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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

Spring Slide

The farm is coming alive again, as it does every Spring, with plants growing (plus many weeds) and lots of baby animals frolicking. We have many varieties of vegetables started and growing in our cold frame. And even have greens, herbs, onions and garlic growing outside. The ground has been prepared for planting corn and beans, which will happen soon. We are hustling and bustling each day to get more plants started, ground prepared, direct seeding and transplanting underway.

The farm is very active with all the new animal life. We have bunnies, goat kids, chicks, ducklings, calves and piglets including a few that were bottle fed and came in the house to warm up. As if we don’t have enough animals, our oldest is trying to talk us into getting geese or more like goslings. She wants to raise them up to be guard animals for the ducks, chickens and goats. So we may be trying fit geese into the farm soon.

Our soap is made and done curing. We expanded our scent selection this year too. The traditional favorite scents are still available: lavender, lemongrass, summer blossoms and unscented. New scents available are pine and uplifting-basil mint. And if we have enough time in-between getting all the planting done this Spring, we hope to try to make another new scent, lemon basil. It sounds delish and makes me think of summer!

Taste of Summer & Water

With the hot temperatures we had in June and now July, the produce is ripening earlier than usual. We started harvesting tomatoes, basil and zucchini in June. That is early for us, especially for tomatoes. The peas are even doing surprisingly well in the heat. So we are able to experience the taste of summer we love a little earlier than usual.

The cucumbers are blooming and the pepper plants have small peppers on them. So it won’t be long before we are picking cucumbers and peppers too. We are preparing to start digging early potatoes in July. The corn and beans are growing well in the heat and will be ready in August. Overall, the plants are enjoying the heat and we are loving all the taste of summer.

With the drought, we are all experiencing water shortage this year. Our water has not been shut off but it has been reduced. With less water, it makes irrigating difficult and is a bit of a challenge to keep the water rotating across all the plants before they get too dry. But at this point, we are still able to keep all our produce, hay and pasture watered. We are hoping to keep all the plants watered and producing rest of the summer.

Tomato Plants

Tomato plants! We have lots of tomato plants (cherry, heirloom slicing and paste varieties) and are offering these for sale in 4″ pots. Starts are growing in organic potting soil and seed is high quality, High Mowing, organic seed.

Shop our new online store for farm pick up! For Wood River Valley customers, contact us for delivery dates and locations. http://agrarian-harvest.square.site/

Simple Pleasures

 

Simple pleasures of summer: tomatoes! The one thing that is always looked forward to having ripen. The first one to ripen is always fought over. And are then ate right off the vine as soon as they ripen for the next couple of weeks. This year the farm wife got the first one. And they kids are now getting their share.

The tomatoes are beginning to ripen!

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Garlic is Growing

It’s almost time for green garlic! We’ve had some cold nights, but the garlic and greens are still growing. It won’t be long before the green garlic is ready to eat.

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Spring

It’s beginning to look like Spring and the spring mix lettuce is growing!

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Swarm Finds Us

 

Last year we captured a swarm, put them in a brand new hive and were so excited to have honeybees. Apparently, they were not impressed with our hive because they left sometime during the summer. We were disappointed, but left our hive set up thinking that one day we would have bees again. The positive-thinking farmer told me that maybe it would attract more honeybees and a swarm would find the box and make it home. My response was, ”Yeah right, that’s a long shot.” Since then, we got a used hive box and supers with comb already in it and set it next to our new box.

Well, once again, I was proven wrong. We had a swarm find us and move into one of our hives, the used hive with comb and honey still in it. It was the most amazing sight! I walk around the house to hear a loud buzzing sound. I started looking around wondering what the heck is making that sound. Then I see it and know immediately that is is swarm of bees even though I have never seen one before. The air between our apricot trees and the hives was full of bees, thousands upon thousands. I have never seen that many bees at one time. I walk out to the apricot tree look up and there is a large ball of bees clinging on one of the limbs. For about 15 minutes, they continue to fly in a loop between the apricot tree and the hives. Then they started settling in and on the hive boxes, covering the outside of the box and hanging in a large ball from the tin that is covering the top. It was such an amazing sight, it is one of those once in a lifetime moments.

