Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Jill and I just went and saw a talk by Wes Jackson of the Land Institute. Very interesting -- he talked a lot about how when we think of cool local agriculture, we are thinking about the cool farmers who are growing vegetables and fruits. He thinks that's totally great but the problem is that 68 percent of our agriculture is devoted to grains and it is mostly in the midwest where there is not a lot of opportunity to grow lots of veg. So while he is completely in support of the current trend in local agriculture he wants to also focus on overhauling the way we grow grains, primarily by breeding (not using genetic modification) perennial versions of our staples (primarily wheat, which seems the easiest). These perennials will have longer roots, thus less erosion and water run off anbd less need to fetilize. basically he would recreate the prairies, but with grasses that produce seeds in bulk that we could eat.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Started a new tradition : Easter carrot delivery. Yesterday I dug all the carrots we'd overwintered in the ground under straw. about half were rotty and gross but the rest were perfect, probably about 80 pounds in all. As it was a nice day I loaded some up into my bike chariot and biked little bundles of carrots to all the neighbors. People were delighted to get sweet garden fresh carrots in April. Gene and Kathy Garthe were so appreciative that before I knew it I had a plate of Easter ham and homemade raspberry sauce in front of me. Delicious.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Old ones

Went to visit Grandpa Fiebing a couple of days ago. He wanted to know all about what we are doing at his farm but also was anxious for me to make sure all the tractors start. I did get the bulldozer running and moved a ton of compost to right in front of the hoophouse in about 5 minutes. At the dining table next to us an old man over heard our conversation. As we got up to go he stopped me and asked about the farm and a little about my background. "I never thought I'd meet a young farmer!" he exclaimed.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Sunday promises to be one of the most important days on the farm yet. That's when we pull the plastic layers over the hoop house frame and turn it from a bunch of metal bones into a warm microclimate perfect for planting even in the cold north. The sheeting goes on in two layers and a fan blows air between then, inflating the whole thing and making an insulative pocket of air. This modern technology will allow us to have plenty of produce by may and (crossing my fingers) tomatoes by the fourth of July.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lots of seeds poking up

Even little tiny tomatoes are starting to poke up from the seed trays. Jill's cat Stella has displayed curiosity in green leafy things and I worried that she might start grazing on the seedlings. Using some old window screens I was able to construct a barrier around all the seeds that lets in plenty of light but it too tall for her to jump over. Plants protected.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Used Pickup truck

The 1980 Dodge Pickup truck that I might buy is the right price. It's got beautiful black side paneling and classic chrome lines. But the battery is dead. And the muffler is rusted off. And the exhaust pipe is rusted through. There are no brakes, but fortunately, there is no accelerator pad. The fuel tank leaks. And the points need to be retuned, whatever that means. The engine is in good shape, but we couldn't get the crank shaft to turn over.

I'll think on it.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Our produce, if left uneaten usually returns to the earth as fresh compost, perfect for little microorganisms and young seeds. If only all food behaved the same. Apparently a Happy Meal, like a diamond, is forever.


One year old. And still as disgusting as ever.

Seed starting early

Seed starting has begun. Tomatoes, kholrabi, cauliflower, broccoli raab, onions, spinach, chard. More things soon. The weather is so nice it makes me want to start a few peas and some greens outside. I'll probably do that on Monday. Tuesday our first batch of chickens arrive.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Country Living

Coming home late at night to your cottage in the woods to find your power off but the neighbors power on.

Going out in the dark with a flashlight to see if the main breaker is tripped or a power line is down and hearing a pack of coyotes howling and wipping at the end of the driveway.

Running back inside to flee the coyotes... only to have all the power come back on just as you enter the cottage.

Jill and I slept lightly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This year Jill and I moved up on March 6th to open the farm. There is already less snow than there was last year in April. Today it is 50 degrees and sunny out. We can't quite get the car in the driveway (too muddy) but I bet we'll be driving in before the week is out. The cottage made it through the winter in fine shape. One of the most exciting things to find was the bushel of potatoes I left down in the cellar. They've sat there in the cold and dark since we dug them in October. They look as though they were dug yesterday. Potato leek soup please!

The next bit of discovery will be out at the farm. Abra and I left a row of carrots in the ground to see how they would over winter. The ground is still too frozen to dig them up though. Down in our garden there is already some seemingly indestructible claytonia poking through.

Season 2 -- Reboot

Hello everyone. I just got back to the farm for the 2010 season. One of our goals is to keep the blog and yes, twitter, up and running. Please look here for REGULAR updates. if they stop coming, please browbeat me.