The less time you have the more it becomes worth, and the older you get the faster it goes.
This weeks' happenings were mostly good to very good.
Did have the field day, well attendeded and well received. Odds and ends topics were haphazzardly discussed: the chicks, berries, tunnel, weeding tools, the new cooler unit, no till in vetch. and other pebbles.
I've been at this gardening thing for a couple of years now of which I became acutely aware when we were looking at a field of hairy vetch that Nathan had just mowed down. Hairy vetch (Dutch: zwikke) is a very viney leguminous plant with petty purple flowers that forms a dense mat of dead vegetation when you mow it or crimp it at the right time. General management (that would be me) decided to try a no tillage approach where we put transplants of cantaloupe straight into the mat with the hopes that the dead zwikke (english: vetch, but zwikke is such a much nicer word, especially in scrabble) will prevent weeds from growing up. Because of the rains it is impossible to do any tractorring, just as well, so this was a 150 transplants hand job. Senior management utilized this opportunity to practice supervisory skills.
Anyway, someone asked me when I had planted this vetch, and I thought for a moment and it was actually in 1998! It just keeps coming back. I love that! You don't have to mow, plow, disk, harrow and plant, no this stuff just comes back freely every year. Do nothing gardening to the max.
By the way why did the watermelon get married? Because he cantaloupe. And, yes, it was encouraging that I was able to share some of my knowledge, as it was nice to ask people for their opions and pry them for their knowledge. (E.g. does it matter how small you cut your potatoes before planting? No consensus reached, we'll wait and seed).
Really exciting: Pablo is back in town, working with Justin, and it seems to an innocent bystander that they actually somehow enjoy working. I tread lightly here, and hold my breath for a continuance, at their own schedule and their own task, but still, very cool. Justin is still on track to perform in the Nationals for berry picking, 300 more pounds to go, and Pablo has taking on the role of chief marketing executive and has gone to market twice and sold out on both occastions. The guy likes to sell. In past years, the more excited I got about the intricacies of bolting cheap seed versus weed infested hybrid f1 spinach, the more Pablo would roll his eyes and play inunderstandable games on his phone. At least now he asks what he can sell it for. Capitalism to the rescue.
Regarding them berries, there are some some, but right now they are getting harder to come by, at one point on Saturday I had 15 people picking in the field, so by the time Justin and friends got back at it, it had been pretty picked over and the per pound pick price had to go up. Here too good news: the Haeffners, at the field day, who had a you pick berry patch for 10 years thought the plants looked real good. Nice to hear since I don't have a reference point as to what they should look like, partially because I didn't see them last year when they were hiding in the weeds. But believe it or not, apparently they are relatively weed free this year.
The eggs keep disappearing, St. L market temporarily put on hold because it is just nicer to sell locally (besides it is 13.173 cents more per dozen).
After more rain the weather will now turn to a blistering heat for no particular reason and it will never rain again, "thy lord has no mercy". But the hell with that, I am looking forward to sleeping in that new working cooler, with 4 blankets in 44 degree room. A coolbot and a big oversized airconditioner make for a inexpensive alternative to a 3 phase 220 volt condensor unit. (Haha, like I have any idea what I just wrote).
At any rate it works great, again, after I had impressed the boys by fearlessly attacking the fusebox with assorted screwdrivers in a heroic attempt to change a breaker that broke. They shouldn't call them breakers, that is just dumb. It was like one of those operating scenes in a movie where it seems that all surgeons take random tools and root around in an open body.
The folks from Yellowwood Farm are gracious enough to lend us some freezer space to keep strawberries till we got the mother loade. I accidentally locked myself into their freezer without any lights for a minute or two, scary! If it hadn't been so cold and someone elses freezer I might a pooped in my pants. Also, did buy a freezer, one of them cheapskate second hand ones that worked 13 years ago. Moved it, plugged it in, it makes a lovely zooming noise, but temperature wise: a turd, and a soft one at that. Got the money back, guy didn't want the freezer back, so now the kids want to make a smoker out of it. (Not sure what kind of smoker they have in mind).
Crop wise: more berries, sugarsnap peas, broccoli, new taters in the tunnel, green onions, flowers.Flunks so far: beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, and spinach, but really it could not be helped. The weeds won the first battle, but the war is on. I have called 1-800 BAD WEED! Also, the chickens have taken care of any evidence of failed growing attempts.
