Monday, December 29, 2008

When the inlaws visit, crazy things happen

Currie, Farmer For A Day. Someone should really do something about our dog thing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

A proud moment...

October 12th, picking 1 lb. "Brandywine" heirloom tomatoes. Most of the time, I feel like a second rate grower because it is a part time thing. And then, when I harvest beautiful tomatoes in mid Oct., I am so PROUD!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Really, I do not deserve to see these lovely, wispy strands of asparagus fern in the photo. I planted it in the spring, mulched 1/8 of it, never watered it, and let the weeds take over. Great strategy, huh? By the time things slowed down enough to look at it, I couldn't see any growth for all of the crab grass that was seeding. Still, I thought it was worth a shot. I weeded, carting 3 or 4 wheel barrow loads of pulled grass out of the bed. I put down Sustane, composted turkey litter, ( the best wedding gift that we received, THANK YOU to Jean and Carol) to fertilize it. I mulched and watered.

New growth is still appearing and quickly growing these fronds. Don't give up is not the lesson to learn here. Don't let things get to this point is the moral of this story.

As high as an elephant's eye

This is not an edible corn but a decorative variety called "Broom Corn." This stalk grew to 12 feet. One summer a fellow farm hand and I went to sleep next to the rows of broom corn in the garden, for, when their dry leaves rustle in the wind, it is a most sweet lullaby.

There is a long stretch in the hot Southern summers when no leafy green foods are available. I took a chance and sowed some arrugula seed early this August. We are so grateful for the much wetter and cooler August we have had this year and have been enjoying fresh salads for 3 weeks now.

Eggcelent idea

An unfamiliar sight for most folks, I am pretty sure that they don't sell them at our local grocery. These Asian Eggplant are superb- thinner skin, easier to cut up, less bitter, and amazing sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.

If you have never tried roasted butternut squash or a soup made from them, you don't know what you are missing. Here is a photo of ours growing. I had hoped to grow enough to see us at least part way through the winter. Alas, I think they may not see the end of this month.

Please, rush to your local farmer's market, buy one, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, rub it down with olive oil, and roast on 375 for 45 minutes. Enjoy.
Butternut squash is a wonder food along the lines of spinach as far as nutrients goes, as if you would need another reason to eat it. For an Authentic Southern delight, after you have eaten all of the flesh, batter and fry the skins. My hubby is a genius for thinking of this. OMG, so good.

I wanted to share some photos from our farm as the season progressed.
This first one is of a Hubbard squash growing, one of the five varieties of winter storage squashed that I planted this year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The farm in July

Larry the snakey snake

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOA. THIS fella - length: four & a half to five feet - was caught red-handed today robbing eggs. He just peeked up out of the nest box, so I had to wrangle 'im outta there. He's been rusticated, banished to Tannehill State Park, about a mile away. There to frolic and subsist on what mother nature provides in the form of voles and whatnot.

Actually, we've known this snake for a while, seeing him occasionally slinking round the front yard and hanging out in our shed. We'd even named him: Larry. We thought he was keeping the rats out of the feed, and maybe he was, but it was clear today that we were working at cross purposes on the chicken front.

Poor Larry, we'll miss you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What hops shortage??

We're growing hops! This will be key to our all-Alabama beer effort this year. I've got 18 plants (6 different varieties) and they're growing like mad. Fun.

from around the farm...

I'm a fun guy

Mushrooms are wonderful. This is our first batch of logs for shiitakes; we put in 300 plugs and I've got 1000 more going in this week. This is really exciting.
Bachelor's buttons out in full force!

Friday, May 2, 2008

First Market

The season has begun with the Homegrown Alabama farmers' market at Canterbury Chapel in Tuscaloosa. We'll be there every Thursday from 3pm - 6:30pm through October 9th. This is a new market - we in New College have been working with Homegrown Alabama and others to get this off the ground for a very long time, and the first market was fabulous!

Yesterday we had spinach, loads of lettuce, cilantro, and baby plants for sale - we sold out of everything by about 4:30, so try to get there early next time!

See you at the market!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

chickens: better than TV

transplanting away & battening down the hatches

Today we transplanted lots of our baby plants. Jean and Carol asked us today whether we had been suckered into setting plants out - the weather had been great for a while, and (predictably, given Alabama's capricious climate) now a cold snap's hit us, with lows in the low thirties for a few days. There's a reason our frost date is in the middle of April. Hopefully, this week'll be the last of near-freezing temperatures. So we spent a couple of hours today covering up the few peppers and tomatoes and squashes and cukes that we were foolish enough to plant. We're hoping for the best.

Also, an armadillo fell into our dry well. We're lowering him food and water and trying to figure out how in the world we'll get him out. Can armadillos climb?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Getting baby chicks today! And I saw this here lizard hanging out by the worm bin.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

So I traded our nice, pretty 8N Ford tractor for a big, burly, ugly awesome International B414. More horsepower, diesel, better transmission, more...character. After having it two days it began to leak fuel from the injection pump, so I spent a week fixing it. Last night as it was getting dark and I was at my wits end, I finally bled out the last of the air and she started right up. I love these old tractors: the simplicity of the technology is comforting. It's quite a learning curve but once you figure out the basics it feels great.

Apart from our spinach, things are looking and growing great now. I just found a source of rock dust in McCalla, so there's another organic amendment located. One of the biggest challenges we're facing is where to get some of our trusted amendments like feather meal (natural source of high-powered nitrogen). Slowly but surely we're sorting it out.

Spring has definitely sprung. Happy days.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

on the farm

ah, onions are coming up big now, greens are going strong, & lots of things are getting ready to go in the ground. seems like spring has indeed sprung here on the ol farm.

so the redneck barbarians who lived here before us left little trash dumps for us to dig up and haul away. a couple of them have some interesting junk: i'm guessing we'll reuse or recycle about a third of what's there. thankfully, none of this nonsense is near where we are growing food. it'll take a week or so to clean up the mess they left behind.

buddy, our 250 lb potbelly pig, seems a touch unhappy. his tusks are growing out, and he has a mohawk - that's the good news. he does like to be fed, so feeding time sees him grunting away with satisfaction. i built him a new trough yesterday and that seems to enhance the experience for him. i've heard that pigs are inherently clean beasts. i wouldn't say that applies to buddy, exactly, since he does like a good waller now and again. but it might be true in a general sense. he responds well to a good brush down, especially on the flanks. but who doesn't?

our chicken house is going through major renovation. a student from new college, piper, is out here a few times a week and is helping us get our chicken and rabbit systems going. we aim to get 8 hens, a rooster, and at least 2 rabbits for our vermiculture (worms). we got 1000 red wigglers in the mail last month and have started them. they make twice as many of themselves in a month, with adequate vittles & space.

we're both working hard teaching, but coming home to our lil farm is really the life. peace.