Archive for Gardening

Garden Harvest – Wordless Wednesday

Garden Harvest

The little ones raided the garden one day and found these organic veggies! Can you say yummy garden harvest?

FFR Children's hands full of veggies

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Beautiful Clematis – Wordless Wednesday

FFR Clematis June 2014

Beautiful Clematis

My photo does not do this Clematis justice but I still wanted to share it! This is a clematis at one of my paper customers. It makes me sad because when I transplanted mine last year from our townhouse to the house we are renting, it took a step backwards and is a puny little thing. :( Sniff. Sniff.

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ZonePerfect Blog Forward Challenge #2

I am a part the 2014 ZonePerfect Blog Forward Challenge and received complimentary product and ZonePerfect promotional items. All opinions are my own.
ZonePerfect Nutrition for the New Year
Click the image above for the link to the nutritional printables!

It’s been a few months since I posted my ZonePerfect Challenge #1. I had to re-read my post to see what my 2014 resolutions were and here they are, as well as my update on how I am doing in accomplishing them:

1. Increase our income. (I *think* God is well on His way to answering this prayer…need a bit more time to be sure.) This is definitely happening, but we still have a ways to go yet. I am grateful for the improvement so far.

2. Nutrition. Eat and grow more vegetables to we can freeze and can our winter supply.  This is in the works as we have 20-30 50 foot beds tilled and ready to plant veggies in for our family and our CSA members. This makes me very happy, but I am a little anxious because I want everything to grow beautifully!

ZonePerfect Healthy Swaps

3. Take our children on more field trips. This one…..needs more work! We haven’t gone on any field trips yet this year. However, we did go mini golfing! It was hilarious and lots of fun!

FFR Gould Children Mini Golfing

4. Get more organized as a whole family – mostly the house as it is an ongoing battle, that and getting the children to stay on task. Errr….this one is ongoing, challenging and seems like a never-ending task! I think it’s also the most frustrating.

As a part of this challenge, we received a complimentary box of ZonePerfect bars, which we thoroughly enjoyed. ZonePerfect wants me to let you in on a little something:

“Become A ZonePerfect® VIP & Save up to $10*

Your first coupon will be emailed to you. Join Now <<

*$10 in savings relates to savings spread across a one year period and may vary.*”

Have you accomplished any of your 2014 goals or resolutions?

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10 Things I Love About Spring

Inspired by Mama Kat’s writing prompts.

FFR Spring Tulips Long Grove 2013

10 things I love about Spring:

1. The sunshine.

2. The green grass.

3. The appearance of flowers and colors after a seeing dull brown after the snow melts.

4. The ability to work outside with ease. No winter weather to hinder us.

5. The chirping of the birds.

6. The beauty of new life everywhere.

7. Having our own eggs again after going all winter without.

8. The change in flavor of our homemade butter now that Miss Moo is out on pasture again.

9. Spring fever in the animals. Watching Blaze (our horse) canter across the pasture is a sight to behold, as is the cows, goats and sheep frolicking.

10. Planting our garden and the ability to grow our own food.

What do you love about spring?

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Summer on the Farm – Wordless Wednesday

We are having an extremely busy summer. So busy that I am taken aback that we are nearly half way through July! Summer has always been my favorite season, though I enjoy the others. My birthday is during the summer and my mom always made birthday time FUN! From sleepovers to camp outs to a day on the lake, I always had a blast. Summer on the farm is fun too or not so fun in some instances, as we’ve had a couple of disasters (our sized disasters that is, as we realize there are much worse disasters happening). We lost 17 of our 29 broilers on the way to processing due to them overheating – expensive. Our new batch of turkeys were shipped over the 4th of July and we lost over half of them. Now I am struggling to find a local source for turkeys to save on the stress of having them shipped.

On the brighter side, our egg business is growing. We have been selling out of eggs for the past 3 weeks. So we started to increase our flock again. We purchased 6 month old Rhode Island crosses, much like our Red Sex Links. Not a heritage breed like our original flock but very good producers. We also purchased 13 Silkies. They have poofy hair and feet. Our youngest daughter asked for the baby chicks, who are not so little, so she’s been taking care of them. The mamas are very broody so we are hoping to hatch out some more eggs! Here’s to hoping for the best.

FFR 6 Month Old Laying Hens_edit

FFR Silkies_edit

Due to the shipping fiasco with our turkeys, we purchased a breeding trio of Bourbon Red turkeys. This is a heritage breed and may be a little bigger than our Midget White turkeys. We now have five “pet” turkeys. Our neighbor hatched two of our Midget White eggs and we would have had an additional two turkeys, but during a mating session the Tom smothered them beneath Brownie, our hen. :( Lots of death around our farm lately. One of my children’s words not mine. But I quite agree.

FFR Bourbon Red Turkeys_edit

Animals are not the only thing that has been keeping us busy. Berry picking has too. We found some mulberry bushes (more like trees to be honest) at the back of our property and we’ve been picking those pretty regularly.

