The Goings On – November 2022

As the leaves change hues, the wind wakes from her Summer slumber blowing them to the ground. There they find their purpose. Their fall gives life to innumerable microorganisms and insects over the next few months. This is what we’ve witnessed over the last 31 days. Although they have been unbelievably chaotic, this is the way of the farmer.

Planting

Immersing my hands wrist deep in the very elements I am created from brings me a unique tranquility. As I prepare each furrow to receive seed, my mouth naturally forms a smile as I think of my Creator using this soil to craft the first man. The life-giving gift of soil, the blessing to grow – He wanted me to understand the gratification. I do.

October was an exhaustive month of planting. On this, the tenth month, we planted Collards, Kale, Carrots, Fennel, Mizuna, and Lettuce, to name a few. Of these, we are the most eager to harvest Carrots & Kale. These are the choice vegetables of our family. We appreciate their versatility. Carrots may be eaten fresh or cooked, may be shredded into fresh a salad, or baked into an appetizing dessert. Kale is much to the same tune.

Garlic found its place just yesterday. As the many moons circle our great blue ball floating in space, these cloves will secretly spawn something amazing, aromatic, and flavorful just beneath the surface. In just eight moons all secrets will be exposed.

It is a rewarding feeling to attain our planting goals. We take the victory with hands held high and humbled hearts. But rest not, there’s more yet.

Mating Season

Life begets life. That is a fact we have come to appreciate as growers. Expanding our growing knowledge and skill past plants to our farm animals has been enlightening! As our chicken flock has grown, there is a sense of pride as we observe paternal and maternal traits rise to the surface. I think, “I know who your mama is!”

Now we are expanding that love and care into our rabbits. Our rabbits are our babies and they are truly a part of our farm family. We obtained them to eventually breed although in the meantime we have appreciated the donations they readily make to our compost. We have mated our Giant Chinchillas (Sonny & Cher) to each other and our Dwarf Angora to our Lionhead/Angora mix (Domino & Sweet Pea). All signs point to kindling in our near future. In fact, by the time our next blog post is done (December), we should have welcomed the kits into the world. A few of them will be available for forever home placement if things go as planned. We will make an announcement on our social media platforms at said time.

Harvesting

Roselle continues to grace us with bountiful calyces the brightest of scarlet and leaves from fern to emerald. Although harvesting is an arduous task it is well worth the effort. This month the flowers will finally halt blooming and harvest will come to a climactic end giving us further reason to look forward to Spring when we will embrace this bounteous flower yet again.

Arugula & mustards are among the leafy greens the ground has chosen to offer us. Both are peppery, both delicious & dual-purpose. As we harvest it is a reminder to replant. Succession planting ensures there are no gaps in harvesting. Schedules are challenging to adhere to however the benefits, the benefits sustain the farm and this family’s grocery budget.

As November’s 30 days come to pass, we shall have the joy of harvests from our flat-leaf kale varieties, Dill, Red Giant Mustards, radishes, and Snow Peas. Fall potatoes will also be lifted from the earth. We desire to see results far surpassing the meager Summer harvest. Undoubtedly, we will make use of whatever we gain. Whether it be enough for one meal or one serving the fact remains that we laid our hand to do the work of planning, planting, and cultivating. We now have something that we did not have before. For that, we will show ourselves thankful to our Provider.

