Thursday, February 21, 2019

BGF News - February 2019-Vol. XLI, No.4

Just another day in the snow zone

What’s up on the farm?

Hoarfrost at dawn
Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 18"
                                                             Freezing Rain/Sleet: 1"

What a winter we've had so far! Very high snow totals and lower than average temperatures have made it feel like the farm has taken an extended scenic drive to Minnesota instead of being firmly planted in southern Iowa. And though much of it has been very "scenic" the charm has worn rather thin. Don't get me wrong, we're not ready for spring yet...but if the rest of winter could be a little less winter-y, we wouldn't complain.
Close the door, it's chilly out there!

In conditions like we've had recently, daily chores take up much more of our time. Trying to keep everyone on the farm warm, well-fed and watered is a challenge. When the temperatures don't get above the teens, eggs have to be gathered every 2 hours or so or they may freeze.  Water, hay and feed are hauled by sled, which isn't quite as much fun as it sounds. Just getting dressed in all the layers necessary to go out in such weather is an investment in time and patience, and doing it every couple of hours gets a bit tiresome. But all whining aside, this is winter on a farm and it could always be worse!  

So besides plowing snow and doing chores, what have we been up to this month? Well, the seed orders have all arrived and been sorted and stored. We start sowing some of those later this week, beginning with onions, leeks, shallots, edible flowers and some slow-starting herbs.  But before we start planting, we have to know how much of each crop we need, so hours are spent at the computer mapping out all of the garden plots on the farm. Since many of the fields are different sizes, the location will determine how many of each crop and variety we plant. It takes a lot of organizational time to put the whole plan together but we've gotten better at it over the years. We're also researching and attending farm-associated meetings to try and learn to do all the things better and more efficiently. 

Lots of fiber work happens at this time of year as well, with the bulk of our inventory created over the winter months. Dyeing, preparing, spinning and washing fibers and yarns adds some much appreciated color to our indoor hours.  So as you can see, we're not likely to get bored anytime soon!

Join us for our 2019 Veggie Adventure!
CSA signups for the 2019 season have begun and are now open to everyone! Regardless if you are a veteran member of the CSA or you are ready to join us for the first time, now is your chance!  If you want more information, check out the CSA page on our website here: Blue Gate Farm . Ready to climb on board? The signup form is quick and easy and you can find it here: 2019 CSA Signup Form. Questions? Shoot us an email at

If you can't wait until spring for farm-fresh products, we continue to do our VegEmail deliveries all winter long. Every 2 weeks you can order from our list of available products and we will deliver them to Des Moines, Knoxville or you can pick them up on the farm. Eggs, fresh produce, stewing hens, popcorn and herbs all rotate through our availability list until the start of the farmers market season. If you want to receive the VegEmail announcements, just fill out the form here: Mailing List and be sure to indicate which delivery location you prefer.

Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.

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 Luci & Indigo)