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Welcome to the ramblings of a fifty-something suburban "farmer"

Hoping that if you should stumble upon this blog my daily musings might bring a little smile to your day.

Friday, February 24, 2012

if at first you don't succeed

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More volunteers than peace corps

One of the more interesting developments in this years garden has been the arrival of the volunteers. There have been at least one hundred of these popping up in some of the most unusual places . Most farms are very happy to have volunteers show up as this makes their job easier . Unfortunately not the case here .You see the type of volunteers I'm referring to are not people but unplanted vegetable plants. I must have had a lot of squash and tomatoes last summer because everywhere i put compost this year we are overrun with (you guessed it) squash and tomatoes. I guess I could have pulled them up when they started but with the tornado and all we didn't have much else growing so i figured they were better than nothing. they are going to reward our leniency with a few bushels of beautiful winter squash and some assorted tomato varieties. it will be interesting to see if we get any more lingerers next year.
We're in process of planting the winter crops and hopefully will have the new greenhouse up before it gets really cold. Hopefully the rabbits and chipmunks won't get to them first. Did I mention how big that squash was?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I' m BACK !!!!! V 2.0

Well,
Here I am again, figuring I'd like to start posting again since there are so many new and exciting things going on here on the farm that I just have to share them with all of you millions of readers out there . Ok all 383 of you . Had a great maple season this year. Unfortunately didn't get a shack built this year so the rains we had really cut into my production .Already setting myself up for this upcoming season. We sent 50 chickens to freezer camp in July ,it's been really nice to enjoy all organic chicken that we raised ourselves .One exciting development actually came about completely by accident . I raised the chickens at a somewhat local farm. Started off with 51 birds I was told one had died so that left me with 50 (seems pretty simple 51-1=50) so when the day came for us to bring the birds for "the long trip " to freezer camp we counted fifty birds ,looked around ,the pen was empty ."we've got 'em all and away we go. Three days later we are breaking down the pen I had made for them and to our surprise out pops a chicken . First of all see the math above and there are fifty birds in the freezer . There were no birds left in the pen when we went to freezer camp . Things that make you go hmmm! after three days of no food or water she seemed quite healthy. Anyways we now had a new pet chicken that we aptly named Lucky. Lucky happily joined us in the burbs (only about fifty feet from her brothers and sisters in the freezer). Well I didn't want her to be lonely so now she has four sisters . My little flock has just started laying eggs . We got six last week and two so far this week . They really are very interesting animals ,more to follow soon I promise. Did I mention that chickens can move pretty quick if they want to?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

false alarm

Arghhhh!!. Last week I checked the weather and it looked pretty good for the next few weeks so I started tapping trees. Things started like gangbusters eight taps and almost twenty gallons of sap in about thirty six hours. My mind started to calculate an ocean of syrup that would gently bathe my sweet tooth for the entire year and then some( smack!!!, reality check)the temp dropped and haven't seen another drop of sap in two days and now we're looking at snow and cold most of next week .Oh well if it was easy everyone would do it. Luckily I got most of the parts for my first aquaponics system so we'll be working on that till the temps go up. Did I mention it's cold outside?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And they're off

What a difference a week makes .The Arctic weather we've been dealing with has finally loosened it icy grip and it's almost fifty today. After this post I am actually going out to tap the first trees of the season as it looks like warmer weather will be here for a bit. It's one of the advantages of being new to all of this I don't know any better (ignorance is bliss). We'll see ,as we can't do worse than last year (FINGERS CROSSED).The sun is reflecting so brightly I might even get some color and a good dose of vitamin D.
Another endeavor is starting to come together as my inside aquaponics system should be up in the next week or so. It would have been nice to have started it last fall so we'd have veggies all winter but such is life.At last we'll have them really early if all goes well. it should be interesting to see if I can juggle all of this and still keep what little of my sanity I cling to. Stay tuned for more riveting commentary .Did I mention it's really sunny?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

