Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Farmwife's Journal - May 31st

The past few days the focus has been on our building project. Mike and the boys started putting the walls up on our market building/sugar shack Saturday afternoon, after we got home from a fun trip to the flea market. :) They worked out there until evening.



Menards delivering our materials


Getting started


 Again on Sunday, they worked all afternoon and into the evening.




Yesterday some friends came over (they have a bunch of boys) and they helped with the building too.  Their boys, like ours, wanted to learn more carpentry skills.

After the work was done, we had dinner, and then the guys set up a huge jumping house for the kids. :)  That was a hit! :)  ...and a fun reward after all the hard work in the hot sun.


Later in the evening, the bigger kids got out their instruments and sat out on the porch jamming away.  The adults (and eventually the smaller kids, who were still jumping) ended up joining in, and we sat out there singing and listening to the kids play.  It was great fun! :)

The building- Monday evening
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Farmer's Market At Little Red Hen

Little Red Hen is a home decor (and more) store in Dassel.  They have occasional sales, which means they are only open once a month for three days.  A couple of years ago, Brenda, the owner of Little Red Hen, asked us if we would want to have a farmer's market in the street in front of her store, and we have been doing a market there ever since.  It is the only market we do, other than the market here at our farm every Friday.  This market has allowed us to meet more people in the community and of course invite them to our farm. :)
Here is a little video from our day at the Little Red Hen (last Thursday).


video

A special thanks to my sister, Nadine, for the help with the video! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 24th

The children were up at 6am this morning.  There were chores that needed to get done early.  Today was a special day - more chickens arrived at the farm! :) 
The post office called at 7am to let us know that our chicks were there waiting to be picked up.

video
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After weeding the asparagus, I decided to take a stroll down "White Way Delight", as Anne (with an "e") would say.  If you are not a fan of Anne of Green Gables, you may feel confused right now. :)  Anyway, we have about 60 flowering crab trees on our farm and they are all in bloom right now.  It smells heavenly outside!  So this late afternoon I walked slowly down the driveway, taking in the fragrance from every tree. :)  What is the point of having all this beauty if we do not take time to enjoy it? :) 

(Blogger won't let me put pictures in right now, otherwise I would publish pictures of the trees.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

FarmGIRLS Journal - May 19th ;)

Today the concrete people ;) poured concrete for our new building.


Ben and Jonny watching every move and probably asking 100 questions! :)

Whenever there are guys here working, Ben and Jonny get the day off of school to go watch them, so they have the opportunity to learn something new.
 
There ended up being some extra concrete, so they were able to try their hand at concrete work! :)





Home school at its best! :)

Mom and I went out and ran some errands in the morning and when we got home I began baking up a storm. :)  I made Lemon Curd, Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, Herb Bagels, Scones, and Rhubarb Bars. :)  Later in the afternoon, Ben and Jonny set up the garage for the market.  It will be so nice when we can have it in the building... set up and tear down will be MUCH easier! 
My bunnies are doing really wonderful and getting SO big and SO cute.  My poor family... all I ever talk about is bunnies, just about! :)

Aloe Vera Plants for Sale

We have a whole bunch of aloe vera plants for sale!  They are $6.00 each.  Aloe is wonderful for sunburn, skin disorders, burns, acne, bug bites, good for healing wounds, helps prevent infection, and lots more! :-) 
 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 18th

Another beautiful day!  The ticks appear to be enjoying the weather too. :)  It seems like we see one or two a day on someone.  Thankfully we rarely find them attached - just crawling on us.
Today we got more of the garden planted.  Em and I put the beet seeds in, and then we all worked together to plant our onion sets. 
Mike pulled out a honeysuckle bush with his skid loader and tilled up some more grass to expand one of our gardens.  We will plant more onions there.
Today we broke ground for our new building! :)  Half of the building will be used for a sugar shack and the other half we will use for our farmer's market.  There will be a concrete slab behind the building that we will use for chicken butchering. 
Today a guy came out and got the slab formed up.  Tomorrow he'll have a crew of guys working to pour the concrete.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Plants For Sale

Organic Totem strawberries Crowns for sale

June bearing plants.  They are a firm, conic-shaped, bright red fruit that turns very dark when ripe.  Extremely cold hardy, vigorous, and disease-resistant.  If soil pH is above 7.0, soil amendments such as sulfur or mature compost will optimize growth.

