Friday, June 29, 2012

96 Degrees In the Shade (If You're Lucky)

Have you ever lain on a vent?

I mean have you ever really lain on a vent?  Bliss.

 You should see our air filter.  Unbelievable.  No wonder I have to do a Neti Pot every single day right now.  Thurgood Morsel loves to lie on an air vent at every opportunity during the summer.  He lies on the vent in the living room all day, and he lies on the vent in our bedroom every night.  He steers clear of all vents in the winter when they blow warm air (We try to keep it cool for the boys in the winter.  I have to don a hat, scarf, and fleece the whole season just to survive our house.  I like to look on the bright side and think about all money saved on heating bills.  Unfortunatley, all that "saved" money is cancelled out by our central air usage).  St. Bernards were not made for the South.  

My nasal passages are so clogged-up that I have almost completely lost my sense of smell.  I used to think that people who complained about their "allergies" were hypochondriacs.  I didn't believe that allergies were actually a real thing.   Now I think that I'm allergic to pollen and dogs.  How does a dog-lovin' farmer go on?  Suck it up and quit your damn complaining!  Shut your pie hole!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Miles Monday: Meet Our Littlest Monster

I first noticed Miles' hidden talent when the two of us were browsing the shelves at a dog-friendly independent video rental shop.  A woman walked up to me and asked with sincere concern, "What's wrong with him?"  I looked down, and Miles was resting comfortably on the cool floor in the position pictured above.  

Extreme flexibility is just one of the many unique traits Miles possesses.  Listed below are a few more things about our beautiful beast that you might not know. 

Name:  Miles Styles Giles

Aliases:  "Moe-My Gaddafi: The Fresh-Maker, The Dictator, The Brother-Hater,"  "Old Shuffle-Step," "Inspector Miles"

Sex:  Neutered Male

Weight: 125 lbs.

Height:  Just Tall Enough to Eat Off the Kitchen Table

Birthdate:  January 19, 2009

Hometown:  Columbia, MO

Titles:  2009 Mid-Missouri Pet Idol, Fat Bear Farm Quality Control Supervisor

Dislikes:  Puppy Mills, Thurgood Morsel, Strangers, Baths

Food:  Sweet Potatoes, Yogurt, Eggs, Juice from the Tuna Can, Pizza Bones, Homemade Treats

Films:  Beethoven, Beethoven's Second

Interests:  Whatever Mommy's Up To

Hobbies:  Running My Crazies in the Backyard, Hiking, Chewing Bones, Contortion, Fetch, Dress-up

Personality Traits:   Protective, Fiercely Loyal 

As you can see, Miles is talented, handsome, intelligent, and dedicated to his pack.  I couldn't ask for a better pet.  So, if you're thinking about adding a little critter to your family, consider a rescue pup.  If Miles Giles hasn't done enough to convince you of the treasures that await you in your local animal shelter, take a look at the information below:

About 5 million to 7 million dogs and cats end up in animal shelters every year in this country.

Approximately 3 million to 4 million of these animals are euthanized every year.

If you're interested in a specific breed, a shelter just might have what you're looking for.  Twenty-five percent of dogs in shelters are purebred.

You can be a hero if you opt to adopt!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

To My Former Favorite Neighbor

Although you are no longer my neighbor, you remain my favorite.
Remember when I used to sneak into your yard and dig up your perennials?  Well, they are thriving all over the farm.  So, thank you for turning a blind eye to my thieving ways.

The Black-Eyed Susan will bloom any day now.

I've never had such beautiful Coneflowers before.

This Bee Balm makes me smile.

In addition to the perennials growing beside the high tunnel, your Irises bloomed beautifully this spring, your cleome re-seeded enthusiastically, the peonies will probably flower next spring for the first time, and the willow tree you gave us is thriving.  

Memory Lane misses you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bring On The Black And Blue!

No, I do not want a punch in the face. 
However, I am so ready for some black and blueberries.  As of today, the blackberries are red, and the blueberries are green going to pink.

