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Agrarian Harvest

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

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Spring

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.

Capturing a Swarm

Another day, another experience. We have been reading and learning about honeybees for three years now and even considered buying a hive of bee this spring. Last year we had a local beekeeper put a hive on our farm. We loved having the bees be a part of the farm. Then this week we had the opportunity to capture a swarm and make them our bees. So we jumped in the pickup and set out to have a new experience.

20180507_164717The swarm of honeybees were on a lilac in Kimberly. We went to town to buy bee boxes, full of excitement and a little anxiousness, not sure what to expect when we got to the bees. The bees were there for three days and we felt they were waiting for us. Actually, we are wondering if they were going to make a home right there on the lilac brand. They had started building comb, which was surprising to see. We didn’t expect to see that when we swept them into the box.

We backed up to the lilac, set our deep super box on the ground with the base and to our surprise some of the bees that were buzzing around started going in. We cut the branch and shook part of the bees in the box. A large clump still clung to the branch and each other. So we used our bee brush to gently brush them off the branch and into the box and put the lid on. This whole time the farmer and farm wife didn’t have on any bee coveralls, glove or hat. In our regular clothes, with bees buzzing all around us, even landing and crawling on us. And not getting stung. There were several flying around so we hung out for a couple of hours until it cooled down and they went in the box. We taped cardboard over the opening and took them home to our farm.

They have been busy making their home and comb. We’ve been feeding them sugar water so they don’t have to work so hard to find food when they are working really hard to get home built. Everyday we spend time watching them and the hive. It seems they are venturing farther from the hive everyday. It has been a great experience and love being so close to the bee. Getting to stand in the middle of them, feeling we are part of their community and they a part of our well-being and the functioning of our farm.

Farmer & A Dream

This farmer has a dream . . . . . . .  another dream. Some days I would say, “Oh-no, I don’t want to hear it because I don’t want to raise another type of animal!” But this dream doesn’t involve another animal. And without the farmer dreaming we would not be here or be farming today. We are both big dreamers and believe everyone should dream and work toward your dream until your dreams come true.

We started with dreaming to farm, that evolved into organic farming, then to organic farming of a large diversity of produce and herbs (almost 20 acres worth). Now the dream is opening up a storefront on the farm, an on-farm market. It’s an idea that I’m liking. A farm market in our garage; a market that we don’t have to load up . . . drive to . . .  unload and set up . . . take down . . . load up again to then have to drive home exhausted . . . to have to unload yet again all that wasn’t sold (which is usually around 10 or 10:30 pm for the markets in the Wood River Valley). . . then go irrigate and feed the animals before bed.

An on-farm market is less work for the farmer and more time on the farm so we can sell at wholesale prices. The vision for this on-farm market is to offer a one stop shopping for fresh food that is in-season. We will be offering all our produce, eggs, herbs, meat, soap and laundry detergent along with products from other local farms like milk and cheese from Old Almo Creamery.DSCN9441

Our on-farm market is open on Wednesdays from 1 to 6 pm. Giving everyone a chance to come to the farm to buy product at discounted prices. 

So here’s to another dream! Fear less, dream more and may life be happier!

 

March Longings

March is here along with thoughts and longings for Spring and greens. March feels like a breath of fresh air after spending our winter months hibernating in the house. Like a bear coming out of hibernation,  we are really craving fresh food, specifically greens. I feel I could eat a large plate piled high with greens at every meal like a cow at the feed bunk eating her greens twice a day. Yes, I referred to myself as a cow. The farmer has compared me to a cull Hereford cow for years due to complications with pregnancy, childbirth and low milk production. And whenever a needle comes out to draw blood, the farmer will compare it and the needle size to bleeding sheep. Growing up on a farm and then becoming a farm wife, I’ve grown accustom to being compared to an animal. Everything is compared to what we are familiar with, which are animals and plants.

For all of us green hungry people, the farmer has planted a couple of beds of greens: lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Although, they are barely starting to emerge from the ground, I’m very eager for those first greens of Spring. They are planted in one of our cold-frames so there is no heat, just what the sun provides. We are at the mercy of mother nature. This past month it was too cold. We are looking forward to March warming up so our cold frames will too. Our farming son, who has the itch to grow plants just like his daddy, has planted lettuce and radishes in pots in the house. He is trying to beat his dad at getting the first greens of the Spring.  

