Monday, December 26, 2011

Skating and walking away my vacation!




The vacation has been a good thing for me giving me time to re-energize and it is the best time of year to take a rest. Looking at everything in the greenhouses since the last harvest and realizing they have barely budged reminds me that this is a good time for everything to rest; plants and me, but don't tell that to the piglets they are growing like weeds!! They are emptying their feeder in half the time since before we left for Santa Cruz!! Santa Cruz was wonderful, which included my morning walks along West Cliff, shopping downtown with my husband and watching all the "interesting" events that happen there, and a day in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco at the Academy of Science. Christmas was a nice quiet event at home starting with the children's mass on Christmas Eve, which is always neat to attend. For the first time in almost 20 years we slept in on Christmas day, but maybe that was because my 20 year old was sick, she usually is the one up at 4 am!! Today we went roller skating as a family, and I won't tell you how long it has been since I skated, it will definitely give my age away, and let's just say walking tomorrow may be interesting. My vacation technically ends today with the rest of the week back outside planting!! What beautiful weather for it too!! I am re-energized and of course my brain was going over plans of planting and for the meat operation while I was away, and if things go well I will have some great surprises coming up, but no more until I have some details taken care of!! Merry Christmas everyone....remember to keep the spirit throughout the year!! Moonstruck signing out for the last time in 2011!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Poor Molly


Molly finally had to go to the doctor for that magical surgery that stops me from having more work to do...no I do not want puppies!! (BTW she is only two days old in the picture). She also had her dew claws removed. They looked like they were just going to catch on a bush and rip right off. She is completely miserable with a cone that is two times too big so tomorrow I am going to the pet supply to try and find something better. She just drops her head to the floor, but I am terrified she will tear her stitches out. The bandages come off the feet Friday, but no spinning 360s in the driveway on the way to the animals for up to two weeks. We took her to Animal Medical Center in Hesperia and they were very affordable and took great care of Molly and were very nice people. We have a house sitter coming to take care of her while we are gone so she will not be alone. It was weird today not having her here....I caught myself holding the door for her, and turning around to call her and it was really quiet with her nails not tapping across the wood floors. I didn't think I would miss her that much, but she is a major part of my routine around here. The last of the pork is being delivered Thursday and Friday. I will be in Wrightwood Friday morning if anyone wants any turkey. I have one whole turkey, breasts, thighs and legs left. Sorry the spicy sausage and ground turkey is sold out, but I will try and make some more after Christmas. We are working with a local processor that is trying to get set up for processing USDA beef and pork....that means I can sell by the cut!! Wish us luck!! Merry Christmas everyone and thank you as always for all your wonderful support...especially all the email messages and kind thoughts sent my way!! Moonstruck signing out!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Simmering stock and falling snow!



Turkey and beef stock simmering on the wood stove. Some of my favorite things to do...turn off the outdoor irrigation and use the wood stove to do double duty...heat my home and simmer stock, and boy does it smell good in here!! Fresh bread cooking in the bread maker. Meghan is taking the time to make a Pralines and Cream Pecan Carmel muffin recipe she has been wanting to make since to say the least she is not running today and she was able to bake since we received 3 more eggs today than usual making it a total of 6!! The good news is that it looks like some of them are coming out of moult and between that and the days lengthening after the 22nd we will have eggs for you again....sorry my family goes through 3-4 dozen a week themselves so we have not even had what we need and have been on egg rationing. I checked on the pigs and they were tucked in under a pile of straw with only a stripe of pink or two showing. Filet was outside in the rain and snow all day...she usually is in her shelter...she must love the moisture!! Molly as tiny as she is did not show the slightest hesitation at the cold galloping happily everywhere! One of my favorite things about snow days is the peaceful silence. Most neighbors stay home and so all the noise we are conditioned to disappears and it feels as though the whole world has stopped or at least slowed down. It was not completely silent since as soon as the goats saw me they started bellowing and I could almost understand "make it go away!!!". They don't "do wet". The chickens were running around happy to have the ground wet so they could peck away for bugs....maybe that is why we received a few extra eggs...extra protein!! Back to soup making and turkey cutting. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wow are the days short!!


Today started with the unfreezing of water lines and water bowls for the animals. I went to pour a tea kettle of boiling water on the metal pipe for the pig's nipple and within 2 seconds one of them figured out what I was trying to do and started sucking as hard as he could on it....the teamwork succeeded and within 30 seconds water was flowing!! I love pigs; they are such awesome animals. Later on I was nervously harvesting as I always am at this time of year due to everythings slow growth pattern, I realized that at about 2:30 pm the sun went behind the mountain enough to shadow the entire new greenhouse, and I asked myself why do I stress...there is nothing I can about the length of day at this time of year!! I tell myself each year I should close the whole month of December, but then the weather was so beautiful right up to mid November that I just could not do it. I even put zucchini on the shopping list this week. Of course I am going to have to short some orders because the 28 degree clear night we had last night finally took the zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and nasturtiums out in the greenhouses! Sorry no nasturtiums in this week's Moonstruck Salad Mix, but I did manage to throw in some pretty yellow broccoli flowers. I am still spinning here from being so behind, and quitting the market as heart breaking as it was to do it was a wise decision and to be honest I should have done it four months before I did. I just keep making note of the goals that we have reached and the fact that I have the "infrastructure" now to grow all that we need and more. We may even have a chance to grow at an alternative site that will become a community garden, but all that produce will be dedicated to the St. Vincent De Paul's Food Pantry. Another exciting project coming up for 2012. In the meantime we will be taking a little vacation from December 16 to December 30th...a little rest and a little work. In case I don't have a chance to write again....Merry Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Turkeys

Fortunately and unfortunately the Bashaws had quite a few last minute cancellations. The good news is that there are Christmas turkeys available, but only for a limited time. In about a week I am going to start making turkey sausage!! If you want a Christmas turkey please let me know and we will get you taken care of. The first batch of Moonstruck pork goes to butcher early tomorrow morning, and I know I can't wait to get my honey cured bacon back! The next batch goes to butcher in March 2012, and we will have Pork CSA shares available at that time.

It has been so beautiful the green onions, radishes and even lettuce are doing beautifully outside. Moonstruck Salad Mix is available this week, and Asian Greens are next on the list. Savoy cabbages are doing beautifully in the new greenhouse, and the summer vegies are alive!! It takes about 3 weeks to grow a single zucchini so extending the season does not work due to the late days, but it proves that starting early will not be a problem at all especially since I know I was germinating last year during freezing temps!

Phelan may have an opportunity to have a community garden!! If you are interested please let me know so we can keep track of who in the community would like to take advantage of this. Have a great week everyone!! Moonstruck signing out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turkey Stock and Brine Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Basic Vegetable Stock
For Turkey Brine or Soup
(You need a double recipe for the brine)
(You can buy vegetable stock if you want too, but this is really good).

1 tablespoon olive oil 8 sprigs of fresh parsley (3-4 tsp dried)
1 large onion 6 sprigs fresh thyme (1-2 tsp dried)
2 stalks celery, including some leaves 2 bay leaves
2 large carrots 1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch green onions, chopped 8 cups water
8 cloves garlic, minced

Directions
Chop scrubbed vegetables into 1-inch chunks. Remember the greater the surface area, the more quickly vegetables will yield their flavor.
Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add salt and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain. Discard vegetables.
Other ingredients to consider: mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus (butt ends), corn cobs, fennel (stalks and trimmings), bell peppers, pea pods, chard (stems and leaves), celery root parings, marjoram (stems and leaves), basil, potato parings…Get the idea?

Good Eats Roast Turkey
Recipe Courtesy Alton Brown (My Husbands calls him “my boyfriend”).

