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 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 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 me at 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 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 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 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 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 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!