Saturday, September 29, 2012

Watering Mushrooms

After this summer's drought we aren't entirely sure that any of our mushroom logs are still alive.  While Robert watered them a lot throughout the summer, at some point the entire farm came into a state of triage and as we were barely staying afloat there were times that the mushroom logs may not have gotten their share of our attention.  Robert has been determined to come up with a better watering system for future mushroom production and started working on it last weekend.  

While I spent all day Sunday cutting hay for Bruce, the boys made a trip to the big box store and came home loaded with supplies for their project.  I got home in time for Milan to wake up from his nap and we went to check on Robert's progress.

I need to mention that Milan is more than a little obsessed with letters right now so while it may look like he's simply holding up sticks in these pictures, use a little imagination and know that they are really letters.

Up near the highway is where the old homeplace used to be on our property.  Not much is left of it now but there is still a working well.  This is what we intend to use as our water source for mushroom production because it will provide us with unlimited un-chlorinated water.  

It is also not far from the cedar lined lane we decided would be the mushroom logs permanent home.  It's about the only place on our property that has large cedar trees providing shade throughout the entire day that is easily accessible.  

A few weeks ago Robert picked up a couple of used food-grade plastic tanks to hold the water he will pump out of the well.  

To give him enough pressure to water the logs he decided to build a platform out of cinder blocks, rebar and quikrete for the tanks to sit on.  

Milan's job when the tractor was moving was to sit on a cinder block and eat crackers.  

He did a good job.  

One tank in the air.  One more to go.  More pictures to come.  Taking suggestions on how to make these water tanks look pretty from the highway.  Or invisible.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Flowers

Spider Lily!  

Every fall I see these flowers popping up in yards up and down the highway and never saw them up close to identify them until a few days ago.  Spider lilies.  I think they are fantastic and Robert brought me this one from across the road after he mowed the ditch last weekend.  Our neighbors across the highway were an older couple and the husband passed away a couple of years ago and the wife moved out of the house shortly after leaving it to sit empty for the last two years.  When their huge batch of spider lilies popped up last weekend I asked Robert what he thought about me taking a shovel and bucket over there late one night and by the light of the moon digging up all the flower bulbs I could carry.  He thought I might be better served to wait and see what decision the highway department makes on the property.  As the highway department gets closer to turning our highway into a four-lane we have many reasons to hope they take less of our property and more of the property across the road.  If they do take our neighbors' property I will make sure those lilies find a new home and don't end up in the path of the Walmart trucks that fly past our place.  


Zinnia bouquets are ready to head to Hillcrest tomorrow morning.

Along with three cases of beautiful zephry squash!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Eggs

A little video of the start of our afternoon chores...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thank You

I really just have to say thank you to the customers who have supported our markets and our farm all year long.  As the gardens and the markets slow down in the fall we really have the opportunity to visit with and appreciate the customers that have been with us every week all season long.  These are the people we recognize, whose children we watch grow, whose dog we know by name.  These are the people who appreciate the taste of a really great tomato and understand what it took to get it to market. And these are the people who read my stories of blister beetles and failure and have nothing but kind words to say on Saturdays.  I don't say it often enough and need to say it now.  Thank you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

And a Little Fall (summer) Squash

I. love. squash.  All kinds.  I love the different shapes and colors and textures and I love eating them.  I love it when the plants are big and healthy and beautiful.

Unfortunately, for an organic grower in Arkansas, big, healthy, beautiful squash plants do not last long.  Squash is without a doubt one of the most difficult vegetables for me to produce consistently throughout the summer.  We massively overplant in the spring to ensure that enough plants will live long enough to get a decent harvest off of them.  This means that for a short time we will have squash coming out our ears until things level off as the bugs and disease take over.  At some point in time (usually July 1st around here) the battle overwhelms us and the combination of squash bugs, blister beetles, cucumber beetles, squash vine borers, bacterial wilt and wet rot win the war and the last of our plants are pulled and fed to the goats.  This year, after a month of no squash I went ahead and started squash seeds again on August 1st.  The result is beautiful, tender, bi-colored zephyr squash.

Considering that every cucumber beetle on our place has been drawn to this patch of squash, we'll see how long they last.  For now though we're in the squash again.  To Hillcrest tomorrow.

Friday Flowers

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Move, please.

Milan and I were out bush-hogging our back horse pasture this morning to knock down some of the junk that grows up over the summer.  And while these horses have about ten acres of pasture and lots of grass, they seemed to want to eat the pass we were making every time the tractor came around.  As the un-mowed portion got smaller and smaller they moved in with it.

Just when I would think this time they will move before I have to clutch the tractor and wait for them....I'd have to clutch the tractor and wait for them.

I'm starting to think that every living thing on this place wants some form of my attention all of the time. 

The good news was I had a good co-pilot who managed to stay awake for the two hours it took us to mow the field.  Barely.

And even smile about it.  (can someone please get this boy a haircut?)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Last WA Pics

I promise.  I wanted to post just a few of my favorite pictures of our last day spent with Danielle and Jon before I get back to Arkansas and the garden.  We had a beautiful day on Sunday and took Milan to a town park.  Here are a few pictures of my mom, a little kid and three big kids.

And one last picture of Milan being a fireman with his uncle Jon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Flowers (in Arkansas!)

Just a quick note to remind y'all that I'm back in Arkansas and will be at the Hillcrest Farmers Market tomorrow morning at 7:00 with a few goodies.  We'll have a handful of things like fresh eggs, flower bouquets, organic purple hull peas, squash and a few cherry tomatoes.  Come see me early cause if we have any customers at all, I don't expect to be there much past 10:00!

Even Monster Milan would like everyone to know that the flowers he helped cut this morning are "nice".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More WA Flowers

After hitting the Moscow market on Saturday morning, Danielle and I drove back out to the flower farm for another visit with Jane.  This visit was more business though and Jane was kind enough to walk through her flowers answering my questions as I feverishly took notes and Danielle photographed varieties to go with my notes.  

I'm pretty sure that in an hour with Jane, I left with more applicable cut flower information than I took home from a three day conference a few years ago put on by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.  Jane passed on and inspired some ideas that have me really excited about next year's growing season.  She also passed on a blog link that I have fallen in love with so I thought I'd pass it on for my fellow flower enthusiasts as well.  Erin Benzakein writes the cut flower section in the publication Growing for Market and blogs at Floret Flower Farm.

Here are a few of the flower pictures Danielle took while Jane and I visited.  I guess I'll have to settle for pictures till next year...