Category Archives: farming

Hi Everybody!

Remember me?  I had this blog, and then I bought this farm, and then, and then and then….well, I am back. Let’s just say I am glad 2016 is in the rear view mirror.

 

So much has happened in the last year, including a big life reality check that put a hitch in all of my giddyups, including this blog.  But we survived, and all is well for now. And boy am I grateful for every sweet farmy day.  I need to go pot up peppers, but here’s a quick overview of what is happening on the farm, headed into year 3!

I went morel hunting, and finding!  This really is an R rated mushroom. But delicious-we made morel/nettle/bacon pizza.

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On the farm I started experimenting with occultation a la Jean Martin Fortier, a la french intensive gardening.  Very happy with the results so far, including being able to work up some beds in spite of the relentless, never ending, ceaseless, continual rain.  Is it raining right now?  Yes, yes it is.  Heck, people on the East side of the Cascades are complaining about the lack of sun.  Like they even know…..

IMG_0607.JPGLeft to right-prepped and planted terrace, terrace with amendments but no compost (it is there at the end of the bed), terrace whose tarp has just been removed and then rotoharrowed, then a terrace that has just been mowed and covered with the tarp.  This process seems to take about a month to 5 weeks in winter, I expect that to shorten down to two or three weeks in summer, when soil biology is more active.  I have high hopes this will reduce weed pressure significantly.

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I am also hoping this tarp process will help me incorporate cover cropping into my rotations-here is a bed I seeded this spring with the intent to let it bloom and grow all summer and then prep using the tarps for fall crops.

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As my soil improves I can plant more intensively so I can actually take some terraces and beds out of production for a while-and I am changing my methods away from row cropping and more towards intensive planting.  Growing things with a shorter turn around time also helps me keep ahead of the gophers, though I am seriously considering introducing some gopher snakes to the farm. I had to replant almost all of my garlic, and I built a screened bottom bed just for that purpose.  But it isn’t big enough-I should have at least twice as much garlic as this.  IMG_0625.jpgSigh.  Moving on….the greenhouse is awesome.  So awesome I went nuts and planted a bunch of stuff that has matured 3 weeks early.  Oops!  Well, consider this research into season extension and a possible future Shoulder Season CSA.   Call me if you want lettuce.

P4097916.JPGIMG_0632.jpgHope everyone out there in blog land is healthy and happy!  If you want to know more about the farm and what we are up to-head over to the farm website:

 

cheers!

 

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forward into spring

 

Early season projects….

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new hoophouse!

We skinned that cat, and now snug on the inside is a seed starting extravaganza-complete with heat mats, tables, a propagation sweatbox, a seeding table, and early garden beds out of the weather.  Spring break for farmers-it was 80 degrees in here the other day…..

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it is all fun and games until the field voles find you….

Waiting for a break in the weather to fire up the new BCS-like all tools it is a little oversized for a 5′ 4″ woman and will take some getting used to-but I’ll get that tiger by the tail.

Daffodils are blooming, raab is raabing, bunnies are…. looking very pregnant.

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Looking forward to the upcoming season-hoping to get some water catchment in place before the summer dry spell hits-El Nino will perhaps give us a little extra time on that one.  We have some big tanks in place, waiting for the smaller catch tanks to arrive before we set it all up.  Otherwise the seed trays and greenhouse are filling up quickly while we wait for the next break in the weather.  Rain or shine, we are still having fun.  Even if that means applying greenhouse plastic when you would rather be eating dinner.

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wiggle wire anyone?

 

When I start freaking out about politics or global climate change or what the heck I am doing farming….I just stare into the heart of this Romanesco, and all is well.  It is like a vegetable tuning fork for the mind.  Or I would, if I hadn’t eaten it last week.  I am in the universe, and the universe is in me.  For the record, the universe is delicious.

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Clearly it is time to go outside, rain or no rain.  Cheers everyone!

 

New Year. Resolution.

First we had 30 straight days and 21 inches of rain on the orchard terraces (and everything else)….then clear and frost on the beet greens,

frosty beeet

frosty beet

now, snow on the wheelbarrow.

