Monthly archives "February 2011"

the land

With the warmth, then cold, then snow, our land had developed a crust of snow which makes it possible to float above the 2 feet or so out there. Finally we were able to trudge out further than the hoophouse, and observe the beauty of this land we call LTD Farm. “Living the Dream”….that’s what we are doing out here, and gearing up for, planning and doing, not just dreaming. Andrew and I have spent hours pouring over our lists of what seeds we have, when to plant each one, whether to direct seed it in the soil, or when we start it in the grow room.

March will be a crazy month, and April even more so. We have to prepare our garden space from raw land, covered with 20 years of unadulterated natural growth- brambles, young aspens, weeds of all kinds. This alone is rather daunting, as we sit huddled next to the woodstove. But we’ll do it, and we will have the vegetables, some started indoors months before, ready to stick in the fertile soil.

Today, wandering out onto our land, it is hard to describe the feeling of responsibilty and possibility. The sun was bright on my face, the wind subzero, the dogs following in my footsteps and racing around like it is May already. I had triple mittens on, so my hands were warm- this seems to be the best way to defeat cold- have warm hands, and a warm heart. Thank you to those who have signed up for a CSA share from our farm already! Your vote of confidence and support means the world to us as we begin the season ahead. Thank you!

Our summer Chicken Shares are sold out, and we are beginning to fill orders for the fall batch. It is with much gratitude we acknowledge all the customers who are taking part of harvesting the meat they eat, meat which had a beautiful life and peaceful end here at LTD.

turkey- in the summer?

Last spring at the old LTD Farm location in osceola, I raised a handful of turkeys for summer eatin’. Even though many people eat sliced turkey breast on sandwiches year round, most don’t ever think of roasting a whole bird, except for Thanksgiving. We think you should!

oh summer turkeys!

Andrew and I love raising turkeys. They are calm, inquisitive, beautiful, majestic and entertaining. They thrive free-ranging on pasture, and are easy to make happy. Turkeys provide an incredible bounty of delicious, tender, lean meat, as well as amazingly tasty bones to make nutrient dense broth from. Summer turkeys are very lean, as they don’t pack on the fat like Thanksgiving birds, since they aren’t exposed to cool fall weather. These birds graze and forage during the height of the growing season….weeds, grass, vegetables, fruits, bugs are all part of their diet.

mini turkeys, called poults. Tiny as baby chicks when they hatch, but they reach 20 lbs in four months

So, we have our order of turkey poults coming next month, to be raised this spring and summer, and then harvested in July. Many are reserved already, but for the rest of the birds are available first come first serve. See our “Farm Products” info tab (above) for details.

come learn about the meat you eat when we harvest turkeys this July.

ready to run

Winter is slowly giving way to spring. One step forward, two steps back. A few days ago the temperature was in the high 40s, and the snow began to melt and form icy trickles everywhere. The ducks were happy to snarfle in the water, while we slipped and slid over the newly unfrozenĀ  mud. We piled up a large mound of thoroughly manure-inundated bedding hay in the hoophouse and left it to compost, and it heated up very quickly. So much so that it was steaming hugely and we had to disperse it because it was emitting too much ammonia…perhaps we will have to try that again when the ducks and pigs aren’t living there 24 hours a day. Either that or move it outside.

The winter cold has taken over again and everything is frozen, only now the paths are pure ice and we take care not to fall and break our skulls as we do chores morning and night. The full moon last night cast a majestic glow over the white farmland, and this morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast of hashbrowns and duck eggs fried in Roxy lard with toasted bagels and homemade butter.

Cabin fever is slightly dissipated as our farm business slowly wakes up from its winter hibernation. Seedlings are being planted in our grow room, and hand tools are being dusted off to begin their active life here on the farm. We have some work to do mapping out our first permaculture plantings, and chicken tractors are being assembled.We’re trying to find our taps so when the maple trees start to run we’ll be ready.

Here’s hoping for a mild and sunny March!

seeds and spring

All of the beings at LTD are going a bit stir crazy. One day it is 25 out, the ducks are running around in the snow outside their hoophouse, the goats wander a bit further into the paddock, instead of huddling around the shed. Then BAMMMM, it is negative 10 degrees outside, and once again, we all retreat to the snuggness and comfort of our respective enclosures. Official stir-craziness has set in. At least the days are getting longer and it is still light out at 5:00 pm!

Our ducks continue to let us know spring is coming…they are laying eggs and remaining contended and happy. The pigs have seriously put on at least 100 lbs since we moved them into the hoophouse a couple months back. We can’t wait for everyone to be playing outdoors as much as they want, to see the pigs rooting in the fresh soil. Inside the hoophouse, it is noticeably warmer, very sunny and cozy. But being outdoors, once spring really comes, will be a relief for all of us.

Right now, we run from the house down the snow paths, to the various animals’ homes, with heavy buckets of water and feed. We’re known for bundling up in snowpants to just sit there, watching the pigs cavort, observe the interactions of the ducks like scientists, or mingle with the goaties in the snug shed. Andrew and I are very proud of all the work we did last fall, getting everything set up properly for the animals, and to sit and see this be the case is the ultimate reward, so very extremely satisfying. We’re honored that the ducks are blessing us with eggs so early in the season, one more indicator that we have taken supreme care of their needs. Yeah!

The only sane way to pass days in the country, when it is this freekin’ cold out, after chores, is to spend hours mapping and planning and scheduling all the gardening activities. We are growing ALOT of plants. Our garden is going to be 100×200, on a slight slope facing east. Following permaculture methods, we’re installing berms and swales to help with water rentention, and prevent erosion, but also to lift the plants out of the heavy clay to prevent waterlogging. We have made detailed maps of everything, when seeds go in, where and what follows each harvest. Some beds will go into cover crop first, then vegetables planted in when the soil warms. Some beds will have the cool weather crops, followed by different plant family crops, then cover crops in the fall. There are 58 beds mapped out. This is like playing dollhouse on paper. If you’re a garden-nerd like us, you know what we mean!

There are 6 kinds of tomatoes, 7 kinds of lettuce, napa cabbge, golden beets, cylindra beets, 4 kinds of radish, 3 kinds of summer squash, snow peas, sugar snap peas, green beans, beans for drying, sweet corn, ornamental dent corn for drying, arugula, 2 kinds of luscious chard, mache/corn salad, potatoes, onions, leeks, turnips, spinach, scallions, cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, amaranth, hot peppers, parsley, broccoli, winter squash, lemony sorrel, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower- purple and white, okra, sweet peppers, collards, two kinds of beautiful kale, chard, cilantro, lovage, dill, basil, nasturtiums, celeriac, kohlrabi, pea shoots, and lastly sea kale and belgian endive are our two experiments……

We’ll also be putting in stands of hazelnuts and some pear trees this season as well as building our barn, workshop pavillion and putting up more paddocks for the pigs, goats, ducks, turkeys, broiler chickens, and maybe even a cow.

There are 2 big news items: We’re getting married this summer! Khaiti is also leaving her day job. Now we’ll be able to focus all our energy of the farm, 100%. We’re going to be in a hardworkers’ paradise, together, seeing and being responsible for all that we succeed in and learning from any failures that are bound to come our way on the road of farming small scale.