I’ve often said, “We’d rather have friends than equipment”, so we still do a lot of things by hand here, and one of our favorite times getting together with folks for garlic planting. As always, it’s good company, good work and good food; we’re willing to pay you in cash, produce or undying gratitude as well.
Saturday, October 18th
Sunday, October 19th
Lunch at Noon
We start at 9:00 a.m. each day, but will welcome the help whenever you can come. Please call or email to let us know (especially so Mariénne can plan lunch!)
We love having friends on the farm, sharing some work and a great meal — and then they get to take home some of what they harvested!
Potato Harvest will be Saturday, September 27th, starting at 9 a.m. We’d be honored to have you join us, and you can show up at any time, but lunch is at noon. See the “Produce” page for the varieties we’re growing this year, and you can get our contact info on the “About” page.
See you there!
Hanging Garlic for Curing
We harvested garlic on July 19 and 20 with a great crew of friends, and the bulbs look really good. We’re not quite up to our “Pre-Aster Yellows” numbers yet, so we’re saving even more of our crop for seed stock. If you want first shot at this lovely garlic, please come to the Garlic Festival! I’ll have the very best of it there.
Hope to see you at the festival!
Flash: to see what’s available now, go to the Produce page.
We are honored to a part of the statewide Festival of Farms this coming Saturday with two tours on our farm. The Crow River Chapter of Sustainable Farming Association is also sponsoring two other locations, in Hutchinson, the same day.
The two tours at our farm each have a different emphasis:
This tour will be a general overview of the farm for the public and interested farmers, and will feature such things as:
- Gourmet Garlic, and other root vegetables
- Rotational Grazing for cattle and pastured chickens
- The ongoing Conservation Work that started with Mariénne’s father in the 1940s
This tour is offered as a cooperative venture of Keep Cattle In Minnesota, the Minnesota Dairy Initiative, the Pasture Project, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Sustainable Farming Association, and is intended for farmers, ag educators and members of the public who are interested in conservation, soil health and creative ways to run cattle on smaller acreage. Features:
- In-depth looks at a rotational grazing system
- Smaller acreage cover crops
- Raising replacement heifers and direct marketed beef
- Soil & water conservation practices and programs
- These Crow River tours are sponsored in part by Farm Beginnings, a farmer-led, community based training and support program from The Land Stewardship Project aimed at getting more farmers on the land farming sustainably.
So, come on out and take a look around!
Everything we’d normally have planted much earlier is finally in the ground and coming up. Donald Fagan’s song, “Walk Between the Raindrops” kept playing in my head, but the lyrics ran something like, “We plant between the raindrops ’til we get done”.
We have 40 head of cattle – plus the two new “Texas Pinzgauer Highland” calves, Orbit and Penuche – in two herds on the pasture, which, with the excess moisture and organic amendments, is as lush as I’ve ever seen it. Penuche was sickly at first, but is slowly recovering. That’s him in the picture with his “other moms” (Mariénne took the picture, but she has given him most of the TLC.)
One tragic event for us this spring: something killed about 3/4 of our pastured laying hens in broad daylight, all in a span of less than 3 hours. I’ll spare the gory details – actually, there aren’t many since we’ve yet to find the bodies – but suffice to say that we have moved the survivors back to the homestead. Thanks to the goodness of Becky Bravinder (Dan & Becky’s Market), who is selling us hens and pullets, we hope to be back in the egg business again soon. But they won’t be “pastured” eggs this summer: we can’t take the risk of putting them back out there until the “nonpaying customers” go away. The hens – and new rooster, King Richard – will be still outdoors all day, in a very nice run, and guarded by fences and our dogs.
A sure sign of spring for us is seeing the first garlic sprouts, which happened on April 12th. It was certainly the hardest winter this Southern boy has ever experienced, and Willard, the 91-year-old patriarch here, harkens back to the 1930’s when trying to one-up this one.
But (hopefully) this, too, has passed, and we can safely “speak of the spring, and foison of the year”, as Mr. Shakespeare would have it. Grass is timidly greening, though there are still patches of snow in protected areas; chickens are suddenly laying lots of eggs, the rooster is busy, and we’re expecting our first highland calves soon. Fences are being repaired and new ones erected, “frost seeding” is complete, and Titania the Border Collie is ecstatic – of course, she was ecstatic at 20 below as well. Robins, redwing blackbirds, sandhill cranes are back, and it won’t be long until it’s mosquito season.
An early November snowfall covers us in white. It’s lovely, and we didn’t need to go anywhere (except chores), so we enjoyed it for the most part.
We’re starting our breeding herd of beef cattle! Our “Texas Highlanders”, Minnie and Socks, arrived two days ago and have been trying to settle in. They’re duking it out with Ebb and Flow, the current resident freemartins, and every one but Flow has taken a romp outside the fence, which has made for a stressful couple of days. But they appear to be working it out, and once the pecking order is established among them, things should settle down.
I call them “Texas Highlanders” because they are 1/4 Texas Longhorn and 3/4 Scottish Highland. The herd they come from is thriving on grass only, and I’m hoping these two girls (they are yearling heifers, possibly already bred – we’ll know soon) will give us some pasture-loving calves. We intend to keep breeding them to Highlanders, though it is a new experience having horns on this farm.
Titania, the border collie, is beside herself with glee in the snow, and is the family member most ready for winter. If my garlic was mulched, I’d be ready, too; but neighbor Kevin assures me we’ll have a string of dry, warm days yet.