Friday, April 29, 2011

PEAS!

In one of the small hoop houses... grow, peas, grow! 
 
 I also just planted some zucchini in there... I seeded them too early and they were growing into  HUGE seedlings, so I had to give them a home. Hopefully our warm nights continue and they survive!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Manure, Please!

Today was another s@*&%y day... I mean that literally! Pat + I ventured out and got another load of poo. Rain storms came and went today so in between thunder and downpours, I spent some time getting muddy and weeding the garlic. Thankfully able to get a load before the first storm!


Sunny day work

The weather has been pretty on-again-off-again this week. When the sun's out, I try to get out into the fields and work on a no-till way of getting cover crop out of the ground. I have chosen one of the plots to be a true no-till plot: tearing out the cover crop (cover crop not really being part of the no-till equation) by hand:
Some students from the garden class cam out to help with cover crop removal
The beds of this field will be built of either finished compost or hot manure (depending on the crop to be planted). I am collecting AS MUCH manure as I can get my hands on to start to build compost windrows or to use right away:
Pat + I picked up some horse manure yesterday from a farm right down the road.
Thanks to Diana Louis for the poo and to Chris Moneypenny for the truck!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I get by...

...with a little help from my friends. 
Farmin' ain't easy. But having a bunch of helping hands around sure helps! I have been getting all kinds of help from some great people: Chris + Ashley* are fantastic greenhouse helpers, while Pat has been a great field hand this past week. Jenny came out to clean things up, too!
  
*I will have to snap a greenhouse photo next time Chris + Ash are around...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

By the truckload!

I got a call Saturday morning that made me jump for joy! Wayne, the fahmah from Remick, had a truckload of manure for me. Delicious!

Pat and I wasted no time putting this to use and getting it out near the fields. We dug around in the windrows we have here and mixed up a lasagna of poo and decomposing leaves which rotated few times then laid out into beds to be planted.  
That's right... Pat! Driving a tractor! Working on the FARM!

Up, Up, and Away!

The new high tunnel is coming along swimmingly (almost literally with all of the rain we have been getting!) The guys at Ledgewood really know their stuff, and get right down to it, fast!
A crew of two came over Monday and Tuesday evenings and in a total of about 4 hours, here we are!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interview with a fahmah

For anyone who missed it, here I am on the radio! Thanks to the wonderful Mr. Patrick Griffin, there is video to accompany the audio, what fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Farmographer?

A few weekends ago, I found myself helping out at a workshop at the Remick Farm Museum. I was mostly in charge of the camera for the event, which was a lot of fun. I haven't really had the opportunity to be an 'event photographer' well, ever. 
I guess my photography prowess showed and Erica (the event coordinator) put me in touch with a woman who is writing a book and needed someone to take the cover photograph. The book is set during the time of the Revolutionary War and the photograph was going to be taken at the Remick in front of the hearth.
Last Friday Patrick + I headed over to the Remick to have a photo shoot. It was a lot of fun - I haven't had a 'model' since my college photography courses - but I think we were able to get  quite a few good shots.... We'll see once the book comes out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

art for plant's sake

Plants are not the only thing currently growing in the greenhouse, an art collection is, too!
 
Okay, maybe "art" is a loose label. But at least it's fun, right? An Indian prince is watching over the propane heater, a cassette mobile hangs above the potting bench, and "beef nuggets" remind us daily of what food is - and isn't. What part of the cow is the nugget, exactly?!

Loud + Clear

Every weekday at 5:05pm, WMWV features a non-profit organization... and tomorrow, April 14th, the featured organization will be The Community School CSA! Listen on the radio (if you're a local) or online (click the image above!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Special Delivery

Two major items arrived at the farm in the past two days: Patrick M. Griffin and the materials for the new high tunnel, to be built and installed by Ledgewood Farms. 
Oddly enough, the prep for each of these special deliveries was similar: TIDY UP!

I have to admit, I do not have photos of my weekend-long cleaning session (I'm sparing you toilet brush and mop picts). And I didn't even have a camera ready for his actual arrival, so the ol' camera phone will have to suffice. 

There are, however, before + after shots of the clean-up for the high tunnel... nevermind that the tidying took place after the materials arrived! No-till cleaning means pulling the suckers out one-by-one... good thing the ground is soft and warm - and today was such a sunny, cool, spring-time day to play outside.

New Life

The weather (and the heat from the propane) has allowed for some greenhouse growth! I am always amazed at how simple ingredients - a seed, soil, water, and a comfy environment - become something so beautiful.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

CLOGS!

The weather has been just perfect these past few days. I think I am now willing to believe that spring has, indeed, sprung. I was working in the greenhouse today - trying to catch up on some seeding - and I actaully got to pull out my Birkenstocks!!!! My feet were so happy. I even took them off and ate lunch outside with my feet on the earth. Ah, the joys of spring!


