I could summarize our entire spring in one sentence: There are not enough hours in a day, days in a week or weeks in a month!
Things around here are just as busy as you’d imagine, I’m sure. We’re working up fields and planting everyday, building and reinforcing pig fencing to add additional new runs, working on the behind the scenes details of our CSA Season that’s quickly approaching, and let’s not forget the kid’s last day of school! And we’ve got sports just like everyone else. Life moves at the speed of light in the spring!!
We’ve got less than 3 weeks left until our first deliveries!!! The week of June 20th will be our first delivery. This is the lettuce patch from a pic I took about a week ago. You'll be surprised how quickly they grow- this is about 40 rows of lettuce, greens and other early spring crops! Ever wonder why we plant them together? Because when we're done harvesting these they'll get tilled under and we'll plant a secondary crop here (Ben makes those decisions, though I would assume late zucchini or cukes would be a solid candidate).
I'll be honest, we were a little worried about the first week. With the spring being so cold we were concerned with the growth of the plants, and honestly, it's still cold! The overnight temps are what really make a difference, and it's still cool enough that we're not seeing a ton of growth. Our season is still on track as planned, we're just hopeful that the weather starts to cooperate a little better so we can provide a good variety in the first couple weeks!
We’re very thankful for how busy we are. We truly love what we do and being able to continue growing for our friends and neighbors is a blessing! Also, we’re thankful that every day is different! Not always good-different but always exciting-different, haha! ;) Growing these garden treats is so rewarding; watching the farm throughout the summer and the different harvests- things come and go but there are always plenty of treats to go around!!
Here’s a fun example of every day being different.. Last week I went and picked up another 20 pigs. They’re small, probably 25ish pounds, which is normal at this time of the year. Even though we re-did our fencing, literally tore it all down, dug it down a ways to bury the cattle panels (making it stronger and harder to dig under), and reinforced it with concrete and 4x4 posts, THESE PIGLETS JUST WALKED OUT. They’re small enough to walk right through the cattle panels, lol!
So after an afternoon of wrangling them back into their pen we had to drop our entire afternoon’s plans to put up an electric fence to help keep them in. There are many predators around us and it’s important to keep these little ladies & gentlemen safe! In case you’re wondering, “wrangling piglets” involves some colorful language, a fishing net & team work. In about a week we won’t have to worry about them fitting through the fencing at all- they’re growing quickly!
Also- did you notice their wattles? There is one on each side of their neck. Wattles on pigs don't serve a known purpose, it is simply a finger of skin that grows below the neck. There are certain heritage breeds of hogs that carry this dominant trait. For us, our piglets didn't all have that genetic trait. I was explaining to our kids, it's kind of like how I have red hair but neither of my parents do, and none of our kids do.
We have added another new drop site!!
We are offering a new site in Coon Rapids. It’s on Sycamore St NW. We emailed everyone picking up in Andover to let them know there is another site close by. The reason we were driven to add another site so late in the game is because we had SO many people picking up in Andover. So this will be more convenient for a lot of our Members because it’s closer for them, and also it won't be so crowded. We ask that one person approach the CSA pick up area at a time.
*The deadline to switch your CSA site is June 10th! Then once the season starts, we allow for site changes any time after the first 2 weeks of CSAs. The logistics are very overwhelming if we allow site changes right before we start for the season (this involves box labels, the daily check lists, our harvest numbers, & more). We don't want to miss any of the fine details- thank you for your cooperation!
This is the rescue ambulance for our plants! OK actually, it's a car trailer but it's the only trailer that wasn't already covered in plants, lol.
As you know, this spring has been full of eventful weather... we had enough hail that we're actually getting new roofs on all of our structures including the house, barn & pack shed. There was flooding and our greenhouse was actually partially underwater! This hasn't ever happened before, and the water did recede by the end of the day for the most part. But in the moment, we had THOUSANDS of plants FLOATING in the greenhouse!!! Now that's a flash flood. We raised everything we could and also got a lot out of the greenhouse.
THESE ARE ALL TOMATOES!!!! They don't look like much yet but just wait ;)
Have you ever heard of hardening off your plants? It's a common practice around the farm here. I'll start at the beginning- we seed most of our produce into trays in the greenhouse so we can have produce for longer during the MN summer. We start our tomatoes in March, just for example. All spring they're growing and have everything they need, including the constant temperatures and controlled environment of the greenhouse.
Hardening off is a process that we do to help strengthen the plants before we transplant them into the ground. So essentially, it's just leaving them in their trays outside exposing them to the wind and rain, etc. and then when it's time to plant them into the field, that stressful event isn't quite as stressful. When the stems are hardened (wind resistant) we can transplant everything into the fields.
**We have already transplanted ALL of our peppers, tomatoes, lettuces, winter squash, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, bok choy, the list goes on. It's funny though, because our to-do list keeps growing even as we're checking things off! Spring is always busy around the farm but with the help of our employees we're on pace for a great season!!
Good 'ol farm kid fun.
We bought some old food grade plastic barrels. We cut off the top and add nipple waterers which are specialized for pigs, and then also cut some in half and use them for troughs. We have used big metal feeders in the past but we found that if it gets wet the feed doesn't flow and there is usually a lineup at the feed which we don't want of course. This year we're trying something new, to see if this will help reduce waste and make feeding more efficient for them.
Anyways- back to our kids on barrels, lol. Karli has a game where you have to roll across the yard on the barrel without touching the ground, balancing and using your arms to pick yourself up. The other two are in the one that's cut in half already- I assume that's a boat ;P Jump aboard!! To be fair, they do have plenty of toys but just like every other kid out there... sometimes the things that aren't toys are the best toys ;) I can't even tell you how many times they've thrown their toys to the wind for an empty box, haha!
Hi, my name is Jodi and I have a cat problem.
Someone drove down our road and dumped a box of kittens out. Ben saw them do it but he was across the field on his tractor and couldn't get a plate or anything unfortunately. We did end up finding one of them, I'd say she's probably about 6 weeks old. I'm bottle feeding her right now and already have a friend ready to adopt her. I volunteered at an animal shelter when I was younger, and spent about 5 years with hands on experience with feral cats (among other situations). I'm proud to say this little sweetie has spent a couple days with us and she's already purring. Two days ago she bit Ben and hissed anytime anyone was even in her vicinity. My heart is melting and she's turning into a little softy!!! *It took EVERYTHING in me to admit that I have a problem and I can't keep anymore kitties, lol. She's in good hands and well cared for. Hopefully no one else decides to dump animals out here... you'd be surprised how often it happens.
We are planting as fast as we can and plan to start the season on time regardless of the less-than-ideal weather. Again, there will NEVER be enough hours in a day, days in a week or weeks in a month.
For now, we'll continue to do everything we can to make sure this season is a bountiful success <3
Thank you for joining our CSA! We look forward to sharing our harvest with you very soon!! The first harvest day is Monday June 20th!! I will be sending out another in 2 weeks with the beginning of the season reminders and any updates. You'll also be getting the farm to table handbook with a description and picture of every variety we grow, including tips on preparation and ideas for recipes.
We've got a lot to look forward to!! :D
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer's Wife