For the brine: For the aromatics:
1 cup kosher salt 1 red apple, sliced
1/ cup light brown sugar ½ onion, sliced
1 gallon vegetable stock (double of the 1 cinnamon stick
provided recipe) 1 cup water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns 4 sprigs rosemary
½ tablespoon allspice berries 6 leaves of sage
½ tablespoon candied ginger Canola oil
(I rarely use the ginger)
1 gallon iced water

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (on day like today I just put in the garage). Early on the day of cooking (or late the night before…I always do the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket or ice chest. (You can get food grade buckets from donut shops and bakeries). Place thawed turkey breast side down in a brine, cover and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement or garage) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

A few minutes before roasting heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine. Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 ½ hours of roasting. (Remember fresh turkey speeds this up quite a bit, watch your temperature, loose leg and clear juices). Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What to be thankful for.

This last year has been a major year of change and a lot of growing pains. I know traditionally you look back at the year at New Years, but this is usually the time I look back and find all the things that I am grateful for. I am so grateful for my time with the Bashaws to have had the opportunity to learn the business under their watchful eye that now I feel 100% confident stepping in. I am grateful for the time at the Wrightwood Market and getting to meet all the customers and get to experience "going to market". Unfortunately I did find out this year that I needed to make some changes in order to have time for my family, which will be grown soon and out the door, and time to continue the growth of the CSA and the farm itself. I am still incredibly behind of where I want to be, but at the same time I have to look at what I have accomplished especially the foundation that has been built. We have two greenhouses that I know from experience have the ability to produce tremendous amounts of food. I have two fields outdoors that need a little bird netting but otherwise are fertile and with the help of a few more bees will be abundant producers of organic farm fresh produce. I have new fields out front that will produce the great onions, garlic, leeks and shallots that we know from experience are fresh, moist and sweet when grown here at the farm. There are 70 fruit trees on their way here in January including all kinds of apples that the current orchards do not grow, Winesap, Granny Smith and more. The egg laying operation is being run by the pros, the hens, and they are doing a fine job with very little supervision. We ran a test run of meat chickens to find out costs, and have been enjoying wonderful farm fresh chicken again (I left the Bashaw chicken for the customers who are not lucky to be able to raise it themselves). The pork operation is in full swing and doing well minus a few incidents with the pigs trying to "root' or dig to China, and trying to bust out to see the new piglets! Filet is filling out beautifully and I don't know if I can ever raise anything but Black Angus....they are so handsome! Michael is forming forms everywhere so that the final concrete can go in for a few retaining walls, a large patio (future event area), and the beds out front will be colored concrete raised beds...time to start making things "pretty" around here. For all of those that have passed through my life...thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Knowledge 101



Thanks to working so closely with the Bashaws I have learned a number of things over the last year and a half. I now know that my freezer will hold just around 275 pounds of turkeys!! I now know that my back is very strong thanks to my gardening work, and I can lift a lot of weight in one given day. I know that the legs love to pop out of the bags. I know that when working in the harvesting room to not be anywhere near Ann when she has the spray nozzle in her hands because she will accidentally hit you every time!! I now know to look for the radio cord that Sam stretched across the aisle way because on your first day you will come into the dark from the sun and you and the radio will go crashing across the hallway...quite an entrance for my first day. I now know to never ever let a turkey get over 50 pounds!! I now know not to send Danny on a 5 minute errand because if it is gutting, sorry eviscerating time, he will disappear for at least 30 minutes and I now know that I love the business. I know it must seem strange, but it does bring me closer to nature, to the gifts of protein that the Lord has provided us, and that they should be respected. Once again thank you for your support. The Bashaws have one slot for fresh turkeys for pick up next week, and there are some in the 18-19.5 lb. range in the freezer. Just drop me a line at moonstruckfarms@verizon.net if you still need a turkey...I promise you it will be the best you have ever tried. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Multiple Farm CSA by Rodale Institute

I thought I would share some of the research that I have read over the years that brought me to where we are at. Moonstruck Farms CSA is a multi-farm CSA bringing the best from your local farmers to our local community thus supporting the farmer, bolstering the economy and bringing the freshest organic produce to you our loyal customers.

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/2010_nf_Multifarm_CSAs_More-farms-are-better

We just found out that a local farm has Berkshire piglets!!! I wish I had not picked up the piglets I did last week, but if orders are filled for those three I am going to go and get some Berkshires. Berkshires are Heritage pigs known for their delicious flavor. If we keep a sow at Moonstruck in the future it will be Berkshires! I am so excited! Until now the nearest breeder was Santa Rosa.

We were able to check one more thing off the "TO DO" list around here at Moonstruck....a piglet nursery. Due to the "big" guys not being "BIG" enough yet and piglets were ready to be picked up for the next batch a nursery was mandated so now we have a new area with a new feeder and new water nipple (down lower to the ground for the little guys). It was a whirlwind weekend, but one less thing to get set up in livestock central now!

A big thank you to Brian Ranch Orchard for donating a large number of sheets of plywood, which will be used to build goat and lamb houses in livestock central, and Michael can't wait to take Thanksgiving week off so he can play with his new welder and build the new gate for the meat harvester truck to go through down in the Northeast corner of the property. The new welder will also create the shelters for the enlarged Nigerian Goat pens and future Dorper sheep pens. We want to be able to lock them up at night to protect them from the coyotes and if they don't remember to go to bed on time...than Molly gets to do her favorite thing...bossing the animals around!! Moonstruck signing out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More tomatoes????





Okay, the picture is just because I am showing Molly off...she is sitting there patiently waiting for Mike to play with her, but back to business, thank you everyone for your overwhelming support of the Bashaw Farm. They are down to approximately 25 turkeys and I think they will be gone by the end of the week. If you need one for Christmas you should get it now (I get one for every Christmas....the McDermotts love turkey for Christmas...they are not "ham" people and they eat a LOT....all big strapping Irish boys...one is a Triathlete, one Custom Construction Worker and my Black Belt and Farmer Husband, and a sister that is almost as active as them!!). The Bashaws only have only a few pork shares left too so I went ahead and picked up some more piglets so that shares will be available again in April for the CSA customers. There are two sides available for that batch too. We are scrambling to get caught up around here with getting the animals set up in their new pens, designing the poultry business takeover for next year and getting the lettuce going!! It is amazing to watch how the seed knows when to germinate around here. Lettuce is popping up everywhere outside, but inside the greenhouse the ground temps are still high so I am germinating more tomatoes than lettuce!! I guess I need to be a little more generous with the ventilation to get those ground temps down. Automatic vents are on the list for next year and that will make a "no brainer", and save me time. We found out that Edison did not have a lot of success in stopping the Dynocore wind mill appliecation and we are still on the list, but Edison went through the applications with a fine tooth comb and rejected over 80%....hopefully we were not one of them...say a prayer!! We are constantly learning around here....no getting bored in that division, and it is fun playing "scientist" all the time. My next experiment....plastic rain gutter over the rows of Arugula and radishes outside to see if they receive enough sunlight, but shelter from the wind and extreme temperatures. Wish me luck....Moonstruck signing out!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Freeze coming....fried green tomatoes anybody?



