Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Winter 2019 farm update...

Here is an update of what we did over Winter 2019:

First, if you don't live locally (Moscow, ID), it is important to let you know that we had a record amount of snow this year.  Most of it came in February.  I think I heard estimates of up to 50 inches of snow over the winter.  Here are the water trough raised beds to show the depth of the snow.

This picture was taken on March 1st...
This picture was taken yesterday (March 24th)...things are melting nicely...
I took the covers off the large round water trough and the spinach that I planted last fall looks amazing!  It looks almost exactly like it did last fall before I put the covers on.  The walking onion is starting to take off too (back center of picture).  The weather has really warmed up so I expect that we will be able to start harvesting spinach soon!

I experimented with growing lettuce inside.  I started some in December.  It worked really well!

We made some time to go snow tubing at Silver Mountain! We also did some tubing in our own front yard due to all the great snow we got!
Mark and Henry getting ready to "tube" down the hill.
I experimented with making my own soap.  This is an olive oil based soap.  I used oil infused with calendula flowers (that is why it is kind of an orange color).  It just finished curing and I got to use some for the first time right before I started working on this blog!

We continue to work on diet and exercise.  I have been taking Mark swimming and he really enjoys it.  I thought I took a short video of Mark swimming but I must have deleted it by accident.  
It looks like we are on the right track with the weight loss.  Yes, there are some ups and downs and we plateaued for a little bit but we seem to be back on track now...I would say he has lost about 15 pounds at this point.  Still would like to see him lose another 55 pounds...I know that seems like a lot but with warmer weather coming, we should be able to get out and exercise a little more.

Sad news...the bees did not make it.  Yes, these are all dead bees that were at the bottom of the Langstroth hive.  My top bar hive did not make it either.  I cleaned out the hives yesterday and have already ordered new bees (hopefully, they will be available on April 13th!).  I will harvest some honey from the top bar hive so that is a nice thing to look forward to.

Lastly, I spent some time yesterday measuring and flagging our "front" yard where we are going to be building our poultry coops.  
Here is a low area of the property where some water has accumulated.  I have marked it so it can become a small duck pond.
I also had someone out last week to get an estimate on fencing and extending a water line out to the coop areas.  It is both exciting and super scary to move forward with the poultry egg business.

Looking forward to warmer temperatures!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

New apple jelly and sunflower for Farmer's Market

In the Kitchen

I am starting to think ahead to the Farmer’s Market this summer.  I just received a packet in the mail from the City of Moscow sent out to all potential vendors each winter. There’s a mandatory orientation in April and they are also doing site visits. I don’t know if this is a new thing. I’ve never had a site visit before. Something to look forward to, I guess.

 Last fall I was able to collect enough apples to make apple cider jelly and apple pie jam which I’m planning to take to market. Here’s a picture of the different apples that we have on the property. The last apple is a type of crab apple which is completely inedible. Crab apples are used in orchards because they have a long bloom time. Most apple varieties need to be cross-pollinated so having a long bloom time is a bonus for getting good fruit set. 

Here is a picture of the different apples that we have on the property.  The majority of the apples are Ben Davis apples. That is the first apple in the line up (far left).

The other apples, I am not sure about.  The last apple is a type of crab apple and is completely inedible.  Crab apples are used a lot in orchards because they have a long bloom time.  Most apple varieties need to be cross pollinated so having a long bloom time is a bonus for getting good fruit set.

The majority of apples are Ben Davis –the first apple in the line-up on the far left. The Ben Davis was one of the most popular apples in the United States in the late 1800’s and “one  of if not the most important commercial apple at the time.” (Mother Earth News). The world’s most famous apple producer of the time, Frederick Wellhouse of Leavenworth, Kansas, (they called him “The Apple King), stated that the Ben Davis was his most profitable apple. This was high praise from a man who dominated the industry for 30 years. The Ben Davis did not win such high regard for taste, which was usually described as “cotton-like” or tasteless. When it comes right down to it this was an apple that fit a certain need at the time. Fruit lovers required an apple that would put up with rough handling and be able to be stored without refrigeration until cherry season in June. Who would want to peel and can hundreds of pounds of fruit if they could simply store the whole lot in a barrel in the cellar?  In fairness to the Ben, it does get much better in storage. By  January the Ben Davis Apple had softened from a rock-¬like state to something resembling a Jonathan apple. Its taste had mellowed and it made a decent pie

Our neighbor told me that this orchard was planted to have apples to make apple cider vinegar.  I guess there used to be a processing plant for this in the area at one time.

In the Field

 I placed my sunflower seed order a couple of weeks ago. I opted to try White Lite seed this year which is the only new one I ordered. It has a white petal and white center.  I tried White Nite last year. That one has while petals and a brown center.
The only thing I did not order was more of is the PorCut Peach.  It looked beautiful but the bugs loved it and ruined it by chewing little holes in the petals.  I still have seed left over from last year and I plan to go ahead and plant it to be used as a trap crop to keep the bugs off the other flowers.