Farm Update 11-15-18

So this is the last weekend the farm stand will be open for the 2018 season. It’s been a long run this year – almost a little too long. And for the big send off, Mother Nature has decided to provide a wonderful blanket of snow. I’m not ready for this much snow, or the extremely cold temps that have been hampering outside work this past week. It’s just too early.

AROUND THE FARM
Despite the weather, I was running about the place this week, trying to get everything put away and secured before the storm. Did what I could and dealt with the most important stuff, so I can only hope that it’ll warm up again for a while so I can finish getting stuff put away for the winter.

IN THE FIELD
Was doing as much winter prep this past week as I could. Still lots to do, with about one full week worth of work to have it the way I would like it for over-wintering. The veg I have this week is pretty much all brought in from farms off the mountaintop.

FROM THE COOP
There are two bits of news regarding the chickens.

First, Spunky, Little Red, and Squeaky were sent off to live with a family that has a small flock of chickens that they keep as pets, where they can live out the rest of their days. I’m rather happy about this, as I had been taking care of those three for so long it would have been very unhappy to do what will be happening to the rest of the chickens shortly.

Second, I was finally able to get my Poultry Processing Certification and insurance for retail sales all sorted out. This means that if I decide to, I will be able to sell on-farm slaughtered and processed poultry. I still have a bunch of stuff to figure out, but if you would like more information please feel free to contact me (by text is best).

OTHER GENERAL INFO
Given that this is the last weekend open for 2018, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who came by the farm this season. I truly appreciate your support.

The current plan for next season is to run for basically the same amount of time as this year, with a rough estimate of starting the 2019 season some time mid to late May. But that is still a ways away, I have loads to do and figure out before then, and even see what new things I might want to do for next year.

In the meantime, since I’m not sure I’ll be posting any more updates until some time in 2019, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas and holiday season, and a happy New Year.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon, or some time in the spring. And thanks again for making it another successful year on the farm.

Farm Update 11-08-18

Getting close to the end of the season now. Just two more weeks and then I can finally get stuff fixed up, cleaned up, and put to bed until the next season. It’s been yet another busy week, as I try to accomplish as much as I can with the shorter days. There’s still just a bit too much to do each day, and that doesn’t count when something unexpected (see the From the Coop section for an example) happens.

AROUND THE FARM

It’s still work, work, work for now. It’s not just field stuff either, as there are many projects that I would really like to get done before the winter is truly upon us. The planning has also already begun for next season, for those who wonder about such things.

IN THE FIELD

As far as growing stuff goes, it’s all but done at this point. With the exception of potatoes, that I need dry weather to dig, and some special order cabbage, I just have a few odds and ends to which I must attend. The low temps that have visited the mountaintop have seen to it that most all the plants are done.

FROM THE COOP

This is the aftermath of an owl attack that occurred on Tuesday evening, just after dark.

I happened to be in the coop, refilling waterers and feeders, when there was a terror-stricken shriek from outside and just around the side of the coop, where I often let the chickens stroll around inside the electric fence, but outside their secure pen. Anyway, in the mere instant of time for me to respond to what I knew was something drastically wrong, I rounded the corner to see the owl trying to drag the chicken under the fence.

Apparently, the owl spotted the chicken and swooped in from the driveway side, not realizing there was not only the electric fence wire, but also welded wire garden fencing between it and the chicken. Despite the owl slamming into both, it still managed to grab the chicken and start to pull it under the fence. The owl obviously didn’t realize I was there, and when I came running around the corner it immediately dropped the chicken and took off.

The chicken was visibly injured and somewhat covered in blood. I scooped it up, figuring it had been seriously, possibly fatally wounded, and brought it into the garage where I normally tend to chicken problems and keep the medical supplies for them, and started cataloging and treating the injuries. Surprisingly, most of the blood was not from the chicken. It appears the owl, not seeing the two layers of fine wire fencing, seriously injured itself in the attack. Aside from the chicken losing a whole bunch of feathers, as you can see from the picture, it suffered some scrapes, deep scratches (not quite true lacerations), two minor talon punctures (one in the right wing and the other centered on the back), and one actual bite that took a small chunk out of its backside (the worst of the injuries).

