it up one last hill before Jakob’s place! The mud wasn’t all that deep, but the truck’s wheels were just spinning and getting me nowhere! Never fear, Jakob’s neighbor, Noah, was home and pulled me up the hill with his teams of Belgians. That was enough fun for one day by the time I got back home.

One last slightly humorous story… Mom has a milk cow for our family and has milked some goats as well. After milking a cow for a year or two she decided there was no need to milk the goats so made plans to sell them this spring. In an earlier update you may recall seeing that we had a bottle baby, "Pain", and he ended up being a ornery little guy! At one point Mom became very concerned about him as the little guy just wasn’t all that hungry and his tummy looked full, like he wasn’t digesting the milk very well. As Mom kept tabs on him we discovered he’d be hungry for one feeding and then looking like an overstuffed sausage and not hungry at all the next time he should have been ready for a bottle!

Just before our spring grass started greening up really good Mom was concerned that her milk cow, Belle, was drying up as she just kept giving less and less milk as a few days went by. Finally one day we saw it…Pain was nursing on Belle and she was contentedly letting him! Not long after that, we discovered it wasn’t just Pain who’d discovered a new mama with lots of milk free for the eating – there were six goat kids nursing Belle! We’ve since sold all the goat kids and discovered Belle’s milk production was much higher than we’d thought before catching onto the milk snitching that had been going on.

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I’m out of time now and must get back to work, but maybe that’ll give you a hint of what’s been happening here on the farm!

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell crew

Bloom Report!

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Cilantro- beneficial insects love the blossoms as a pollen and nectar source so I allow it to bolt and then the stand reseeds itself and has been volunteer for about two years now.

Peonies

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Beautiful iris- from dark purple to delicate Japanese to vivid Dutch iris!

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Clematis

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Lilacs

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Mint Muffins
From the Favorite Recipes with Herbs cookbook
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup milk
Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs. Mix well.
Mix together baking powder, salt, wheat flour, unbleached flour and mint leaves. Stir
into creamed mixture alternately with milk.
Pour into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with a little sugar.
Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.

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Apr 232009
 

Clouds-Rain-Sun-Produce available!

A cool cloudy, rainy (and now drying) sunny, rushed greetings!

Seems as though our spring rush is about full out now (that’s one reason the update is late) but I know it’s probably going to get busier for a while yet!

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Produce available!!! All the cloudy weather we’ve had has made for an unexpected development! Since the plants need sunshine to grow, the cloudy weather caused the produce grow slower than we’d originally anticipated. We had stager planted most of the produce so it would come on in succession. The plan was as we harvested the first planting the next planting would be ready when we got through harvesting the first. Well, most of the plants have been growing ultra slow above ground because of the lack of sunshine, but apparently they’ve been doing some undercover work below ground because all of the produce shot up at once since we’ve gotten a few sunny days! Our stagger planted lettuce and onions are all getting ready at the same time! While we won’t be able to have the succession of harvest as planned, this does mean we have produce available for sale now!

So, we need YOU to use this beautiful produce before it passes its prime! All produce is available on a first come first served basis. You do not need to be a CSA member to order. Please place your order by 8 a.m. the day before you plan to pick up your order. Our regular hours are: Tuesdays 5 – 7 p.m and Saturdays 9 – 11 a.m.

Beautiful lettuce and spinach is ready for harvest!

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Produce available now: Leaf, bibb and buttercrunch lettuce (specify if you have a preference), spinach, green onions, arugula, mustard greens, parsnips and kale.

For more information on prices and pick up times check the "This Week" page on our website at: http://www.mitchellfamilyfarm.us/this_week.htm

Another view of the big hoop house!

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Well let me see where we left off last time…Oh yeah, it didn’t take the snow long to melt off, but it was sure pretty while it lasted. Never fear though old jack frost wasn’t done coming around! We’ve had a few more freezing nights and several other frosty cold nights. Thankfully the produce is looking good and hasn’t seemed to take too much of a beating with all the cold. It also seems like we’ve been rushing the planting that needs to be done in tiny windows of time because just as soon as the soil dries up enough to plant, it rains again! Sometimes not much, but enough to make everything sticky and a big mud ball mess!

I really did appreciate Jena and Leah’s help a couple week ago when it was raining. Freezing weather was predicted and they braved the cold rain to help me cover the mini hoops with plastic again. I was able to transplant a little tatsoi (a new green for us to try this year) into the mini hoops just before the ground got too soggy.

I also appreciated Ezra Willis coming over the following Thursday evening and helping Dad, G-Jean and I set out approximately: 110 asparagus plants, 60 fall-bearing red raspberries and 30 summer-bearing red raspberries. Jena and Leah had helped me earlier that day as well by transplanting about 150 strawberry plants with the transplanter. We were trying to beat the rain again with that planting day!