A Gentle Push or a Shove

This evening was beautiful. White clouds scattered on a blue canvas with orange highlights surrounded us as we began to tackle November’s planting – Cauliflower & Cilantro. Here at my home, fully immersed in my happy place, my garden, I would have a terrible interaction with a neighbor’s dog. For reasons unbeknownst to me, our neighbors choose to walk their aggressive and disobedient (quite possibly untrained) dog off-leash. What this entailed for me this evening is standing frozen on my own corner of the earth listening to the snarling, growling animal state her case. Her owners ran behind her unable to tame or capture her in all her wildness. Laughingly they reassure me she is not aggressive and will not bite. As they continue attempts at apprehending her, my observations are quite contrary to their statements. The hair on her neck is raised. Her tail, straight. Her teeth, bright. All the language of her furry body is deafening, blaring over her barking. I choose to heed her unspoken communication rather than her owners’ dialogue. I stand still. Shortly our daughter charges outside, angry, wearing pieces of a fur suit which confuse the dog long enough to bring our situation to a screeching halt. Everyone is safe. The neighbors and their canine unapologetically exit. I share this story because afterward, I dove deeply into fencing options. It is quite a costly undertaking. We are painfully aware of this as it has been our aspiration for many years. Now, however, faced with such an unsafe set of circumstances we are being forced to consider this option more seriously. We are being shoved. Do we have a choice?

There is a faint message to be heard here. Take the gentle push. Do not wait on the shove. If you have been thinking about growing food for your family, start today. If you want to expand your homestead to include livestock, now is that time. If you want to learn how to can your harvests or what you pick up from the grocery store – hello! In life we often get gentle nudges guiding us in a good direction – not always right or wrong, just appropriate for us at that moment in time. Due to the hectic nature of life and our tendency to reason, we can do it tomorrow or next year we will make the dive, we wait. Procrastinate no more.

As for our shove, we have a plan in place to approach it efficiently. It is our hope you are able to do the same – from our family to yours.

Support Our Farm


The Goings On – October 2022

In just 2 more months we will be in a whole new year. It is quite hard to believe. They year isn’t over yet! There is still much to do!

Out with the old…

Rotting Raised Beds

At the outset of the year we knew we were going to need to replace our raised beds. As we have mentioned in pervious blogs, we used non-treated wood for these beds and knew their life would be short. The hope was that in the meantime we could grow our business and later be able to sustain purchasing cedar raised beds which would last longer. However COVID hit our farm hard! So we had to pivot and adjust. We began researching galvanized raised beds which seemed to be the most practical investment since this is a life-style for us now. We will grow food forever! When it comes to galvanized raised beds there are many companies out there. It can be hard to know which way to go. Well recently a fellow vlogger, Lazy Dog Farm, shared a video about the Olle raised garden beds and we were intrigued! The prospect of not having to replace the raised beds for 20+ years was very appealing! Although it really is a pretty large investment, we made the dive and received our first Olle raised bed just a few weeks ago. You can watch us put it together here. It has since been planted with beets, turnips, radishes, and Swiss Chard varieties.

One thing I really appreciate about the configuration we went with is the height. At 17 inches, it is the perfect height for me to sit on my stool and plant! On bad body days this will be crucial! Over the next year we plan to install these in all the places where our wooden raised beds were previously. At a minimum of $199.00 per bed it may take a while however we have time! If you would like to make the dive into galvanized raised beds you can purchase through our link and get a 10% discount.

Simba’s Pride

It has been a while since I referred to our rabbits with the above title and honestly it makes me a little sad. I really miss Simba! He opened my heart back to they young girl that had her first spoiled rabbit. I’ll always remember him for that. Lionhead rabbits in particular just have wonderful personalities. So when I saw the cutest Lionhead Angora YOU ALREADY KNOW MY HEART WAS ON FIRE! We are proud to add Sweet Pea to Simba’s pride! She is absolutely hilarious! Our boy Gizmo has been trying diligently to get her attention but as you can see, she cannot be bothered! The hope was to breed her to Gizmo but there seems to be a size discrepancy. Yikes! We haven’t given Gizmo the opportunity yet however if it doesn’t work out for Gizmo then Domino is also an option. Either way we will have some really cute babies hopping around and joining our fertilizer team!