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Radish Seedlings

And the plastic has been put on our smaller cold frame so it is ready to start seeds. We start all our plants from seed right here on the farm. We will be starting seedlings this month too. Our growing season is officially underway!

May Produce & Planting

May is the month of planting for us. The busyness of planting has already started and will only get crazier as the month goes on. Since the weather delayed our ability to plant all of our cool weather vegetables earlier in the spring, we are now in a rush to get every plant and seed of all our produce in the ground.

On the bright side, our first greens of the year are ready. Part of our kale has overwintered and we have been picking it.  We will do the first cutting of the early planted kale, spinach and lettuce at the end of the week! Last month, we had our first meal of the year that included our homegrown, wholesome kale. We sauted the kale with garlic, grilled steak kabobs with onions and bell peppers. It was delicious!! The first kale of the season is exciting to us, it is always our first greens of the season. In early spring, we are starved for greens, especially ones we harvest ourselves. And it is very exciting to think of our first cutting of lettuce and spinach too!! The first greens of the season always taste the best.

We tend to get caught up in all the work that needs to be done, so I have to remind myself and the farmer to enjoy the season and don’t stress, no matter how much there is to do. Do a little bit at a time and it will all eventually get done.  I’m a doer, a hard worker, and a pusher when it comes to getting through a to-do list, it’s not a race, although I feel I need to race through the tasks. I have to take a deep breath, lifting my face to the sun and smiling . . . . . . because the sun is shining and it is warm . . . . .  finally! So I will enjoy planting. And not think of all the weeding that will need to be done before long.

May Happenings & Plans

  • Plant, plant and more planting
  • Twin Falls Farmers Market starts Saturday May 13th, 9 am – 1 pm at Breckenridge Endowment Farm on North College Road.
  • CSA (full season) deadline is May 15th, this deadline does not include the partial season shares. You can continue to sign up for partial season shares throughout the spring and summer.         csa2017
  • Full season and Spring partial season CSA begins this month! We will email or call you with the exact date.
  • Meat bundles still available        Beef              Pork

 

 

Blow, Row Cover, Blow

Let the work begin. And that we have.

The last couple of weeks its been days full of working ground, laying plastic, planting cool weather vegetable seedlings, and then putting the row cover in place. In between the storms, that is. With the storms comes the wind. The wind can be annoying, frustrating and make our life on the farm complicated. We have had issues keeping the row cover in place with the wind whipping it around. The wind also tears it up or can just pull it off all together, which we have had happen within a couple of hours after we put it on. So we have tried the clamps only, sandbags only and have discovered we need to use a combination of clamps and sandbags along the sides and staking the ends down.  Yet, it always seems to weasel its way out of whatever we use so that it can blow in the wind. It just can’t resist to have its ends or edges fluttering and flapping like hair blowing in the wind.

Needless to say, we live and learn. Everyday is a learning experience on this farm. Meanwhile, we are trying to patiently wait for calm, sunny days. The wind can wear on a person . . . . . . . . and on row cover.

 

April Happenings & Plans

  • More ground work
  • Lay plastic
  • Planting cool weather vegetables
  • Our kale overwintered, is growing again and is ready to eat. Our first kale of the year is available in 4 oz, 8 oz or 1 lb bags.    Produce
  • CSA shares still available  Produce CSA
  • More pigs ready to for the butcher, we have pork and pigs available for purchase.   Pork

Green . . . Life Springs Forth

Green! I can see green growing again. It is so nice to see green . . .  plants growing again: grass and even weeds, lots of weeds. At this point, I’m happy to see weeds growing. Some will be tilled under when we roto-till the ground and others will just be a nuisance to deal with all summer. But after the long, snowing winter we had . . . . . . .  I’m welcoming the growth of weeds.

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Of course, I’m excited for the growth of vegetables too!! The greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and swiss chard) have all been planted and the low tunnels are up. Thousand of seeds have been started in the cold frame and are up and grgarlic sproutsowing. The garlic is growing too. It’s a beautiful sight to look out the window to admire the rows of green sprigs of garlic starting to grow. And, the crazy farmers we happen to be, are trying something new this year; we planted peas. Yes, we
plant and grow peas every year, but never have we planted peas this early in the Spring. We’ll see how it works. If it works out, we’ll have peas available at the beginning of farmers market season.