FFR Mulberries_edit

Then we have been visiting area berry farms to pick strawberries and raspberries. Next on the list is blueberries! Next year we are planning on planting more berries here on the farm, as most of our plants did not produce much due to us moving them from the townhouse to the farm in the spring.

We have also been working hard to get all our fall planting done or most of it, as we will be planting more greens in a month’s time. We bought some transplants from friends’ farms to make up for our spring greenhouse disaster, which will hopefully help us have some veggies in late July/early August. The pepper plants are from one friend’s farm in Wisconsin. They were a little stressed since we did not get them planted right away. Our little ones even help in the garden.

FFR Pepper Plants_edit

We enjoy growing our own organic meat and vegetables, but it certainly is not without its challenges and hard work!

How’s your summer going?

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Wood Pallet Herb Garden – Wordless Wednesday

Wood Pallet Herb Garden – Wordless Wednesday

FFR Pallet Herb Garden
If you click on the photo it’s not so blurry. I don’t know why the editing program does that to photos!

This post was inspired by http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/05/wooden-pallet-herb-garden.html?showComment=1372278599739&m=1 but I did not originally hear about it from her. I can’t even remember where I learned of this unique way to recycle pallet and plant a wood pallet herb garden. All I remember is seeing the idea and liking it. Then when we got our bags of soil, still on a wood pallet, I told the family I wanted to keep the wood pallet for an herb garden.

This was very easy to do. I just took a small roll of landscaping fabric and stapled it to the bottom of the wood pallet. Then my husband and I filled it up with about 2.5 bags of organic soil mix (sorry cannot remember the size of the bags right now), added some perlite and then planted our herbs.

We planted from left to right: rosemary, chives, curly leaf parsley, oregano and basil in the last two rows. These plants all came from a friend’s farm. She specializes in transplants, has a greenhouse; and since we never got our herbs planted from seed we got these from her. I’ll have to let you know how well the plants grow in this wood pallet herb garden, as this is the first time we’ve tried growing something this way.

We still have fennel, more parsley and oregano to plant, as well as all our fall planting…amidst everything else – one monthly market, a weekly market and possibly a corporate market for just five weeks this summer. Oy!

So much to do and so little time….We cannot wait to cook with our own herbs and share them with our CSA members (Consumer Supported Agriculture) and customers! Here’s to hoping the plants yield enough for all.

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Greenhouse Disaster – Wordless Wednesday

This is what I call our greenhouse disaster. We had storms go through a couple of weeks ago and destroy our cheap greenhouse. I know even the large, well-made greenhouses on larger farms often get completely blown over in bad storms, but still it’s very disappointing to say the least because we also lost many of our transplants. :(
Greenhouse Disaster

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Lowe’s Build & Grow – Free Activity for Kids!

lowes-build-and-grow-logo

 

I’m always on the hunt for free and fun activities for my family.  Lowe’s has a fantastic program called Build and Grow. On my daughter’s first visit she received a Lowe’s apron, a hammer & protective goggles to borrow and her project.  When she/we finished the project we returned the hammer and protective goggle and she was given a certificate and a patch for her apron!  She loves the iron on patches that she earned and loves to show them off on her apron.

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So, far we’ve built 2 monster trucks and a “Croods” the movie planter.  Our next build is a sweetheart frame on May 11th.

77f64811ddClick here or head over to Lowes.com and search for Build & Grow to sign up at your nearest Lowe’s for the next free activity for kids!

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Canning and Freezing Veggies – The Labor of Love

Well, I did it! I accomplished canning and freezing veggies! My first canning season in the new place with most of my own veggies!  The other veggies that we didn’t grow I bought from a local stand.  The kitchen heats up awful fast in the middle of August, but it will be so nice in those cold months to make my family meals with vegetables from our own garden!  Here’s what I canned:  pickles, crushed tomatoes, 3 pickled beans, pickled grape tomatoes, salsa, BBQ sauce, pickled hot peppers, white peaches, and bruschetta!  In all that makes exactly 50 jars of wonderfulness!

I also blanched and froze bags of corn, cut peppers, whole red peppers, peas, beans, cucumbers, and zucchini!

I looked up most of the recipes on the internet with a few out of an old Ball Canning Book I found. I received and email from Grit Magazine awhile ago with the “Ultimate Guide to Food Preservation”, that would have been VERY handy a few weeks back!  There is a wealth of information on their site, including sweepstakes!  Go and check them out!

~ Brande

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My First Farmers Almanac

I bought my first Farmers Almanac the other day and I can’t believe I didn’t buy it sooner!

I always thought the Farmers Almanac was all about the weather.  Boy was I surprised when I found tons of fantastic information!

Yes, it does have weather information,  BUT, on page 8 I found out how to get rid of weeds with out pulling or chemicals and it’s easy!  You pour boiling water on them or use a mixture of dish washing liquid (5 tablespoons) and water (4 cups) in a spray bottle!  I also learned how to make a “Homemade Jar Opener”, “No-Mess Baking”, ways to cut energy costs, how to save on gas, even a section on comfort foods (my favorite).

I plan on buying one every year!  They are really a wealth of information!

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