Preserving the Harvest

I have complained enough about all the crop failures 2022 has had for our farm anyway. When the #everybitcountschallenge came around in August I was so discouraged that we really didn’t have much to preserve. Well that has taken a sharp change over the last month! We have harvested basil, bee balm, fig leaves, figs, goldenrod, grape leaves, roselle calyces and leaves. Once all of these are harvested then they have to be processed in one way or another for storage. Let’s just say that the dehydrator has not been off often. We are using these items to build our stash of teas, tinctures, and spice blends. Right now you can find two tea blends on our shop page. We are happy to be able to ship these to you if you do not live local to Dothan, Alabama.

Herbalism has become quite an interesting rabbit hole for us! Late nights spent on YouTube researching have proved very valuable! Along the way we have learned quite a bit about the benefits and medicinal uses of what may seem to be weeds growing right here on our property. Goldenrod is a great example! For years I have mistaken it for Ragweed and wrongly thought it was the culprit aggravating our allergies. How wrong I was! One thing Ive come to observe is that bees REALLY love Goldenrod. Turns out there is a reason for that! See, unlike Ragweed, Goldenrod contains nectar that draws the pollinators. Whereas Ragweed is wind dependent. Its literally blowing in the air which is why it aggravates us so much UNLIKE Goldenrod. We learned that it was actually just the opposite – Goldenrod actually offers relief to allergy symptoms when used as a tea or tincture! How ironic! We harvested a full basket from around just two of our raised beds and still have a section behind two more decommissioned beds we need to harvest. There is so much of it on our property. We have used some of it already to begin a tincture that will be ready near the end of November. Don’t worry though, we left plenty for the bees!

What About Produce

As we look back on last months blog we are actually pretty proud that we have planted nearly all we said we would and then some! The majority of the planting we have done over the last month has been in Hoopty primarily because of our raised bed issue. We have interplanted a couple of mustard varieties that we think will look quite beautiful growing together. We love the versatility mustard greens offer. Young greens are a fabulous addition to salads and more mature leaves are great cooked! More on the farmer side of things we can get multiple cuts from the plants as they grow.

Every year we push to make sure we have plenty of collard greens for the community come Winter since it seems to be the leafy green of choice for our area. We do struggle though with growing them for some odd reason. We always have a few, however, it is never enough! This year we are not taking any chances and we have planted triple the amount we would normally and thankfully we can say that we already see them coming up!

Snap peas are growing nicely and we are considering growing more outside of Hoopty but aren’t quiet sure if maybe we have waited too close to the first frost. In our zone the first frost is predicted to be around mid November. Although most of the peas we grow can handle frost, they do need to be well established. If we do plant any outside it will definitely need to be in the next day or so.

Fall snap beans just seem to have the very best flavor ever! We are harvesting the long beans from Hoopty and the standard green bean from the field areas. Both delicious! We have had to fight with the aphids in the high tunnel for every bean we get but it is definitely worth the fight!

Arugula is growing well and should be up for harvest by this time next month which means we are already behind in succession planting but what else is new! We will get more arugula planted this week. It pairs well with almost any green in our opinion and can hold its own! So we like to keep a steady supply of it!

Kale is also growing ! Then again no Fall garden is complete without it! We have planted a couple different flat leaf varieties thus far. Curly, Lacinato, and Red Russian Kale is on the agenda next. While we do have some Curly kale that has survived the Summer, we will not begin harvesting from it again until after the first frost.

Carrots, carrots, and more carrots! We have planted so many varieties of carrots over the last month! This is yet another item we can never have enough of! Over planting cannot really be an issue! We love to put carrots up for ourselves but we also love having them in the Spring for Farmers Markets. They are the most beautiful thing to see laid out on the table!

Kiwano Jelly Melons are coming on late this year as we were late planting them. We think we may get a few before the first frost arrives.

We experimented with growing Sorghum this year to get to know it a bit. We have been impressed with how durable it is. We definitely neglected it but it still thrived! We hope to use it as a trap crop next year but this year we may be experimenting with using it as a grain particularly for our chickens. Nutritionally speaking it’s close to corn. We plan to see how our girls enjoy it in the near future. It seems also that the grain and leaves can be used as fodder for rabbits. We are doing further research on that. Stay tuned for those videos over on our YouTube channel.