Some feathers to myself: I did get through my mother-departure depression without smoking (may just have quit this time), and I made those raised beds last fall that have really saved the day again. So! there you have it. Nice Job Pieter, now time to go back to work.
It has been a while since the last blog, the wood stove was still in function, ma's have come and gone, gutters are still running. It is 4 am and I can't sleep, so for my peace of mind I am making another digital turd that I can smell again when I have grown old. And what is keeping me awake? Them berries. Terrible, Syria is falling apart and I can't sleep because of berries. Justin can't sleep either but I'll get to that. Got me some songs stuck in my head, proceed at own risk. I think you can click a music link and read at the same time, just like I could be weeding and picking at the same time.
So it has been getting out of hand, one day you are excited about the first strawberry in the high tunnel, then the first pound, and you cherish that and one day you hap hazzardly walk into the strawberry patch outside and you realize that yes, you were looking at a teddy bear in a tunnel and you have BIGFOOT outside, a true Frankensteinian monster, HELP.
The berries in the tunnel are a nice 2 calorie appetizer to an all you can eat hardees burpfest. And overnight, with no warning there they are. Like you go to Hermann to get groceries and all of a sudden there is a roadblock and they ask for your passport in a foreign language. WTF? Was I sleeping at the wheel, did the country shrink, is there a time warp around my mailbox? Where did those strawberries come from, and how come they turn to mush when you don't pick em in the 15 minutes that they are at their peak of amazingness? Because truly they are amazingly delicious and like nothing you buy in the store. I said that after I ate the first 3 pounds at least, but it still holds true, I think. Also, these here are not sprayed and I googled it and a substantial percentage of conventional strawberry weight is made up of extremely dense herbicidal molecules. See: http://shitimakeup/tomakemypoint.com for further documentation of this fact.
So here we are: growing food is not the same as feed, feed you can store in a grain bin, food you got to move, and pick by hand. LFS (lucky fucker syndrome) kicked in, again, and I found an outlet for berries that are picked but not sold the same day. Endlessummerwinery in Big Spring, is a small winery that makes wine out of anything but grapes. They have apple wine, pear wine, jalopeno wine and this summer they will have ......
yes, you guessed it right: STRAWBERRY wine. So, not only did I find an outlet for 910 lb of berries, Justin and friends showed up to pick em! Talk about LFS squared! So picking, then washing, and then freezing till we get to 900, and really don't forget the 10.
To keep it all going smooth I invested in some music: below is new Dutch pride. This woman is the bomb, as is her music, makes anything you do in the field more enjoyable. She and I have the same birthday, just another useless factoid that I will carry around the rest of my life, while I am looking endlessly for my wallet.
Ma 's came and ma's left, April 26th, on my birthday. By the way did I tell you Caro and I have the same birthday?
Going to a party with ma and stepma, both been married to my dad for 17+ years, but not at the same time. In a sense it makes sense that ma's get along, after all they have shared the same guy, some time. "Oh, how nice that is your mother, and who is the other lady?" Like Steve Wood says: normal is just a setting on the dryer. But tell me, how many people can have their ma's over for 4 weeks and will be truly sad when they leave, and yes, I was breastfed.
I have been touching a lot of money lately, nothing that sticks to my bow though. In the cashbox, out the cashbox, Of course the book keeping is non existent. Trying to keep track of it is like grabbing an eel in a bucket of snot. To get at least some indication I once in a while weigh the cash box.
The egg situation is strange too, we are getting about 13 dozen a day, that makes for 80 dozen a week, after breaking some, the ones that are too dirty to wash, some for the dogs and some to shampoo my hair with for that shiny Brad Pitt look. But those 80 dozen really disappear every week! Some to the Captain Wohlt B and B (Nice folks and really cool setting and one of the most beautiful outside stone stairs around), some to Black Bear Bakery in St. Louis (your one of a kind cooperative bakery on the corner of Cherokee and Jefferson), some to somewhere, and some at the pavilion where people have been getting the hang of the honor system which involves aforementioned cash box. People like that honor system, some kind of semblance of old fashioned trust from a bygone era.
This just in: Justin, the picking machine, on his quest to 910, or is it 911?
Will he survive? He has been picking non stop for 2 days now and last evening he saw the ghost of Gloria Gainor in row seven . At first he was afraid then he was petrified.
