Monday, March 23, 2015

50 Shades of Brown

John and I love winter. We love the quiet 3 months when the only folks who stop by are UPS, the oil delivery guy and an occasional wedding client. Our computers are open all day, spreadsheets and emails and phone calls are happening. We shovel snow. We xc ski. We stop listening to the news, trading it for House of really is all the same, right?

But then, its March. The snow begins its slow recession, any falling snow doesn't amount to much. The dooryard and all the pathways are 50 shades of brown frost and mud, all of it frozen. We fire up the greenhouse. The reality that we are going to do this again, this farming thing, another season of it, another adventure in agrarian wonder, another turn of the sun... it sets in, and we embrace it. We're antsy. The house seems small and claustrophobic. We need to get out and move our creaky bodies. And, maybe, just maybe, the frost free hydrant in the cow barn that is frozen solid will finally give way, letting us ease up on hauling water in 5 gallon buckets for the cows each day we milk.

The greenhouse is busting at the seams but the nights are still in the single digits. Even some of the days are barely suitable for the green babes. Keeping a propagation house going in a frigid spring is an exercise in creativity and Yankee ingenuity, all involving layers of plastic and foam insulation. We had intended, in the fall, to move another small hoop house over near to our current propagation house to create a cold frame. But, time escaped us and its still on the to-do list. Of course, the 2 feet of snow remaining (not to mention the frozen ground) make deconstruction and reconstruction a puzzle. So, we shift and crowd and light fires for warmth and hope for the best out there. There's a healthy amount of knocking on wood this time of the year, hoping we don't jinx the season. Farmers are a superstitious lot (at least these 2).

Last week's shopping list:
  • Dahlias.... lots of them... (like 2000) because, again, I am ashamed to admit, I still have not mastered storing them. You flower ladies will be glad to know that 400 are Cafe au' Lait's.. (50 Shades of Dingy White). 
  • 50 Freedom Ranger broiler chickens. We tried them for the first time this past year and they are so much cuter than the big white Cornish Cross. I guess that makes them more "duel purpose" for you fanciers out there. But the 2nd purpose is not eggs, its more like farm-camp cuddle-able.
  • 15 Khaki Campbell ducks-- eggs, cuddle-able, and comic relief. Triple purpose. 
  • 6 pigs as usual.
  • Acidanthera and Martagon lily bulbs. I have a hard time ceasing the flower shopping when the snow is still so deep.
  • A case of work gloves, small and large.
  • Sun hemp and Fenugreek cover crop seeds... John is convinced fenugreek is our new thing. A wonder-herb.
  • parts....for so many different broken things around the farm

I would be a bad saleswoman if I didn't mention all the ways you can be involved in the farm. Usually in late February I have a crisis moment, feeling withered about hustling business and checking the CSA sign-ups like a hawk. The CSA and education at the farm are the heart and soul of what we do. It is the pulse of all that happen here....growing community through food and farming and flowers. 

That said....

We still have Produce and Flower CSA shares available. We have Credit CSA shares available for credit in our farm stand.

Schools are signing up for field trips for the spring.


There are a few open dates left for hosting weddings at the farm this summer.

Finally, mark your calendar for our annual Open House. Saturday, May 9th 1-4. We'll have farm tours, a Maypole, live music from the Gawler Family and Bennet and Edith and hopefully lots of green grass. I know you'll be as ready as I am to get out of the house.



  1. I dropped in here after reading your guest post at Soule Mama. Amazing. I am in awe at your farm and your beautiful work! Andrea

  2. If I were closer I'd come to your open house, it sounds wonderful. :)

  3. I know exactly where you are at right now! We are just starting to ramp up again after a winter of maintenance chores with animals and that's it. We'll have chicks on farm soon, we're watching our breeding sow like a hawk as we think she's preggers, we've got a calf due in April and another in June with plans to add another beef cow. I've got chicken planning to do and we are building a new herb garden this year as well as planting our garden of raised beds from last year. The snow is falling back (slowly) and the season is beginning!

  4. Coming over from Soule Mama, wish I lived closer! I'm down in Texas and I'm in awe at what you do. I'm in FNP school but hope to have a farm some day.

  5. So happy you provided this link over from your blog post at Soulemama. I will enjoy following along on your adventures and have enjoyed reading you over on Amanda's site!!