In Balance With Nature....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hurry up Spring!

We just cant wait for the weather to break! The last week has been so nice but we cant let our guard down. Remember last may we had 6 inches of snow, so we are far from being in the clear. We had a few ice storms this year that while are a pain they are so pretty. As much as we dont like dealing with ice, it did give us good moisture on the land during the winter. 
 Ice is hard on the chickens too, they would only come out of the coop for a little bit then run back in.

We did get some new chicks in October, Cuckoo Marans. They are a really sweet old fashioned breed and they dont mind being petted and held. This one liked me to scratch her belly.
 They are all full grown now and we still have 6 white ones and 1 rooster from the fist flock. The speckled ones are the Marans.

We are already getting prepared though, we have greens, herbs, peppers and tomatoes sprouting in the basement and onions are planted in the back yard. We hope to have a much better year this year. We feel a lot more organized and we learned a lot last year to better ourselves for this one. 

We started our orchard with about 30 trees and 60 blueberry and raspberry bushes last year. Hopefully we will have a few apples, cherries, peaches and pears this year and then enough to sell in 2015. The trees all look great and are starting to set buds.

We have redesigned the garden as we try to find the most productive way to run a farm with just two people. We are trying a different layout that may make it easier to plant, pick and maintain the weeds so we are wasting less time and getting more produce out of the same area. Every year we learn something.
We are signed up for Saturdays at the Lees Summit Farmers Market again and we are planning to join the Waldo Farmers market for our Friends and family on the Kansas side on Wednesdays from 3pm -7pm. The Waldo Market will be a great one to be a part of as they only allow growers and they have to be all natural or Organic so you know what you are getting is GMO and poison free. Cant wait to get going again......

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting geared up....

A watched pot never boils.....
Well that is what it feels like. 
Everything is loaded, but just not ready to pick yet. That snow in May really set us and everyone back this year. Hopefully next year we will have a high tunnel (plastic hoop house to extend the growing season) to grow our tomatoes and melons in. 
We have some fun stuff this year that hopefully will be well received. Blue Tomatoes and other neat Heirlooms, Yellow Watermelons, White eggplant, Purple Tomatillos. All plants are really healthy and we are keeping control of the bugs for now. Whew....
Our very first picking of Cherry Tomatoes! See the Blue "Indigo Rose"
Really did not get where we wanted to be with our eggs. We started out with 32 chickens last year but since the hatchery sent the wrong ones we ended up with half roosters. We do intend to sell eggs at the market one day but we have so much going on right now its not feasible to get more chickens at this very moment. Maybe once the year winds down a bit we will look into it closer. 

For now, here are some pictures of our garden. We feel much more organized this year but still MUCH room for improvement and practice. Still may be a year or so before we start a CSA or talk with restaurants but we are getting a groove to some extent. 

"Sweet Thing" LONG Red Cayenne without the "heat"

"Indigo Apple" Larger blue tomato but still has to turn red on bottom.

Sweet Potatoes

"Supper Sauce" Productive Roma Type
Squash Blossom

"Cabernet" Red Sweet Peppers

Long Purple Eggplant

White Eggplant

8 ft tall

"Valencia" Sweet Pepper

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring is..... here?

Well another Spring has arrived and brought with it some new challenges. Last year was the March 90 degree heat and drought and this year is May snow and rain. Luckily we had not planted summer crops yet or the snow would have wiped that out.
In late February we had 2 feet of snow in a 7 day time frame. That was interesting! I stayed at the hotel for the first few days but then could not get up the driveway, even Adams tuck couldn't get traction. Luckily the tractor did, so we parked our cars at the street and rode the tractor up to the house for about a week till it melted a bit. 
Handy tractor picking me up at the road.
Of course we have more projects than we have days for but we are picking away at them when the weather allows. 
We have continued to implement our "Biodynamic" practices as we work toward going beyond Organic. Part of Biodynamic farming is that everything on the farm is made on the farm. (Harder than you might think). We have our own compost this year using the plants from last year, yard waste and chicken bedding. We also have made two batches of "Bio-char". Very cool stuff. A pit is made in dirt, then filled with leaves, sticks and logs from the land then burnt and covered to smolder for a few days creating charcoal within the dirt pile. Mix that all together with the compost and you have an extremely fertile soil with higher amounts of nitrogen, potassium and carbon.

Then we had 6 inches of snow on May 3rd! 

We did have our spring garden planted (radish, carrots, potatoes, peas, beets, lettuce) and had it covered with fabric row covers so that protected those plants. Whew. We also threw together some cold frames for the lettuce with some old bricks and windows.
Tomatoes, Peppers and eggplants are sprouting in the basement and Adam takes great care of his little babies.  We got a 300 gallon water collection take and hooked it up to the gutter. We LOVE having this, we can water the seedlings and the chickens with fresh rainwater which is so much better for them and it saves money! we are going to get 3 more for each corner of the house. We will be prepared for drought this year.