I wonder if circles are the same throughout the universe. The diameter times 3.141529 etc is the circumference of the circle. The number Pi is an irrational number, it does not have a recurring theme of digits, they are ever changing. Apparently therefore you cannot square a circle that is, define a square that has the same area as a circle.
So at the food circle at the Mercantile in McKittrick.... Dan, the alternative energy goeroe buys stuff from the milk lady, (milk actually), she pays me for the eggs for that week, I buy some tomatoes from a vendor who gets them from the Amish, the vendor buys some things from Pieter's Pantry, and I invest the money in a book from Dan. Almost could have left my wallet at home.
Nice meeting, again. Amy gave a presentation on alternative diets and it was remarkable how much we all are involved and have views on food.
There's a man at the doctor who complains of his sudden urges where he will start singing at the top of his lungs. Hmmm... the doctor says, it sounds like Tom Jones syndrome. The man asks if it is very common.
The doctor sings: it's not unusual.
Today the Netherlands have a new King. Long live the King, strange to say King, it has been 130 years of female rule. Koning Prins Willem Alexander van Oranje, his birthday is April 27th, 1967. A year and a day after mine. He has a beautiful wife, 3 daughters, and his own kingdom. No sense in comparing myself to the Jones but I too have my own kingdom, 2 dogs and 2 tractors. Suck on that Willem! The Dutch national color is orange, so therefore this. Long live the king.
More unusual things: my mother and step mother here at the same time. Unusual. The toilet paper inventory management has to be adjusted, pronto, and oops, or maybe I should have gotten up sooner.
And then this, I have never in my 47 years of dreaming, dreamt a smell. I was dreaming, snoozing if you may, and I smelled garlic, fresh roasting garlic. I was sleeping in the bus, no garlic around, no one baking it, and I swear my olfactory glands sent the signal. Color, sounds, feelings, flying, swimming in dreams, sure, but a smell?
Joey calls to ask if I want to buy any day old Cornish Cross meat birds. The husband of the milk lady had made a trade: 1600 day old chicks for something. Delivery: now. His wife can't be too happy with that deal. Oh no, doghouse! Those things are voracious eaters, they need everything, and they need it now. Talk about highly perishable goods. And shit, I can just see where this is going... Just what I don't want to mess with: more chicks, bet they are cheap and, most unusual, the longer you wait the more expensive they will be to buy.
The weather.... not unusual, just screwed up. 88 and T-shirt weather today, and Thursday, drizzle and 50.
Steve Wood, he who could, sent me the coolest birthday present in the mail: a Coleman lamp, made in April 1966, it has a glass light cover and it arrived in one piece. Seriously impressively packaged. Thanks.
The greenhouse management is a big challenge for me these days, there are piles of transplants, and they look really good. But with the sun coming in and out it can go from 50 to 100 degrees in a couple of hours. Watering is critical, and yesterday it slipped some some and all was wilted to a pulp. I tried to mask my incompetence by blaming others for not paying attention, but no, manning up, biting the bullet, instant watering and praying and bettering my life. They did perk up, but the water stress inducement will cause plants to bolt very quickly now.
Roger came by out of the blue and has been working on the little cabin. Shows up from Columbia with a truck full of tools, and he just settles in and starts hammering and cleaning away. First night he moved in, it will never be a Hilton, but It may just get ready to house a volunteer, or two, to futz around here.
And then this local friend came by and parked his ass on a riding mower, and it sure is starting to look nice. The grass, not his ass, that is.
Making strawberry picking crates for the near future and now off to the races and going to get more chicken feed.
Richie died. 'd Been listening to his songs again, this time on you tube. A few years ago I heard he was playing in Salem of all places, regret of regrets I didn't go. I did have delusions of grandeur of having him play at the farm one day, just because I could. But now just his presence left, but his memory is digitized: what a beautiful graceful man.
Ma and stepma are coming, actually they are here now Friday the 26th, on my birthday. They did it on purpose so I can remember to pick them up from the airport. Ma was missing a page on her calender and now she is here for 4 and a half week instead of 3 and half, it runs in the family. But I sent son Pablo to drive, while he still can. Children are such a rude payback for your own youth. Pablo's world is getting smaller and he is starting to run out of road, maybe he'll see the light and come and help his parents out. "He wants to work hard and be outside". Well be my honey and pick me some berries. The duch word for harbor is "haven". so maybe the safe haven of Wil Farm can be a place he can build his life raft. We'll see.
