Tuesday, May 29, 2012


River is Robert's baby.

Okay, so those pictures are almost six years old.  He actually looks more like this now...

But for a big bad country dog, he can sure be a baby sometimes.

This week he actually has a good reason to be a baby.  He had ACL surgery last week.  Back in January towards the end of duck season he developed a limp on his right hind leg.  After a vet exam we were under the impression it was some sort of soft tissue injury like a torn muscle and the only course of action was keeping him still to give it time to heal.  Everyone that knows River knows this wasn't an easy task with a dog that has such a BIG motor.  When keeping him penned up didn't seem to help we moved him to confinement in the feed room to keep him off of the leg.  

Finally a trip back to the vet a few weeks ago involved more tests that confirmed a torn ACL.  Yuck.  So last Monday River went to Azzore Veterinary Specialists for surgery and came home the following day with a reason to be a baby.  Now, thanks to our lack of carpet upstairs and the stairs themselves, it's more confinement in the feed room for River for quite a while.

One cool thing about the Azzore clinic is they do a great job of running updates on their patients on their facebook page.  At 10:30 at night they posted pictures of that day's patients prior to going to sleep for the evening.  They do a weekly report containing biographies of the pets they've had in for the week and tell a little bit about the surgery that animal was in for.  They also do a poll to determine their "Patient of the Week".  So, for Robert and River I thought I'd do a little post to see if I could get a few people to throw a vote in River's direction.   This link will take you to the page with the pet bios and the poll where you can vote is on the right hand side of the page.  I will say I think he's going to have a hard time beating out the Waterlily dog...she looks sad enough I almost voted for her!  I think they should have used the picture of him the night of his surgery...

Thanks, y'all!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Picking Blueberries

At this point it is no surprise that Monster Milan is an excellent blueberry picker.  With plenty of picking practice in the strawberries, it was only a matter of explaining that we were now looking for blue, not green or purple or red.

Then the Monster went to work. 

Briefly distracted...

but only for a short period of time.

Future farm help if we can keep him from eating all the profit.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Feeding Goats

People always ask us why we have goats.  Do we milk them?  Are they for meat?  Do we raise babies.  No, no, no.  For a long time we had a few goats for no reason.  Then they became useful in their love of pigweed. Now, they are toddler entertainment that lasts a long time.  We found out last weekend at the potluck that Monster Milan is not the only toddler that enjoys hauling weeds to the goats.

It took a little encouragement from the adults at first...

then the little monsters got the hang of it.

I have to say though, one little dude really outdid himself.  Not only did he pull weeds out of the flower bed and then proceed to find the same weeds throughout the garden and pull them, but when I told him he could feed the goats as much of the buggy napa cabbage as he could carry, he took me seriously.  Imagine my surprise when I looked up the field and saw this...

Future farm help??  Love it.  

Saturday's Booth

at the Hillcrest Farmers Market.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Flowers

Sometimes something is too pretty to touch.

This sunflower is worth so much more to me in the field than it would be at market.

Getting ready for market though means a lot of pretty things need to leave my fields so I took a few pictures this morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blister Beetles

They've arrived.

We've seen a few here and there while picking green beans this week but today was the first time I saw a horde.

They were doing a number on the remaining napa cabbages in the row next to where I was picking green beans.  

These bugs absolutely disgust me.  Luckily III feels the same way.  It didn't take long for him to get out the flame weeder and light their fast little butts up.  Before he did though I took a short video of them feeding on the cabbage.  It's amazing how quickly they move when they catch sight of movement or a shadow heading their direction.  


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chicken Chaser

Monster Milan's chicks moved back to the big coop over a month ago but soon learned they don't have to stay there.  It didn't take long for the little peepers to figure out they were small enough to fit through the fence and come up into the yard to hang out.

One little dudette in particular has realized I mean food.  This little chick is less than half the size of the other chicks due to her jacked up beak.

She makes it hard for me to walk when I'm anywhere in the vicinity of the chicken coop.  She prefers to be standing on one of my feet.  This bird spends ALL of her time eating simply to stay alive.  She's a fighter.  

Today Chacey Lane got a reprieve from the Monster's incessant chasing mixed with shouts of "Kay-yay" when he realized he could get a rise out of the chicks.  

The reaction he was able to get out of forty or so chicks was much better than what he got from a single dog or cat.  If it weren't for the fact that I prefer the peepers stay in their own enclosure and he helped make that happen, I'd almost have felt sorry for them.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Migrant Workers

My migrant workers are leaving tomorrow.

Also known as Monster Milan's grandparents, they are headed north tomorrow.  That's always a sad day for us.  They came down this trip to help us get ready for the potluck for the market customers and babysit so that we could get closer to getting caught up.  We almost made it to being caught up for the moment, but that never lasts long anyway.  My always competitive mother had to show up my 13 year old green bean picker in the bean field...he hasn't been back since.  She also weeded the strawberry bed while my dad helped me take down the snap pea trellising and continue putting up tomato trellising.  This morning dad and crazy Zoey dog ran empty and full buckets of green beans back and forth between the barn and the field for us while we were picking.  

