Farm Fun


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adventures in the snow

It is WARM today!!! 
If you consider 30 degrees warm, I guess it is all relative when the past week has been in the single digits! 
Our youngest farm boys had cabin fever and
 so did I.  
So I left the pile of laundry on the couch and the hundred other things I need to do today. 
Instead bundled up to go exploring with the boys. 

First we checked out the pond and dock.

My sweet Farmer and Kids built it this fall. 
I can just picture warm summer afternoons fishing and swimming in the pond!

Next we went out in the berry field.  
Rows and Rows of dormant Raspberry and Blackberry plants.  
It is hard to believe that a few short months ago these were lush green bushes full of blackberries and raspberries.

While in the field we found tracks.  

Oh how exciting this was for the boys!

We followed the tracks all over the field. 
They guessed that it might be a skunk, bear, coyote, mole, mouse, rat or rabbit.
I think might be possum tracks.  
I am not an expert, but I did see a possum the other day.

They needed a closer look. 
It was so cute to see them try and figure out what animal it might be.
This was a much needed break. 
We all need to make time to play and enjoy the world around us. 
I love exploring the farm with my little farmer boys.  
 Don't they look sweet?  
What you can't see are the snowballs they threw at me right after I took this picture.  
Sure love these little guys!

We love our farm and our farm business The Homestead Berry Farm.  It keeps us really busy throughout the spring and summer.  We grow red raspberries, golden raspberries and blackberries. We also make homemade jam and cobbler mix that we sell. Our u-pick season starts in mid July and lasts until mid September.  
The whole family works together to run our farm stand and maintain our fields and property.  Here is our youngest farmer.  He loves that big yellow wagon!

Thank you for a wonderful berry season. 
 We enjoyed welcoming friends and making new ones.   

See you next summer!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Dreams of Gardening

It is 4 degrees with the windchill!!
I can't wait for summer!

Our 60' X 100' Eat and Store Garden

  I am dreaming of warm summer days working in the garden.  One of my favorite gardening books is "Joy of Gardening" by Dick Raymond.  We plant an Eat and Store Garden.  Which gives us plenty of fresh produce to eat fresh all summer and enough to can and freeze for the winter.  Our garden plot is 60' x 100'.  We plant wide dense rows and till between the rows to help keep the weeds down.

I have been collecting beautiful seed catalogs and enjoy looking through them planning for this summers garden.  We have our trusty favorites like Peaches and Cream sweet corn, Beef Steak tomatoes, and Yukon Gold potatoes.  Along with lettuce, sweet peas, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, jalapenos and bell peppers.  

Wagon full of Veggies!

Each year we try something new.  Last year we grew brussel sprouts.  The boys loved them!  They froze well and we ate the last of them a few days ago.    
We also grew giant pumpkins.  They were so pretty.  We put them on the front porch to decorate for fall.  Unfortunately the chickens thought they were pretty and tasty too.  They ate right through them! I wish I had gotten a picture of our chickens standing inside the pumpkins happily pecking away!
 I love "shopping" from the garden for dinner.  Nothing is better than fresh fruits and vegetables that we grew ourselves. Our little ones are more likely to try new dished made from garden vegetables.
The sunflowers were so pretty!

My Grandma always plants flowers along the edge of her vegetable garden.  Her garden is just amazing!  We decided to try this too.  We grew Sunflowers at the back of the garden and Zinnias in the front.  They were beautiful!  I had fresh cut flowers all summer and into fall.  The Zinnias grew like a hedge they were 3 feet tall bushy plants and just covered with blooms!  Ranging in color from yellow to hot pink.  They are a new staple in our garden.

A Zenia hedge!
 A pretty pink Zenia from our Garden!

 I am so excited for this year's garden!



Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby Chicks!

We visited a Hatchery this week and picked up our chicks. 
They are just Adorable!!!
Are you thinking of raising chickens too?  
Here are a few ideas that have worked well for us on our farm. 
First of all we did a lot of reading and research into raising chickens.  
My go to book would have to be "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" by Gail Damerow. It has been a valuable resource for everything from chick care to setting up a coop. 
Another book useful book has been "Keeping Chickens" by Jeremy Hobson and Celia Lewis.  This book is full of beautiful pictures and information about different breeds of chickens.

 If you are looking for a basic country farm life reference book I recommend, "Storey's Basic Country Skills" by John and Martha Storey. They do have a nice section on raising chickens.
 Based on our past experience and research we choose 
Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks.  

 These traditional breeds are known for their brown eggs, hardiness, and temperament.

They are so cute!! 
Here is our brooder setup

We use: 
35 gallon plastic container 
Chick waterer
Chick feeder 
Heat lamp with dimmer switch
Chicken wire
Chick grower/starter feed
Vitamin pack from the Hatchery
pine litter
My Handy Farmer cut wood blocks for the water and feed to keep them stable.  Then we covered the bottom of the box with wood chips.  
Chicks need a heat source to keep warm and healthy.  
We use a heat lamp on a dimmer switch so that we can control the temperature in the brooder.  In the past we used incandescent bulbs and we would decrease the wattage as the chicks grew, but now we are unable to buy those bulbs so we had to come up with a new plan. 
My Handy Farmer put a dimmer switch together using salvaged parts he had in the barn.  It works like a charm!

Warm Happy Chicks!


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