Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Newsletter

November - Sprint to the End.

November first shows up on the farm and a new sense of urgency makes itself known.  There are only so many days to accomplish certain tasks before the ground is frozen.  Opportunities to plant garlic, move high tunnels, harvest remaining root crops, put up low tunnels, pull in irrigation and finish the electric lines in the truck barn are less plentiful than they once were.  Or perhaps, the opportunities are no less plentiful than they were - it's just that there is a very real deadline looming and failure is not an option.

On the other hand, each task's completion leads to a cumulative sense of relief and, dare I say it, accomplishment.  Garlic is the last planting task of the season for us and once it is done, it symbolically closes out the growing season while opening the door - if only a crack - for the next one.  The turkeys have gone to the "Park" and the last batch of broilers and the retiring laying hens will take their trip to the "Park" and "Freezer Camp" very soon as well.  There will not be another batch of chicks this year and we will finally be down to a single flock of laying hens. We are finally admitting that we're not going to be irrigating anything in the field anymore this year, so the header lines and drip lines can be brought in.  The freezing temperatures have rendered many plants that were still holding on to crispy remnants - even some of the weeds.  So, suddenly weeding isn't a big deal on our list any more.  On the other hand, we continue to pull damaged fruit out of fields so the hens can happily peck away at them.

There is more to do than there are hours of light - and light is a commodity that is growing shorter by the day. This can be difficult for the 'solar powered' farmer, because gloomy days only encourage him to want to take a nap.  And so, we keep plugging away, in hopes that we can get to the end before it is thrust upon us - ready or not.

October Calendar of Events

  • November 1: Broiler Flock 3 to "the Park"
  • November 2: Delivery 24 Cedar Falls
  • November 5: Gang of Five Gathering
    November 6: Retiring Hens to "the Park"
    November 7: Delivery 25 Waverly
  • November 7: Rob at Social Work Research Class
    November 9: Delivery 25 Cedar Falls
  • November 9: Rob at Fontana Herb Society
  • November 21: Delivery 26 Waverly and Cedar Falls
  • November 21: Thanksgiving Shares
    November 23: Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Shares:
You may notice that we skip a week between deliveries during our Fall season.  Currently, share holders with the Whole Enchilada, Traveler 20, My Garden is Dead and Alternating Delivery Shares are still receiving veggie goodness from us.  But, if you are NOT one of these people, you can still get a Thanksgiving share on our November 21st distribution in either Waverly or Cedar Falls.

$35 gets you a nice selection including potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, onions, kale, garlic and whatever else we put in the share that week!  Contact us if you have interest.

Turkeys Have Found Their Homes - Other Poultry Available
The turkeys have all found a home for Thanksgiving.  We warned you to get your orders in!  So, now it is the broiler chickens and stewing hens that move to the most wanted list.  Batch number 3 of broilers went to the Park a bit early and are now in Freezer Camp.  This batch has some truly BIG birds in it.  No... no.  Not THE Big Bird.  He's still on Sesame Street and alive and well as far as we know.

Broilers remain at the $3.50/pound cost that we have maintained for the past few years.  Stewing hens will be on special during the week of the 6th of November at only six dollars.  

Song of the Month
A little Circle Slide as we come back around at the end of the growing season.  The Choir has been a favorite for Tammy and I for most of our married life.  Great lyrics and great composition.  Enjoy.

Recipe of the Month
We have to share Tammy's pie recipe - it really is quite good!  This one has been on our website for nearly as long as we've maintained it.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
  • 1 envelope Knox gelatine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
Mix the above on low heat and stir in
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 egg yolks (save the whites)
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin
Mix well. Cook, stirring occassionally until gelatin dissolves (approx 25 min). Chill until the filling can drop from the spoon.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat 1/4 cup sugar into egg whites.
Fold egg white mixture into pumpkin filling. Place into large baked pie shell.

Field Report
We do still have some kale, pok choi, lettuce, napa cabbage, kohlrabi, daikon radish, broccoli and onions still in the field.  We've been trying to pull in what we must as fast as we are able, but there are only so many hours in a day.  The colder than normal temps with little sun and a fair amount of damp are putting numerous crimps into our regular October/November routine.  You cannot harvest these things when temperatures are at or below the freezing mark, so we have to pick our spots carefully and hope there are enough opportunities before it gets too cold for them.  Usually, we get some breaks in the temps this time of year - but we haven't seen much of that on the farm the past couple of weeks and we see no break in the forecast.

Some things can still be done when the soil is damp.  We've pulled most of the tomato cages and irrigation header lines from the fields.  Fences and feeders and other such stuff are getting pulled in from pastures that no longer have birds in them.  And - we're spending a good deal of time in our truck taking flocks to the park, then taking them to freezer camp and then on to their new homes.  You would think by now that we would remember that there are hours of time that are taken by those tasks every Fall.  But, no.  We get surprised by it every season.  Why is that?  No, don't answer - we have a pretty good idea as to why it is.

Eden has not been moved as of this writing.  We're trying to match up our time with appropriate weather to get it moved.  Clearly, we're behind schedule on this one by a good bit now.  But, every time we have time.... the wind decides to make a very strong appearance.  That's just the way it is sometimes.  We'll get there.

Picture of the Month
We caught this little bird peeping into our window on the 2nd floor of our house at 10:30pm one night.  It's always amazing to see one of these creatures managing to hold onto a vertical surface and not seem at all bothered by the situation.  Now, the flash from our camera was not appreciated.  But, I can't blame it for that.
Farm News Shorts
  • We are not taking reservations for next year's CSA at this time.  In prior years we have taken deposits for the next season starting in September.  We have heard from several people that they felt it was too hard to decide how their year was going to go so they could make a commitment.  However, you will be hearing us once we get to mid-January.  We have some things to consider for the upcoming season, so we also like the flexibility this may provide to us as we have some careful conversations about our future.
  • Speaking season for Rob is beginning with an event for the Fontana Herb Society and an event in Canada at the end of the month.  It sounds like he will also speak at the PFI Annual Conference in January.  Now is the time to ask if you want him to come speak at a class or some other venue this Winter.  
  • We got a pear off of our pear tree.  Yes.  One pear.  Proof below:
Time to Have Pun
We have a friend who is a snake charmer.  Sometimes, she does higher class events that require her to dress up a bit more.  In those cases, she puts on an extra garter.

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