Saturday really was a good community farm day: friends, acquintances and new friends to be made, and customers and gardeners and Kim Carr stopped by, she did a really nice write up. I think I f you click on the link it could work; http://gasconade.countynewslive.com/content/2013/apr/26/look-inside-%E2%80%93-wil-farm-%E2%80%93-hermann-mo
My birthday has been in progress for days: Roger showed up and took it upon himself to restart the Hilton Cabin, so it is in phase two of a major upgrade. Nathan showed up and didn't mind sitting on a mower for a couple of hours and Karen got some kick ass signs painted that are adorning hwy 19. Got in touch with Modot and now I will have to clean up 2 miles of highway, great idea Pieter.
Ate the first strawberry from the tunnel, more to follow shortly. Been selling eggs left and right and got some left, (like 500 or so). Wet as Holland here, thanks for the foresight to get raised beds in place, got at least a little bit planted, mostly in the spinach/lettuce/peas department, isle 13. Anyway, no news, just good news.
Waking up on Wednesday can be such a treat: my paying work, which I still really enjoy, even after 9 year, is out of my hair again for 5 days, and I can focus on this farming enterprise. But where to start? I wake up, three dogs in the bedroom. I get one foot out of bed, and see the pile of clean clothes, neatly stored in a heap on the ground, waiting for relocation, walk through the "office", small seedlings needing water, the greenhouse plants are coming up and need some water, the house definitely could use some tlc, the sign needs painting, grant progress report has to get in the email, I would like to get some more signs painted, eggs need selling, potatoes are in the cooler and will get in the ground, but not by themselves, another grant to write. And what do I do? Write a little blog, guess that is where I start. But first let me have a glass of wine to celebrate Wednesday.
Actually, by Saturday things are looking up:
here's your sign: you can lower it with pullies and change out the boards.
Still blank but I can see all kinds of texts on there. Got the waterlines that had broken and started leaking this winter replaced, and got about half of the chickens in the tunnel. Grazing as it were. They don't like arugula. May have to mow that down myself. In a days time they have eaten 20 pounds of spinach and lettuce, seriously thin runnings, but who wants to hear about the consistency of chicken shit?
And on it goes: I have a clean email inbox, when was the last time you didn't have anything in it? Sent of the SARE hoeing hen grant report, (see elsewhere on the site). Did write another grant for the WWOOF, called Wil Farm is going private, looking for an outdoor shower and toilet for the volunteers, you never know, and am getting ready to till some soil, probably way too wet, but feel like sitting on the tractor and getting it ready.
So... yes, feeling blessed. Not looking forward to pooching it, but if it would happen today, and you would be happy, that is something isn't it.
And the algorithm for the day: if you have a dog that is sick and that you care for and want to help, how do you do that when it bites your hand?
It is Friday the fifteenth of March; I am cranky and I am way up high upon a ladder.
What am I doing here I am thinking. How did I get here? I got two wrenches in my hands, a stanley knife in my pocket, trying to fix electrical problems, 15 feet up in the air. Well, I had noticed the lights in Joey's weldingshop were not working properly. But that didn't affect me, although her aircompressor, where I steal my hot air from didn't work either, but alas. NO what did affect me was that my 220 volt welder in my part of the shop wasn't working either. So here I was wanting to weld stuff. My whole welding teaching instruction, ever, was: "When you are welding it should sound like bacon cracling in the pan". Well there was no crackle, just the riproaring sound of silence. Now, some things break down the same way year after year, as does the electric. See: a welder uses 220 Volt, it so happens that there are three electric lines going into the shed, one is the ground and then you have one 110 Volt line and another, and that makes together, if you wire it right 220. Every couple of years one of the wires just fries (really I ought to wrap this in electrical insulation tape, but who has time to do it right??) and then you find yourself on the ladder.
Oh, I remember, I was wanting to weld a sign for next to the road. I have been wanting to do that for years, but this week, both egg buyers decided that their chickens were starting to kick in and they wouldn't need mine. So, what do you do with 70 dozen eggs a week? Make a big omlet that is for sure. Thus the roadsign, it has a little wooden board on there with the word: eggs. So that is what I was doing on the ladder, trying to sell eggs.