While I definitely will miss their help and company in the field, the Monster will no doubt miss their undivided attention even more.  Until next time....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Broccoli Harvest

Last week was a good week to be my friend if you love broccoli.  My week revolved around harvesting broccoli and moving it off the farm!  The first three 5-gallon buckets though went in my freezer.  This is how I spent last Sunday afternoon!  Broccoli for the winter.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In Sunday's Newspaper....twice!

There was a photographer from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette at the farmers market in Hillcrest on Saturday. He stalked our booth for a while and then told us we were going to get our picture in Sunday's newspaper.  Yay!  It's always nice to have a booth full of flowers.  My father-in-law was the first to find this picture in Sunday's paper in Jonesboro...

Later on Sunday evening we found out through III's relatives in Conway that an article about us had come out in another section of the paper.  We actually knew this article was coming out, we just didn't exactly know when.  

Apparently a new customer from Conway Locally Grown is a reporter for the Democrat Gazette.  She was reading the grower biographies on the site and found my blog and decided to write an article about my business for the Mother's Day edition of a publication called "What Women Want".  I thought she did a really great job!  And she sent a photographer out for a little photo shoot with Milan Monster and I.  And while I am much more comfortable on the other side of a camera, I do appreciate having my picture taken with the Monster.  Happy Mother's Day to me!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Day at Hillcrest

....and last day for spring interns.

We had a beautiful day for the opening day of the Hillcrest farmers market.  We showed up with LOTS of broccoli, sunflowers, lettuce, sugar snap peas, baby squash, tomato plants and hydrangea bouquets.  Despite the fact that the interns' internship was technically over, they both showed up at the crack of dawn to help out and have the chance to sell the produce they labored so hard over for the past few months.

Although we had a slightly smaller turnout than we hoped to see at the opening day, it was good to see old friends and we had a great time selling some beautiful produce.  We are attempting to partner again this year with our friends at Falling Sky Farm, to be able to bring their meat to Hillcrest and have them take our produce to Argenta.  Hopefully we will be able to continue this partnership for the summer.

As this year's market season really kicks off, I'm sad to see two interns go that helped to give the farm a very positive atmosphere all spring.  I've known for a while that while I would miss their help, more than anything I would miss the energy they bring and the company they provide.  I truly hope they benefited even half as much as I did from their experience here on the farm.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spring Potluck for CLG & ASN Customers

We are excited to spread the word that we will be hosting another spring potluck for two of our online farmers markets on Saturday, May 12 at 5:00.  Conway Locally Grown and Arkansas Sustainability Network customers are invited to the party we are putting on in collaboration with our good friends at Falling Sky Farm.  We hosted this potluck two years ago on the first Saturday in June and had a great time despite the crazy heat that afternoon.  This year we've moved it up a few weeks and are hoping for good weather.

Getting the farm ready for an event like this is always a little bit scary for me.  I enjoy people seeing my gardens from a distance or through this blog where I can pick and choose what I want to show.  Letting people in my gardens though is like opening up and putting all of my world on display...good and bad, success and failure.  And there is rarely a time that I can walk through these fields and not see success and failure side by side.  

The good thing though about having this potluck so early in the year is that weeds have only overtaken a few rows in the garden by now.  Bugs have only done a little bit of damage so far.  And today anyway, the majority of what I see when I walk through the fields looks spectacular.  We'll see what the next two weeks bring.  

For those people that know us through either of these markets, tickets to the potluck can be reserved on either market.  CLG customers, reserve your tickets here.  ASN customers, reserve your tickets here.  We're looking forward to a great weekend and hope to see many of you here!  

Friday, May 4, 2012


Tonight I'm wallowing in a little bit of self-pity and mourning the loss of my cornflowers and larkspur.  Luckily tomorrow will be so busy getting ready for our first big weekend market that I won't have time to dwell on the loss, but tonight my feelings are hurt.

When we came home from deliveries yesterday I noticed from the driveway that the cornflowers didn't look as bright as they had the last few days but I didn't think much of it.  Today I went to start cutting for tomorrow's bouquets and found the cornflowers covered in millions of tiny bugs.  And then found the cosmos, sunflowers and snapdragons in the same condition.  I don't have the ability to photograph anything this tiny with much success but it is possible to see the middle petal on the left has many, many tiny spots on it.

After scouring the internet, my best diagnosis is flower thrips.  It didn't take long to figure out that these little critters are going to give me more than a headache.  Knock on wood, the only flower I didn't find them in was the zinnias.  Considering though that we sprayed the neighboring sunflowers this evening with "Organocide", they'll probably have moved into the zinnias by the morning.

I have definitely had my share of crop failures over the last few years but the flowers I've grown have always been solid.  I guess we've just been lucky, we've never had a pest issue with our flowers.  Hopefully, the Organocide will lessen the problem in the cosmos, sunflowers and zinnias.  The cornflowers and larkspur though have so much other plant material growing in with them and have been so devastated by these tiny insects that we made the decision to mow them down.

This week has been so crazy with III working out of town, shuffling broccoli to make up for our lack of cold storage and getting ready for our first big market that this flower loss came as a big blow.  I was really counting on making a big display of flowers at Saturday's market.  Losing the cornflowers and larkspur and having to completely deadhead the cosmos puts a dent in that.  These bugs hurt my feelings.