We thought we would sneak in a planting of dill before the weather got too cold. We used nearly all of our dehydrated supply in spice blends over the Summer! We are happy we had it! However, we don’t want that jar to stay empty too long so we interplanted some dill with our leafy greens. Additionally, if we can grow it now then we can dehydrate and experiment with more spice blends for you over the Winter having them ready come Spring and Summer when cucumbers and in full swing!

Fennel has also been direct sown in the high tunnel. We are growing a different variety this Fall and hope that this isn’t a mistake. We desired to find a variety known for larger, rounder bulbs. We hope that we find success. If not we have time to fall back to our OG variety.

We are continuing growing our microgreens and we also grow them for the birds and bunnies. Wheatgrass is definitely a favorite of theirs!

Roselle is STILL GROWING and we are STILL HARVESTING it! We are now offering the tasty leaves over on our shop page so you can enjoy this delicious treat as well. Our family has tried the leaves as a side salad and thoroughly enjoyed it!

As far as produce available to you now, we have our rosemary, oregano, roselle leaves, and microgreens available over in our shop. Oh and dont forget our CNG eggs!

Upcoming

By the time we talk again we hope to have set out our very own, grown from seed, onion starts along side the sets we will purchase. By the end of the month our garlic should have shipped out to us as well. Lettuce needs to be direct sown. Cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage will be set out. Chinese Pink and White Celery are nearly large enough to be set out so they will soon need a home. We also hope to get some sort of Asian green planted. If all goes well we hope to bring our Greens Box back no later than January 2023. This will be helpful in reaching those health centered new years resolutions! Stay tuned!


The Goings _ On September 2022

September – the month that Summer turns to Fall. Let’s just say it is the month it is supposed to turn into Fall! August was a whirlwind for us. Between pest issues, health problems, and scorching heat, and extreme humidity it has been one wild August!

The Flock

The chickens are doing so well. They have been the one positive throughout this season. Our girls are growing very well and have the sweetest demeanor. They have now been merged with the 4 that we hatched out in May and our two Welsummers. For our largest flock yet! Twelve! That may not seem like a lot to you but building a run to ensure there is plenty of space to keep the peace was an undertaking to say the least. But using recycled goods, some new fencing, t-posts, and some pallets – we got it done!

There are two cockerels in this flock – Hope & Faith. Faith being the larger of the two and most outgoing has already begin to assert his dominance with the younger girls. It is quite interesting to watch. Hope on the other hand stays out of the way and occasionally will let the girls know he’s a dude. You may remember that Hope is the chick we almost lost. Our daughter took the task of hatching him out herself. We are so glad that we made that decision. He is just beautiful! He takes after his father and grandmother with the adorable feathered feet! And in the blackness of his feathers there is the most beautiful reddish brown coming through. Yes, him is a handsome fella! We are loving learning animal husbandry first hand by watching these traits pass from one chicken to the next. Best of all, we love that fact that each hatchling set seems to become more and more personable with us. As we observe them grow we admire our Creator more and more!

Right now we are at a whopping 25 chickens! That may not seem like a lot for a farm but just remember we are a microfarm. We started with 6! You could say this getting out of hand but we wouldn’t. While we didn’t intend to ever have this many, we have found something we love. Raising chickens is a dual fold benefit for us. We get beautiful eggs weekly that we can share with the community as supplies allow. When hens are past laying age we get meat and of course we use those bones for broth. We really can’t see why everyone doesn’t have chickens. Just saying!

When Spring 2023 comes around we will have a total of 21 laying hens. That is a lot of eggs! We are tossing around the idea of a small member egg CSA late Spring or early Summer. I mean who wouldn’t want a dozen Certified Naturally Grown eggs delivered to their door weekly?! If that is something you would be interested in please let us know. It would be nice to know what kind of market we have for it before diving in.