Ezra helping G-Jean plant asparagus.

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Jena and Leah on the transplanter with Caye "helping."

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While transplanting those strawberries with Leah and Jena, G-Jean came up with an idea that I’m not responsible for! She must take full responsibility for her own actions as I tried talking her out of it… If you were doubting that G-Jean is still young at heart this picture should settle all your doubts!

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G-Jean finally made me lash her orange scooter onto the back of the transplanter so she could roll along behind the transplanter and use her hoe to cover the strawberry plant’s roots that the transplanter didn’t do a good enough job on. The transplanter was still much easier to use than hand planting with a dibble!

Dad and I were lost for about four days while Mom and Jena went down to Alabama. Jena spent a day with a certified AANHCP (natural hoof care practioner) mentor and they went to visit a friend we’d met at the workhorse workshop in Mississippi last fall. Our friend, Jamie (the friend who loves cross country skiing and talked us into the ski adventures), had some horse harness that she was willing to sell and it was actually cheaper to go down and pick the harness up than to ship it! Since Jena needed to do the mentorship anyway, it only made sense to make one trip do it all.

Jena now needs to work with two more mentors and take the final exam, then she’ll have completed the AANHCP program. Her mentor in Alabama was impressed with how well and exacting she trims. Below she’s checking out one of her mentor’s horse’s hooves. He has a paddock paradise set up which helps promote healthy hooves resulting in hooves that need trimming less often. If you have questions on natural hoof care Jena is happy to discuss all the details with you.

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Jena trimming one of her mentor’s client’s horses. It was a cold morning…especially for Alabama!

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Between Dad and I we managed to keep things half way staked down around the farm, but it just wasn’t the same and we sure did miss our girls…for more than one reason. One of the reasons was just because they were gone, so we missed their company, and another was the chores took longer since there were only two doing them instead of four!

I ordered some rope halters for the draft horses and they came in. Unfortunately the halters didn’t fit properly when they arrived, so I had to take time and get the knots adjusted so they’d fit better. Did you know that by moving one knot it just about makes it a necessity to move all the knots in order to make everything even?! It took me a few hours of figuring out which knot led where before I was very efficient at adjusting them. Even then it took quite a bit of time!

Jena found the first tree frog of the year! We’ve been hearing them chirp for a while but hadn’t seen any. Since Jena found this one I’ve seen two others. One green and one grey.

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A week ago last Friday Dad, Granddad, and Jena cleaned up the area south of the square granary so they could move Jena’s tack room. Cleaning up included moving several pieces of equipment, cutting down two big box elder trees which had huge rotten spots through the middle and getting the trees hauled off after they were down! I was stuck inside catching up on e-mails and paperwork I hadn’t gotten around to while Mom and Jena were gone. No fair! Oh well…life doesn’t seem fair sometimes, but that is usually just the person’s perspective on things.

That’s Dad in the green coat standing behind the tree. Since he’s 6’1" does it give you a little bit of an idea how big the trees were?

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About the time they got all the fun stuff moved I went out to find Dad and Jena hooking up to the beams Jena’s tack room was setting on. Dad was on the Ford tractor while Jena was on the Kubota each hooked up to a beam. It took a little finagling to get everything going, but we finally got the show rolling. Did you know it’s a little tight trying to get two tractors through one gateway at the same time and making sure not to take the angle too sharp so the tack room trailing along behind wouldn’t wipe out the gate posts? Dad and Jena are excellent drivers though and made through by a frog’s hair…those are really fine hairs just in case you didn’t know!

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With some work they pulled the tack room into position so we could jack it up, pull the beams out and slide it over to the final location before jacking it back up and putting an extra set of 4×4’s and concrete blocks under it. Dad had us lay some boards down on the ground and going over to the pipe pile he got some pipe to use as wheels. After getting the beams out of the way we set the tack room down on the pipe which made rollers so we could push it over into place. Whew! It’s now all set and in place just the way Jena wanted it!

There was a rush Saturday to try and get the onions, broccoli and cabbage transplanted before the rain that was predicted for that night! While I worked on some other things Dad got started rigging up a water barrel to go in the tractor’s loader bucket so we could water the transplants as we went along. It was afternoon by the time we got everything set, but it didn’t take nearly as long to transplant with the tractor and transplanter as it has in years past by hand!

We did have a complication in that our soil blocks were too large to fit down through the "shoe" of the transplanter that opens up the furrow… After some discussion on how to spread the shoe wider and other possibilities G-Jean thought the plants would be ok just crushing the soil blocks enough to fit through the shoe. While it wasn’t ideal we made it work for the broccoli and cabbage.