Along with plant life beginning, Spring also brings on the joy of babies being born. Animals all over the farm are having babies; there are kittens, calves, chicks and piglets.  Although, at our farm pig farrow at all times of the year. Since we farrow all year round, we also have pork available during all the seasons instead of just one time a year. We have several pigs that are ready to be butchered and also have weaned piglets available. If you are interested in buying a pig contact us, we have several that are ready to go. We are also working on putting together bundles of pork and beef at various price ranges.           Pork         Beef

March Happenings & Plans

  • Start more seeds
  • Till the fields
  • CSA shares are still available to purchase through the month     csa2017

Spring??? Please!!!

It’s an exciting day at Agrarian Harvest! It’s 50 degrees outside and the snow is melting!! This is a great feeling for us after having cold temperatures and lots of snow to deal with this winter. We had 6 days this winter that we were actually snowed in. The wind blew and the drifts kept building up in our lane. There was no getting out. Which is fine for me, but the farmer goes a little stir crazy. Snow days are fun, especially when we get the whole family to go out to play fox and geese, sled or build snow forts. But after a month of it (or just one day for the farmer) we are done with winter. It can go away and bring on Spring.

And the farmer is getting ready for Spring. He has been busy filling trays with potting soil, planting shallots, leeks and celery. He’s also been getting the cold frame ready for plants. We had a duck nesting in cold frame. She managed to hatch a couple of eggs, but the ducklings didn’t make it. She was a first time mama and it was just too cold.

We are excited for another year of farming and very eager to get plants growing. By the way, our rock chucks didn’t see their shadows. I know this because it was cloudy all day. As I type this, they are busy running around the rock piles, telling me that spring is on its way. So we feel that famous groundhog way over in the East is wrong.

 

February Happenings & Plans

This month is going to be a full of getting seeds planted and started. We also plan to get lettuce, spinach and arugula in the ground for early cutting for farmers markets and CSA.

We have pigs ready for butcher. They will be going to the butcher as soon as can get the trailer back to the corral to load them.  If you want a whole or half pig, now is the time put your order in. We will have more pork by the cut available in early March. Until then, you check our pork page for the cuts we currently have available.      Pork

We will once again be offering a vegetable CSA this year. And we now have four pick up locations, we added Ketchum to our pick up locations.  Here is a link to our 2017 CSA application.   csa2017

 

Random Farm Life Thoughts

It has just been so busy with trying to finish up the planting, weeding, watering and harvest that there is just is not enough hours in a day for me to sit and write too. So this week I have some random thoughts that have been floating around my head to share. Yep, apparently, there is lots of empty space in my head for thoughts to float around.

 

  • When chickens are in the yard, scratching in the flower beds, why do they always scratch the wood chips out of bed into the grass and not the opposite direction . . . . further into the bed? Or when they come back to the same spot to scratch again, why not scratch the chips back into the bed? Clean up after yourselves chickens!
  • Why are ducks faster growing than broiler chickens? The don’t loose their downy fluff at any time in the growing process while growing feathers either.  And ducks are cute throughout the whole growing process!!
  • It’s amazing that the huge sows have several tiny piglets, are able to communicate to them with grunting sounds, flop down very ungracefully and not smash all the piglets.
  • Why do dogs lay right in front of the door to sleep and then not get up to follow you when someone walks outs? Our great Pyrenees dog lays in front of the door and doesn’t move when you are trying to walk in or out.He so large that I can’t step over him, no, I have to leap over him. He just opens one eye partially, barely lifting his head like he is asking, “Why are you disturbing my sleep?” And I want to ask him, “ Why are you laying in front of the most used door? There are so many other places you could lay on this farm.”

 

There may be answers to these thoughts and questions, but I have not taken the time to find answers. I just wanted to voice my thoughts and ask: Is anyone else thinking the same things?

 

I’ll leave you with one last thought:

Everyday is a day of learning and growing. Make the most of it.

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