The chicken is now being kept in the house due to those injuries and the fact that I know if I put it back in with the other chickens that they will peck at her wounds and kill her.

Aside from that bit of excitement the chickens are still generally doing well and adapting quickly to the cold.

OTHER GENERAL INFO

Please remember that the last day for this season is Sunday, November 18th, so if you want jam that’s your deadline. If you miss it, please understand I will be very difficult to get hold of after that date, though the best way to try is by text.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 11-01-18

Yet another brief update to keep everyone apprised of happenings on the farm. The season ending is now officially set; the last day of the 2018 season being Sunday November 18th, with the Friday – Sunday schedule remaining the same.

Don’t forget, Daylight Savings time ends this weekend.

AROUND THE FARM
Lots of general works continues. The temporary farm stand/greenhouse is now finished and was moved into position on Wednesday. I have also added in solar-powered lights for those days when it’s real dark and nasty, and also figuring that as we go forward into the winter season that the end of the days on Friday and Saturday could get real dark before 6pm.

IN THE FIELD
There’s still not much going on here, with just a few things left growing or waiting to be harvested. The weather has caused me no end of problems with trying to get Potatoes pulled out of the ground this year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better now.

FROM THE COOP
The ladies are doing well and adapting to what were colder temps. Actually, I think they’re a bit happy that the temps came up a bit as it will give them a little more time to get used to overall colder temps.

For those of you who have been following the story of the chickens, and know what is to become of them, I have some good news. With the aid of a regular customer who has been following their stories, a few of the chickens that I have had to deal with all summer, specifically Spunky (the special needs chickens who I still hand feed once a day), Little Red (the sweetest chicken I’ve ever dealt with), and another hen-pecked chicken named Squeaky (who was so brutally attacked that her comb was permanently damaged), have been found a home for them to move to in a few weeks where they can live out their days.

Regarding the other chickens, I have obtained my Cornell Cooperative Extension slaughter and processing certification letter and am waiting to hear back from the insurance company regarding product liability coverage.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
For the jam lovers out there, be sure to stock up soon. Given how close to the end of the season it is, I do not think I will be making any more preserves this year, unless there is a special order for a whole batch, and acceptance of any orders will be based on whether or not I think I will have the time to make them.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 09-27-18

It’s been a very busy week so far. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work around the farm, as well as dealing with other farms in order to get some new items and fill in some stuff that I should have, but don’t due to issues with the weather.

AROUND THE FARM
I am finally attending to all kinds of work that had been put off over the course of the summer. Most of it is small stuff that wouldn’t be noticed unless you were around the buildings on a regular basis, but it is work that I’ve wanted to get done for some time now.

The new poly tunnel greenhouse is now built, though I do have to finish installing the equipment. I was waiting on some components until too late Thursday evening, so I’ll get them put in as soon as I can. I think the weather will stay warm enough for long enough that it won’t be an issue. I also managed to move one of the other greenhouses to a temporary storage location.

IN THE FIELD
More of the summer crops are coming to an end, so please be sure to check out the What’s Available page, as well as looking in the General Info section below to see what Locally Grown items I’ve been able to get for this week.

It looks like the Gladiolus are coming to an end. I am hoping to have some for this weekend, but I don’t think they’ll make it to Columbus Day. As long as we don’t get an actual frost (we came real close last week), there should be at least a few bunches of Field Flowers available.

There should be a few more Cantaloupes this weekend, and if I feel confident enough in picking them out, even a few Sugar Baby Watermelons. I found one the other day that had a soft spot, so I figured I’d try it to see if it was sweet. Short answer, yes it was. Been quite a few years since I’ve had watermelon.

