Here we go!

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The harvest is starting to roll in now.  Summer squashes, cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes, blackberries, potatoes, carrots and more.

The Body Farm

This spring and summer I have been jokingly calling our farm “the Body Farm.” I am referring to the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility called “The Body Farm.”  It is a research facility for studying human decomposition.

Every year brings it’s share of dead bodies at Small Wonder Farm, but we are way over our quota for the year.  We have had dead baby birds, adult birds, snakes, chipmunks, squirrels, moles, a young raccoon and a few chickens.  Yes, sometimes it can be quite gross–especially depending on the state of decomposition, but you get used to it.  One of the gifts of the farm is the lesson of death and decomposition.

This picture of Frida, from today, shows the latest corpse.  Most of the deaths are from natural causes.  Most of the moles, however, (like the one pictured below) are dug for and captured by the dogs who then play with them until they expire and then leave them all around the yard.  Frida, in particular, considers a corpse a real treasure.  Earlier this summer she made it in the door with one.  Luckily I saw her scoot past me with it.  This one she laid at my feet on the porch.  Her contribution to the family stew-pot for the day?  I doubt it.  She does not want to share.  She wants to gloat.  When it became clear to her that we were going to strip her of her prize, she turned her back to Paco and made it quite clear she was not going to give in easily.  Poor kid.  Sometimes co-habitating with humans really stinks. 

The Onion Queen of Westpoint, Indiana

I am unapologetically declaring myself the 2012 Onion Queen of Westpoint, Indiana.  My onions are big, beautiful, delicious, and plentiful.  I have been harvesting over a month now and still have the majority to pull.  I have potato onions, 4 kinds of storage onions, 3 kinds of bunching onions, 5 kinds of garlic, and Egyptian walking onions.  Perhaps I got a bit carried away….Good thing I can send the surplus to the restaurant.

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Frida’s First Farm Summer

Frida is one now and enjoying her first summer on the farm.  This is what she loves: strawberries, Tinsel (the border collie) chasing her, and picking up dead things and eating/toting them around (ugh!).  A few weeks ago she came in with a dead mole.

She is learning to love swimming.  She now willingly gets held in the water and will swim short distances.

What more could a dog want than a farm and family?

A Better System

Last year we took the problem of tomato cages head on and solved the dilemma once and for all.  Paco made me 30 welded wire tomato cages.  This year we used every one of them.  The size of the tomato plants in their sturdy cages quickly eclipsed the markers I had placed near the bases.  This year I transformed some thin kitchen cutting mats, cable ties, and a garden marker into some nice eye level tags that will last the season. I hope to reuse them if I can find something to strip the marker.

Every year the garden gets better and better because we learn and innovate.  We know we still get some things wrong, but we get a lot right now too! More on this upcoming posts.

Natural Pest Control

Today’s survey of the main garden highlighted a little natural pest control.  The first picture is of a Colorado Potato Beetle larvae.  Potato beetles showed themselves early this spring and I have been battling to keep them under control.  I squash all that I find, but was very happy to see a Northern Leopard Frog lurking in my potato patch.  Nice juicy potato bug larvae are the perfect entrée for this frog.  

So it Begins

Canning season is off to a great start.  With inspiration from a friend who blogs at Creating Nirvana, I set out to turn the majority of 3 cases of strawberries into Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Limeade concentrate.  I love that Crating Nirvana’s recipe is honey sweetened.  One of the keys to canning is to can things you will really use.  My daughter loves strawberries and loves lemonade.  This year round occasional treat will be a big hit and a much healthier version than I could buy.  In the end, I canned about 25 pints.  The concentrate is mixed 1:1 with water, so we will have plenty of summer in jars.  Some of the berries went into the freezer for smoothies as well.

I have already harvested some of my soft neck garlic and some of the garlic grown in the high tunnel.  I decided to pickle this first harvest.  I love the flavor, but wish it had not gotten so soft.  I think I will try a raw pack next time.  No recipe here–just wing it!  Pickling brine is a combo of vinegar, water, salt, (if you want) sweetener, and spices to taste.

 

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