July 9, 2010 – Buckwheat Already

Although it might look small or not apparent here, there are thousands of tiny buckwheat seedlings starting to grow. After we pulled the garlic, we replanted just 5-6 days ago with buckwheat and it’s already up!

Buckwheat is a great summer cover crop because it loves the heat, provides good late summer forage for the bees, and lays down some nice seeds for the chickens to pick and scratch in late fall as they lay down next year’s fertilizer!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #170″

September 27, 2008 – Harvest Table

A few weeks ago a school tour came and I neglected to show the “harvest table” that shows some of the goods and products harvested from our farm.

This table, set September 14, shows apples, onions, potatoes, raspberries, blackberries, garlic, tomatoes, beans, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, watermelon, lambskin, peppers, flower bouquet, and a bunch of canned goods.  We are ready for winter!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #89″.

August 22, 2008 – Late August Garden

The harvest, preserving, and selling season is in full swing and it is time for weeding to fall by the wayside.

This is our best looking garden – one weeding professional Linda has managed to keep in check. It’s hard to make the switch from tending to harvest, as it is hard to let go and there is only time to do so much, and it’s time to put food up

one year ago…”Dog Agility”

August 16, 2008 – Moldy Hay

I’ve finally looked at the local Craigslist ads and I think it will be a dangerous thing for me!

Our first purchase was about 50 bales of moldy hay for fifty cents a bale.  A storm a few weeks ago ripped a roof off a hay shed and soaked the hay – it started molding, so it was on a fire sale.  I know that moldy hay can be dangerous to the lungs, so I decided to store it outside, rather than bring it into a confined space and since it will be used for garden mulch, outside storage won’t hurt it for that use.  I might throw a tarp over it.  It spent a couple of days drying out on hay wagons before I stacked it.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #84″

August 5, 2008 – More Garden Space

It’s time to consider more garden space.  We are also looking at some less labor-intensive space.

Here’s our plan.  We mowed four foot wide strips with four foot wide grassy areas. The spacing is such that we’ll till up four foot strips and have grassy steps in between so we’ll be able to do tractor work and keep the tires on the grass instead of in the garden.  So we mowed down the new garden strips and loaded it with compost, then covered it with black landscape fabric to kill the grass by next spring.  This picture shows a couple of strips covered, a couple with compost, and a couple just mowed.

one year ago…”And so it Goes”

July 30, 2008 – New Aerial Applicator No Spray Signs

After the rash of organic and sensitive crops being mistakenly sprayed by aeriel spray planes (not to mention the large crew of field workers as well), IDALS, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, has implemented a sensitive crops directory that aeriel sprayers are asked to consult before spraying.

The department provides the signs at a discount and leaves it up to handymen like myself to figure out how to get the sign 8-10 feet off the ground with the sign at a 30-40 degree angle from the post.  I just bought a heavy piece of 10 ft PVC vent pipe and a 45 degree elbow.  I cut about two feet off the pipe, mounted the sign to the small piece then connected the two pieces with the elbow.  Then I drove a steel fence post into the ground and just slipped the PVC pipe over it.  I’m hoping I can get away with not attaching it to the post so I can slip it off in the winter to spare the sign and PVC some weathering. Â The PVC seems heavy enough and puts enough torque against the post that it doesn’t seem to want to spin around at all.

one year ago…”Claire’s First Road Trip”

December 31, 2007 – Oak Creek Canyon, Sunset Crater & Wupatki

The day dawned clear, crisp and cold.

The first stop was Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon. A great natural playground of water, red rocks, deep pools, and smooth red rocks.

Another view of Oak Creek.

Fifteen miles upstream is the top of the canyon wall. Oak Creek is at the bottom of the canyon.

At a Coconino Forest Overlook there were artisans selling their wares. In the middle of the picture, Emma is trying to decide what to buy.

North of Flagstaff is Sunset Crater National Monument. This is the cinder cone of a volcanic eruption “only” 1000 years ago. It’s a little like Hawaii in the winter!

A few pioneer trees have started to grow in the ash. Emma decides to climb up for a better view!

The other direction from Sunset Crater is this view of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest point in Arizona at 12,000+ feet just north of Flagstaff.

These are the biggest ruins at Wupatki National Monument. It was the biggest structure for about 50 miles around at the time of the eruptions at Sunset Crater.

This is another ruin near the Wupatki ruin, the Wukoki Pueblo. These were occupied in the 1100s – about the same time as the Crusades in Europe, to give some Western Civilization context. We had a hard time thinking about living in these dry, windy treeless areas as a home camp.

A shot of some happy travelers at the end of a good, long, day!
one year ago…

September 24, 2007 – Hops Harvest

The hops experiment has been somewhat successful.  The vines didn’t cover quite as much of the trellis as I’d hoped, but it did produce hops in year one!  Check out what it looked like on May 11 from the same vantage point.


So, now I’ve got to figure out what to do with them. (Actually I know what to do with them, it’s the how I lack.)


Here’s some of the harvest on the drying racks.  I’m virtually clueless on the correct time to harvest hops in this part of the country.  Any brewmasters out there have advice for me on timing and post-harvest?

one year ago…

July 23, 2007 – Hops Progress

The hops we planted this year are making a tentative start.


The experimental hops we planted this spring are making their way up the trellis.  I’ve been rather surprised that we are having a bit of a pest problem with these – as there are not many hops around to breed pests.  There are tent caterpillar-like worms that we’ve been picking off the leaves.

one year ago…

April 17, 2007 – Coming out the Deep Freeze

The last few days have been back in the 70s after the long early April cold snap. We still are not sure how far along the fruit tree blossoms were when the cold weather came (teens at night and 3 days without getting above freezing).  We should know in a few days to week or so if they saved the flower buds.


The rhubarb will be fine, it’s already sending up new growth from the growing point, even though the first few leaves are brown and dead.

one year ago…