 

time to muck...

time to muck…

This is supposed to turn to ice later-maybe we have enough elevation to miss out on the ice and just get more snow….

In spite of the rain the terraces have all held up well-I did a bunch of civil engineering to get water to drain and spread out along the terraces in both directions.  The baby trees all seem to be in good shape.

I also graveled Osprey’s roundpen/sacrifice area, and boy has that been a godsend in this weather.  No mud!  None!  And picking out is like cleaning a giant litter box.  It was not cheap but worth every penny, and the horse appreciates not surfing around on slimy mud all winter long.

roundpen footing

round pen footing

The pen is graded away from the barn, and the barn got gutters this summer. Then I put down road fabric which keeps the mud out of the rock so it lasts longer, 4 inches of 3/4 minus gravel, and 2 inches of 1/4 ten (‘turkey grit’) on top of that.  The grit sized gravel acts more like sand but is safer for the horse-she is less likely to eat it and get sand colic.

We finally got our wood burning insert installed in the house-we are as cozy as cozy can be.  It is a Lopi stove-burns cleaner than a pellet stove and takes a big piece of wood-24″.  We also have minisplits to keep the house warm if we leave town or don’t want to build a fire-and the stove will keep us toasty if the power goes out.  We took one chimney down to the roof line and had the other one lined.  Next for the house is a new metal roof.

bring on the wing chair...and a good book!

bring on the wing chair…and a good book!

one down, one lined

one down, one lined

I have had a good rest, and am ready to start the planning and marketing for the upcoming season-I am finding with organic seed you really have to get on it and order early or a lot of the varieties you want get sold out.  This is especially true for potatoes and cover crop seed.  I have ordered a couple of good looking farm books, and my new BCS tractor, and will probably order and build my first green/prophouse this month.

The garlic is up and says we are already on the downhill slide to spring.  The days are getting longer.  But for now, I am happy to see some snow.

winter garlic

winter garlic

Happy New Year, everyone!

This week in pictures

Love this time of year-though today starts a heat wave.  Not so in love with this new world order…I expect to spend the next two days working in the cool of the early morning as long as I can, and then hiding from the sun except for moving irrigation.  Be safe, stay hydrated!

 

elk fence on main garden!

elk fence on main garden!

calendula with bad guy

calendula with bad guy

eggplant flower

eggplant flower

sugar magnolia pea

sugar magnolia pea

bulb fennel

bulb fennel

pullets on pasture

pullets on pasture

terraces for the orchard

terraces for the orchard

so far, so good….

Heading into week 4 for the CSA, week 2 for the Farmers Market (on the fence there-I’ll know by tomorrow if I have enough veg for both).  The weather has been all over the place-into the 90’s this week which is unusual for W. Oregon in early June-normal cool and rainy last week (Rose Festival-of course!) and midwestern style thunderstorms with gullywasher rain and hail the week before that.  But so far the veg has been good and the deer and elk well behaved-we build elk fence whenever we can-hope to have it up by the end of the week.

Here are some shots of a recent CSA share…..just to get you going 😉

radishes

radishes

garlic scapes

garlic scapes

green garlic

green garlic

salad mix

salad mix

Square Peg Farm strawberries

Square Peg Farm strawberries

The garlic scapes are great roasted on high heat with olive oil and salt.  I don’t think that for most people the strawberries even made it home. 😉

Happy summer!

Earth work

Terraces are in and look amazing!

Imageterraces tilled by husband with borrowed tractor…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbeds built by hand and amended with compost….a bcs with a rotary hoe would make this go much faster.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbeds limed, amended with micronutrients and shaped

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfirst beds planted and irrigation lines in place-wait, what is that in the distance? Hmmm, think I know what the next big project is…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut enough boring pictures of dirt and thousand pound ungulates-that’s a herd of 30 or so cow elk on the hillside there….here is some spring veggie porn-

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand a new wildflower discovery-I think this is an orchid called Candystick

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand this is a sight for my sore eyes-our Portland house is all spruced up and on the market!  I get to spend an entire day on the farm today without going into town to paint, fix or clean-what a luxury!  Wish us a speedy drama free sale.

fish art not included

fish art not included

cheers!