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!!