Yes I did some more weightlifting tonight, 50 pounds worth of green tomatoes!! I did a lousy job on my tomatoes this year due to the rush to get them planted outside in July (way too cold in June) and the new greenhouse still being added to the schedule!! I can't wait to see how well they do next year!! The tomatoes did not do well in the peak season in the new greenhouse so I am going to put babies out in July in the new greenhouse and so they are just producing in October, and hopefully will pull us through until late December next year!! We will see how far we can push it with the new greenhouse. We do have a few plants in the greenhouses, but not a lot. We should pull a few pounds a week, but not much. The old greenhouse tomatoes did well in the center of the greenhouse so that is where they will all go next year twined up to the top purlin. They are all over the place now, but I stretched one up and it would have almost hit the 12 foot peak! The one thing I did discover is the bees would not go in the greenhouses during the peak temps, but now that it has been a nice and cozy 80-85 that is where they all have been! Well hopefully 10 or 20 pounds of these will ripen, but the rest are either for fried green tomatoes or to the chickens and pigs who always greatly appreciate the garden gifts!! Moonstruck signing out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011



Thanksgiving as most of you know is my favorite holiday. Great food, thanking the Lord for our blessings, and no stress over if we bought the right gift?? So as I am preparing for our Thanksgiving Meal at Church this year I thought of my customers and how grateful I am for your support and the other farmers have made similar comments so....THANK YOU from the McDermott family at Moonstruck, Felice at Brian Ranch, Meredith at Valhalla, Andy at Glen Cairn, Steve at Valle View and the Bashaw Family at Bashaw Meats for supporting your local farms. We truly appreciate all that you do taking the extra effort to buy from us. Happy Thanksgiving Season!!


Well just when I think I have hit the end of weightlifting season....tomatoes, winter squash, cucumbers, zucchini....here come the turkeys. My first big delivery is this week, and I am doing some extra sit ups to strengthen my back tonight!!!! Well, the light season is not too far away...Moonstruck Salad Mix. I must admit I made a mistake this year that I will have to change next year. I designated the new greenhouse for the cut lettuce and the old for head lettuce, but since the new one is so much hotter it was a mistake and the lettuce is just now starting to do an okay germination. It is amazing how seed knows when it is its time. I had some pots in the shade outside my kitchen filled with dill seed I was trying to trick into summer dill, and of course it did not do a thing until last week, and then every last seed germinated. Still amazes me, and so do my Fall roses. With no wind and just right temps they are beautiful, but soon to leave since the winds are already picking up today with the change in weather this week, but that just means fried green tomatoes and Moonstruck Salad Mix!! I love the change in seasons...Moonstruck signing out!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

November tomatoes!!


I have had tomatoes in the greenhouses until December, but never outside in November, and it looks like we might make it!! The temps are providing lush green plants with almost no cracking and they are loaded!! As I sit here I can hear the winds picking up due to the change of weather coming. Forecast says it is going to be close again...nighttime temps of 34!! Might have a green tomato scramble this week...anybody like fried green tomatoes!! Molly is continuing to be one of the best decisions of the year working the livestock with so little training, but she is a bit spoiled. She saw me put my overalls on in the morning and started doing her 360s in the house, and then I was delayed by my eldest and a few dishes calling my name in the sink, and I had to listen to a very VOCAL protest including a variety of whines, low rumbling growls and finally the body being thrown on the floor in complete disgruntlement! I have never had a dog TALK to me so much. Finally we headed outside to plant more turnips, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, rutabagas, green head cabbage, Tatsoi, spinach and Lacinato Kale. Hopefully these will produce before the true dead of winter and/or overwinter well. I want the outside field greens ready to go when the temps get too hot in the greenhouse plus I want room for EARLY tomatoes next year!! BTW the Bashaws had a change in plans and had to take the first batch of turkeys for the smoker today, and so if you want a smoked turkey next Tuesday is the cut off and off I go to the smoker. They are also having quite a few more requests for pick up at the farm turkeys just prior to Thanksgiving and are thinking about adding another batch. Let me know if you are interested. BTW the picture is of my artichoke plant. I goofed up the irrigation and they went to seed, but was rewarded with the beautiful flowers!! Another big day of planting tomorrow...it is cool enough for lettuce in the greenhouses!! Moonstruck signing off.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Plantcation Week!





Moonstruck took a "Plantcation" week this week and no CSA orders were taken. We are going to be adding these every three months or so to spend a solid week turning over crops or just catching up on projects around the farm. The old greenhouse is closed up and the new one is next. The weeds are gone from the East and West fields. The new greenhouse was begun, but we are holding most of it for cooler days...hopefully tomorrow. If I am lucky after the Tri Community Coop delivery I will be spending the rest of the day in the new greenhouse clearing/planting. The green beans are staying that are now producing again thanks to the "non 100s" weather and new ones have been planted to see how long we can extend into the season. We are also keeping a few of the following to see how long the season can be extended though most of it will end as soon as the bees go to bed for the season...okra, tomatoes, squash and basil. Romaine, Winter Bibb, Dancine (mini butterhead about the size of a baseball) and Sangria (red tinged butterhead) are all started in trays, which will be housed in the old greenhouse with the new being reserved for the Moonstruck Salad Mix. Trays of cabbage have been started...wish us luck they are going outside to see what we can do with a layer of Agribon. Rows of German Giant Radishes and Arugula were completed yesterday along with an addition of Mums to the back of the herb garden. They have been doing so well I decided to make them the tallest row in the back thus establishing color from April to November hopefully along with the yummy herbs. The cellar location has been reserved along with the tree spots and now we just need a good rain and a backhoe rental! Don't forget we are in the final stretch with the Bashaws. There are just a few pork CSA shares left, the last batch of chickens have been harvested and there are turkeys in the freezer and more to be harvested for Thanksgiving....just contact us at moonstruckfarms@verizon.net. Moonstruck signing off.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer is in Full Swing!



August through October are busy months around here at Moonstruck. The onions are being cured. The tomatoes are coming in and being frozen or canned. It is the beginning of apple season and thanks to Brian Ranch Orchard we are canning applesauce already. Peaches from Valle View Ranch were made into peach jam and the jalapenos are being frozen for Jalapeno Burgers or my favorite green salsa recipe!! This is not to mention the root crops are being squeezed in everywhere they can be and the greenhouses are being prepped for lettuce and the doors will be shut soon with the approaching Fall weather. I woke up this morning and it was 62...time to close up the old greenhouse I told Michael. I will vent with the front door and the above head irrigation for the remaining hot days. We need to preserve as much of the ground temperature as we can and if we don't close up at night we will lose tons!! The pigs are feasting on the extra large zucchini, patty pans, cracked tomatoes and lots of eggs...their absolute favorite!! Filet is becoming friendlier each day and her tongue is now licking me every chance she gets...it actually abraised my hand today....maybe she is seeing how I would taste!! The chickens are laying like crazy so eggs are being frozen for winter baking so that more eggs will be available to the customers and eggs are being tucked in the refrigerator for hard boiled...yes they have to get old to be easily peeled!! We also found a great spot for the cellar and just prior to the 50 new fruit trees arriving in January we will dig the 50 holes and the cellar hole...basically we have decided to build another small basement. We know how to do block walls so might as well stick with what we know best. Thanks for all your support...we would not be where we are without everyone's support....customers and fellow farmers!! Moonstruck signing out!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Long week.


Well the changes are coming fast still. This change was a very sad one, and is really knocking me through a loop. The Bashaws are closing their doors effective Thanksgiving. I am sure the chicken will be gone by then too. People are preordering every last batch that is available at this point to try and maintain them as long as they can since it will be a year before Moonstruck can fill in the blank. We have switched pork and beef operations here, and lamb is slated to be filled in in the Spring, but poultry is a huge undertaking with a processing plant and brooder houses required so unfortunately it will just have to wait. We also need to finish prepping the beds out front where all the onion, garlic,shallots are being moved to this next year and the cellar has to be dug this year...I am out of room. The good news is the Chanterais cantaloupe is looking great along with the Raveena eggplant, and the Moons and Stars watermelon sound hollow, but the tendrils are still green. The red Cipollini onions were all pulled in so that more Fall planting could be completed, and the old greenhouse is showing signs that lettuce may be okay to put in as soon as this heat wave passes. Our prayers go to the many facing the hurricane on the East Coast including my best friend Janet in Portland Maine who has not faced a hurricane since she was pregnant with her 20 year old. My heart is heavy but the sweet voice of my 13 year singing the Star Spangled Banner is truly music to the ears. Moonstruck signing off.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nice longggggggggg green beans!!


