May 252009

Berry sweet greetings to you from the strawberry patch!

5-21-2009 (25)

The strawberries have jumped ahead of my anticipations and have begun to give us lots of wonderful, fresh, sweet, juicy strawberries! We are now taking orders for strawberries which will be available on a first come first served basis. We do have strawberries available NOW! You may just swing by to pick up strawberries tomorrow, Tuesday between 5 and 7 pm., but if you would like to ensure us having some for you feel free to call and reserve as many as you would like. All strawberries are available on a first come first served basis.

CSA shareholders have been given first chance to preorder these berries, now we are opening it up to everyone. If you would like strawberries from our garden I suggest you place your order ASAP because berries usually "walk out the door" quickly!

Unfortunately strawberry season is usually quite short lasting only about two weeks. I expect this to be the peak week of harvest. Strawberries are very dependent on the weather which could vary the season considerably.

Strawberries are $4 per quart or $2.50 per pint.

5-21-2009 (22)

It’s been busy to the very extreme since the rains have stopped. We’ve been getting the ground worked and ready to seed, transplant and all the other details related to that! For the first time we ran T-tape (drip irrigation tape) along the rows we were transplanting. The transplanter was set up for unrolling the tape, but needed some slight modification to make it work better.

5-22-2009 (12)

Jena is our transplanter acrobat!

5-21-2009 (38.2)

A week ago last Friday I finally got around to spreading a little compost, but after the spreading the second load I noticed one of the drag chain bars had bent and was broken about half way through. I was thankful I’d caught the problem before it broke completely as it could have caused major problems.

Saturday Dad fixed up the cultivator with wider sweeps so we could get a higher percentage kill on weeds as we cultivated. After CSA pick up Dad and I hooked Belle to the cultivator and tried it out. The soil was slightly sticky at first, from the 1/2" rain we’d received the night before, but by the time we got everything cultivated it was just perfect.

Dad and I also worked on the sickle bar mower a little and filled the gear case back up with oil. I discovered we are going to need to replace the oil seals as they’re now leaking. I’m wondering if moving things around caused the old seals to break. Better to find it out now than when we’re out in the field mowing hay!

Dad and I test drove the manure spreader before using it in earnest to make sure everything was working properly.

5-14-2009 (19)

By Monday I was able to get back around to spreading compost again, but discovered the manure spreader has to be left wide open. Some gear teeth on the main drag chain gear had been broken off and if the amount you spread is cut back the mechanism that holds the gear can’t catch a good tooth to turn the drag chain in one particular section of the gear. It still worked great and so did the Kubota for loading and spreading! When I get a chance (famous last words on a farm) I plan on checking to see if the gear off the old manure spreader will fit the one I’m currently using.

It will sure be nice when I get the manure spreader set up to be pulled by the horses. Then I can load up the spreader with the Kubota get off, hop up on the spreader and drive off with the horses!

My evener and single trees should be ready for pick up, but I haven’t had time to go by and get them from the blacksmith’s shop as every moment I could spare has been taken up getting the planting done. I’m literally running nearly a month behind due to the weather!

All the goat kids are ornery as ever!

5-13-2009 (38)

Granddad wanted a tiller that he could handle a little better, so he went to town and bought a new one that he can use as needed.

5-18-2009 (45)

Jena and Leah gave Storm a bath this week! While he wasn’t overly thrilled with the idea he did ok and afterwards he was shining!

5-19-2009 (48)

It looks like we may have the best crop of carrots we’ve ever had! Our heavy clay soil doesn’t grow very good carrots, but we planted some shorter varieties and placed them in an area where we’ve had decomposed shredded leaves.

5-19-2009 (12)

Between all the regular chores, CSA and daily tasks we’ve been picking strawberries and boy what a pleasure that has been! G-Jean has said this is one of the best strawberry crops she’s seen in several years. Despite helping her Dad pick 5 acres of strawberries during her growing up years G-Jean still loves picking and caring for strawberries!

Hard to imagine, but we’re in need of some more rain now! A good soaking 1" of rain would prevent me from needing to start watering this week.

Most of the plants shown in this picture are now transplanted out in the garden!

5-14-2009 (15)

The list of transplants in the garden now are: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, a few varieties of summer and winter squash, sweet potato slips along with the cucumbers and okra which didn’t like the transplanting… We have the transplanter set up so it waters the plants some as they’re transplanted, but I didn’t get them watered a second time soon enough so a lot of them died. I will replant in the blank spaces with seed ASAP.

Our first planting of beans and corn were a crop failure so I need to plant some more beans (already replanted some which are now coming up) and more corn.

After deserting her nest the mamma killdeer has come back and laid another batch of eggs!

5-14-2009 (5)

Hope you have a great week and enjoy all this beautiful sunny weather!

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell Family Crew

Bloom Report:

A couple beautiful types of iris

5-17-2009 (2)5-21-2009 (27)

Tuber false dandelion (Pyrrhopappus grandiflorus – wildflower)

5-19-2009 (24)

The apache blackberries are blooming well this year, but I’ve been very disappointed in the other varieties so far… I hope they will still bloom more this year, but if they do the berries may be so late they don’t do any good.

5-19-2009 (33)

G-Jean’s beautiful peonies and a rose bush

5-18-2009 (41)

Another rose picture

5-19-2009 (10)

A couple of Granddad and G-Jean’s foster kids, Fred and Gloria, which Jena and I had never met before, came by and visited from Missouri this past week! I believe every one had an enjoyable time and Granddad and G-Jean loved "catching up". Notice the rose bush in the background as well!

5-21-2009 (13)

The sage is blooming

5-21-2009 (10)5-18-2009 (26)


5-16-2009 (6)

Our first potatoes have started blooming now… Won’t be long until we’re harvesting new potatoes!

5-19-2009 (67)


5-18-2009 (30)

Egyptian walking onions with their "seed head" of bulblets

5-18-2009 (34)

Yellow sweet clover and red clover

5-19-2009 (28)5-19-2009 (22)

The broccoli hasn’t been heading up right and has basically gone straight to bolt instead of forming a nice head. Beneficial insects love the broccoli blooms though.

5-19-2009 (64)

My cover crop of hairy vetch has started blooming amongst the rye grass as well.

5-19-2009 (60)


5-21-2009 (34)


5-19-2009 (73)

Mom’s purple clematis has been beautiful this year!

5-20-2009 (7)

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