Fall Planting

Fall Planting has continued though not quite as planned. Our brassicas were doing very well, that is until They got leggy. After reviewing last years garden notes we think the culprit may be our favorite peat pellets! Last year we were able to save a good bit of the seedlings so we thought we could save these as well but when trying to set them out it was clear they were beyond saving. This is a real set back for us. This likely means that we will not be harvesting in Fall harvest on our brassicas. While that is disappointing it is not all a loss as we can still harvest in Spring. Those brassicas included – Collards, Broccoli, & Cauliflower. Late is better than never – right?

For the first time ever we are growing out our own onion starts. We decided to do this because there are more varieties of short day onion seeds versus short day onion starts. We really wanted to include some Granex varieties in our planting this year and we were having a difficult time sourcing starts. Ergo we are starting them from seed ourselves. We have started these so that by January they are hopefully at a sufficient size to set out.

We are not going to put all of our eggs in one basket though. Since this is a new endeavor we will still order our starts as usual. This will ensure we still get harvest if our starts somehow fail.

We planned to do a video but when the time came we totally forgot. We were in JUST GET ID DONE MODE! This is what we did:

  • We labeled 4 cups – one for each variety:
    • Timon (yellow, Grano)
    • DP Sweet (yellow, sweet, Granex)
    • Chianti (red, Grano)
    • Sapelo Sweet (yellow, sweet, Granex)
  • We poured the seeds in to each cup – about a teaspoon each variety
  • We covered with cool filtered water
  • We allowed to sit on the table uncovered for 3 days.
    • By day 3 all had began to sprout except the Chianti (red onion). If your seeds have sprouted be sure to plant sprouted portion down into the soil and part with seed attached up.

We will keep you updated on this journey!

In the Way of Available Produce

There a few times of the year where our farm is looking a little rough. Those time are usually times of transition. Now we are transitioning from Summer to Fall. Sadly there is just not a lot of produce items currently available. Our tea blends, infused oils, spice blends are in stock however. We hope to add fresh produce items to the shop page within the next 30 – 55 days as we have planted some fast growing leafy greens and root veggies. For now our microgreens are available to grow to order and we have opened subscriptions for Fall MICROgreens by BHG. Deliveries will begin October 21st and run through November 9th. We will remain open to accept subscribers until September 30th.

Life Changes

As we all grow and age we come we learn to adjust to the different changes our lives throw our way. Whether we like change or not it comes for us in some fashion or another.

Many that know our family know that I, Shena Nicole, deal with chronic health issues and have from birth. I don’t discuss these issues often as I have chosen to not let them define me. I just live my life. In fact, I forget sometimes that I have limitations and those are the occasions my body will rudely remind me. Recently I have had to deal with far more pain & limited mobility than I have in the past making it more and more challenging to accomplish even the most basic activities of daily living much less homesteading. Not being able to monitor the farm as needed has sadly even accounted for some of our crop losses this year. This in turn just made me an emotional wreck! Something needed to be done! A couple of doctor visits & tests later and we have a potential culprit but only time will tell. In the meantime chronic pain is being managed with new pharmaceuticals. While I am not one who cares for taking pills this is absolutely necessary for my quality of life. It is taking a lot to adjust to the new regimen. At first focusing was an issue which is why this blog is so extremely past due! However, I have already noticed some improvement in pain levels & mobility. Along with exercise & more diet adjustments, I am hopeful that with this improvement will come with more freedom to do what needs to be done to run a farm, a home, a family. Backing down is just not something I know how to do. With many prayers and the support of my friends & family, I do hope to put this phase of life in the rear view soon. There is just too much to do!

By the time we come back to you next month we hope to be installing new raised beds, planting garlic, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Cabbage, Carrots, & more! Like I said, THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH TO DO!


The Goings On – August 2022

Summer, summer, summertime! Admit it. If you were born in the late 70’s or early 80’s you likely sang that didn’t you! I sure did! Sorry DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince but here it is NOT – I REPEATE – it is NOT “time to sit back and unwind”! Summer is time for putting away the harvest and preparing for Fall on most farms. Things have been a little out of the ordinary this year for us with a little more of the same.

