Saturday, July 31, 2010

Additional Odd Observations on the Farm

  • Cocoa, an honorary farm manager of the farm (I.E. cat who lives on the farm) has a spot where we can skritch her and her tongue sticks out involuntarily. Mildly amusing.
  • During one of our rain storms we had some branches come down out of the oak trees. One hit the ground a bit like a lawn dart. We called it our "stick in the mud." Maybe a bit less amusing - especially to all of you.
  • I-rony on the I-pod: having it randomly select "This is How the Work Gets Done" (Charlie Peacock) and "Progress" (AD) as the crew put down grass mulch to finish off a weeded row of beans. But, when it hit "We Are the Champions" (Queen), I felt that was a bit much.
  • At least the ducks like the extra rain. One mini pond is currently encompassed by the electric fence we use to keep 'enemies of the duck' out. This was, in their opinion, a good thing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Farm Report

Farm Report (written 7/28)

  • The cucumbers are happy. It's nice that something is happy!
  • Most peppers are still with us. However, the first batch of fruit have problems, so we have removed most from the plants. We are hopeful that they will recover and produce again. At this point, we don't see much coming for peppers until mid August or later. Maybe we'll be surprised as we continue to cultivate and weed those plants.
  • Summer squash and zucchini just keep teasing us. But, they also haven't enjoyed sitting in water, so we can't really blame them. some nice sunshine and drier weather may give us a big push here in a week or two. will just keep trickling in until the next planting catches up (they are looking good).
  • Green beans gave us a picking, now they are trying to recover from wet feet (etc). Plants generally look fine and we continue to free more of each row by weeding and mulching.
  • Tomatoes generally look good - they continue to give us scouts. They look to be in line for the typical peak starting in mid/late August and lasting to mid/late September.
  • Kale is struggling to make a comeback. Planting #2 may have a better shot at getting harvested sooner than #1 returns to form. About 1/4 of the plants have been removed from planting #1.
  • The white onions have been picked in their entirety, so Thus distribution is the last time you will see them this year. The count should be somewhere in the 800-1000 area.
  • The time between batches of meat chickens is actually a somewhat pleasant period of time on the farm. But, we'll exit that time period this Friday when chicks arrive.
  • The spring peas couldn't stand the heat after all that wet - so we'll give fall peas a shot again this year.
  • chard, beet and turnip seedlings have sprouted.
  • Some of the lettuce is maturing as expected. Some isn't as happy as we are used to seeing it. Looks like Bronze Arrowhead or Australian Yellow Leaf may make an appearance in shares next week.
  • We took advantage of the availability of a small tractor at an auction close to home. It is a Ford 8-N. We will talk of it at some later point in more detail. For now, suffice it to say that we have it on our farm, in part, to honor Kent Harms. We'll keep the organic growing fires burning for you, Kent.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rain Update

We were asked to update this post on rain here.

We received an additional 1.4 " of rain after that post over one night. It wasn't horrible. But, it was more than we needed. So, once again, things were a bit damp. Still, we remain grateful since we know other areas nearby received two and three times as much rain.

this post was written on Tuesday 7/27 - so, if it doesn't seem quite congruous with current events - you know why.

Update 7/28 - another .6" overnight last night. Good for weeding at least.

Update 7/30 - and another .5" in the AM. Once again, we are fortunate that, while it rained - it rained gently. If we can get a few dry days in a row, we can get back out there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Them's Tall Weeds You Grow There

In order to get the turkeys out in their new pasture, we needed to remove the giant ragweed from the back of the newly named/modified Poultry Palace.

Here you can see part of the crack team of Anden, Tammy and Rob taking on weeds a bit taller than they are.

And here is what it looks like now.

Just one thing we can do when things are a bit on the wet side.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lucky So Far

Rainfall amounts on the farm for the latest series have been manageable.

.9" Thursday AM and another half inch in the evening.
1.3" inches over night into the early morning hours today.
So - 2.7" and counting - since the forecast calls for more heavy rains tonight.

We understand that Denver, IA had 7" over a similar 24 hour period. So, we are reminded how bad this could have been.

There is some standing water in a few places in our veg fields, but nothing terrible at this time. We are hopeful that tonight's rains are more moderate than forecast.