FROM THE COOP
The chickens are chickening. Well, I’m sure you know what I mean. They are just being normal chickens, without too much added drama. The flock of wild turkey that wander about the property have been coming closer and closer to the pen, I’m guessing to check things out. Or maybe they smell the feed and want to see if they can get some too. Either way, the chickens aren’t quite sure what to make of them and usually start squawking in alarm while retreating into the coop.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
As I stated above, I’ve been working getting some items in from other farms to help fill out the selection at the stand. These items will all be labeled as “Locally Grown”.

For this week, I was able to get an additional size of Carving Pumpkin, as well as a very few White Pumpkins. The farmer who I’ve been getting the other pumpkins from was kind enough to hold some of the white ones aside for me. The same farmer also had some decorative Indian Corn bundles, which I also decided to get for the stand.

I got some Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, and Spaghetti), Broccoli, and Cauliflower to help fill in the selection of fall items.

For the fruit lovers there are several pieces of good news. I was able to get 1 flat of the last of the season’s locally harvested Blueberries. Like my Peaches, when they’re gone, they’re gone. And the last couple of items I was able to get are Hudson Valley grown Apples (Fuji and Cortland for this week).

The schedule is still the same as last week:

Fri and Sat 10 – 6
Sun 10 – 4

This will change next week due to the holiday, when I will also be open on the Monday, but more on that in the next update.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 09-20-18

Hi everyone. Apologies for the update coming late and it’ll be a short one, but I’ve been quite busy, even with the extra day closed. Seems right now like there are at least a million and one things to do, and every time I get a few projects done there are twice as many new ones being added to the list.

It’s also quite obviously moving into Fall as the trees up on the mountains are starting to change color. Given the current forecasts, I’m also expecting to see frost this weekend.

AROUND THE FARM
The new poly tunnel greenhouse is almost complete. I still have to get the equipment for it, but aside from that I just have to get the doors finished and it’s ready to start using. Based on the forecasts I’d say it’s just in time too.

Most of the other projects I’m working on are all back-of-house type things that most people won’t see, so there’s no point in going into them.

IN THE FIELD
As I’ve been telling people, summer crops will be fading out and fall ones will be coming in. Or at least as many as made it through the crazy weather that started in late July.

The pumpkin crop was so poor again this year that I have once again decided to bring in pumpkins from a local farm. They will be available starting this weekend.

Winter Squash (Acorn and Butternut) will be coming available soon as well, I just have to go through and see what’s ready. And for those who don’t want to give up on summer, it looks like I may have a few more cantaloupes. Peaches are, unfortunately, done for the season. I hope you all were able to get enough of them to be happy. There were only a few apples this year, so hopefully it’ll be a better season for them next year.

FROM THE COOP
The chickens have been a little off of late. They had been getting more and more agitated ahead of the hurricane remnants that passed by, but they haven’t gotten any calmer since it went by. They have been going at one another, pecking and fighting, enough so that I have had to separate some of the chickens into crates for a time as a sort of chicken jail. I’ve also had to take the time to make sure that two other chickens, who are being suddenly kept away from the feeders and waterers, are actually getting enough of each. I’m not sure what the problem is, but it is not a happy time in the coop.

Aside from that, the chickens are still laying at the same rate, so there will be a good supply of eggs.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
I can’t think of anything else to add for this update, except to remember that the hours had changed, and are now:

Fri & Sat: 10 – 6
Sun: 10 – 4

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 09-06-18

It’s before just daybreak, and another day on the farm is starting. The swings in weather this year have been a little on the wild side, and caused a good bit of mayhem with the crops and animals. Makes me wonder if the Farmers Almanac will be right about this coming winter. Guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

AROUND THE FARM
Work is progressing slowly on the new poly tunnels I’m trying to get built. Between changing up growing methods like this, plus the extra work with seeding and potting the additional crops, not to mention still playing catch up after all the rains from late July (yes, there is still residual work resulting from dealing with all that water) I may shorten the farm stand schedule sooner than Columbus Day weekend. I’ll make a decision on that in the next day or so and post an update if there will be a change.