Wow summer has been spinning by so quickly that I cannot remember the last time I blogged. We have been so busy fine tuning irrigation everywhere, adding animal pens, animal watering systems, and planning for the new beds out front and the cellar and harvesting for a growing business that blogging did not even come to mind!! Lemon cucumbers, Red Kuri squash and lots of zucchini and patty pan squash have kept me busy harvesting along with our kales and Swiss chard that have been producing through the summer. The Fortex green beans pictured are the best surprise of all...grown in the high tunnel in the 100 degree summer!! The new rhubarb and asparagus bed (sorry it will be a few years for customers) are producing beautifully. Lemon grass has been a new hit, but the artichokes are not producing...way too cold of a summer I guess. Everyone is waiting for Moonstruck Salad Mix including me!!! We have Sangria, Dancine and Little Gem Romaine lined up for head lettuce. It is so nice now to buy seed by the pound!! No worries about running out and a lot less ordering time. Speaking of time, which is so desperately needed we made the decision to drop the Wrightwood Market from our agenda...hard decision to make, but the right one. Starting tomorrow we will be announcing that we will be servicing our loyal Wrightwood customers with every other week home/business delivery in the Wrightwood downtown area. We will be there to deliver to the Wrightwood Coop baskets at 8 am and then take off from there performing deliveries between 8 and 9 am every other Friday beginning 08/26/2011. Any questions just email us at moonstruckfarms@verizon.net.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011



Business is great, but the bad news is I am always behind!! Carrots are going fast so I am putting them everywhere I can, but they still take 90 days!! All root crops need to be in by next month so they have a great start for the Winter. Yes, believe it or not around here the race is on already!! I can see the days getting shorter and even tonight there was a coolness to the air that was reminding me that I will blink my eyes and it will be time to batten down the hatches. Rutabagas, carrots, parsnips and turnips all need to be in so that they can grow and store in the ground. I ordered new radish varieties too!! Of course a cellar is preferred and we are working on that especially for future potato and onion storage. We have a site on the property, but we need a backhoe for a day and that will cost a pretty penny so if anyone has one and wants to put some time in on the farm helping or someone owes you a favor who has one and you are willing to cash it in please let me know! Green onions will have to suffice for this year's winter onions, but next year we will not only have all this year's onions, but we are bringing back potatoes, leeks and the fabulous 2" garlic bulbs we had a few years ago!! We have the room now for everything!! Filet has been spending her days romping around the corral with Molly and Molly spends an appropriate amount of time racing around the pig pen and playing with them and giving the proper amounts of kisses. She races Honey (an oxymoron of a name for this goat) around her pen, and the pen is being expanded for their "Hubby" who will be arriving soon!! I can't wait to make cheese!! Just a little update from Moonstruck...thank you everyone for all your support!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BIG TURKEYS ANYONE?



All the Moonstruck Farms CSA Farms are working hard, and plants and animals are growing by leaps and bounds including the turkeys!! The toms were 20-24 pounds….missed the mark, but the animals obviously have a mind of their own and beat all records this time around…I guess that is what clean living does!! If anyone would like a 20-24 pound turkey whole, cut in half or quartered please let me know…for cut I need to know by 9 am tomorrow…customers on the preorder list have first dibs and then anyone can order as you like. The hens are being harvested tomorrow and they will be smaller, but there are only 10 or so of those so if everyone on the list chooses for smaller I am afraid you will have to wait for the next batch. For any new customers we can smoke them too at $4.50/pound so please indicate three things:

1. whole, cut in half or quartered.
2. fresh or smoked.
3. delivery location.

By the way….my lemongrass was only 1 inch last week, and it is over a foot tall now!!! Wow humidity does really make things take off in the animal and plant divisions!!

Thank you for supporting your local small farmers!!

Rowena
Moonstruck farms csa

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celery in 100 degree temps!


We continue to learn as we grow here at Moonstruck. The irrigation is still being tweaked to maximize, but with a little shade cloth we are growing lettuce and spinach in 100 degree temps in the greenhouse...and celery!!! Wow, I would have told you you were crazy if you had told me I could grow celery in a greenhouse in 100 degree temps any given time in the past, but my experience is growing. Cilantro tucked into a corner with nice even watering can be kept too. All these goals are one step closer to supplying our CSA customers with all their needs on a year around basis. The welder is already coming in handy and new panels are being built to build a larger pen for the goats so we can add a buck and babies next Spring hopefully :). I am dreaming of cream cheese, feta and sour cream!! Filet will be kept company too since they are being moved down towards her though Molly has been doing a fine job of keeping her company and Filet rewards her with a kiss. Michael and I walked the property and when you have only 5 acres you have to work it pretty intensively to get a good yield. It took some convincing, but beds will be built across the front of the house which should create somewhere around another 500-700 feet of row space for potatoes, garlic, shallots, onions, leeks and anything else the critters won't eat opening up space in the protected fields in the back. We have a beautiful rolling section in the front and Merlot grapes will be added there. The whole rim will be surrounded by lavender plants and a flag pole surrounded by a rim of three different lavenders is definitely in the future....can't wait to have a beautiful place to hang our nation's flag. Thank you again everyone for your support....I truly would not be here without you. Moonstruck signing off.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Results!



It is always nice to wake up and see results of months of changes and hard work. The nasturtiums are beautiful and delicious in the salad mix as I had hoped. The spinach is growing like crazy now that I discovered that the issue was not nongerminating seed, but critters eating the seed before it had the chance to germinate!! Cilantro can be grown during the summer in the right setting. Romaine heads can be grown in a greenhouse in 90 degree temps. With the right shade cloth Swiss chard and beet colors are more vibrant than ever! Winter squash can survive three freezes in a row with 4 inches of mulch and be producing before the tomatoes. I should have more confidence in my abilities....my 3 week old tomato transplants (dogs destroyed my initial trays) are out growing the organic commercially raised ones I paid top dollar for. Raised herb gardens even in the desert with constant wind thrive and provide a wonderful array of herbs, medicinal plants and some of those medicinals such as Calendulas are absolutely beautiful and finally if you spend 4 months filling a field with chicken manure and let it sit tilled in for another three months you can grow onions that are sweet like Vidalias and over a pound each....yes...now I will sleep well. Moonstruck signing off.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Little Glimmers


Some of you may remember the story about the man who was drowning and prayed to god to save him, and one by one row boats went by and he continued to pray eventually perishing and going to heaven. In heaven he asked the lord why he had not saved him…..the lord said “I sent the row boats???”. True miracles are not a daily occurrence and most of us will not experience one, but once in a while we receive a glimmer that reminds us he is truly there. The last few months have had many, many trials, and things began to turn around lately, and Paul came into my life supplying the strong back I needed so to work by my side once a week. But still I wondered if I was meant to stay on this crazy roller coaster ride….if the lord was sending messages saying “quit” like “row boats” and I was just looking the other way. Then tonight I decided not….after a father’s day dinner of London broil, cheesy au gratin potatoes and peas I told my husband I was going to plant a final row and come in. I did a final check of the fence area having still found rabbits in the fields just yesterday and perplexed at finding nothing started out the gate, but paused and looked over at the tires piled inside the compost piles 7, 8 and 9, which needed to be prepped for upcoming manure from the Bashaws. Something told me “risk the wrath of your husband….move the tires.” I did, and sure enough in the far corner hidden by the tires the fence had never been buried or rocked over….there were three rabbit holes…they were walking right in under cover of the tires!! I was quickly rocking it in when my husband yelled “come on lady!”, and I said just a minute “I got a message!!”.

