May 22, 2011

long overdue update and some news . . .

I'm so behind on things. It's been a challenging spring. I know I've said that before but it really has been. The rain has been killing us. We managed to get into the fields with a tractor to transplant kale last week before the rain started again and now we're back to the waiting game. Honestly, we're done feeling stressed and overwhelmed about being so behind this season. There is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Nothing to do but wait. Everyone else is experiencing the same rain and it's putting a damper on their plans too, farmers or not. Please just know that we farmers have it exceptionally rough this year. Be kind, understanding and offer some love. In the meantime, we've continued weeding and transplanting by hand. It's hard on the back but we have to get food growing somehow!

The hens
The hens are doing great! The older girls are loving life outside and so are the little girls. They're in eggmobile training and they have taken to sunshine and grass like fish to water. I might say this every time but I think they're our best flock yet. So sweet and well behaved. They're really a joy to have around.

And remember our favorite little white girl? Well, she's still Nate's one and only. He's smitten.

The lambs
They're great too. They're outside nibbling on grass and slowly getting less and less bottle feedings as the days go on. (yay!) Meet Clarice and Midge!

Clarice and the milk mama

The chicks

We got broiler chicks a few weeks ago and they're doing really well. They're already much older than these photos. They're looking like chickens now and will be ready to move outside very soon. Here are some photos of their younger days...

The goats
We have 2 goats on the farm, Tiny and Sugar Pie. Sugar Pie is Tiny's grandmother and the two are inseparable. Sadly, Sugar Pie left this world last week. It has been a challenge keeping Tiny's spirits up since then but he's making progress. It's been heartbreaking hearing him cry for her and watching him continue to search for her. He's finally getting back to his old self though. Poor guy. We miss you, Sugar Pie.

Tiny and Sugar Pie ~ Summer, 2010

The high tunnel

... is DONE!!! WooHoo!!! Many thanks to Nate and Greg for their countless hours of stress, sweat and frustration. And thanks to all of those who donated their time to help!

The farmers
Nate, Greg and Lynn, traveled to Southern Virginia last weekend to attend a workshop on working oxen. All of this rain has gotten us thinking . . . we could get into the fields to do work with animals a lot earlier when it's too wet for tractors. Also, they require a lot less fuel and engine maintenance so they just may be in our future plans. The gang learned a lot and had lots of experiences to share upon their return. Nate's off this week to a 3 day grazing school in Ligonier to learn from a master grazer.

This farmer
Well, this farmer has some news to share which might explain why I'm so behind on things. I'm pregnant and the baby is due in early December. This has definitely contributed to this being one of the hardest springs EVER. I have much to say about farming and pregnancy as well as much, much more but right now, I'm trying to decide if this farm blog is the place for that sort of thing. I'm thinking of starting a personal blog so if you're interested in following me on this new journey as well, stay tuned. And if anyone has any feedback on that, I'm open.

Me, miss hen and future farmer baby

If you thought that was it . . . think again. There are actually 2 babies scheduled to arrive on the farm in early December. Jen's pregnant too! I know it sounds crazy and impossible but that's just the way it turned out. Now I can really be honest about how hard it's been around here and quite frankly, we couldn't have made it through our first trimester without our hard-working intern, Lynn. She's truly amazing and has insisted on working while we were feeling awful and trying to sneak in much-needed naps. She's so brave and understanding taking on a farm with two pregnant women. Thank you, Lynn. You rock!

Future farmers in the making at Blackberry Meadows Farm, folks!

May 4, 2011

Come buy your organic seedlings from us this weekend!

We'll be selling our vegetable, herb and flower seedlings and we'll also be featuring our new line of Heritage Seed Collective Heirloom Seedlings!

Look for Blackberry Meadows Farm at three places this weekend:

  • Saturday, we'll be at the Farmers at Firehouse market in the Strip District, near 26th Street and Penn Ave, 9am-1pm ***in addition to seedlings, we'll also be selling our pasture-raised chicken and quail eggs (now fed certified organic grain!) as well as ramps, stinging nettles, garlic greens and green onions!!***

Hope to see you there!

May 1, 2011

wet farm, tired farmers

This weather is testing our patience and threatening to dampen our spirits. I think it's safe to say that this spring will stand out as one of the most challenging for all farmers. I know it has been for us, for many reasons. Still raining here with a bit of sun in between and more rain in the forecast. Let me start off by saying that we're feeling incredibly grateful to just have rain to complain about while folks in other states have felt much, much worse. I mean seriously, we're happy to still have our farm, our home and our animals safe.

But this weather had made it really difficult to farm. Unfortunately, even though we've had days of sun here and there, it's still too wet to get into the fields with a tractor, which we desperately need to do. We have to start transplanting things into the ground so there's food ready for the start of the CSA. We need at least 2-3 days of consecutive dry, sunny days to be able to get into the fields without doing irreversible damage. If we drive on the soil now and try to work it with a tractor, we risk every farmer's worst enemy...soil compaction. And that's something that never goes away. So, we wait.

And we wait.

We're hoping that our CSA members will understand if things end up being slightly later than usual. This past week we resorted to doing some of the tractor work by hand just to get some veggies in the ground. It was 3 days of back breaking work. The rows had already been spaded but it has been so long since we've been waiting to plant that grass had started to grow. We knew that if we didn't weed the grass out now, it would be a weeding nightmare in the future. It took us 3 days to weed and plant 2 whole rows by hand but we did it and we finally have some broccoli, chinese cabbage and kohlrabi in the ground! Add that to the few things we already have in the field and the things growing in our high tunnels and we just may squeak by.

The lambs are doing well and are spending the sunny days (few and far between) outside frolicking. They're even starting to nibble on some grass. All of the winged creatures on the farm are being shuffled around as we prepare for the arrival of our first batch of broiler chicks coming this week.

And the new high tunnel? Well, we're getting there!