Cold Frame
Spring Garden

We also planted 120 3-4 ft black walnut trees. 30 along the driveway and the rest in a bare area on the hill. Since we cut our own firewood we need to replace the trees we take out and Missouri conservation has all kinds of trees available. It will hopefully also create a wind block for the house, very windy at the top of our hill. Great for a wind turbine.... someday.....
Adam rented an auger to dig 120 holes. Still took two days.
Chickens are happy and getting big. We like to have them free range but for a few weeks we have them fenced in a pasture so we can grow our grass seed in some muddy areas around the house. (We have seeded twice and they eat all the seed, so they are taking a break from our back yard. :)

And yes folks, this is a bobcat stalking our chickens. Brave cat, this was at 3:00 in the afternoon right in the back yard while we had been out planting trees in the front yard.
Never a dull moment on the farm.......
Trouble maker....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Our First Snow on the Farm This Thursday.

Merry Christmas!
This year went by fast and I realize its been months since I updated the blog so here are some recent photos. Hope everyone's Christmas and new year are wonderful and safe and hope your 2013 is great!

Chickens getting big!

They like to look in at us in the Kitchen.

Matt having a nice "moment" with a Rooster.

Installing the electrical line to the coop. Runs their light and heat lamp.

Our First Egg! We are now getting about 10 a day!

Nesting boxes in the coop.

Lazy dogs enjoying the sun on a chilly day.

Adam says Hello. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting close....

We went to our first Lees Summit Market yesterday and had a great experience. We sold out of everything and talked with a lot of people that were interested in what we do and interested in buying healthy, home grown, pesticide free food. It was very encouraging. We had Yukon Gold Potatoes, Purple Viking Potatoes, wild blackberries from our property, herbs and radishes.

Adam's all set and ready for the day! Hopefully we will need three tables soon.
We have been busy getting the summer crops ready and keeping them watered. The lack of rain this year has made it harder but we are on a roll. We have 75 tomato plants in the ground and doing great. Little green tomatoes waiting to turn lots of colors (16 different varieties!).
Cantaloupe and Watermelons
Peppers and eggplants are getting bigger and the melons are looking great. 
16 Brahmas (White)
16 Speckled Sussex (Brown)
13 Purple Guinea Foul (Grey)
  Chickens are getting bigger fast and they are fun to watch. They are all healthy and should start laying in the fall. It is neat to see them turn from fluffy chicks into some very pretty birds. The Guineas are still living with the Chickens but will be relocated to the garden soon to eat bugs and keep pests away. They like to fly out of the fence for a bit and come back at dusk or sit on the roof of the coop and keep watch. They sounded the alarm the other afternoon when some dogs started to walk up the driveway, they scared the dogs away. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First years lessons so far.....

Well, the last 3 months have been busy and full of learning "opportunities."
1) Everything takes longer than you think...
2) Always costs more than you think.....
3) Turns out a little differently than you think... but that is sometimes a good thing.
4) Don't dig holes for fence posts if your not ready to put up a fence. (your friend may step in the hole filled with muddy water... sorry Matt.....)

We tilled up two 1 acre areas and one of them was slightly down hill from the water collection pond and is ALWAYS wet. Lost all the cauliflower, had to start new patch of lettuce, and had to transplant the spinach and the brussels to the other tilled area on the other side of the pond and they seem to be doing better. Potatoes are loving the wetter area and sprouting like crazy. We have about 300 ft of potatoes doing really well.
"New" garden site, 200 ft rows.

Just got peas, beans, squash, lettuce, beets, radish, broccoli, herbs, cabbage, kale, and some grains planted last weekend and some of which are already sprouting. The rain was PERFECT timing. We also planted aprox 500 cloves of garlic with the lettuce.

Lots and lots of garlic!
This Saturday is a full moon so the corn, and oats are getting planted as well as melons, cucumber and some more beans. (Full moons energy helps sprout above ground plants, while root crops go in on a new moon.)

Adam getting the corn/oats spot plowed.
We also got the chicken coop built with the much needed help of Matt. What would we do without him? He has two hidden hatch doors for collecting eggs from the nesting boxes and one for sweeping out the coop. We had enough vinyl siding from the house to use on the coop. Hope to get the chickens in about 2 weeks. We also plan to get some Guinea foul to live in the garden and eat all the bugs for us.

Hatch to nesting boxes.
Want to be able to start at the market in lees Summit in a couple weeks but waiting for some growth! We will email again the week we plan to start.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

House is done! Time to FARM!!

Monday we closed on the house and are moving forward to starting the farm. Matt did an AMAZING job on the addition and got it built fast! We now have a spare bedroom and an office! We got satellite internet yesterday so we can finally post new pictures!
Need some grass!
Matt's tile work in the mud room
Hallway in addition

Master Bedroom
Add caption

After lots and lots of hard work and jumping through more hoops than expected from the lender we are all moved in and taking advantage of the fall-like winter we are having.

Adam got his tractor this week and already mowed the farm area so we can till this weekend. We just cant believe its almost February and we can actually turn the soil for spring planting, an important step we thought we would miss this year.

We are also working on getting the basement cleared out of moving boxes so we can set up the seeding stations and get ready to start seeds.
Spring will be here quick and we hope to be at the Lees Summit Farmers Market in April when it start up again.
Below are some construction pictures.
More updates to come!

Building basement stairs
Clean House, Rud's waiting for the appraiser

Stove install

Matt C and Matt H framed it all in two days!