Thank you everyone who has supported me by purchasing through thick and thin or working by my side and dealing with all the hard times. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Rowena
Moonstruck farms CSA

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Welcome Filet to the farm


Life on the farm always has bumps and bruises....quite a few lately, but we are starting to see the results of the bruises healing and the changes taking affect. Slowly we are catching up, but the lack of large tomato plants and sprouting broccoli and broccoli raab hit a sore point today, but the good news is I do have some sprouting broccoli and in the new field it is responding beautifully to the chicken compost and the weather. New starts are started and the Fall crop of sprouting broccoli and raab is looking very promising. We will have the opportunity to see how long tomatoes last in the new greenhouse this year, and with the help of Paul maybe we will even do a little hand pollinating if the results are good. Calendula is popping up beautifully in the herb garden....not just beautiful but nice to have around in case of a medicinal emergency. The field on the west side of the greenhouse is almost completed with watermelon, eggplant and cantalope. We already decided to add eight or ten 50 foot long beds in front of the house for the allium family next year...onions, garlic, shallots and leeks and the potato family. We are already missing our leeks and potatoes that we left out of the equation this year due to limited resources, and are looking forward to adding them back in next year. Filet was added this week too...our first beef project. She is a beautiful Angus heifer brought in from the hills of Cherry Valley, and she is not very happy right now, but seems to be settling in fast. Once we have numbers and feel comfortable we will pick up some more calves for our customers this Fall. The greens are really taking off now, which makes me realize that our ground temps were no where where we thought they were....the long winter, not severe, but consistent really did a number on the ground temps and we are just seeing what we normally see by the beginning of May. Big day tomorrow...coop and market...Moonstruck signing off.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thursday Delivery Rescheduled

I am sorry but I will have to reschedule Thursday's Phelan delivery. I will be contacting everyone who ordered and arranging to have your order delivered. A family member passed away over the weekend and the funeral is scheduled for Thursday in the Los Angeles area.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mojave or Diamondback






Strange year everywhere...we have not seen a Rattler in years. We had to kill off Southern Pacifics for the first few years we lived here, but the good guys eventually took over the property until today. Paul almost stepped on a Mojave Green and then had to kill it with a shovel. I don't want him or anyone to have to get that close again...buying a 22 pistol with snake shot so we can shoot from at least 10 feet away. I have always killed babies so I never did get a good look at an adult to be able to know the difference. I know now...clear menacing diamond head and you could probably hear the rattler going off on the other side of the house. Between that and my distribution list crashing/deleting again I felt like this day lasted 60 hours....and nothing really accomplished but a huge adrenaline rush....I'm calling it a day...Moonstruck Signing off.




Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cricket...no frog..no Couchs Spadefoot Toad?


I picked up Paul again today and he tackled another overgrown row in the new greenhouse while I went and tilled all the compost beds. #1 Compost is ready to go and two more are not far behind so my multiple pile system is working. Before I knew it Paul was telling me he was ready for a new task. I was sorry I could not let him plant the area he cleared the other day so he could enjoy the whole process but in redoing the irrigation and playing with the timing and the cool weather it was way too wet to plant. If you work your soil when it is too wet you can damage its composition. I asked Paul to clear another row while I went and tucked in some dill and cilantro seed in the herb garden...rabbits are not eating it this year so why not?? (Yes, it is unguarded). Before I knew it a whole new area was ready to go, and tomorrow he can plant it. I am hoping he can stay long enough to put the cantaloupe and watermelon out in the West field, but we will see. When he was about half way done he said "I saw a frog". Funny I had commented the other day on how loud that cricket was!! I guess I should be more focused when listening to my animal friends!! Just before closing up for the day I wanted to check the irrigation...there were a few dry spots still so in I went with it running. I found two nonfunctional sprayers, one turned backwards and the main center line was tilting some of the sprayers when the pressure came on...time to secure them. Once done I ran for the showers....it was a nice day but the afternoons winds were picking up and I was soaked to the bone...boy did that shower feel good. Moonstruck signing off.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011






The website is up where I can see it. I can see how the reports are set up, but I can't get in and set up the producers! Ugh!! Searching for answers. Not sure if it is a script issue or a problem with the original shareware. Funny, a provider of this same software called offering their services, but they want 8%! I don't want to have to pass that on to my customers. I am in this for the long haul, and I want to do it right from the start. Of course that seems really funny since I have not been doing things right...the irrigation is wrong, the back end of the greenhouse tore open due to leaving it open, and the weeds are growing so quickly I can't keep up, but that just means back to the drawing board, and start over. The employees are a tremendous help and now I just need to get this website up and running and it will take at least a few hours off a week from my load, and make your lives easier in ordering. In the meantime I am planting some Giant Dahlia Zinnias, and more green beans, spinach, lettuce, radishes and the watermelon and cantaloupe are waiting in the wings along with tomatoes and peppers just waiting for this storm to pass. Off to bed...big day tomorrow and a girl needs her beauty rest ya know. Moonstruck Signing Off!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I could get used to this!!



Wow!! Wow!! Wow!! Three employees coming and going and by next Wednesday I should be all caught up!! What a difference...I should have done this the day the greenhouse was completed!! I could really get used to this. I can think so much clearer now that the the growing area is clear!! Michael rebuilt the back wall of the greenhouse...need a strong window that is easy to open and close, but so much better!! The old greenhouse is going to be constructed the same in the Fall. Our Spring weather has been so volatile that I told Michael that I really needed something easy to open and close on a minute's notice. The remainder of the greenhouse is about 90% clear (old fields from last year still there). I did one tomato in a grow bag experiment and it grew 8 inches in about 10 days...I like it!! Spring Onions are looking beautiful, and green beans inside the new greenhouse look promising for two weeks from now!!! Wow, the possibilities for next year are stupendous. Paul, our fantastic helper, is slated to help Michael build the cross fencing for the property and we are picking out our first beef calf this weekend, and hopefully will be stocked back up on pigs by July 1st. Sheep are definitely in the future, but have to get the cross fencing done, and I have definitely decided the next greenhouse is a "Berry House". The herb garden is coming in beautiful, and I have ordered Broccoli and Alfalfa sprout seeds to start up again (house was too cold to grow sprouts for a while). I love having the employees..I am dreaming of homemade bread and sausage making for me to do!! Moonstruck Signing Out!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time to get serious



I remember going to the Small Farm Conference and talking to a CSA owner who said she had to finally step out of the fields and start managing to keep things growing....well I am kind of at that point. I am far from stepping out of the fields, but I do need to hire in help for some major overhaul work, and I can see having to do that on a somewhat regular basis in order to get new greenhouses and new major projects going. The old greenhouse still needs to be cleared and reamended and I still need to finish the new greenhouse planting and plant the other field...so I am hiring help while money is available. The property needs to be cross-fenced for the livestock and I will hire help for Michael for that...still investing everything we have, but it will pay off with a farm that will be able to meet all of your produce, meat and eggs needs....and breads other value-added products are on the list too for the future. Maybe in the meantime the county will pave one of our roads and fix the road issue coming to the farm...pretty rural here :). Michael also needs a welder which will make keeping up on repairs a lot easier...so he is going shopping online today. I am going tomorrow to pick up the grapes to finish off the fence line, and this weekend we are going to look at a used greenhouse to see if it is movable...we need one for raspberries and strawberries! The one little Buff Orpington rooster we have is crowing (poor guy he sounds awful...needs a lot of practice) and we don't keep roosters around here so he is being moved to Dirt Creek Farm to produce Buff Orpington chicks for their Heritage chicken operation and we are going to make a turnaround trip over the summer to stock Moonstruck with Berkshire piglets for Fall pork, and our first beef calf is being brought to the property this week...more to come soon. Back to work....Moonstruck signing off!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dreaming of Braised Red Cipollinis!!