The Animals

The new females chicks that we added to the flock back in June are doing quite well. They are so stinkin’ cute! Even at month old they are retaining their adorable nature. I have noticed that some of them have a cute little tuft of hair on their heads, a mohawk if you will. From our research it seems that these should be the Olive Eggers. If you’ll recall the mix up at the store… so this is our somewhat educated guess. It may well be next year before we know for certain. However, for now they are happy and healthy. They have been moved from the brooder coop and into the bottom half of one of our larger coops. They will remain there till the 19th of this month at which time they will be moved to the teenage coop from which the current inhabitants – Hope, Peace, Faith, & Patience – will be migrated into the coops with the grown folks! It’s a process folks and with the limited space we have it has to be pretty precise. We hope to get a flock video update done this month so be on the look out for that.

Sonny and Cher have completely settled in! They are at home-sweet-home! Sonny is the ham of the two ALWAYS in need of attention and Cher is getting used to the attention – wanted or not. She so food motivated! She really loves to get fresh garden treats and who doesn’t?! We just speed the breakdown of our garden goodness by pushing it through their little bodies and out comes pellets of gold! We have their fertilizer available for purchase over on our online shop. It works!

Well we have gone and added yet more animals to our little farm. If you follow our social media then you are well aware of our newest additions. For those that do not know, I have long wanted Silkie chickens. I finally got some! We were given a rooster whom we have named Elvis. His girls are Anita, Dolly, and Gladys. They are the cutest little bunch! They are tricky little escape artists and have had us chase them ALL AROUND THE PROPERTY! We work fast to get them back into their runs because hawks are always nearby. I just like to sit and watch them under the shade trees in the morning with my cup of coffee. They really are an entertaining bunch, living up to their names. They are laying small beautiful cream eggs. Since they are pets we are not sure that we will have them Certified Naturally Grown although they are partaking of the same delicious Certified Organic feed. The thing is, these girls love to hide their eggs! It is an egg hunt everyday and we just aren’t sure we can guarantee the highest quality of freshness of their eggs for the public. However we are using them for ourselves. They are the perfect size for pickled eggs. It has been a while since we dropped a recipe over on our recipe page but rest assure a pickled egg concoction is coming soon!

We finally got around to butchering Kong. I was a little sad. Our son took that task on while our daughter and I handled the remainder of the processing. This time went much smoother than the first time. It felt so good to put that meat in the freezer! We will continue to rotate through our flock as needed but we hope soon begin to grow birds exclusively for meat production for our family. Although I personally have ceased eating land dwelling animals I really would consider reintroducing it into my diet if there was a steady supply of home grown available. Again much planning is on the horizon in order to achieve that. Perhaps by 2023 we will be in a position to do so.

The End Of Summer Farmer’s Market Season

July marked the end of Summer Farmer’s Market season for us. Man it was extremely hot! Next Summer we plan to be a tad better prepared to deal with the heat. We are researching now some personal fan options as well as some battery powered options. SOMETHING has to give! While we were not able to attend the last scheduled market due to COVID exposure we still celebrated as a family. This season taught us so much about how to really use what we grow to help our own family and our community! While many of our cash crops for the Spring & Summer did fail we had an oddly successful year with herbs and flowers. Play the hand you’re given right? We thus learned more ways to use those to make spice blends, spiced sugars, infused vinegars, infused oils, and potpourri – all of which will be added to our shop page as we restock our supplies. We also used our herbs to craft homemade breads that were a real hit with the community! It makes a lady feel good to know her baking is enjoyed by others!

We have tossed the idea around about joining a market for the Fall but it is not too likely. Although no one in the family has outright said no, I can tell we are all just tired and need a break. If we decide to take on the markets for the Fall we will inform you where and when. Whether we attend markets this Fall or not we have big harvesting plans as you can see from the aforementioned planting list. If we do not attend markets you can purchase these items via our shop page individually or you may choice to get our farm sampler baskets.

