This is What the End of the Season Looks Like …

This it what it looks like on a vegetable farm hours before the first forecasted freeze:DSC_0400[1]

We picked a few tomatoes.

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Oh, and here’s a few more …

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And oh look!  There are some over here …

 

You get the idea.  🙂  Tomatoes anyone?

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Summertime Vegetables in full-swing

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Once the summer really gets underway, I find that I have very little time to blog – primarily because vegetables are taking up a lot of time.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!  The heirlooms have finally arrived!  Black Krims Cherokee Purples, Brandywines, Mortgage Lifters, Amana Oranges, and more are now available.  Can’t wait to share these with people at farmers market in the morning!

We also still have cucumbers and a few summer squash.  Winter squash (butternut and spaghetti) will be available soon.  Our okra is sloooooow this summer.  And the deer like the okra plants.  A lot.  Don’t hold your breath for the okra.

But tomatoes … boy, do we have tomatoes.  🙂

(Thanks to the Ark City Traveler for taking this great photo of our veggies!)

 

Vegetable time almost here!

Vegetable time is almost here!  We have picked the first few tomatoes from the high tunnel, including this beauty, here.  Probably won’t be enough for farmers market tomorrow, but hopefully by next week, we will have enough to share.

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It took great restraint to not gobble this up on the spot.

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We will have a few summer squash at market, though – tiny, sweet pattypans.

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Zucchini almost ready to pick

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Gage says there are a few cucumbers ready, too, but I am skeptical.  You almost have to squint to see them here.

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Another tomato, blushing on the vine, almost ready to pick!  Get ready!

Ark City Farmers Market today

While our fresh veggies are not quite ready, we will still be at the Ark City Farm and Art Market today from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.

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We will have thornless blackberry bushes, chocolate mint plants, pecans, and homemade jams and jellies.

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New this week, we have wine grape jelly and cherry jam.  We also still have a few jars of delicious blackberry jam left, and some tomato jam left.  Tomato jam has been our most popular seller this spring.

Check back for an update on vegetables coming SOON!

Local Product Prizes

We were super excited to be called on to provide prizes for last weekend’s Elrod’s Cirque bike ride.  We sent 24 jars of jam – blackberry, raspberry, and mixed berry –  with race coordinator Bobby Smith to be handed out as prizes.

How cool that they wanted to use local products as prizes!  Thanks, Bobby!

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We will be selling the rest of our blackberry, raspberry, and tomato jam at farmers market starting NEXT WEEK!  Get excited!

 

The Last Few Months

At the end of last year, I posted this on our family blog, mainly because I didn’t do a great job of regularly blogging throughout the summer.  Well, it has happened again, what with children, and farm and LIFE, looks like I fell off the blogging wagon again.  So, here is a summary of what happened this summer that DIDN’T get blogged about:

The overarching theme of the summer was … again … TOMATOES.  We love growing tomatoes, and with the high tunnel this year, we grew a lot – and I mean a LOT – of tomatoes.  Thankfully, our customers at farmers market love tomatoes as much as we do.  🙂

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Turns out, heirloom tomatoes don’t so much like the rain.  We had a lot of great early heirlooms, but when that wet July weather hit, they all but disintegrated.  Split like CRAZY.  It was hard to find one good heirloom for every 15 on the vine.

Another anomaly this summer – 12 foot tall tomato vines.  Yes, our high tunnel was quite literally a jungle.  We contemplated installing speakers to pipe ambient jungle animal sounds through the tunnel and charge admission.  It was quite the adventure every time we picked tomatoes.

This is a new location for tomatoes for us, so perhaps the soil was too rich?  We didn’t fertilize, so that can’t be it.  We are thinking the weird summer weather just made the plants extra vegetative instead of generative (lots of vines, and not as much fruit).  We aren’t quite sure, but are looking forward to seeing what happens next year.  Already planning how to tweak the high tunnel set-up, to make it easier to pick.

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Look out for jungle animals!  Or at least garden spiders – those suckers are HUGE!

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Tomato Man!  My husband has a weird sense of humor.  🙂

Speaking of all of the rain we had this summer, here is a picture of Timber Creek in late July.  This is unsettling.  We have seen the creek get this high in April, maybe May … but never July.  Weird weather this year.

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Not much of the Elrod Stone bridge left visible.DSC_0114

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Flood waters getting dangerously close to our blackberry trellises.  Luckily, the water went back down quickly.

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This summer was a strange one for me with farmers market.  I helped out with market right up until Willa was born in July, but after that Gage did all the heavy lifting … literally.  I sure missed Saturday mornings at market and am already looking forward to next year!

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We had great vegetable crops this year.  Usually, we struggle with at least one type of vegetable, but this year we had plenty of tomatoes, peppers, okra, summer squash, winter squash, and a smattering of other items.  Next year we are REALLY simplifying our operation, and only growing the items we are really good at.  More on that later.

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Our raspberry plants really came on strong this summer.  Wish we could sell raspberries at market, but they just seem to be too fragile.  Instead, we froze most of these (okay, we ate a fair amount, too) and will make jam with them this winter.

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We had great luck with blackberries however.  As you can see, we grow berries as big as FEET!  Well, as big as baby feet, anyway, but that’s still pretty big.  🙂  We thought this picture would be really cool, but instead it just turned out kinda weird.  But, before we could get another picture, this happened …

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Oh well.  I’m sure it tasted good.  🙂

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Someone enjoying her favorite mode of transportation around the farm.  🙂

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We are also making some changes to our livestock.  After working to hatch chicks this summer, we have decided not to keep chickens right now.  We relocated all of our chickens to my father-in-law Roger’s house.  Our chicken coop was just not great, and we were feeling badly about the conditions our chickens were living in.  I’m sure they are much happier at their new home.

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Our feeder pigs grew to mammoth proportions this year.  I SO wish I had gotten a picture of them before we took them to butcher in September.  These pictures were from MAY, so you can imagine how big they were by the fall.

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Our little pet pig, Ruby, is doing great, and we are getting ready to breed her for the first time.  I think.  Not sure we are ready to add baby pigs to our list of things to take care of, but Gage is sure we can handle it.  Here she is in May.  New pictures of Ruby coming soon, too.

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Last of all, I finally need to post about losing our cat Milo this summer.  I took these pictures of Dusty and Milo lounging together in the backyard in early July.  When I went to the hospital to have Willa was the last time we saw him.  When I came home, Milo was gone.  😦

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Rest in peace, good friend.