Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grab Your Flappables Mabel...

...storms a'comin'!
Who knew when I uttered these words to a friend (not Mabel) recently how true it was.
Last week while doing electrical work in the new barn, Sean fell off a ladder and got to make a late night visit to the local ER, then an ambulance ride to the regional trauma center, followed by a couple of days in the hospital. He is home now sporting a fancy new broken arm and fractured pelvis.

The day after he returned home a big storm rolled through Iowa bringing with it the first severe weather of the season. We skipped the tornado this time around, but did get some golf ball sized hail. Lots of wind and hail damage in our area, but we just had minor cosmetic damage to the vehicles and ruined outer high tunnel  covers...nothing that requires immediate attention.

Sheesh, enough excitement (storms) already!

We've been so lucky to have such great support from my parents, Sean's brother, Paul, and our field crew who are all keeping the farm on schedule. Not to mention, friends who have sent messages, come to visit with Sean so I could do off-farm errands, help us figure out logistics, drop off meals and even loan us a TV, as ours had died. We would be so much worse off without all of them.

Unflappable...that is the new goal. Take it one day at a time, simplify what we can and handle whatever each new day brings. We can do this.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

BGF News 3/2012

 Just realized that I never posted the March newsletter, an actual update to follow shortly...

Blue Gate Farm News    March 2012

Weather notes:
Precipitation last month:  Rain .75”
Snow 1.0”
What’s up on the farm?
Happy Spring to you all! And what a spring it has been so far! The fruit trees are all blooming (three weeks ahead of schedule) and the air is heavy with their scent and the buzzing of the bees harvesting their pollen and nectar.  This past Sunday as I sat with my grandfather and great-uncle, both in their mid-nineties, they were discussing how neither of them could remember ever experiencing a spring like this - they just couldn’t wrap their heads around this weather.  That certainly offers a bit of perspective.  While we are absolutely enjoying the pleasure of working in the unseasonably mild conditions, it is hard not to wonder what the weather will bring for the growing season.  Ah well, we’ll try to just take each day as it comes (all the while, planning like mad people).

The travel time of the year has now past but we certainly enjoyed our conference trips this winter.  The Midwest Organic conference in Wisconsin was quite the experience.  More than 3,300 people from all over the country converged in La Crosse for hours of workshops, trade shows and networking.  It is reputed to be the largest conference of its kind in the world and it certainly lived up to its billing this year.

The transplant/gardening season began in full over the past four weeks.  The onion transplants have already moved out to harden off in the high tunnel and to make room for the flats of herbs, cabbages, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and edible flower in the sunroom.  It’s not quite a jungle in there yet, but it will be soon enough.  The high tunnel beds are sown and all the crops are up and doing nicely.  The early spring has allowed us to get a jump on the field work as well.  The majority of the garden plots are tilled and the peas, spinach, beets, head lettuce and mustard are all sown.  The fall-planted garlic is all up and looking like it usually does in mid-April and we have already seen (and tasted) the first asparagus of the season.  The fruit trees and raspberries are all pruned and the asparagus and part of the prairie ground burned (on purpose).  What a spring!

Blue and Luci are enjoying the mild weather and now with the windows open at night, we can hear their regular warnings to the packs of coyotes that have been in the areas to the north and south of the farm.  They are very dedicated to this task and it sometimes wears a bit thin late at night, but is appreciated and important nonetheless.

The chickens are appreciating the warmer weather, and the recent flush of rigorous green growth in their pasture.  The egg production which had remained fairly strong over the winter has really kicked into high gear and we are now getting 150-160 eggs a day.  That is a LOT of eggs!  And with the fresh forage available, the yolks are back to their beautiful deep golden color.

Progress on the barn continues.  The main section of floor was poured this month after we finish the drainage plumbing.  We may not be entirely finished by the start of the produce season, but we will certainly be close.  It is so exciting to plan how we will use all this new space!

2012 CSA Season
Deposits ($50) are due ASAP.  In early April all members will be e-mailed a statement listing current charges and any payments made to date.  Balance payments will be due on May 1st.  We anticipate the first delivery of the 2012 season to be the first week of June, weather-depending.

That’s about it this month, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)