News and blog
Hi Folks -
here's the newsletter for this week. We had a successful first week, and our employees were amazing in their picking and teamwork. Thank you to the drop site hosts, we really appreciate your help!
We are humbled to have been profiled in Seedstock, a great sustainable agriculture blog. Follow the link here to read it!
Noelle Swan did a great job of telling our story. We are happy to share our story with others because we want to show other young aspiring farmers that it can be done! What I have felt since childhood is that I had a missed opportunity to become a farmer due to the unfortunate circumstances of the farming economy of the 1980'. I completely understand why my folks decided to stop farming, and honestly I don't know if I would have wanted to farm without that experience of seeing our farmland sold.
It was only after graduating from college and trying to make a life in the city that I understood how connected I was to the land, to the farm, and to my hometown of Henderson. After both struggling to find ourselves in dead-end career paths, Sally and I decided to take a huge risk and start farming on the remaining 40 acres of the farm I knew as a small child. That was 5 years ago now, and it has been challenging to say the least. I took it for granted that I understood the farming lifestyle because I had seen it as a child, but I was completely unprepared for the reality of farming, especially with two small children. I have immense gratitue for the friends, family, farmers, and mentors who have helped us work through start-up challenges of our business. We can't thank you enough!
So, here we are in 2012, and I have never felt more whole and complete as a person. I realize that I am still young and life has a lot in store for me yet, but I feel like I can trust the soil and woods to show me the best path. I struggle every day with something, but don't we all? Life isn't fair and throws us a lot of curveballs but it is how we react, and the resources we use to deal with challenges that help us become healthy and stable people.
Raising two boys is quite challenging at times, but I have endless love for them and I now live for sharing with them my passions for nature and growing food, listening to music, going fishing on a lazy evening, hearing the train rumble through the valley, and sitting down with my beautiful family for a home-cooked meal in the evening. Nature heals all, and what I had previously felt was a big hole in my life has now been filled with farm, family, fun, and love.
Hi folks - we are now sold out of CSA shares for 2012. if you are signed up for a membership, we thank you and we are so happy that there is such a demand for CSA farms this year. It means people want to be more connected with the land and know where their food comes from. There is an alternative to the grocery store!
We do have a waiting list, so if you didn't get in this year, please contact us and you will be notified if we have a last-minute opening for 2012 and you'll be notified first when we begin sign up for 2013 memberships.
If any of you have visited the farm, you're well aware of the fact that we salvage and re-use many things. Barn lumber, buildings, machinery, tools, tractors and so on. We do this out of a desire to reduce our envionmental impact by not buying things, and also becasue there are so many good things out there that can be re-purposed.
Many people feel a sense of pride when they buy new stuff (new car, wardrobe for a new year, etc) because it is a sign of money and status, but I feel an immense sense of pride when I buy used. Of course we appreciate the occasional new item (like our new tiller, or a new article of clothing once in a while) but we are often shocked by how disposable-minded our society is these days. The value of buying new and looking good for your peers trumps environmental and financial responsibility nearly every time. And, we are told to keep buying new everything to keep our economy going - even if it is based on consumables and disposables.
Now off the soapbox, and on to the rest of the blog - I wanted to share the story of our "new" piece of machinery.
This is an International Harvester Vibrashank field cultivator. It is used for working the field prior to planting. This had been sitting in the woods at one of our neighbor's farms for many years. I asked if I could salvage some equipment from the woods, and this was one of the pieces. It needed some work, like new tires, and some modifications to make it narrower for our fields. The tires cost $50 (used tires, of course), and the rest was up to me, some wrenches, and WD40.
I feel so much pride in using this machinery because the farmer (Don) who used it was a neighbor and good family friend (he passed away about 8 years ago) and he had told me he wanted to see his machinery used again. Sure, it's a little rusty, but with some fixing up is operates like it was new. Field cultivator technology hasn't advanced much since this machine was made, so I'm not missing out on the latest and greatest. And I have no desire to be out in the fields with brand new shiny machinery just because I want to look good for the other farmers driving their trucks by our farm (you might be suprised to hear that is why some farmers have told me they only have new stuff - status). This implement has a story, it has history, and now I've made it my own and feel honored to be using Don's old field cultivator.
We are humbled by the response to the CSA shares this year, and we are now sold out for Metro Delivery. We do have a few shares availabe for on-farm pickup and St. Peter Food Coop, so please let us know soon if you're interested.
We do have a waiting list, and if space becomes available, or if you want first dibs for the 2013 season, please e-mail us and we'll get you on the list.
thank you to everyone who has signed up! As some free time finally happens this weekend, we'll write a couple of blog entries (with lots of pictures) and update our calendar with some events for this year. For now please 'like' our Facebook page for updates!
I built our chicken coop about 3 years ago with leftover materials from our house, and some salvaged barn lumber. I had framed in rough openings for windows at the time, but we covered them with clear plastic until we could find windows.
Well, here we are a couple years later and i have been putting a lot of time in the coop lately in order to finally finish it so I can move on to other buildings. We have insulated the interior and covered it with paneling, and I built some old-fashioned style double-hung windows using old sashes i've salvaged from houses.
Next step is to put siding on the coop because we're sick of looking at plywood. I have lots of galvanized steel roofing material, so I think I'll put that on for siding. It will end up looking quite industrial, but hey, it's free! Check out the picures of the new windows in the chicken coop, and the chickens in their nice warm house.
Here is a picture of Miles and Sammy when I had Sammy in my kitchen. The cord is from the heating pad. Sam is doing well.
We lost another calf today. I am quite discouraged and down today. I feel like I didn't do enough and I am mad at myself for not knowing better. I keep saying to myself "you should have know that!" or "why didn't you do this/that?!" We even had the calf at the vet on intravenous fluids but there was just too much stress for his small body. I hate this part of having animals. Death is always a risk, but it never seems real until you are forced to come face to face with it. At least I can say we still have Sammy and the other brown holestein.
My calf Sam is doing much better. His temp is up (it was way too low before) and he ate some dinner and now he is snoozing under a heating pad in my kitchen. I will keep everyone updated on his condition. I really hope he pulls through as I am really getting attached to him....