Things have been a little crazy around here, and just when I thought I could hire some help some things changed and that did not occur, but once again back to the drawing board. I will catch up around here eventually, and things will be where I want them, but it will definitely take a few more years to develop all the plots we need to offer everything we want to for our customers. The positive things that have happened is Glencairn coming on board with great citrus, Valle View has been providing apples and says cherries will be here soon. Of course Brian Ranch cherries will be on board soon too, and hopefully some from Roaring L too to help fill the orders....Moonstruck even has trees that survived the late freezes so I think we are good for cherries. Brian Ranch lost their apricots so we will see if Roaring L can fill in this year. Moonstruck has been watching the herb garden that was moved last Fall come back to life with great pleasure. Rhubarb and asparagus are in the ground and ready to become a future product...in a year or two, and artichokes went in this weekend. We are expanding our grape harvest each year, and I look forward to offering those possibly this year if all goes well. The Moons and Stars Watermelon and Chauteris Cantalope starters are doing well inside, and waiting to be transplanted as soon as the weather settles. Onions are getting huge, Candy, Yellow Granex, Red Torpedo and Red Cippolini. We had some learning curves in the new greenhouse...wind tore off the back end so then the dogs got in and did some damage, and then everything was wilting and I realized the irrigation was not sufficient so the lines were split into two different valves and that seems to have fixed the problem. After all this what did I do to cheer myself up I went shopping and found some more of the speciality herbs to add to the herb garden that I wanted...French Tarragon and more BBQ Rosemary and I painted my daughter's room a bright cheery aquamarine...something I have been wanting to do for a year. Tomorrow...tackling weeds...I am ready!!! Moonstruck Signing off!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dreamy day



What a dreamy day today was. After working most of the day Sunday in the heat today was the perfect rest day. The foothills behind us act as a barrier to the fog of the Cajon Pass until the winds and whatever forces of nature join to bring it over the foothills and it literally rolls over. Usually the winds continue to pick up and within minutes I am literally standing in a cloud bank...with white marshmallow creme rolling by me. It is impossible not to slip for a moment into a dream state dreaming of all your most sought after dreams and wishes. I take a moment and just inhale it all and then force myself to continue on. Today I pulled a row of Arugula that went to seed, and even with the cooler day found myself opening up the back of the greenhouse to bring down the temperature. In went a combination of seed that make up Moonstruck Salad Mix, but I am always trying something new to jazz up the mix a bit, and this time it is pea shoots. They are being used to make a variety of recipes by chefs, and I have put aside a few to share with you when the time comes to harvest these tasty treats. I also had to switch out the "half" sprinkler heads on the sides of the greenhouse to "fulls". The halves were not doing the job right against the wall, and this seems to have fixed the problem. I was so grateful for such a beautiful morning outside since the office was in need of great attention and I spent the rest of the day in there, but it does feel good to have it all cleaned and caught up. Tomorrow, a new row in the greenhouse is to be built...yes I have lots more room to go!! Can't wait to see both greenhouses at 100% production by the middle of this summer. Moonstruck signing off.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Down one MP3 cord....

I keep saying..."Molly is just a puppy...be consistent". Down a printer cord and now a MP3 cord...things are starting to get ugly...and she can't make up her mind if she wants to eat the chickens or herd them...after she gets in trouble for trying to eat them she herds them very effectively...."see Mom I can do it!!!" Boy is she kissing something....but then again that shows that the bond is there and it will work out. She kept whining on several occasions today and has done it on others...does not have to go potty, has plenty of food and water...and finally it dawned on me. I had not slowed down...like sitting in a row planting or weeding. It was harvest day and I was on the move constantly...she wanted me to sit still so she did not have to try and keep up...it was nap time!! She can't nap peacefully unless I am sitting at the desk or sitting in a row where she can keep half an eye open on me....we are both learning. I made a really simple dinner since it was harvest day and stuck it in the crockpot. Sometimes I feel guilty that I can do a better job with dinner and I am shorting my family, but then as I looked at the meal on the table I realized that we had a farm fresh healthy meal on the table...what more could I ask for. A Moonstruck Salad Mix plate and a bowl of navy beans and ham sweeten with a little molasses and brown sugar, homemade cornbread and a glass of milk. What more could you ask for....now a good night's sleep. Moonstruck signing out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Improving Productivity

Well things are just a little busy around here to say the least, and since growth is continual the learning lessons on how do things better, smarter and faster are always having to be thought through. Last year I bought a "blue" one of these below....mine is drying in pieces upstairs after being sterilized for tomorrow's harvest, but I thought I would show you what it looks like. It is a 5 gallon salad spinner, braising green spinner and future berry spinner!! In addition to this in the near future my husband is going to install quick connect connections along the center of the greenhouse so that I can wash the greens with cool water as I harvest...we stole this idea from the Bashaws. Their "processing" line has a similar set up so that each station has running cold water easy to reach. There is also a large hose with a tricky nozzle on it at the end of the line....don't be on the other side when Ann has it in her hands....my ear did not clear out for two days after receiving a direct hit one day!! The website of course will be the biggest time saver of all, and that I am anxiously awaiting....especially with new farms being added as we speak. Look for Glencairn Citrus, Valle View Apples this next week and Asian Pears the following, and of course the lamb orders are complete, but there is a waiting list and they are bringing in a few extra lambs to see if they make weight. Weeding was done today, but not completed, and is becoming a huge issue in the new greenhouse. Before the weeds were quickly pulled out of the way as I harvested if I missed...unfortunately as great as things are growing...so are the weeds!!! Oh my Lord...do I have weeds!!! Part of the reason is because the field was let go while we were building, than we turned the soil of course bringing them to the surface so hopefully we are cleansing the soil by letting them all germinate....wish me luck. Major growing pains around here...but I see the light at the end of the tunnel...but not right now. Good night. Moonstruck Signing off.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Foggy Greenhouse

I love working outside in the evening. Everything begins to quiet, the temperature this evening was perfect after what had become quite a warm afternoon. It is the perfect time for transplanting. I am moving all the "cold weather" plants from the Greenhouse #1 outside since soon it will be too hot in there for them and that greenhouse needs a major remodel!! So out went tons of Winterbor kale, Beedys Camden Kale, Rainbow Swiss Chard and my favorite surprise crop this year ....celery!! Never dawned on me to grow celery in the desert, but guess what it is doing beautifully and it does not freeze!! Awesome crop. I ended the day by going into the new greenhouse and doing a little weeding...have to finish the weeding tomorrow in order to find the plants to harvest on Thursday!! I had watered a little previous to weeding and so the greenhouse had turned into a foggy day dream with the mixture of the cold water and the warm soil temperatures from the day. Tomorrow along with the weeding the new zippers are going on the back end of the greenhouse...wish me luck with this experiment, but the end needs to be opened up...going to get way too hot in there in the next few days. Molly let me know it was day's end by curling into my lap as I pulled a few last weeds, and looked into my eyes with sleepy eyes begging me to go inside. We went and closed the chickens up for the night and bade the beautiful evening good night. Moonstruck signing off.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Major snafoo in schedule!!

Well as we become busier and busier having my husband's karate classes right after drop off on Thursdays was starting to become a little complicated so we are considering a change and will let you know as soon a we finalize our plans to make things easier, but in the meantime we have run into our first big snafoo. Michael has been assigned jury duty at 12:30 pm of course and that means that he may not make it to class by 4:00 pm and I need to get Meghan, our great brown belt, over to teach!! Of course I am supposed to be at Phelan Community Church until 4:00 so if I don't hear from him the deal is that I have to run out at 3:30 to get Meghan to the community center by 3:45. If I am not there and you have an order to pick up please come and see me up the street at the community center (next to the Senior Center across from Lube N Tune and Storage Center) and I will have your order waiting and there supervising karate class!! Thank you for your understanding with our great growing pains!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Tiller!!

