Search

Agrarian Harvest

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

Tag

learning

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.

Help Us Be Farmers Again

This blog was started to write about farm life and happenings on the farm. Honestly, I’m finding that very hard to do lately. Here is why . . . . .

When we set out to be farmers that grow produce years ago, we never saw ourselves where we are today . . . . on the road four days a week going to farmers’ markets, delivering and paying an employee to do the farming. Our purpose was to grow organic produce and get it in the hands and mouths of as many people as we could without leaving the farm. Our vision was to be a family working happily together to grow, eat and sell organic produce. We are no longer a family happily working together . . . .  we are exhausted and spend our days crowded in the car . . . . we aren’t even doing the farming anymore!

We have become traveling salespeople and delivery drivers. People now expect to be delivered to, for everything, including food. When a farmer leaves the farm most days of the week, he is no longer a farmer. When a farmer is off the farm, the farm work is not getting done. So how are we supposed to be growing food when we are having to leave the farm to deliver it and sale at farmers’ markets four days a week? We aren’t! We have to pay a H-2A employee to do the farming because it’s very hard to find people in our community that are willing to come to the farm to help do the work to grow the produce that they want to buy. So if we are on the road doing sales, markets and delivering most days of the week, are we still your farmers? We don’t think so. Our hands aren’t in the dirt doing the growing anymore. We help with harvest, but we are no longer able to tend the plants and be on the farm as our vision started. That is not what we want to be.  We want and need to be the ones on the farm doing the work. Therefore, consumer need to be willing to go to the farm to buy food or have a sales and delivery service deliver, which we have found for you (details below). We don’t want to be doing three farmer’s markets a week, we would prefer to only harvest what is needed.

Now let’s talk farmer’s markets for a moment. What is a farmers’ market? It is suppose to be a location where farmers come together to sell their food directly from the farm. It is more than just a couple of hours off the farm to sell my goods, it’s full days . . . . the markets have rules that require us to be there two hours before market starts and we have to unload a whole 16 foot trailer of produce instead being able to sell out of our trailer or vehicle.  Here is a huge issue we have with farmer’s markets, we never know how much is going to sell or how many people are going to be at market each week. So we harvest as much as we can and end up with waste! So it is a waste of our time to harvest it and now the excess produce is thrown out or fed to the animals. Farmers’ markets would be great if it was just a couple of hours to do the sales and if we didn’t have to set up a mini grocery store on the street. Honestly, farmers’ markets are exhausting, they aren’t geared toward or convenient for the farmer and we end with too much wasted produce.

We feel we have turned into a mini grocery store on wheels. That is not and never was our vision or purpose for farming. Farmers need to be on the farm growing the food. We would love to see all our customers come to the farm to buy, but we also know that is not feasible for some. So we are very happy to now offer our products through delivery services in the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley. In the Magic Valley, you can buy our products through Freshocal,  freshocal.com. You order on their website, we harvest just for you, they come to the farm to get it and deliver to you. Freshocal  In the Wood River Valley, you can order through Kraay’s Market & Garden, kraaysmarketgarden.grazecart.com . You order on their website Sunday and Mondays, we harvest, and they deliver on Wednesdays.  Kraay’s Market & Garden  This is a dream come true for exhausted farmers that are trying to find a way to be farmers again.

We may be willing to do one farmers’ market a week, but anymore than that and we are not farmers anymore. We need your help to be farmers again. Our plea to our customers is to come to the farm to buy from us directly or buy through one of the above marketing and delivery services. So try it, let us know what you think and help us figure this thing out. If you have any trouble ordering any of our products from Freshocal or Kraay’s, please let us know and we will help you.

We can’t keep going at the pace we have been of constant traveling to deliver and do markets. Something needs to change. We are setting out to figure this thing out, we want to go back to our roots . . . . our original vision and purpose . . .  to be your farmers, we want to do the growing for you and not pay someone else to do it. And where do you find farmers? On the farm! Please help us be farmers again!

For those of you that already come to the farm to buy and pick-up CSAs, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You share the same vision and purpose with us. You are allowing us to be the farmers we set out to be.

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

Vacation, Farmer-cation or Field Trip?

We took a vacation to the Oregon Coast. Or maybe it wasn’t really a vacation. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, a vacation is freedom from any activity or a period of rest and freedom from work and study. The kids have informed us it was not a vacation because they had to walk the beach everyday which is work. Our farm boy wanted a simple machine to make the work easier, he got tired of walking in the sand.  Our oldest informed him that it would take more than one simple machine so it would actually be a compound machine. And they had to study. We were reading and learning about all the new marine life we saw, glass blowing, and Oregon’s history. “Do schoolwork? We are suppose to be on vacation,” they said. Then we had to go to a farmers’ market to see all the produce they had available and to support fellow farmers. The kids really complained at this point because we are at farmers’ markets two days of every week of the growing season at home. So it may not of been a vacation if you want to get technical, maybe it was a farmer-cation for the farmer and myself and a field trip for the kids.

Whatever it was, we had a great time exploring the Oregon Coast, seeing sea lions, learning about glass floats, exploring tide-pools and whale watching. We were even lucky enough to meet a wonderful couple who supports Organic farming that told us how to spot whales. We enjoyed our little visit with them. It was one of the highlights of our trip.  Overall, all the sights and sounds were amazing.

Now we have to adjust to being home and getting back into a routine again. A major adjustment for me is getting used to hearing the dog bark at night. I got used to hearing the ocean waves all night and now I have to listen to our Great Pyrenees dog bark all night long. A trait of the Great Pyrenes breed that I have never enjoyed. His bark is great for warding off predators, but makes it  hard to get a good nights sleep. . . .  I wonder if I could get a dog who’s bark sounds like the ocean. . . . . Then there is also the change of scenery. It is awfully nice waking up and seeing the ocean. The view was always breathtaking on the coast.

The farmer and I enjoyed our trip so much that we are wondering if it would be possible for us to spend our winters on the coast. Or what about farming by the coast? We always like to think outside the box and of all the possibilities. And the kids have decided that if this was a field trip, then we need to go on field trips more often!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: