Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sierra Club Visits!

LR-1SierraClub-logoThis past weekend, we welcomed the Sierra Club to come and tour our farm.  There were about 17 people who attended and luckily the weather cooperated.  The skies were clear after weeks of predictable rain.  The terraces were still wet, but that didn’t deter anyone.  The group first picked blackberries, then raspberries and then blueberries.  We talked about terraces, trellising, hugelculture, permaculture, aquaponics, no-till gardening and lots of other things.  The group was very attentive even though it was really hot and they had all been to two other farms before ours.  Everyone was so encouraging and helpful with suggested possibilities… (our world here on the farm is filled with possibilities).  Once the tour was finished, we sat down in the shade at the picnic table and everyone was given a taste of freshly extracted honey to take home with them.  Here are some pictures of the group as they arrived and were able to pick some berries from our very young plants. This particular area is all blueberries and you can see the terraces.  I had to really zoom to see them from where I was, but they saw me and all waved.  It was a good day.

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UPDATE:  We received this great note from Joanna Baxter, who organized the Sierra Club Organic Farms Outing:

Wow! You & Katie gave a 5 Star ending to the Sierra Club Organic Gardens Outing today. Really! Doug, your knowledge research base you presented was so well studied and based and came across that way in your presenting of it to us.  You definitely knew what you were talking about and you lit the flame in all present to get excited and go forward in personal gardening pursuits and follow yours – we can’t wait for the pick-your-own time! I read just yesterday a quote I copied for reference and came out in a statement that you made today – Plutarch – Greek philosopher -quote: ” the mind is a flame to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled.” All your study and frame of reference is being designed to kindle the flame in others. And, I have no doubt that this is the end to which you will see.  You and Katie have a wonderful developing farm and adventure that you are willing to share together and this is VERY SPECIAL.

Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your life today and for the gift of your honey as well.

 

 

Rain

photoWe’ve had an abundance of rain these past few weeks, which makes gardening a challenge on any scale.   Sure, tractors can run in the rain, and they laugh at a little mud, but when it is this wet, a tractor can do more damage than constructive work.  So, we have been doing inside things like bottling up and tagging honey.  We’ve even made a few deliveries.  The outside work will still be there when it stops raining.  It looks like there will be plenty to mow, for sure!  Chances are, we will go through a long dry spell later this summer, but I can’t regulate the weather.  Looking on the bright side, though, the plants are so clean…  This photo was taken in between rainstorms this morning.

Honey Extracting Day

2014-06-05 10.09.572014-06-05 10.17.16Beekeepers watch the weather very closely when it is time to take honey from the hives.  Today called for rain, but in looking at the radar, we figured we had just enough time to get this done.  Not only do we have to juggle our own time, but we are dependent upon schedules of other beekeepers as well.  Our local group works together to extract all at the same time… or within a few days of each other because that saves set up and clean up time.

The first photo shows getting started with the first hive.  Yes, those weeds do need to go!… but, have you ever used a weed eater near a bee hive?

The second shows one of the first frames to come off, and it is beautiful!  That frame has brand new fresh wax and is totally full.  That’s what a beekeeper wants to see.

2014-06-05 10.11.50Not all bee hives are created equal.  Many times, hives on the ends of rows do the best, and that is the case here.  We call this hive the “boy scout” hive, because we rescued it from the top of a climbing tower at our local boy scout camp.  It has consistently been our best producer.2014-06-05 18.46.51

So, it has been a long day.  All is extracted and the honey supers (boxes) are back on the hives.  We got a record number of gallons this time.  Not exactly sure of how much since the buckets aren’t consistently filled, but a good guess is somewhere around 25 gallons.  Now, even more work is involved, because it all has to be settled, strained and bottled.  Time to put my feet up, drink a glass of tea (sweetened with honey, of course), and thank everyone for helping.  Whew!   Yep, it’s raining!  HA!