We are selling them for $1.00 a crown (plant).   
  

Farmwife's Journal-May 16th

Finally sunshine!! :)
At last it is dry enough that we could get a few more things planted.  Today some more lettuce and carrot seeds were planted, and we were finally able to till part of the garden that has been so wet it hasn't gotten tilled yet this year.....ahhh...it's starting to feel like spring! :)
Unfortunately the nice spring weather also brings on the weeds!  We have been weeding and weeding!  Getting the weeds under control now prevents having to do tons of weeding all summer, so we plug away at it. :)
This evening we sold Buster and Bandit.  The people that bought them live on a hobby farm and have other animals.  The goats will help keep their pasture mowed down.  Seeing our animals go to a good home is always rewarding...especially for the children. :)
Here are a couple videos of Jonny and I.  We had been weeding in the herb garden, but we got a little side tracked. :)

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 14th

Another cold rainy day!
Spent the day shopping for farm gear - Carhartts, work boots, work gloves...etc.  :)
Goat kids have been dehorned.  An unpleasant job! :(
Trimmed goat hooves this morning.
We are set up and ready for the chicks that will arrive in a couple days.
We had a call today from someone offering us peacocks.  Does anyone know anything about these birds?  We are trying to decide if we should get them or not.  What do you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Raw Milk

Yesterday was a field trip day - off to the capital! :)   Gathering in a parking lot, a number of families met to take a bus (that our friends own) to St. Paul for a hearing on a raw milk bill.  The hearing was much later than scheduled, and we ended up doing a LOT of sitting, but it was great to hear all the people testifying...and very educational for our children. :)  
On the bus

Mike making good use of his time on the bus. :)

My boys and some friends, in the front row, waiting for the hearing to start. :)

 
The bill is about making raw milk more accessible to the consumer.  Right now, in MN, consumers need to go to the farm to buy their raw milk.  The bill would change the current law to allow farmer's to deliver to the consumer and also to sell at farmer's markets.

I do think it's important that consumers go to the farm where they are getting their milk, but I also think that people should be free to do as they please.  If people want to take the risk of buying milk from a farm that they have never seen, that should be their choice.  The bill is really a freedom issue, not a raw milk issue.  But of course it ended up being a hearing about the legitimacy of raw milk.  While I firmly believe in raw milk, there may be times when pasteurization would be a better option for human consumption.
 
One of the testimonies yesterday was from the president of the Dairy Association.  He was trying to convince the board that pasteurized milk is a better product.  He said that, on his farm, his calves were having so many health challenges that he has been pasteurizing the milk he feeds to his calves and now they are living happily, without all the health problems they had previously.  Can you imagine?!!  Then he went on to say that he and his family have also stopped drinking raw milk (for the past year).  First of all, his cows must be really sick if he has to pasteurize the milk he feeds to his calves.  Secondly, it's a GOOD thing his family quit drinking it!!  In this case, pasteurizing their milk before they drink it may be a safer option for them. 

Some of the people at the hearing, who were supporters for the bill, were concerned about a label people were wearing to promote raw milk.  The labels were from real milk cartons, sold in the state of California, in a retail store.  The label contains a warning, which states that raw milk can have harmful bacteria in it.  They felt that this would shed a bad light on raw milk and ruined our message about how healing raw milk is.  The problem is that it's true that raw milk can contain harmful bacteria, but it's also true that it has helped many people recover from terrible health problems and it is far more nutritious than pasteurized milk.  The bottom line is...... people should have the freedom to choose what they want to buy, who they want to buy it from, and where they want to buy it!



