Monday, November 26, 2012

Feeding Critters

Milan takes his chores pretty seriously.

And this weekend got to teach his friend, Tommy, how to feed some critters.  Good visit!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Under the Row Covers

Cold temps two weeks ago completely wiped out the last of our tomato plants, sunflowers and zinnias despite Milan tucking in the flowers and saying "night night".

Our cooler season plants are still going strong though.  A little help from some row cover didn't do much to keep the plants warm but did help keep the frost off our lettuce and broccoli.

I left the kale uncovered because it seems to only get sweeter with a little frost.

We pulled back the row covers that morning to harvest beautiful green leaf lettuce to be added to my friend Eddie's farmshare baskets.

We're hoping to make it back to Hillcrest this Saturday with more lettuce, baby kale, broccoli, eggs and garlic.  Maybe even a guest appearance by monster Milan himself.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Green Tomatoes

With frost showing up a few times over the last few weeks and a freeze imminent, Milan and I spent an afternoon last week picking green cherry tomatoes.  It was kind of a free for all with goats and dogs joining us to catch the last remnants of summer.  

While I do have a lot of these stored up in the freezer, tomatoes are one thing I don't think I can ever have enough of.  And while the taste and texture of tomatoes from the home garden ripened off the vine is no where close to perfection, it is still a step ahead of store bought tomatoes.  As these ripen I like to throw them in the food processor to make a tomato sauce I mix with brown rice and ground venison and I hear no complaints from Milan or his daddy.  Yay for forty pounds of green cherry tomatoes!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tulip Bulbs

It seems my inability to pass up bargains on fall bulbs at big box stores has rubbed off on Robert who came home from work with about five hundred flower bulbs last week despite the fact that we have thirteen hundred tulip bulbs showing up in about three weeks.  With the price he got them for, I wasn't one to complain and actually had room for another bed of bulbs in the flower garden the tulips are planted in.

The tulip supplier I buy most of my bulbs through makes claims regarding how much better their bulbs are than the ones sold at big box stores.  For all I know, they may originally come from the same place.  I would think of this as sort of a trial between both suppliers although there is another variable in place between the two batches of tulips we are planting this year.  The reason our tulips from Colorblends are not coming in for another three weeks is that they recommended putting them through the pre-chill routine in which the bulbs are held at low temps for a period of eight weeks before being put into the ground.  This is recommended for areas like ours where the winter doesn't necessarily get cold enough to do this for the plants.  Last winter was so warm that even the pre-chill process didn't help much and the tulips we planted grew about six inches tall before blooming way too early for market and way too short for florists.  Tulips are by far our biggest gamble but I'm a sucker for them despite the anxiety I know they will cause me..  So, here we go again.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


As usual (good or bad) when it rains, it pours around here and we've got kale coming out our ears right now!  Yesterday I harvested kale for both online markets and today's Hillcrest market.  We've eaten kale for supper every night this week.  The goats get a bucket of kale every day.  The guy who worked on our satellite dish yesterday went home with a bag of kale.  And every afternoon Milan doggedly hauls a 5-gallon bucket from the garden to the chickens to feed kale to Grey Bird.

Luckily, the chickens love kale too. 

I'm thinking the next time someone asks why some of our eggs are green I may simply shrug my shoulders and point to the kale.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Garlic Beds

I borrowed a bed raiser from Eddie at Kellogg Valley Farms last weekend to raise two long rows for this fall's garlic bulbs.

After raising my strawberry bed by hand (and a rake) I just had to stand and shake my head at how quickly Robert pulled up two rows for me to plant garlic cloves in. 

Milan didn't care how quickly my rows were being raised, all he knew was that a tractor was moving and he wasn't on it.

With two rows pulled up it was on Milan and I to plant almost twenty pounds of garlic cloves that Robert helped me split up on Friday afternoon.  

It was also on Milan and I to get the rows mulched really well to help keep them raised and keep the bulbs under dirt.  We would normally use large round bales of hay that gets cut off of our hayfield to mulch these beds.  Due to the drought this year though we have no hay from that field so we are using the wood mulch Bruce hauls over whenever he gets a chance.  The electric company did a lot of work taking down trees that were under power lines near Bruce's house and they dumped large piles of wood mulch at his place and now he hauls them over to our place.  

So yesterday and today Milan and I spent a few hours hauling mulch to the garlic beds and spreading it by hand since I so brilliantly put these garlic rows too far apart to straddle with the tractor tires yet too close together to fit a tractor tire in between.  Milan's main jobs were to put the key in the tractor every time we needed a new load,

strap himself onto the seat (in a timely manner),

and drive his own tractor through the mulch.  

As the person who simply had to move the mulch with a hayfork and a snow shovel, I can say that watching Milan work absolutely wore me out.  However, the job is done.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Raptor ID?

I watched this hawk working in our hayfield this afternoon for quite a while.  These pictures aren't great-I don't have the right lens for this type of photography but I'm hoping my aunt will identify it for me....or Robert-Northern Harrier.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Pollen

It doesn't seem like I typically have many flowers to be worked in November let alone that I see many bees working them.  I have a little patch of blanket flower that has made a strong stand all year long though and with an eighty degree day yesterday, I got to sit and watch a handful of pollen coated bees doing what they do.

Even Jody took a few minutes to soak in some sunshine...once she was sure I was staying put for a few minutes.

Days like yesterday can make all of us forget about July and August in Arkansas.