I’m also trying to secure temporary use of one of the cottages, so I can move the stand into an actual building once we get past pumpkin season. More on that in future updates.

IN THE FIELD
Some things are ending, or will be shortly, and other crops are just about ready. Looks like there will be a few Snap Peas for this weekend. They should produce much better next week though, so don’t expect piles of them this week. Other lettuce, besides Green Leaf, should be making an appearance again shortly as well. Winter squash are still going to be a couple of weeks yet, and the news from the Pumpkin patch is not so good. As much as I don’t want to, I may have to bring in Pumpkins again this year.

While sunflowers are now already done, the Gladiolus are blooming beautifully. I’m not sure how long they’ll last, and I’ll do my best to keep them going as long as I can, but if you like them, get them while you can. Dried flower bunches will be at least a couple of weeks from now.

FROM THE COOP
The ladies are generally doing well. I added some outside lights to their pen, so when I let them out in the morning, they can actually see where they are going.

A few are also still dealing with foot issues that developed as a result of the rains. I’m treating them as I find the problems and most all have made fast recoveries.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
Jam lovers please make note that Strawberry-Rhubarb will be available again soon. It is without doubt the fastest selling preserve I make, with the last batch selling out in 2 1/2 days. I am not sure how many batches of jam I will be making as we go into the Fall, so get them when they’re here.

The schedule has changed from the peak summer one to post Labor Day, with current hours being:

Early Fall Schedule
Thurs – Sat: 10 – 6
Sun: 10 – 4
Mon – Wed: Closed

Keep an eye out for further schedule changes and crop availability.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 08-30-18

Hi everyone. Can you all believe we’re headed into Labor Day weekend? The time has absolutely flown by this summer. Of course, my days have all been blurred together for some time now, and I have to rely on my trusty watch to tell me the day of the week. There is also a downside to the rapidly approaching month of September, as along with it comes the F-word. Instances will be here sooner than we all want them to be, according to the Farmers Almanac. Ah well, nothing like being almost completely at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Please remember, the farm stand schedule will be changing following Labor Day. The early Fall schedule this year will be:

Early Fall Schedule
Thurs – Sat: 10 – 6
Sun: 10 – 4
Mon – Wed: Closed*

* (I am trying to figure out the best way to do some self-serve items on these days. More info in the next update.)

AROUND THE FARM
The new poly tunnels will have to wait another week or so, as there have been too many other priority projects that needed attention. And for the curious, general planning has already begun for next year.

IN THE FIELD
I’m not going to be speculating on Winter crops, so we’ll just have to see what comes of it all. After all the bad weather earlier in the season, I am NOT of the opinion that it will be a(nother) good year for things like Pumpkins and Winter Squash.

For the flower lovers, the Gladiolus are in full bloom now. There are loads of colors available as either single stem or bunches. The Sunflowers are still available, but they will probably only be around for another week or so.

I’ll be selectively picking Peaches for this weekend, though they are still firm as of now. There will not be many each day, so plan accordingly. I’m not sure what’s taking them so long to ripen.

FROM THE COOP
The chickens are clucking away. They don’t like this mini heat wave we’re having, but they stay in the shade, roll in the dirt, and are generally making the most of it.

There was another minor jailbreak the other day. Thankfully, I’ve been close by the couple of times this has now happened, and I was able to see how they accomplished their escape. One chicken had apparently learned to lean on and push against a specific spot on the fence that would open just enough for her to slip out. The other chickens would just mimic her actions and join in the adventure. The problem has been corrected.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
Please see the upcoming schedule changes mentioned above.

Keep an eye out for Strawberry-Rhubarb Preserves for Labor Day weekend.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 08-02-18

Hi all. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I don’t want more rain right now, but that’s what I’m going to be getting.