Tonight I am finding myself chanting "April Shower bring May flowers..." with the sounds of raindrops outside of the window. I guess with all of the recent sunshine, a little bit of rain is welcome - keeps ya humble!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

a prose-full post

I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's collection of short stories entitled High Tide in Tuscon. People have been telling me to read her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for years. - since before I even thought about farming... and since I hate doing what people tell me to ::wink::, I have avoided reading it! But, I picked up High Tide while doing laundry at a friend's house and stuffed it in my sack once the spin cycle finished.
A few nights ago I came across some words that stuck to me. I should say that there are a lot of words in this book that stick... but I felt compelled to share these, in particular:
"I'm in awe of those people who seem bent from early childhood upon a passionate vocational path... When I was a child, if anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up... I planned to be a farmer and a ballerina and a writer and a doctor and a musician and a zookeeper. This is not the right answer. I know that now. 'Philosopher-king' you might as well say. 'Sword swallower-stockbroker. Wrestler-art historian'. A business card that list more than one profession does not go down well in the grown-up set. We're supposed to have one main thing we do well, and it's okay to have hobbies if they are victimless and don't get out of hand, but to confess to disparate passions is generally taken in our society as a sign of attention deficit disorder." 
She goes on to support a case for the multi-tasker:
"Thoreau was unabashedly both scientific and literary; so was Darwin. But something has happened since then. Life is faster and more streamlined, and there is too much we have to know, just to get the job done right. To get one job done right, let alone seven or eight. And certainly we are supposed to get it right." *

As many of you know, I was (and still am!) an architect. I still very much identify with that part of my brain. But, at the same time, I am very much a farmer. I love to create, design, get dirty, problem-solve, grow, tear-down, nurture, dream big and focus on the details. From that list, I find it hard to differentiate which verb matches what noun. When I was a child, I told everyone that I would be an architect. And as soon as I could, I made educational moves to make sure that happened. I never dreamed I would turn out to be an organic farmer. But now that I am one, I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my days. I joke that my business card would read "farmitect"... it would also be crumpled and muddy - written in the most perfectly designed font, with instructions to cut+fold it into a mini doll house! 
* pg. 130-131. Singsolver, Barbara, High Tide in Tuscon, HarperCollins, 1995.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Living in the fridge

This week kicked off a seeding extravaganza! April is in full-swing and it is time to get busy in the greenhouse. This is one of the trickiest time of the season: the days, when sunny like today, can get really hot in the GH - if left unmonitored, it could really get up to 120+ degrees in there! But the nights are still really cold - tonight's projected low is 20. So I have to run the heater at night and open the doors and vents during the day... And the little baby seeds don't like big temp swings, so regulation is key!

Anyway, the past few days have been heavy seeding days. In less than a month, the fridgerminator has gone from this to this:

  

I have to admit, when I took this photo, all I could hear in my head is Weird Al's "Livin' in the Fridge". God - remember that one?!?!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From Beneath the Snow

Although the past few days have brought a wintry mess of snow, sleet, and rain: I have been able to witness snow melt... turns out there is a farm under all that white stuff!
I went on a little walk-about last week to explore a bit, see how the earth slopes, how water drains, find what goodies there were left in the fall. 
I did find a couple of treasures - cover crop is present, nice work, Brady! and it looks like someone must have known I was coming... in need of any manure I can get my hands on, I was so pleased to find some horse poo already in the field, waiting for me!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Little Piggies

As part of the plan for soil improvement here at The Community School, one of the major changes I am making is an effort to transition the farm cultivation practices to that of "no-till". This plan has rightly gotten me the nick-name "Kim No Till". 
Being a no-till farm means there needs to be a lot of compost available for use in the garden. And one thing that is pretty important for a balanced, quick-to-break-down compost is manure - or "manuah" if you're from these parts. While I will need to bring in off-farm compost for the first season or so, I will be focusing on strengthening our on-farm production and finding ways to supplement the fields in other ways while still not tilling. 

One solution: PIGS! I will be adding a few little piggies to the crop rotation plan, setting them up on the season's "fallow" parcel: growing nutritious cover crops for them to forage and "till" up the soil with their noses  - pig power uses much less fossil fuel than the tractor and bacon tastes way better than motor oil. 

 
The farmer at the Remick Farm Museum has a few pigs for sale (49 so far with another litter due next week!) I stopped over last week to check in on my litter... aren't they fun?! Three little pigs will be living at The Community School this summer. Let me know if you want to get some organic, pastures pork this fall!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Vole's

Caught: one greedy vole
Warning, there is a dead greenhouse creature pictured in this post!

After exactly one week of trying different traps: rat traps, mouse traps, have-a-heart traps, all with different baits: peanut butter, an Airhead, a sacrificial kale seedling -  the stealthy seedling swindler swiped his swan song. 
  
We had been testing each other all week. He was too small to trigger the peanut butter- baited rat trap, he was able to eat and eat and not get caught. So I set up smaller, sharper mouse traps, this time with candy. No dice. So, last night I set up the have-a-heart with a seedling inside. And wouldn't you know it, greed finally did this little bugger in.

After eating the sacrificial kale seedling, and triggering - and escaping - the have-a-heart trap, the greedy rodent moved on to desert: candy! 
Too bad. 
Apparently candy will not only rot your teeth, it'll break your neck, too!

 
I have never been much for April Fools pranks, but this one seems alright.