Sunday, November 15, 2015

Flowers and Fruits of November --in Minnesota!

After the most perfect summer I can remember, we are being blessed with  the most amazing, warm. enduring fall. This morning I took flower photos from around the  farm...not the most impressive until you realize it is mid-November and we have not had a hard frost yet, so these are mostly very geriatric blooms! 
Usually by this time of year it is white and gray and brown out --these patches of color are intoxicating. The weather has done wonders for my usual fall depression, but afraid it hasn't helped me motivate to put plastic on the windows and hang Christmas lights (today, maybe!)

A volunteer marigold from seed that blew into the pasture from the aquaponics towers.
Dandelion seedhead in the walking onions.

The honeysuckle vine is blooming halfway up the  windmill.
Brussels sprouts awaiting Thanksgiving dinner.

 The early-bearing raspberries are confused.

A patch of peas self-sowed and are blossoming. I am contemplating  digging them up and putting them in a big pot in the greenhouse.
The bottle tree, with the peace dove silhouetted, looked especially beautiful backlit against the morning sun. Sending up a little prayer for  Paris, Lebanon and Syria.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Big Time!

Ta dah! Introducing our new bread label and packaging!  If you come to the Peoples' Food Co-op in search of our bread (and we sure hope you do), this is the label design to look for!
 Not every bakery has bread packagers dressed so spiffy!  Our baker-partner, Chris Aldis, baked this afternoon, the label stock arrived by UPS at 5 p.m.  and  Rog and I  got the labels printed for today's loaves  after he got off work tonight. He couldn't wait to even change out of his architecture duds to package the bread.
Chris baked his delicious Pain au Levain and his amazing Forbidden Honey breads this afternoon.  I have  Finnish Cardamom Braid dough rising to bake early in the morning - all will be at the co-op tomorrow morning. We will be sampling the breads  at the co-op's Holiday Open House  from 5-8p.m.
A huge thank you to Kari Dunn, talented graphic designer who brought our labels to fruition!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Bit Fishy

We ("we" meaning "Rog") harvested the tilapia from the aquaponics fish gazebo pond today. Being tropical fish, they cannot survive water temps below 48 degrees, and it is getting cold now, so their days were numbered. Rog hasn't been fishing since we moved to the farm, 7 years ago. Until today!
First, he had to empty out some dried corn somebody had stashed in the feet of his hip waders.
Rog used a seine  net to corral the fish in a section of the pond.
Once caught in the seine, the tilapia were scooped up in a fish net (the one I use to catch errant chickens) and flipped them into a big bucket.
The catch today was 29 tilapia and a couple of koi that were caught-and-released.  There are still a few sneaky tilapia in there to be caught tomorrow.
They are so pretty, and not so big. I am sad about harvesting them.
Rog cleaned all the fish. A little  bit of blood and guts  to celebrate Halloween. 
I know they will taste delicious, but I wish we could keep them in the pond as pets.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


After morning chores and a delicious breakfast from the garden (potatoes,chard, onions peppers) I  took a walk around the farm with my camera. It has been too long!
It was a gray, drizzly day, making for muted yet saturated colors.
I am about  a third of the way through cleaning out the garden. Until last Wednesday, this was the tomato patch.
The greens (and purples) patch is still providing us with  kale, chard, celery, salad greens and  walking onions.
Gordita the scarecrow looks a bit faded and rather somber about approaching winter. That's exactly  how I feel.

A few flowers are still blooming -- ageratum by the farm store,
gaillardia out by the pond,
and black-eyed susans in the wildflowers strewn along the septic mound.
A dose of blue from the bottle tree.
Seeds from the blackberry lilies.
Wild cranberries by the garage.
A few straggling leaves remain on the serviceberries by the garage.
Hydrangeas and the trellis I made last year in the welding class.
Ducks squeezing in as many baths as possible before winter freezes the  pool.
Many of the hens are in moult right now, but these two look pretty good. Egg production is way down with the shorter days; today I only got 3 eggs.
One of the crazy color combo chickens that were Speckles' chicks last summer.
The guinea keets zooming past. When they pause and stretch up their necks to peer around, they look like a family of meerkats.
The cows are getting their fuzzy winter coats, and they are eating a lot more, which means mostly hay, since the grass is pretty much done.
Zinnie has extreme patience with Mojo, and I am so grateful for her  helping to wear off his boundless energy.
Zinnie hunting in the pampas grass.
She found a stash of eggs.
The pond has been very low and green since September, but the water  has risen a bit with the drizzle of rain the past couple days. It is not a very impressive pond, but makes me happy to have a successful tadpole hatchery. We had an abundance of young toads and frogs last summer!
 My walks always  turn into mental "To Do" checklists.  Must get the canopy off the  gazebo, put away lawn furniture and potted plants, mulch leaves, clean adn fill all teh birdfeeders, wash and cover windows with plastic film...
prune back hops vine, mow, weed, set up store for holiday fair, hang  xmas lights, make wreaths...
clear out stuff in garage stall to move the Willys truck and lawnmower in, tune up snowblower, deep clean chicken coop, spread compost on garden, shovel manure from loafing shed, extract honey from the frames, get another load of hay, harvest tilapia in aquaponics pond...
Fingers are crossed for a warm weekend to get some of this accomplished!