AROUND THE FARM
The rain and wet is making life difficult. Current forecasts for the rest of this week show another 2-plus inches of rain due. The rain has and will continue to cause problems, some of which I’ll detail in the section below.

Other than the rain and its associated mess, things are going pretty well. There is, as always, loads of work to be done to maintain the farm property itself, but that comes secondary to the main task of running the business.

IN THE FIELD
Rain, rain, and more rain. While I didn’t get into specifics last week about the damage done by the week of rain, I finally finished the survey of damage from the almost 12 inches of rain we got. Here’s a brief, and still incomplete list of the losses:

Lettuce – approx 2400 plants over 3 plantings lost
Zucchini – approx 30% of plants lost or severely damaged
Potatoes – part of 1 section washed away
Pumpkins – part of 2 sections washed away, and approx 10% of plants lost
Peaches – major damage to 2 of the 4 trees
Tomatoes – plants okay, but damage to fruit
Cabbage – approx 200 minis from next planting lost

These are the main losses, with other crops suffering less damage. Additionally, the weeds have been going crazy with all the rain, and it is now all but impossible to keep up with them.

Still, I should have some of most all the crops that are currently being picked. There will, however, be shortages and occasional missing varieties. Potatoes require dry to harvest, so while I was able to dig some this past week, it looks from the forecast that I won’t be able to dig any more than I’ve currently got until some time next week.

FROM THE COOP
This past week in the coop was a sad one. On Monday, I lost 2 chickens. One suffered the same egg-laying problem as two of the others and was put down to prevent additional suffering. The other chicken just up and died – cause unknown.

Beyond that, the chickens are generally doing well, though they would also really like for the rain to stop. Every time I go by they let me know how upset they are that they have a wet pen. They are also getting a bit testy with each other, and recently there have been some nasty fights between the hens, which I am assuming is due to them spending much more time bunched up inside and having a bit of cabin fever. I’m working on a way to get them some more space to move in to, and also cover part of the pen to keep it drier for them.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
The weather is taking its toll. The rain and wet makes most field activities take considerably longer than usual. Unfortunately, this means that while I had hoped to be able to make more Strawberry-Rhubarb preserves this past week, I was too busy still trying to get field work done. Not sure when I’ll get to it right now, but as soon as I can, it’ll get made.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 07-19-18

Another week for a quick update. In general, things are going quite well, with the weather being far more cooperative this year than last.

AROUND THE FARM
Work continues, as usual. The backlog I had thought I had finished is still hanging on, with at least a few extra days of work to squeeze in at some point.

Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to report. The coyotes have been generally staying to the other side of their range, so I haven’t had to deal with them yet, and the bear have also been fairly well behaved so far. The crops are growing; there’s been rain. Could I complain about something – sure, but why bother. It takes too much time and energy.

IN THE FIELD
As you can see from the What’s Available page, many crops are now coming into harvest. There are a few that are not behaving, as usual, but overall they are all doing well.

The Tomatoes are one crop that I would like to mention. People ask me quite often how the weather has been for the crops, and I tell them it has been nearly perfect. Well, this is a double-edged sword, in that some crops, like tomatoes, don’t or very slowly ripen when the weather is so good. Some types of happy plants don’t make ripe fruit as you might think they would. So, I have taken steps over the past week to force the tomatoes to ripen, but unfortunately they are still not ready yet.

The Gladiolus and Sunflowers are coming along. Will probably be another couple of weeks (toward early August) before there are any flowers from either.

FROM THE COOP
In general the ladies are happy and doing their thing. They still make mischief when they can, like the day I was working in the coop and they knocked the screen out of the doorway and spilled out, waterfall-style into the yard, but that’s a whole other story.

The broody chicken is still broody, and the little chickens are still being looked after.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
I’ve had people ask about when I might be making more of the jams that have sold out. I don’t have a specific date just yet, but the first one on the list is Strawberry-Rhubarb. It’ll likely be another week or so before I can get enough time set aside to make a batch.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.