On the positive side - the early Thus rains were gentle and actually quite useful. the slower rate allowed the soil to take in most of the moisture. We'd have been thrilled if it had stopped there for the week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What did you do today?

I was asked recently by a person who does not know me all that well...

What have you been up to today?

As most people who DO know the two of us, you know this is a DANGEROUS QUESTION!

And this got me to thinking... which is a DANGEROUS PASTIME!

So, what did we do today? This is, of course, the 'royal we' that includes Tammy, myself, Denis, Anden, Dad Faux and Sally. Yep, had a crew for parts of the day!

  • weeded 150 feet of beans and 200 feet of potatoes
  • weeded 250 feet of lettuce
  • weeded 300 feet of peppers
  • cultivated all of the above
  • hay mulched 120 feet of space between tomatoes
  • hay mulched some potatoes
  • mowed down areas between tomatoes
  • mowed large areas of ground to gather mulch so we could
  • mulch beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers
  • picked up 135 processed chickens from Martzahn's in Greene
  • moved items from one freezer to another so we could put the chickens in a freezer
  • washed all the coolers and containers used for yesterdays CSA and the chickens
  • weed whipped an area around wood we need to clean up
  • put a door knob on the door to the poultry palace
  • cut a new hole for turkeys to leave the poultry palace and go to their pasture
  • picked 29 lbs of beans
  • picked 276 onions
  • planted 60 feet of Brussels, 360 feet of broccoli, 60 feet of cauliflower and 120 feet of cabbage
  • watered trays of seedlings
  • did a couple loads of laundry because
  • Rob went through three shirts today
  • moved exclusion we forgot to put them back. Looks like a task to do in the rain tomorrow.
  • Fed and watered critters.
  • Closed doors on critters before dark.
  • Opened up/Closed up the high tunnel & cold frames
  • Made lunch for 5 people
  • Sent out a CSA email
  • Made a quick seed order
  • Made a quick seed tray order
  • Began balancing the checkbook
  • typed a blog post and...
Ran out of steam.

See you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just for Fun

A few short things that may amuse.... ok, they amused me.

  • The turkeys are still fairly small, but getting some size on them now. One of them decided to fluff out and fan at me this morning when I fed the flock. My response? I said, "You've got to be kidding." The bird's response? It immediately unfluffed and unfanned. We are now wondering if we need to get this bird counseling since I have likely given it problems with self-esteem.
  • The bees have liked the sun the last couple of days and were VERY busy today. It's a good thing to see them zipping around the cucumbers. Although, it is odd seeing one looking at you from its perch on the underside of the bill of your hat.
  • We hand planted summer squash and zucchini a couple weeks ago. Of course, some germinated, some did not. Odd how you drop outside of the row and the germination rate goes way up. So, are they weeds or part of the crop now?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick Farm Report

A very quick farm report for those who are interested:

High Tunnel: The high tunnel has had a few more bits of work done to it, but there is still a nice list to finish up. We have tilled the area west of the high tunnel and have planted melons, some tomatoes and peppers. We will move the tunnel over these crops this coming weekend and secure it until late September. The plot the tunnel is currently over has also been tilled, but will be worked and planted after the tunnel is moved off. That crop will feature things like lettuce, spinach and other fall crops.

Farm Organization: Events, such as a field day, tend to make organization on the farm a bit of a challenge. But, of course, the event was worth it. However, we realized that we never did get a picture of the shelves Dad Faux put up for us last summer. They are in full use right now!

You might notice twine hanging form the rafters. That is where we are hanging our garlic for curing. If I took a picture now, you would find many bunches hanging there. But, we're only 1/5 of the way through the harvest!

We are in the process of pulling many of the crops that died from root rot and other complications form standing water. We are also in process of planting MANY new crops for fall consumption. Some are a stretch - others are normal for planting at this point. We are overplanting for some things as well. Recently planted items include: summer squash, zucchini, dry beans, sweet corn, cucumbers, peas, beets, turnips, rutabaga, chard. Going in soon include broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, onions, green beans, collards and more.

Summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers are just now getting started. We are hopeful that they give us a fair amount this week and whole bunch next week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Catching a Break

The weather forecasters had identified Wednesday night as very likely to have severe weather with heavy rains. And, in fact, a band of heavy rain formed across the entire state again last night. I have yet to learn if heavy rains hit other parts of Iowa. But...

I can tell you that the winds and lightning were manageable (only one close strike of lightning) and we only received a couple tenths of an inch of rain. The fields were just getting workable again yesterday and we pushed to get things done. With only a couple tenths of an inch, we can go right back out today and weed, till, pick and plant.

Now, just so Mother Nature doesn't take this wrong. We don't mind rains that can soak into the ground - it's the ones that land on fully saturated soil and stand there.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

O 2 B A B

Last year at this time, we were astonished by the sheer numbers of bees on our flowers in both the flower and vegetable gardens. The variety was amazing and the activity was enjoyable to watch.

Unfortunately, this sort of weather is particularly difficult for the European honey bee. And, we do have two hives on the farm this year. Short story - the bees are having a difficult year.

Even so, they were out and about this last week when we got to see the sun.

You might want to click on this picture to view a bigger version of it. The bee is just above the center of the top left flower. Not a honey bee, but a wonderful pollinator. We like seeing these little critters around.

Then there are our friends from the hives. Look at the bottom left and you can see a bee heavily laden with pollen from the hosta flowers. Again, clicking on it will increase the size of the picture for your viewing.

The honey bees belong to John Axon and he cares for the hives. We know the bees like our flowers - but we wish the year was a better one for his bees.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Exhausted doesn' t cover it

The field day is over. Sort of.

The thing that everyone, including us, tends to forget is what happens AFTER a major event concludes. The anticipation and preparation reaches a fever pitch and a person can begin to romanticize how the days following will be sane and relaxed. And, no matter HOW MUCH you tell yourself not to do this - you do.

So, here we are on the first day after the field day. Well, at the end of the first day - you'll read this post on Sunday - it is written on Saturday.

Much has been displaced and otherwise shuffled in order to accommodate the high tunnel build. So, of course, we're having a grand time putting things back and trying to find things that have moved. Things that were put on 'coast' or 'hold' are at a point where they are demanding their attention. And, all we want to do is sleep.

But, alot has been done and we got good help from many people. It's really pretty difficult to complain about that!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

High Tunnel Field Day 2 (Build Day 3)

Pictures from Friday for our 2 day high tunnel build field day follow:

Friday morning focused on afixing the polycarbonate to the end walls. And adjusting the end walls as discoveries were made. Wiggle wire channel and other hardware are difficult to show here, but these also took up time and energy.

And, this is what the structure looked like at lunch time.

And now we learn why tennis balls were on the supply list.

Pulling the cover over the high tunnel.

Breeze was light - be even a light breeze requires many hands to hold the plastic down. Happily, no one became an involuntary wind surfer.

Pulling the plastic tight the long way. Apparently those who build these things are allowed to stand on the top rung!

And, here we are fluffing and pulling the skin tight on the tunnel. Light from the heavens gives us its blessing.

Putting wiggle wire in the top to hold the plastic in place.

And, wiggle wire on the sides.

With the exception of the door on the east, this is what the high tunnel looked like at the end of Friday.

Our sincere thanks to all who helped us with this project in so many ways. We'll post more pictures as the finishing touches are made.

R & T

Thursday, July 8, 2010

High Tunnel Field Day 1 (Build Day 2)

Day 1 of the GFF/PFI Movable High Tunnel Build Field Day is completed. Rather than typing much, we'll give you some pictures.

The high tunnel appeared to have some assembly required. And, they informed us that just adding water would not work. (we tried that on Wednesday)

Wednesday was actually the first day for the build. Things were done to get the high tunnel started, site prepped, etc. so that we could actually complete the ambitious schedule for the 2 day field day. The south wall is partially laid out here next to the unanchored v-track on Thus morning.

Thursday AM, this is what our high tunnel looked like.

Lots of willing hands made it easier to move the bows into place.

There was a sighting of the superhero "Bandsaw Man."

And, by the end of the day on Thursday, we actually had a structure that...well, looked like a high tunnel!