If you know someone who likes eggs, send them my way.
Started some trays in the greenhouse, even though it has collapsed whimsically in the recent snow storm. Nothing a good stud can't fix. I did purchase some plastic to fix it, but it is too cold to fool with it, besides, it will need some reasonably serious overhauling after 15 years of service and I am not in the fixing mood rightnow.
A friend came by, he brought a supreme care package: discount alcohol, cleaning rags, a bucket, a jar of dry roll your own tobacco. Reading this back it kind of belongs together. It was most thoughtful and it all came in handy. Roger helped me get both tractors on the hoof again, so really we are done fixing. Until I moved the lawnmower and the wheel fell off in the driveway. Mandatory fixing. But it is all coming together, like every year, hopes are high, sheds are clean, clothes off the floor and taxes waiting to be filed.
Got tomatoes germinating on the heat pad, kind of trippy when it is freezing outside and those hothouse plants are coming through. The tunnel is looking decent, still a lot of spinach, cilantro, lettuce and a bit of bolting arugula. Took one row of cress out to put some sprouting potatoes in from last years' harvest. Just for the heck , hopefully I'll have some new potatoes halfway May when ma is still visiting. Also the half planted to strawberries looks good, if you can find the plants in the watercress weed, what a painful weed that is.
Have rented out 6 plots, I think, (album storage is not the same as record keeping Pieter), so that is kind of exciting. Plans for the coming season: sell eggs at home, grow a tunnel full of stuff, flowers, cornmaze, was going to do beez but that will have to wait till next year, maybe some rabits, flowers for the heck and whatever else the mind churns up. So, here you have it, up to date. Got eggs, looking for bacon.
Well, changed things around a little, got to promote the moneymaking plot scheme here. Input welcome.
Susan showed me a ferilized chicken egg today. Guess that chicken with the crooked beak is busted after all. It won't be long now BUSTER.
Got myself stuck in the driveway a number of times, sometimes with my car, a couple of times with the tractor while trying to blade the road after the 6 inch of snow. Luckily Steve Wood was here for a week, got to love a guy called wood when it is very cold outside. He loves to dinker with the fire, more power to him, and comfort to me. Steve has some fine sayings: the pot only break when you wanna shit, or on his mentally challenged room mate: I am going to give him a gun cleaning kit for christmas.
The snow was a dandy. Kind of really made it obvious that the greenhouse next to my house needs a facelift, actually it needs a new jaw, and skull as well. So called the plastic guy to ask for a UPS speedy Gonzales on big sheets. Talked to Vince and he'll be over at the crack of noon and help me with the rebuild. Kind of necessary to have a greenhouse to start plants in this snow stuff. Will keep you posted. Oh by the way, got really nice salad in the tunnel, come by if you want some.
Back from Jamaica, jah man, good times. That island is like a giant cruise ship you can't get off. Ate a lot of chicken, thought a lot about mine. In most everything there are a few that don't conform, be it a peanut that stays in the bag when you shake it out, the one in a hundred seeds that actually do germinate, plane crashes with one survivor, you get the idea. So here is my incognito rooster, maybe. Maybe she is really butch, but here is the thing: he/she/it does have small spores on her legs. I have seen it homp other chickens, but so do other female chickens; apparently this happens when there are no males around. I did move all the roosters to the freezer last year, but this one escaped destiny. See, it has a birth defect, a cleft lip. It drinks in a funny way with its head tilted sideways, but also, I think it can't crow with that off beak. Darwin's survival of the fittest dethroned, to some extent. Or maybe I'll end up with a flock of sideway drinkers.
So there was this guy on the beach, definitely high as a kite at all times, bipolar and manic as well, trying to sell wicker stuff. Dreadlock rasta, 55 ish. He has been doing it for 30 some years and the guy knows how to weave alright.
"I went to Jamaica and all I got was this egg basket". It was a little challenging traveling with it because I used it as my carry on and it had all the dirty laundry in it. (YIKES) Also, it didn't fit in the overhead bin but it got home safe and sound. Really happy with it.
So for good measure I had him custom make me an apiary hat, to be. Nice work, a little painful traveling with such a contraption on your head. But happy as a clam, or lobster.
Pieter Los, born in Scotland, raised in the Netherlands, lost in the USA. .