Farm Update 07-12-18

Hi everybody. I’m hoping to get a slightly longer, more comprehensive update out this week, though it will depend how quickly I can actually type.

The weather, as people who live on the mountaintop know, has been quite wonderful this year. The lack of rain is a little bothersome, but it is by no means problematic – at least not yet.

AROUND THE FARM
The backlog of work is still being cleared, albeit slowly. It’s just a function of how many hours there are in the day, and how many hours I need (or get) to sleep.

In addition to all the usual work, I’ve been able to get the place a little more cleaned up and presentable, though nowhere near how I would like it to look. This is important to me, since quite a few people ask to see the chickens and they are located all the way back near the house and where I keep most all the equipment. Normally, people wouldn’t see the mess (chaos) behind the scenes, but placement of the coop and pen changed all that.

I also managed to get the hill next to the stand mowed, so anyone who would like to walk up and take photos can now do so without trudging through the tall grass.

IN THE FIELD
The plants are generally doing quite well with all the sunshine, irrigation, and feedings. With the exception of Russet Potatoes, all of the main crops are in the ground. I know that doesn’t really mean much to anyone, since you don’t have access to my planting schedule, but it means a good bit to me.

As most of you know, I am not a big fan of spraying the crops, even with the natural and Organic certified stuff I use. That said, I have been adhering to a slightly stricter schedule this year in hopes of keeping two main pests – Colorado Potato Beetles and 12-spot Cucumber Beetles – at bay in addition to limiting the number of Stink Bugs. It’s tricky balancing the need to spray with protecting the bees, but so far the program seems to be working.

Ok, bad news first. The Kale variety that I planted, which has not been available so far because it developed small thorns, has not responded to the method called for to get it to produce leaves without thorns. While I can feed it to the chickens, who absolutely love Kale, it is an otherwise total write-off. I have decided to start new, different seeds, but it won’t be ready for quite some time.

In better news, there should be the first Cucumbers this week (only a few to start, and intermittent availability), as well as Snap Peas. Zucchini, String Bean, and Broccoli plants should producing greater yields this week.

I also dug test Potato plants to see what might be ready. Looks like for this week that I might be able to get some Adirondack Blue Potatoes, but Reds and Yukon Gold are still not developed enough to warrant harvest (a result of spring-time weather delays).

Check the What’s Available page for the most current listing of what I am currently picking.

FROM THE COOP
The chickens (and me too) are much happier with the cooler temps so far this week. The ladies are working hard to produce top quality eggs.

There’s not much going on this week, except for one hen who has decided to go broody. She knows she doesn’t have any eggs, but that’s not stopping her from pretending she does. I’m just going to leave her be for now, because it’s not like she’s sick or anything, though I do make sure she is getting food and water, as well as taking her out of the next box from time to time so she gets some sun and fresh air. There are steps I could take to break the broody cycle, but I don’t really have the time to do it right now.

OTHER GENERAL INFO
The Cherry and Mango-Raspberry jams have both sold out this past week. They join Strawberry-Rhubarb in the currently out-of-stock list. I’m not sure if I’m going to get a chance to make more of them, at least not until some time in August based on how busy I am currently. I do still have samples of them for tasting, and will base my decision on making additional batches on the feedback and number of requests I get for them.

While I know this is early to mention, if anyone is thinking they are going to want to place an order for larger amounts of any Fall crops (cabbage, potatoes, carrots), please let me know. I am not looking for a commitment at this time, rather I am trying to gauge quantities I might need to meet potential orders.

Lastly, thanks to all the people who have let me know that they either read the newsletter or routinely check out the site for updates. I am actually surprised by the number of people who have told me. I appreciate you letting me know, so I know that I am not wasting my time writing all this out. Thanks.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the farm soon. Have a great week.