The bees eventually settled inside the box and now they are busy flying back and forth between the hive and all the plants that are in bloom. We are so happy to have bees on the farm again. It is great walking about the farm, hearing and seeing them at work and I imagine the plants are smiling too.DSCN9951

Time to Plant

There is a time for everything . . . A time to plant and a time to uproot . . . What do workers gain from their toil? . . .  He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. . . . There is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

There are many cycles in life.  And it is time for us start our cycle of planting, growing and toiling, which we pray will have a beautiful and blessed outcome. With the time change and a little warmer temperatures, we are more motivated to get to work and work longer into the evening. Lettuce is growing in cold frame 1. We built a third cold frame this Spring. This is where most of the seedlings are going to be started. Planting is already underway and seedlings are coming up. Potatoes are planted too. We will be planting many more seeds in the near future. DSCN9903

Cold frame 2 has been taken over by the cows. They decided it is a nice warm “shed” to take shelter in when a storm hits and where they spent their nights during the winter. We decided to let the cows have that cold frame for the time being. It is our largest cold frame and also our most problematic one. It’s so large it is hard to keep the plastic on it, the plastic rips or wind picks the whole thing up. Really, it’s issue is the height; it’s just too tall. We have decided we like and can maintain the shorter longer cold frames better. And have had a discussion of a abandoning it or taking it down. Although, the farmer is now talking about experimenting with growing sweet potatoes in cold frame 2 this year. So the cows may lose their “shed” for the summer. They spend most their days and nights out at pasture now anyway since the weather has warmed and the grass is growing.  

Another cycle taking place on the farm; chicks are hatched. They are in that cute phase of life with yellow fuzz covering their bodies and have adorable little “cheep, cheeps” coming from their tiny beaks. In the near future, they will lose their baby fuzz and start to grow feathers; growing into that awkward, ugly phase. Then into a full sized bird so we can have chickens available in June.

The seasons will keep cycling along with all the other cycles of life, but for a brief moment, we can look around and smile at all the joy that Spring brings before the real work begins.

Wrapping up the Year

It was another busy year, as usual. We did not have an employee this year and adjusted our farm accordingly. We only sold at one farmers’ market this year and that was plenty. Farmers’ markets tend to take an inordinate amount of time.

It felt like an odd growing year with things ripening later than usual and not producing as abundantly. The heat of the season usually means summer abundance. But this year, we didn’t seem to have the heat early on and in turn a lack of abundance of anything. Some weeks this summer, we had a hard time filling the orders we had, leaving none or very little for the farmers’ market.Then there was the usual annoyances like aphids taking out the kale and squash bugs killing the zucchini and summer squash plants.

The drip irrigation system proved to work well, allowing us to harvest while we were irrigating. It took us two full days to harvest enough to fill orders for the Wood River Valley and to take to the Ketchum Farmers’ Market, then another two days for product for the Magic Valley. Since we were harvesting so often, the dip irrigation was very helpful. We can irrigate and harvest the same days and not be wading in the mud. Before we had to schedule our irrigation days at least two days before we had to go into the field to harvest. A challenging fete when we are in the field four days a week and half the time we were still harvesting in the mud. We still had lots of weeds between the rows because of the rain we had early in the growing season. But with no corrugates between the rows, it was easier to walk and mow between the rows also.

On to our solar power project, it didn’t quite meet our expectations. We didn’t calculate enough watts for our anticipated needs for the solar panels that were installed. So the solar isn’t generating enough power to cover all our usage to date. This means a power bill and a solar payment.  In the spring, it may be necessary to evaluate our production and possibly add a panel or two. This has not gone exactly as planned, but you never know until you try.

Overall, it was a good year. So far we are enjoying our slow, calm winter days. But maybe . .  just maybe . . the farmer has had too many winter days already. He is currently mapping out what to plant where and ordering seeds. By Spring, he will be planning on farming 5000 acres and planting every variety of every vegetable there is seed for. Somebody help me!

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