I love my new tiller!!! It does the work of a big tiller without swinging me around the world!! It is a Honda 4 stroke and it starts easy and it digs!!! I worked all the compost piles with it, and then completed the new strawberry bed outside. We plan on constructing a cold frame cover for it to show how our customers can create small growing structures for their winter vegetables. It will be a great addition to the tour here at the farm. The goal eventually is to have the farm be a "learning farm" for the local community and visitors coming to our area. I would love to add canning classes and "how to cut up a chicken" classes. The possibilities are endless and we are looking forward to sharing it all with our customers. The strawberry bed is also the beginning of the future CSA beds. Since funds are always limited the strawberries, asparagus and rhubarb beds are being expanded the old fashion way each year....build a bigger bed and break apart the plants!! Molly saw me shooing the chickens out of herb bed that I just added a bunch of seed to, and boy did she follow my suite...she was on that chicken so fast and it was back in the coop before it knew what happened!! Off to bed early...harvesting chickens at the Bashaws tomorrow...only whole this go around unless I can carve out a few hours to cut. Moonstruck signing off!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How do you tell Daffodils to turn around?

One of our major projects this year was building a raised bed for all the herbs in front of our above ground pool. I needed to move all the herbs out of the old field and so now they have a new home. I added some Daffodil bulbs for some early Spring beauty. They are doing a beautiful job and blooming with the nice weather, but they are facing away from the house and towards the pool side!! I guess they are attracted to the reflection off the blue side. How do you tell Daffodils to turn around so I can enjoy from the kitchen and the tour people can enjoy along their route??? I made Turkey Pot-Au-Feu and thought "Wow, this recipe perfectly exemplifies what to do with winter produce!!" Turnips, rutabagas, carrots and I threw in some parsnips!! I will post it on the old site www.moonstruckfarms.webs.com. By 1:00 today in the greenhouse I had sweat pouring so bad into my eyes I could not see so I called it a "day", ran a few errands and picked up the girls from school. I came in and made an early dinner so I could go back out...and I was so glad....it was wonderful in there, and I got tons of weeding done!! As I was headed out I closed up the chicken door and let the "big dogs" out. Beau, the leader male, came out carrying a "blankie" with that "don't I look cute look on his face". Wolfie, the black male, then jumped on me like a puppy with the "don't you love me look", and then finally our female, very lazy female, came around the corner with a ball in her mouth. You would have to know these dogs well to know what a "con job" this was!!! They had been breaking through the electric fence almost on a daily basis and running the neighborhood until three days ago when it all stopped??? Obviously the new puppy Molly is having an impact on them!! Moonstruck signing out!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow..what a difference from last year

Well we are buying seed by the ounce and by the pound...big difference from last year. 150 feet of snow peas went in today instead of 20 feet like last year....100s of feet of squash, melons and green beans are planned. We have radishes with greens over a foot long!! We have French Breakfast radishes that are over 3 inches long. What a difference the new single layer of polyethylene is making. It is a new product for Conleys too and they said it had improved UV rating. Between that and the increased volume we are seeing incredible differences in production. The test green beans and squash are doing fantastic. Trays are started to go outside as soon as those night temps stay at 40. Meanwhile the onions are growing like crazy though you see a little damage on the initial greens from all the freezes. Dahlia size Zinnias are on their way to go into the ground with sunflowers and lavender will be available again. Basil inside is doing well...putting some outside to harden off to go in with the nice temps coming up. Molly has been working hard herding chickens, and she dug with me in the garden again. As I dug with the hand shovel she dug with her paws and then I started to smooth out the area for planting with my hands so she started using her nose!! It was so cute!! She is so smart!! I can't wait to get the livestock fence up and see her work all the animals!! First row being taken out of production in the old greenhouse this week. We are going to cover crop with barley and Daikon radishes. The Daikons are for a parishioner who is fighting cancer and is having a hard time finding them...our Daikons and prayers are for you Bob. Moonstruck signing out.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thank you and meet Molly.


I must admit yesterday was not one of my best days. I found out that there was a typo made on my paperwork for my cost of share of the greenhouse, and that instead of a check I received a corrected paper to sign. It was harvest day and I harvested in the morning, and then decided to go get a little more for Wrightwood the following morning. Well when I came in and checked my email I found out it was cancelled. I was just a little bummed to say the least, but then I went online and announced that the farm would be open today in addition to Saturday, and guess what they came!! What a pleasant surprise it was to see everyone and be able to get them their orders or have them shop. I was able to give tours and actually harvested more radishes for purchase as we walked along. It was a cold windy day and still everyone came!! Molly entertained everyone with her new found skill...herding the chickens. She saw me shooing them out of the garage a couple of days ago and picked up on it right away at 9 weeks of age, and now is having the time of her life chasing them back towards the coop every time they make their way towards the driveway or the garage. Thank the Lord!! They were starting to chase me out the gate when I go to leave, and I was praying for a windfall so that we could put the livestock fencing up sooner. Of course now we have to teach her to herd them away from the fruit trees where the Daffodils and Freesias are coming up...they ate them all!! The property will be cross fenced giving the animals about 3.5 acres to wander and not eat my flowers or poop on my husband's motorcycle!! It will be woven wire so if you know of a great deal let me know. Thanks again to all that came today and I look forward to tomorrow with the rest of you!! Moonstruck Signing off!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Murphys Law Prevails

Well Murphy's Law prevailed...I did the largest harvest this winter and sold a fair amount in Phelan so I came home and harvested more...did not check my email and sure enough Wrightwood is cancelled. I will be here in the morning with farm open 8-12 Friday for pick ups of preorders or just for your shopping pleasure...but call to check road conditions. Cell: (760) 412-9746 or Farm: (760) 868-4858. The farm will be open Saturday as usual from 8-12 and this time with lots of vegies for sale!! Weather is suppose to clear Saturday so come and see us, buy some vegies, pick up some eggs and see what we are doing here at Moonstruck!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wow, what a week!

