You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2012.

Just a heads up. There’s a new recipe on the “WCYDWTV” page inspired by all the green tomatoes i had after pruning this week. Delish!

New gardening post coming after the weekend. Cheers!

first ripe tomato

first ripe tomato

watermelon

watermelon

grasshopper damage – they eat thru the stalk

representative menace

onion, beet, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, turkey and cheddar

thank you sandwich gods!

 

 

It is hard to understand the real, deep sadness of a farmer watching their crop die a day at a time from something they have no control over.

The providence of God is a difficult topic to wrestle with for people whose livelihood and that of their families depends on the weather.

We feel for the farmers in the corn belt whose crops and lives are being completely devastated by the drought. Please keep them all in your thoughts.

This year, we decided to start a farmers’ market in Kulm, and this past Tuesday was our opening day. There was so much prep that went into this, but thanks to stressing out over it for a month and a half, the few days before went pretty smoothly.

We sold $1 root beet floats and $0.25 lemonade. We had to restock halfway through to keep up with root beer float demand, and ended up with about 4.5 gallons of leftover lemonade 🙂 At least we know how to streamline our offerings! We decided to sell floats as a way to avoid charging vendor fees, so all the money from floats goes straight back into the market. We are lucky enough to have some capable, charming young ladies volunteer their help serving floats. Thank you McKenzie and Elizabeth!

At 1:55 pm we had about 12 people pounce on the produce, and we didn’t sit down until 5:30! I’m guessing part of that was just people interested in “the new thing” in town, so the next market might not get as much traffic, but it sure felt good to have so much support from our community.

A few pics from the day can be found here: (please like us!) Coteau Hills Facebook Page

The day after our smashing success, I had my first experience butchering chickens. Spoiler warning: the event was gross and pics are graphic — avert your eyes if you don’t like that sort of thing.

Glacier Gardens is on my inlaws’ farmstead. Their neighbors are “nearly sustenance” farmers, and we have grown to be good friends. I told her about 3 months ago that I would help her butcher chickens when the time came, and Wednesday was the day.

So, here’s just the basic steps of how to butcher a chicken:

1. Find a 12 year old boy who thinks cutting off chicken heads is the coolest thing he could be doing at 8am.

2. Put him to work.

3. Dip the headless chicken into a nearly boiling pot of water to loosen the feathers.

4. At the plucking station, yank the wing and tail feathers out immediately, because those are the hardest to get so you have to use the effects of the hot water right away.

5. When the chicken is as plucked as you can possibly get it, take it to the gutting station and turn your head away.

6. When those brave people are done gutting, the chicken gets singed to remove all the tiny hair-like feathers you couldn’t pluck.

7. Now, those brave people left one foot on to hold when they were singeing the chicken, so they have to hack that off before you hose the chicken off and do another thorough check to make sure all internal organs are out. Quote of the day, “Those lungs are buggers.”

8. Take the chicken inside, where you basically want to make it look like what you would put in the oven: nitpick all the pinfeathers and do one more good check of the insides.

Here are the ladies, ready to go!

In honor of my experience, please see our special poultry edition of “What can you do with this vegetable?”

Last week, over the fourth, we were in Minnesota at Jordan’s parents’ cabin. We had a full, fun week. As usual, Jordan kept a sharp eye on the weather at home.

Our farm crops needed rain very badly. We weren’t as bad off as much of the country, but we hadn’t had rain in close to a month – sometime in early June. Then the high heat depleted the crops of their moisture extremely fast. Unfortunately, with high temps like we’ve had, you never get a nice refreshing rain shower; it’s going to come with some severe storm side effects.

The storm that hit Kulm on Friday morning came with 70 mph winds. Immediately, we were most worried about the corn, because the wind can completely break the stalks over. Here’s a picture of the garden before we left, with the popcorn (and Fred) on the far left, followed by a picture of what our popcorn looked like Saturday when I got home.

The Dakota black popcorn took it the hardest. We’re pretty certain it was a variety issue. Dakota black is a 90 day corn, so it puts less time into making a stalk and moves quickly to making a cob. It’s shorter and the cobs are smaller, but it gets the job done fast. Well, in 70 mph winds, you need a hardy stalk to stay upright. In the pictures, you can see the other variety, Robust, didn’t come out unscathed, but the damage was far less.

The field corn had about a 7% loss as a whole. There are pockets in the fields, kind of like with the Dakota black, where it looks like a bomb dropped and sent the stalks every which way, but didn’t flatten them as badly as the Dakota black.

So, we got the good with the bad: 1.6 inches of badly needed rain along with damaging winds. That’s how it goes in the farming gig.

The popcorn is recovering well, it just now has what they call a “gooseneck”. I’ll get you a picture of that when I can, but you can imagine – the corn leans heavily close to the soil and then the stalk just straightens out and goes vertical.

On a positive note, here are some pics of the growing harvest! Cucumbers (pickling size — we already picked the large ones for stirrum again!), watermelons, peas (and a happy consumer), bell peppers and a nice looking 50 square feet of wheat 🙂

We are CRAZY busy right now getting ready for our first farmers’ market (2-6pm, July 17th if you can come!), but I will catch up with all this next week. Adios!