Our Summer pumpkin harvest is being preserved this month for use in those Fall recipes we all love! And you know we are definitely going to craft some new ones. How about a pumpkin spiced flatbread or brioche bun? Oh – THAT IS HAPPENING! We are deadheading echinacea blossoms weekly for teas that will most definitely come in handy this cold and flu season! In addition we are making a final push to plant, harvest, and preserve as many herbs as possible to create more spice blends before the first frost is here! These make excellent gifts! No, these hands aren’t resting one bit!

Hoopty

We shared with you last month all our disappointments with our tomato crop in the high tunnel. I wish I could say it stopped there. This season has spiraled into one that will truly induce depression if I so choose to focus on all that has been lost. Currently the high tunnel is nearly empty. Roselle, long beans, strawberries, a few eggplants, and peppers remain. Grasshoppers decimated the okra. Thankfully they left the roselle and we should be able to harvest calyces soon. Long beans are just putting on flowers and beans. Is it fanciful thinking to think the grasshoppers will leave these for us? The good thing about the Hoopty being empty is that she can be prepped to receive Fall plantings and our last hope for tomatoes for the year. Our tomatoes that we started for Fall harvest are ready to be set out and we will be doing that this week. Among that planting will be broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, cabbage, collards and various herbs we need to stock up on the spice rack.

Learning From Failures

A lot of our crop failed this Summer. It is a fact that this Summer season is the worse one yet for our farm and at such a terrible time. Groceries are at an all time high and if you hadn’t noticed we are in fact in a recession. Our freezer will not be stocked as it was last year. There is no way around it – THIS IS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! However, we have learned so much in just these last 7 months. I subscribe to logic and logically if you learn and grow from failures then I steadfastly believe they do not have to be viewed as failures. Instead could it be training? If so, then the Spring & Summer 2022 growing seasons have been training sessions like no others for the Bain family farm. We have learned the ways of the ever developing farmer-gardener! There is no class to graduate from as we are always learning from God’s beautiful creation & from each other. We have learned to network among our fellow farmers. We have learned how to aggregate more goods from even a meager harvest and merchandise these to sustain our farm financially. These very items too have saved us money at the grocery store because we no longer have to buy what we have the skill and ability to make. We have learned to take what we have in abundance and use it in various ways to benefit us and our junior livestock. We have learned to use rabbit manure effectively. We have learned to feed our rabbits off the land we live on, understanding what is safe for their consumption and what will make them happy. We are improving butcher by butcher our technique of harvesting & processing our chickens. We have mastered turning their manure into useable compost that will feed our beautiful fruits and vegetables for a whole season. We have been reminded yet another year that for every step we take towards self sufficiency we have rich blessings from above amplifying our efforts. Even when these do not quite measure up to what we hoped today they are still more than we hoped for many yesterdays ago, before our eyes were opened to such a wonderful way of living. After praying it out, after crying it out, and talking it out with Mr. Bain Home Gardener this is my take away. If you have had a disappointing season as I know many have, take your training to your next season. Whether that be Fall for you or Spring of 2023 just take it with you and share it with someone else.


The Goings On – July 2022

Heeeey y’all! It’s a whole new month with whole new farming fun! Come along and let us give you the scoop!

New Farm Additions

Farm life is all about growth and that is exactly what we are doing! We’ve added 3 Olive Eggers & 3 Easter Eggers chicks. We are very excited to add these sweet girls to the BHG flocks! You may recall that in May our skilled brooder Shrill-x hatched out 4 chicks – 2 boys & 2 girls. They are growing so fast! The plan is to give these girls to one of those boys, Hope perhaps. We have named the 4 chicks as follows: Males – Hope & Joy; Females – Faith & Patience  all qualities we are developing day by day! These chicks will serve as a reminder to not give up in becoming better people.

