Posts Tagged ‘farm history’

Plowing in 2009.

The season is wrapping up a bit, and I forgot to mark the fifth anniversary of our groundbreaking at Stone’s Throw Farm, which passed earlier this month. This is actually fitting as I’ve never been much for ceremony! A few people have asked me if it feels like it’s been 5 years, and I say, “Yes, definitely.” It’s very rewarding work but I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that starting a farm involves a lot of sweat, some tears of frustration, and a little blood, too.

We didn’t actually close on our land until December 2009, but the seller (Kathy, a neighbor of ours) let me put in a driveway and plow two acres of land that fall. I couldn’t have done it without help and encouragement from my mentors at Food Farm, where I worked at the time, and, of course, my family.

My parents donated a bunch of old (and some new) farm machinery and loaned me the money to buy this land. They came up from Iowa for the groundbreaking; first we had to stake out the fields and clear the hay bales out of the way, then my dad showed me how to plow and also did a good chunk of the plowing and disking himself while I was at my day job. My parents eventually bought a house near this farm and moved up here to help during growing seasons starting in 2012.

Meanwhile, Elden has put up hoophouses with me, cleared trees, put up our Quonset multi-purpose building with help from our friend Greg Cooper, built an insulated room in the Quonset for me to live in during the growing season, built our walk-in cooler shed (which also has a bathroom in it — a separate room!), put in a small orchard, and has generally made himself handy around the farm in his precious spare time.

Whether you’ve been with our CSA less than one season or all five years (or maybe you’ve been cheering us on from the sidelines), thanks so much for your support of this farm!

Here’s a few photos and videos of recent activity at the farm:

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Wilma & Merle Ziebarth and Kathy Ziells, 1982

If you’re interested in the history of the land that is now Stone’s Throw Farm, check out the page I just added, complete with some really nice photos that Kathy Ziells shared with me. Kathy also sent me a deed from 1961 and some other papers that I’m really glad to have. I’d like to research the land even farther back and find out who owned it before Paul Pinard, etc.

I’d also like to share the story of the Conover family and our farming history. My dad recently shared a video with my sister and me of his family threshing oats the old-fashioned way when he was a kid. It’s really neat and I’ll see if I can upload it somehow.

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#1 VIP

I  just had a nice chat on the phone with Kathy Ziells, the woman who sold the land that is now Stone’s Throw Farm to me. She was kind enough to tell me again about how the land came into her family, and she’s going to dig up some photos and more historical information for me (stay tuned — I’ll share that info here later).

It was great to talk to Kathy about her family history and about all the farm planning I’ve been doing. None of it would be happening if it wasn’t for her interest in seeing the land put to its highest possible use (according to me and Kathy, anyway) — growing vegetables! I hope all of my farm members get to meet Kathy at some point. She’s the best.

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More Seeds!

I love the sound of the doorbell at 11:15 am:  it means the mail carrier has a box to deliver. Today it was more seeds — including the leeks! Now I just need to pick up that heat mat, which surely has arrived by now.

Also, thanks for the card, Diane! It’s great to get mail addressed to Stone’s Throw Farm.

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First Shares Reserved!

When I got home from (paid) work last night, there were two checks sitting on the counter made out to Stone’s Throw Farm–we’re in business! These two brave souls made my day–thanks.

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I was sitting in the kitchen eating lunch with my good friend Sharon today when the doorbell rang and Sharon said, “Looks like you just got a big box.” I excused myself, skipped to the door and brought in a big box from one of the seed companies. Hooray! The first seeds have arrived!

Actually, this is the second batch of seeds because my sister sent some sweet marjoram, catnip, asparagus, and ground cherries seeds for V-Day. Thanks, Chris!

Those of you in the know will notice the stirrup hoes in the box, too. All sorts of goodies. Now I just need some locavores to sign up for summer shares and send their deposits so I can pay for this stuff! That’s the beauty of Community-Supported Agriculture:  the farmer gets paid when she really needs the funds — at the beginning of the season when she’s got to pay out in order to get the growing going. Thanks in advance to all you future Stone’s Throw Farm members out there — these seeds are for you!

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Unnamed No More

Did I mention we decided to name the farm “Stone’s Throw Farm?” After agonizing over it for so long, you’d think I’d make a bigger deal out of the decision. On the other hand, knowing me, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I didn’t hold a naming ceremony.

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A few years ago, I never would have guessed that my first glimpse of an ugly pole would have caused such a big boost in my mood. But that is exactly what happened yesterday as I drove toward our new property on County 102, because I knew it meant we now have electricity at the ready. It doesn’t go anywhere, and I’ll have to pay $8/month for the privilege of having a meter even though we’re not using any power yet, but that’s okay. It’s one less thing to worry about.

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The Closing, or Something …

So, the closing didn’t exactly happen on Friday the 18th at 9 am. Elden and I arrived at the appointed hour only to find that not everyone had been informed about the closing. Namely, the seller. Also, the documents weren’t exactly ready for me to sign. (None of this was my lawyer’s fault, I should mention. I won’t mention whose fault it was. Ahem.)

Forty-five minutes and some impulse buys at L&M later (where else does a farmer go to kill time than the local fleet/supply store?), we returned to the lawyer’s office, I signed our lives away and handed over the really big check, which would remain in my lawyer’s care until such time as the seller could come in and sign, which turned out to be Wednesday, December 23rd.

I still do not have an official document, but my lawyer assures me it is being recorded as I type. Good thing I’ve never been one for ceremony. Maybe we should call it Anticlimactic Farm.

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The greenhouse has bright and shiny wirelock brackets now. (For those of you who don’t know, wirelock is an aluminum channel that you put the plastic over, then insert special wiggle wire–or “wiggly wire,” as E says–into the channel to secure the plastic.)
We’re afraid to put the plastic on because we don’t have electricity yet, and therefore no way to inflate the two layers of plastic this winter. Maybe it wouldn’t matter, but that plastic is expensive.
We still have no address, but now we can tell people to look for the greenhouse on the right.

Just add fire, E.

Here’s a look at the rye. It looks pretty good in the field by the road.


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