Representative Ron Schimanski gave our group a tour of the capital

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 7th

This morning Mike and the kids put out our first chicken tractor of the season, so now the chicks are enjoying fresh grass every day!  And the sheep and goats were put out on pasture today too.
Today we had to get some chicken feed (over 1200 lbs.) and corn.
We planted broccoli, two varieties of cabbage, and kale in the garden...all plants that we had growing in our little green house.
In the herb garden, I planted comfrey and transplanted some echinacea that was coming up.
Mike and Jonny put up two new gates today.  Mike made them.  They are so pretty (white picket fence gates)! :)
Once in a while Mike and I will do all the evening chores alone without the kids...we did that tonight.  We call it our "milk date" since most of our time is spent milking.  It's a good opportunity to have an uninterrupted conversation. :)
We have so much milk right now!!  I'm getting ready to put yogurt in the oven overnight...second batch this week!  Yum!

Farmwife's Journal-May 6th

Today was the beginning of our Farmer's Market that runs through October...and usually the first couple weeks of November.  We couldn't have asked for a nicer day- sunny and in the 70's!  Visiting with customers that we have not seen for months was the best part of the day.  I overheard Ben this morning telling Jonny how he just loves Fridays and how they are so much fun! :) Here are some pictures from our day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 5th

Baked bread today for our Farmer's Market tomorrow. 
We got the garage set up for the market....will have it there until our building is ready.
Ben made his famous Organic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies today.  He will be selling those tomorrow.
Jonny designed a wooden stand (and painted it black) to display his butter knives.  He did a great job! :)
 
Emily has been in bed with a fever all day.  She is rarely ever sick and is bummed that the day before our market she isn't feeling well, but she has been a good patient...taking all my concoctions! :)
She also has baby bunnies in the barn that she is longing to be with. :( 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 4th

Happy Birthday, Farmer Mike!


Emily's bunny had babies today!  Happy Day!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 3rd

Mike and the boys went to the saw mill this morning to pick up the lumber for our sugar shack and market building.

We enjoyed warm sunshine today while we worked in the garden.  The parsley I had growing under lights was planted, and we got some pea and cilantro seeds planted.  Three dozen strawberry crowns were transplanted to pots....just getting started with those.  Emily started some flower seeds and put them in the cold frame.

I canned some of our boxelder syrup today.

Emily made lip balm.  She is going to sell it at the market.

All the goat kids are doing well. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Blogger Writes About Our Herb Class

April attended our first herb class last summer.  She published a post about the class on her blog.  If you would like more info about our class check out this link:
http://naturewood.typepad.com/naturewood/2011/05/cooking-with-herbs-class-august-2010.html

We are planning to offer this class again this summer, once the herb garden is in full bloom. :)

Farmwife's Journal-May 2nd

It took every ounce of will power I had to make myself go outside and work in the garden today.  Strong winds, clouds, and 35 degrees just don't make for a nice time in the garden.  I put on my winter hat before I went out, but quickly realized I needed my scarf and winter gloves too. :(

Ben and I added the last load of manure to the herb garden.  After that, Ben tilled some of it in, but then realized that it was still too wet, so we started working in the big garden.  Ben and Jonny worked together to till it up.  I think they would have tilled the whole yard if I had asked them to; they were really enjoying themselves! :)  I love this picture of them tilling with a sandbox full of toys nearby.  Who needs toys when you have tillers? :)


Not that they don't enjoy playing....they spent about two hours riding four wheelers this afternoon and shooting their pellet guns.  But work can be fun for children, especially if you do it with them!

I got some lettuce that I had growing under lights planted in the garden today, and I also put some more spinach seeds in.

Mike took Emily to the Chiropractor today. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Farmwife's Journal-May 1st

While Mike and I were cuddled up on the couch together taking a Sunday afternoon nap, a call rang out from the front door.."She had twins!"  Emily and the boys had been checking on Claire all afternoon, knowing that she was in labor.  Following the pattern for this year, she had a BOY and a GIRL.  Claire is proving to be a wonderful mother and a good milker. 
Mike and Jonny got up in the middle of the night to feed the four goat kids.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Buster and Blondie


Buster

The twins: Buster & Blondie :-)

Buster again

                                     

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