In other chicken news we are unfortunately being forced to cull two of our original flock – the rooster (Kong) & his cohort at the top of the pecking order (Brownie). The two of them began eating eggs just as we got our eggs Certified Naturally Grown – THE NERVE!!! We have tried everything to stop this behavior but it’s continued. We separated Kong first but we were still not getting the amount of eggs we should so we knew that there was another culprit. Then we caught Browine yolked-beaked & yolk-footed! After seperating her as well the egg count returned to acceptable numbers minus Brownie’s eggs of course. We had planned to cull some of this flock anyway in the Fall so the sting isn’t quite as bad. However, in this time of uncertainty and inflation we are happy to add these birds to our freezer!

Well we did say farm “additions”. Here is the plural. Meet Sonny & Cher! These beautiful thoroughbred kits are only 10 weeks old pictured here. Huge right? Rightly so because they are Giant Chinchillas. Adults average upwards of 17 pounds!They are a beautiful addition to the BHG fertilizer crew! These two have the sweetest disposition! We got them from a local rabbitry. They really know what they are doing and we have learned so much from Lauranna the owner. Before the year is out we may have expansion completed on the farm to add 2 Flemish Giants. That would complete our rabbit wishlist!

This month we will have more additions to the farm but we can’t say what just yet. It’s a secret for now but we will be posting a video over on our YouTube channel. I am so stinking excited!!!

Disappointments

The extreme heat wave we had last month absolutely destroyed all of our tomatoes that were growing in Hoopty.  This is troubling since tomatoes are on demand at our home daily. I’ve accepted responsibility for not planting all greenhouse varieties. You can see me rant about that drama here. However, in speaking with other growers in our area we, have found that they also have had the same result in their high tunnels. Fortunately, we didn’t have a total loss as the tomatoes yielded well before giving into the heat. Some of these went to market, some we ate fresh, and the remainder went into the freezer until we can make time for a canning day. Thankfully since we have a long growing season we are able to start over. We have already started 4 more greenhouse varities and within the month they will be ready to be set out.

In other disappointing news are our tomato trials of Accordion, Pink Fang, & Gezahnte beautiful though they may be are not standing up well against the pest pressure in our area. We do belive the fight against the heat wave did weaken them so we are restarting a few of them as well.

Success

The 3 Sisters Garden plot really took off & was very successful for us! We yielded beautiful pumpkins & tasty corn. With this trial we’ve learned a lot! Summer squash didn’t do so well in this set up for us. While the pumpkins did. Our Blauhilde pole bean is too vigorous for the corn so we will try a different variety next time. There’s still a couple rows of corn left & a few pumpkins left to harvest before we pull everything and start leveling out the ground to prepare for building our simple greenhouse. This structure will serve as our seed starting & seedling storage space. We are still working on building plans. Mr. Bain Home Gardener has a lot of work ahead of him! I so appreciate & love this man. If you have a supportive man holding you down spiritually & emotionally, helping you reach your goals, and smiling while he walks the fire with you – TELL HIM & HOLD HIM TIGHT!

Waiting & Planting

We are patiently waiting the harvest of our sweet potatoes and other potato varities. We like to fertlize them once a month with bone meal. The OMRI Listed brand we prefer has become increasingly difficult to source. When we finally got our hands on some we decided to stock up! We have more potatoes to plant this month, garlic to plant before the year is out as well as onions – all of which require bone meal! Oh – & our last batch of tomatoes too! Supply issues are of serious concern now a days so if there is an product you use regularly in the garden or otherwise, stock up!

Fall Planting

This month will wrap up farmers market season for us and right in time too! We have to get ready for Fall! Fall planting is so important for us! Cauliflower, broccoli, collards, mustards, & the aforementioned all are started now for an Fall harvest and planted again in Fall for Spring! Having the freedom from the weekly markets will make it easier to get everything done. Hopefully our Fall will look slightly better than our Summer has.

So that is what’s going on over at Bain Home Gardens. We are off to get some farm chores done. Till next month…