Transplanting the onions we raised from seed this spring

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When I checked on the draft horses that evening I noticed Blaze had a limp. It appears she sprained her front left ankle so I’ve been doctoring that to the best of my ability. She still isn’t back 100% but has been doing much better the last few days.

I’ve tried fitting the harness on both horses and I think they’ll work great! I do have a problem in that one of the collars is too large so I’m trying to find another one that fits correctly… If the collar is too large it’s like us wearing shoes too large, causing the horse to develop sores on her neck when working.

We took advantage of one rainy day and planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, celery (an experiment this year) oregano, parsley, and sage in plug trays. After planting all this, there were still some empty plugs, so I got the flower seed out and filled the rest of the spots with flower seed for Mom and G-Jean so they’d have some pretty posies to plant later in their flower beds.

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Toward the beginning of the following week Granddad got some gravel to put in the wash station. Last year I had only put gravel in about 3/4 of the floor area and this year we needed gravel over the entire area so we could have a little more elbow room! Once again we cheated (cheated fair though) and used the Kubota to unload the gravel. That little gadget sure saves a lot of scoop shovels! After the gravel was in place it took us a couple days to get the wash station arranged for the start of CSA.

I intended to get a curtain up on the south end and east side, but didn’t get that done before harvesting produce for our first Saturday pick up of the year! Thankfully it was a cloudy day when we were harvesting!

Dad is building a work sled built to use with the draft horses. He comes up with a lot of the ideas around here and this is no exception! He’s using an old three point bale fork made for use with a tractor that we’ve just had sitting around here for years! There is still more work to be done on it, but it’ll sure be a deluxe model when it’s finished!

I’m standing in front of the tack room’s new location with Belle and Blaze.

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However, never, ever, ever send Dad to an auction with horse drawn machinery! Last Saturday was our first CSA pick up of the year so I couldn’t go to an auction that I wanted to go to in Rich Hill Missouri. I’d heard that you could pick up some good deals on harness parts, collars, equipment etc. and thought I might be able to pick up several collars at a reasonable price and find one that would fit Blaze. Since I was unable to attend the auction Dad went to the auction for me.

After CSA pick up I headed up to Iola so I could meet my good friend, John Crisp of Shepherd’s Valley, who was passing through on his way back to his farm in Americus, Kansas. I was picking up some of the all natural poultry supplement we use in the chicken feed, but we decided to grab a quick lunch together so we could talk a little before parting company again.

When we said our good byes and John left I gave Dad a call to see how things were going…He told me I needed to bring the truck and trailer!!! It wasn’t very efficient, but I had to go from Iola down to Coffeyville so I could get the truck from Granddad since he was working, drive back home to pick up the trailer and then up through Iola and beyond to Rich Hill!

The collars had gone for more than what they were worth but Dad had picked up piles of stuff at really great deals. There were several cultivator parts I plan on using to fix up the walking cultivators I already have, a rotatory hoe, a little bee equipment, a corn stalk chopper, scrap iron and wagon parts etc. etc. etc.

The auction is held every year in an Amish community just a little ways outside of Rich Hill. It sounds like the auction basically the Amish community’s fund raiser. Dad had met one of the gentlemen from the community, Jacob, and found out the entire community raises a market gardens on each of their farms. They have a community produce stand and then have a wholesale outlet that they ship semi-loads of produce out of!

Jacob had worked on a CSA farm in Kentucky and was interested in starting one of his own. With our common ground interests, Jacob and I visited a while and had an enjoyable exchange! However, by the time we got everything loaded up it was after dark and getting late. Dad and I drove through some pretty good rain showers coming back home and Dad had been in the rain most of the morning throughout the auction. It was about 1:00 am. Sunday morning by the time we drove back in our drive. Needless to say we slept in a little the next morning!

A Killdeer’s nest we found in the gravel by the sawdust piles.

4-15-2009 (4)

A side note on the auction… As I mentioned, the morning of the auction was very wet and rainy making everything a muddy mess with people tramping around all day. Four wheel drive trucks and trailers were getting stuck. Also as I’d mentioned, this was an Amish community. When the trucks would get stuck an Amish gentleman would hook up a team of horses to the truck, tell the horses to "get up" and they’d walk off pulling the truck and trailer out of the mud without any problem! As one of the Amish gentlemen drove by with his horses Dad said something about the mud and the guy nodded to the horses with a smile and said "four wheel drive!". What do you think about that?! :-)

Have a great week!

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell Family Crew

Bloom Report:

Wild tulips in all colors!

4-3-2009 (15)

4-3-2009 (13)

4-9-2009 (114)

Parrot Tulip

4-3-2009 (19)

Creeping phlox

4-9-2009 (102)