We were even able to take it out for a test drive. Yes, two people CAN move this thing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Farm News

The problem with a blog is its sequential Last In First Out nature. We have two things that are worthy of your attention right now:

1. The CSA distribution is canceled for this week. We will add a week at the end of the season. See this post for more.

2. The High Tunnel Field Day is this week. See this post for more.

Field Day

This Thursday and Friday will be our high tunnel build at the farm.

It is a field day for Practical Farmers of Iowa and will be a working field day. Persons attending are asked to pay a $25 registration fee to help defray the costs of food. An even better deal - pay $35 and become members of Practical Farmers of Iowa - that's pretty cool.

In any event, if anyone wishes to attend that has not told us so at this time - please let us know now!

News Release

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2010

Contact: Sally Worley, Practical Farmers of Iowa, (515)232-5661,
Field Day Contact: Rob & Tammy Faux, Genuine Faux Farm, (319) 610-9201,

PFI Announces “Construct a Moveable High Tunnel” Field Day

Tripoli, Iowa—Farmers from all over the country are using passive solar greenhouses called high tunnels to extend their growing season and improve profitability. Did you know that you can build your own high tunnel? Learn how hands-on during a two-day training build at the Genuine Faux Farm near Tripoli on July 8 and 9, during which a Four Seasons Tools moveable high tunnel will be constructed.

The training build lasts from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Thursday, July 8, and from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Friday July 9. Breakfast and lunch will be provided both days. Dinner will be provided on Thursday.

Adam Montri of Michigan State University will lead the training. Montri is the Outreach Coordinator for the University’s Student Organic Farm. Montri will teach participants how to construct a moveable high tunnel that can be used year-round without supplemental light or heat. Representatives from Four Season Tools will be on hand to help with the construction as well as answer questions about their moveable tunnels.

Tammy and Rob Faux have operated Genuine Faux Farm since 2004 raising vegetables, herbs, chickens, and turkeys. They market their products through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, farmer’s market, local stores, and institutions.

The field day is free for members, $25 for non-members. Please RSVP to Sally Worley, (515) 419-9551 or by July 2.

Thank you to the Ceres Foundation for sponsoring this event.

Directions: From Highway 63 (8 miles north of Hwy 3, 10 miles south of Highway 18) turn east on 150th Street and go 2.5 miles.

Thank you to the following2010 field day sponsors: Sysco, Albert Lea Seed House, Iowa State University, American Natural Soy, Seed Savers Exchange, Leopold Center, Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, Organic Valley & Organic Prairie CROPP Cooperative, Featherman, Blue River Hybrids, Iowa Farmers Union, Wheatsfield Cooperative, Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, and ATTRA.

Practical Farmers of Iowa includes a diverse group of farmers and nonfarmers. Corn, soybeans, beef cattle, and hay are the top enterprises for PFI farmers, although many have a variety of other operations, including fruits and vegetables. PFI’s programming stresses farmer-to-farmer networking through research and demonstration, field days, conferences, and more. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit


We are no longer blogging at Genuinely Faux, we have begun to slog. As in 'slogging through the mud.' As a result of this and other circumstances - there will be NO CSA deliveries this week (July 5,6 & 8). We will tack on a week at the end of the season as long as monsoon weather doesn't last into October as it did last year.

Above is the pepper patch as of about 8:30 this morning. Some of the hot peppers have suffered root rot and died from prior wet conditions. Let's hope we don't have standing water for too long.

Then there is the kale. It's been doing well for us and tasting good. But, it's very hard to pick when it is this wet. And - it could use a little more time to rejuvenate after a heavy pick last week. But, the biggest problem? If we wade in and pick when it is this wet, we make a whole row of ankle-turning ugliness out of the surrounding soil for the rest of the season. And since I intend to pick this kale for several weeks....

We had some wonderful helpers at the Saturday Tom Sawyer Day. You can see the little lettuce plants that have desperately wanted to go into the ground. I'm not sure they wanted to be watered in quite this much though.

They say "no man is an island." But, clearly the summer squash and garlic are. Good thing we hilled these plants (the summer squash).

In any event, the soil was - and is even more - saturated. We did manage to get a fair amount of work done over the past week (but especially the last couple of days). We planted carrots, basil, peppers, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, lettuce, cucumber, peas and beans. We ran out of time and did not get several other things in that needed to go in. But, time is time and that's the way it is.