here we go again

Well it's that time again.Looks like we're getting close to sugarin' time. Things look a little different this year(what's up with all of this white stuff)I'll have to be careful placing taps or I'm going to need a step ladder to be able to pull sap come March. There is one advantage I have new places to tap the trees that I couldn't reach last year.
It truly has been a life changing year. In a little less than a year I've gone from a part time chef to a full Time farmer to a part time farmer and a candlemaker. I don't think that I had seen the word sustainable (except maybe in a Viagra ad) and the idea of raising (and killing )my own food was about as exciting as getting my nipples pierced(I don't want to get them done ,just in case you weren't sure how I felt about it).I have recently placed my order for this springs day old chicks that i will feed organically ,raise humanely and then proceed to send them to freezer camp where they will feed us for the next winter. Two heritage piglets will also join us in the spring so that the chickens won't be lonely in the freezer next fall as well as a grass fed Devonshire steer to complete my version of Kenmore's ark.
In looking back I'm not even sure where these changes even came from .The chain of events that have transformed us from suburbanites to homesteaders has been really quite remarkable.If you believe in coincidence this is another of those times in my life that it took fifteen or so of these coincidences to put me where I am now. I just wonder what God has in store for me now. It has been a very interesting journey. I've come to respect the "circle of Life " and to understand that in order for me to eat something must die. More importantly I've also realized that I can treat these things that I eat in a respectful and humane way and that the steak or chop that's on my plate didn't just come out of a package ,it was part of a living thing that sacrificed it's life for mine to carry on. (whoa ,getting too deep here). Anyways things are a bit different around here this year.
We have cleared out a pretty good piece of our land (much to my neighbors chagrin) and plan to have a fairly large market garden this year ,along with greenhouses and a chicken coop and I WILL get that mud oven built this year. We've started making our own soap, bread and crackers, sprouting and lacto fermenting anything we can get our hands on and in some ways becoming one of those earthy crunchy people we used to frown upon (don't worry we're still conservative Christians).
Anyways the taps have come in and the lines are ready ,I've got to dig out my buckets and start a tappin .My sugar shack from last year had to come down so i had to dig out my evaporator and i 'll be putting some sort of a wind break up so i 'll keep you posted as we attempt to beat last years total of two and a half gallons .Wish me luck. Did I mention that snow sure is deep?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

GET OUT THERE AND VOTE

I know it seems like forever since my last post (primarily because it has been forever) but I'm going to try to be more regular in my postings again. Why is it so hard to keep up a good habit and so easy to start a bad one ( actually which category does this one fall under?)? This summer has been quite an adventure . The garden is still producing quite well (of course now it's under a greenhouse), Jackie actually got into a plane after twenty two years, Suburban Artisan maple syrup is now Suburban Artisan farm and so much more.
We've taken quite a few baby steps on our path to sustainability this year from growing our own produce to baking our own bread (with local organic flour, milk ,and honey) and today I will be making our first batch of homemade soap. Early this fall I built a greenhouse around the summers garden in an effort to get closer to year round production of organic nutrient dense food . Since I have a few irons in the fire (OK quite a few irons in the fire ) it has been a slow pace but it's withstood four inches of rain in five hours and forty five mile an hour winds (now let's see how it will handle snow and sleet).
My journey with time banking has connected me with Pam and Dave at Golden Oak farm. They are really nice folks that have shared with me the joys of organic practices as well as sending chickens and a pig to freezer camp ( a cow will join them in a month or so).Because of them I now have a freezer full of organically raised veal (it wasn't intended that way but the calf had an injury that was life threatening so he had to go to freezer camp way before his time ).He was a really beautiful calf and now he's really tender roast. I hope to be raising turkey chickens ,pigs and maybe a cow or two in the spring.
The decision to become Suburban Artisan seemed like a natural progression as we (OK , I) dabble in new directions of sustainability .Did I mention it's getting kind of chilly around here lately?