The last few days are a total blur...started Wednesday with a little planting, some bok choy, tatsoi, more spinach and of course a sprinkling of radishes and green onions. A market gardener plants in a completely different pattern than most conventional farmers. With the use of high tunnels or greenhouses we maximize each square foot in order to provide a variety of produce to our markets. We repeat plantings on a continuous basis especially of the "cut and come again" crops...some of which can only be cut three or four times before needing replanting. Of course at the same time we are practicing crop rotation to keep our soil healthy and reamending with compost and other natural amendments on a regular basis. Of course for a beginner like me it is a constant learning experience. The new tunnel due to its larger amount of ground space is wonderfully humid, coupling this with the night time temps hitting 40 the spinach, lettuce and arugula are taking off like crazy!! (Sorry more current pictures next time). What a pleasure to see everything ready to cut at 30 days!! We would even have spinach if the critters had not enjoyed every bite, but the new plantings are taking off like wild fire!! I have so much more area to plant still too!! The old greenhouse is being slowly taken out of production and reamended to give it a fresh new start. Green beans are continuing to do well and I can't wait to plant more. Snow peas are going in this weekend, but with some "armor" around them. The last two batches are still getting eaten...email me at moonstruckfarms@verizon.net if you have any ideas on how to secure these delicate yummy plants until they are of reasonable size...then they are not so yummy!! Red torpedo onions arrived Thursday and are going in this weekend too....can't wait to couple these with my spinach...a little spinach, a sprinkle of my fresh bacon I just picked up from the butcher today, the Torpedo red onion and a homemade French dressing...my favorite salad!! We bought a whole pig from the Bashaws and finish price was just around $3.50/pound...great considering bacon alone can run $3.99/pound, and I love having the ham hocks for soup, the fat for lard making, fresh lunchmeat without all the additives (we always have our hams sliced into lunchmeat). Thursday was a big day...my husband who has been training for over seven years received his black belt in Shotokan Karate..I am shocked he did not wear his gi and belt to work...he was so thrilled and it was so well earned. Friday started with the Wrightwood market and news that it will be going to every week on Fridays Outside, and maybe even a change to afternoons....traditionally a Farmers Market is held in the afternoon so that the farmers can harvest and go straight to market...so much better!! Bashaws are working on some numbers to try and provide a 12 week share of poultry, beef and pork to help those out with limited freezer room...email me if you would like to be included in the email trail. Website should be up and running within a month if all goes well...automatic Sold Out information, ease of online ordering, inventory controlled by each farmer, and reports for me!! How nice will that be!!! Finished the day by picking up our pork....oh yeah, I always OD the first couple days it comes in...sausage for breakfast, Italian sausage for spaghetti sauce tomorrow, and pork chops out for Sunday dinner. I had to pull the last turkey (32 pounds) out of the freezer to make room for everything....good thing the rain is coming...perfect for the onions, shallots and garlic outside, and for a turkey cooking day!! Moonstruck signing out!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Not sure where the last week went, but it went. Started the week out with NRCS coming out to certify the high tunnel (greenhouse) and signed the paper for the cost of share. I completed all our costs, which will give NRCS a better idea of the true costs of building the high tunnel. Our study begins immediately to provide them with the information on the benefits of the high tunnel here in the High Desert. Irrigation line in the greenhouse blew, fence became undermined by the rabbits, some fencing fell down, butterfly bushes need to be cut down since they are falling out of the ground since all the snow from the greenhouse fell on them and most of this due to the lovely 8 inches of snow we received, but I am not complaining...just completed the repairs and my husband helped me catch up by helping with the repairs and tilling about 70% of what needed to be tilled. Forgot I locked myself out of the greenhouse Thursday and having to climb through and making a bigger hole in the old greenhouse!! I had to finish harvesting my Moonstruck Salad Mix as shown here....it was harvest and delivery day!! Managed to transplant Beedens kale, Lacinato and Barese Swiss chard for the salad mix interplanting spinach and more radishes along the way. Arugula and spinach (now that the rabbits are not in there) are coming in beautifully along with the Royal Oakleaf lettuce. Along the way while we were tilling 300 shallot starts showed up, nice gift from nature and free of charge!! Red torpedo onion starts should arrive next week....a nice market garden variety that should come in quickly like Spring onions and be ready in about 60 days. Asparagus, strawberry and rhubarb "initial" beds are started and doing well, but this will take years to develop into a large permanent bed. With so much to do and a budget that is already stretched I will leave the asparagus, strawberry and rhubarb expansion to Mother Nature and just expand the beds each year. Chervil, Summer Savory, Winter Savory, German Thyme, Marjoram and Basil are all started inside and hopefully will help complete a beautiful herb garden. Medicinals including Calendula and Nasturiums for a nice addition to the salad mix are in the wings waiting to go in as soon as the weather warms a little more. Today the weather was challenging, but seeing the newly tilled rows completed, and the fence all repaired gave me a great sense of peace, and as I kneeled putting the free of charge shallot starts from Mother Nature into the ground I could see the setting sun just out of the corner my eyes, the sounds of nature around me and the chill of the coming storm in the air, and right then I said to myself "this is why I do this, to feel one with nature, and have the chance to show respect for and enjoy all the gifts that we have been granted, and share it with others, how good it feels". More rows to be completed tomorrow...Moonstruck Signing out!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Well after all the winds and the snow this weekend I am ready for a little rest...but nonetheless things are always hopping around here and there is more snow on the way...time to figure out a better way to pull the snow off. Some market gardeners are using a smooth nylon rope with one person on each side and pull away the snow...have to try this one! NRCS/USDA comes out on Tuesday to certify so it better be standing!! In the meantime I went to check on things and almost every last radish had a bite out of it and a grouping of kale I had just transplanted had all the tops eaten off...critter! I put my electric trap out and got him...criminal apprehended and sentenced to death!! Sorry for those with a heart for all of God's creatures, but these guys are relentless and if I extinguish them I usually get a rest for a few months until another one finds a weak spot in my security. This is the worse time of year because there is not a lot to eat out and everybody is coming out hungry from a winter's rest!! Yes even with snow on the way everything is saying SPRING! The chives are a few inches tall already. The onions are filling out nicely. The trees have buds. The lilacs are ready to bloom and the lettuce planted OUTSIDE is even germinating...proof that ground temps are up!! Boy, it sure did not feel like it today walking in 40 degree weather with windchill, but then I went in the greenhouse and watered and the back end turned into a fog bank from all the steam coming off the beds...yahoo!! I love it....as soon as the night time temps creep up a bit everything will take off!! Off to a good night's sleep...Moonstruck Signing out!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Humid!!



Today was the first time that the Greenhouse #2 was closed up completely and it was about 40 degrees outside, but not inside. I have not set up a temperature/humidity gauge yet, but I was soaked to the bone and covered in dirt....and a very happy girl to get a few more rows built and planted!! New irrigation goes in tomorrow with the help of my husband and there is one bed built with beams still in there that is going to be moved out for a permanent strawberry bed outside. It will be easy to cover with a mini hoop house!! Herbs are coming up inside including basil, German thyme, Chervil and Lemongrass! Peppers, tomatoes, okra and Golden squash are started. The new greenhouse with its large amount of volume will create more heat increasing ground temperatures for earlier planting, but not sure how much frost protection...will it be the same as the double layer...soon to be answered!! Beets, radishes and green onions are being squeezed in between all the large kale, collards and Swiss Chard plants. Chives are popping up, which is a sure sign that Spring is on its way! Moonstruck signing off...thanks for all the new contacts lately...looking forward to seeing you all at the farm!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Anyone seen Toto!!


Well not the greatest picture, but the blurriness represents the scene from last night. I could have sworn I was turning into Dorothy!! We had microbursts at "I don't want to know mph" and I swore I saw a water spout and definitely heard one!! It started as soon as night fall happened, and continued until about midnight. The greenhouse is standing, and the wiggle wire all held!!! Though I am pretty sure it is leaning a little to the North now!! One poor chicken decided to hide when we closed up last night so she spent the night outdoors!! She is still soaked to the bone, but fine. I love those Buff Orpingtons they are great winter birds....don't like it when the temperatures get above 90 or so, but they are so hardy through the worse of weather...as she found out unfortunately last night!! It is freezing outside...my ears still hurt from checking on things and feeding so I am going to start some more trays inside until the "freeze" lifts out of the air and the greenhouses warms up a bit. Hopefully tonight will be a little quieter...sleep would be nice...Moonstruck signing off!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wind!!!!!!!!!!!!


I knew the storm was coming, but it was snow I was worried about...not wind!! The new greenhouse received its first true test and the back end failed....pulled the anchors right out of the ground and with 80 mph gusts there was nothing I could do by myself so I had to call the husband home for an early lunch break and all he said was "are you sure you want to be a farmer?". I just smiled and he proceeded to re-anchor the entire end of the greenhouse with him and me holding the end down with all we had. At some points he had me lean against the plastic to get it out of the way of the sledge hammer, and it bounced me off quite successfully more than once! So far so good...it is holding...of course I do say a prayer every time I head out to check it. The good news is the new Wiggle wire that we were worried about is holding great!! Very cool invention somebody thought of out there...thank you whoever you are! After securing the greenhouse I went ahead and went back inside to finish Spring cleaning the office, garage and basement. The basement is going to have a "Cool Room" added for storage so stuff had to go, and the office, well lets just say I needed to be able to see the top of my desk! The garage has shelving installed for all that was in the greenhouse, and the greenhouses are maximized for growing. Added almost 8 sf to #1 greenhouse at each row equally another 24 sf!! That is a lot of carrots! The carrots are successfully germinating along with some beautiful cherry belle radishes and lots of purple radishes went in! Off I go to finish the taxes and then I am free to play outside all I want....okay Spring and Summer I am ready!! Moonstruck signing off!!