Blackberry trellises

Though the blueberries bloomed a few weeks early this year, survived some frost scares and look fantastic, I still don't think they'll ripen much earlier than last year.  We must wait until early July.


It's hard not to be impatient.  Look at all these berries! 

As for the strawberries, it's nearly time to say "goodbye," until the fall.  Some of the high tunnel plants are still pumping out a few plump ones, but I'll soon renovate the beds.  Thanks to freezing and fermentation, we will be able to enjoy them all year long.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Kitchen Garden Exists

Yes, we do have a kitchen garden this year.  Thanks to my lovely Ben, I had the day off.  So, I finally had some free time to take a few photos of my favorite garden spot.

Nasturtium, Borage, Hops

Beans, Carrots, Peppers, Corn

The Pumpkin Patch, Wineberries on the right


The birds have helped themselves to the first ripe wineberries.

Winter Squash

Sweet Corn


Golden Zucchini


Scarlet Runner Bean

Provider Snap Bush Bean

This is a complete list of the items growing in the kitchen garden at the moment:

Christmas Lima
Scarlet Runner
Black Eyed Peas
Provider Snap Bush Bean
Beurre De Roquencourt Wax Bush Bean


Golden Zucchini
Queens Island Blue
Young's Beauty Pumpkin
Dill's Atlantic Giant
Long Island Cheese
Australian Butter

Golden Honey Watermelon
Amish Melon

Hot Portugal
Wisconsin Lakes Red Bell
Orange Bell
Early Jalapeno
Red Ruffled Pimiento

Imperial Black Beauty
Ping Tung Long

Scarlet Nantes
Purple Haze

Sweet Basil
Italian Large Leaf

The Others
True Gold Sweet Corn
Giant Ground Cherry


Tomatoes and beets are noticeably missing from this list.  We have planted 125 tomatoes so far, and they are located in our newest production field with the beets and other crops. 

Now that we are growing the bulk of our vegetables behind the blueberry orchard, we have a lot more space to play with in the kitchen garden.  I'm super-pumped about the pumpkin (and melon/winter squash) patch.  I can't wait for the sea of green that is to come.  I'm sure the hens are excited about all the squash bugs I'll be collecting for them!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In Summary

We've been working several new plots behind the blueberry orchard.
This is the current state of things:

Sweet Potatoes, Beets, Beans, Tomatoes

Day Neutral Strawberries, Tomatoes

Castor Bean (Toxic to humans and detested by gophers!)


Yellow Pear Tomato

Overall, the berries and veggies are happy and healthy.  I couldn't be more pleased.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Staving Off the Vampires

We last planted garlic seed just a little under nine months ago.  We planted both seed we had saved from the previous season's harvest and some seed we had purchased from The Organic Garlic Seed Farm.  In total, we put seven different varieties in the ground:  "Chesnok Red," "Elephant," "Music," "Mother of Pearl," "Purple Glazier," "Persian Star," and "Georgian Fire."  The "Georgian Fire" and "Elephant" garlic were the varieties planted from seed we had saved.

All fared well, except for the "Music."  I think they succumbed to the resident ground hog's abundant holes.  I shed no tears.  I learned a long time ago that it's always a good idea to plant some to share with Mother Nature.

Garlic is such a joy to grow.  Sure, it's a heavy feeder and takes the length of an normal human pregnancy to reach maturity, but the investment of nourishment and time are well worth it.  The manure and mulch do most of the work, and the seed becomes stronger as it acclimatizes to it's new home in your garden.

Garlic is so much fun to harvest.  Quite a departure from the monotony of the everyday asparagus harvest or the tedium of picking any sort of berry.

We decided to hang the garlic under the car port to dry this year.  The Elephant garlic will hang for a month, and the rest for two weeks.  We'll be saving almost all of it for seed.  In addition to the seven varieties mentioned above, we'll also sow several pounds of "Kettle River Giant" this fall.

We should be safe from all those pale-faced, suspiciously attractive, well-dressed creatures of the night for the next month at least.