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Posts Tagged ‘farm visits’

Today we say good-bye to our 4 piggies. They’ve been good company.

I’m way behind on photo posting; here’s what’s been happening at Stone’s Throw Farm (below).

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Thanks to Eddy Gilmore for visiting Stone’s Throw Farm last Sunday and writing about our little farming community in Wrenshall. On his blog, Ed’s Big Adventure, Eddy explains his services as a profiler of interesting people thusly:

What I bring to you is an innate ability to become intensely impassioned for your subject through the lens of a third party with keen observational skills. I am a great conversationalist, will travel out to your location, and will spend hours chatting with or about your subject. The point of this isn’t to merely glean facts, but to find footholds of interest for myself so I may write an engaging story.”

I found his statement to be true — I am not a good conversationalist but I enjoyed talking to Eddy, who seemed genuinely interested. Without taking notes, he got (almost!) all of the details I shared correct and wrote about his experience skillfully. Eddy was generous enough to share a copy of his memoir, The Emancipation of a Buried Man, which I very much look forward to reading — get your own copy here.

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My sister and her family visited us over the 4th of July weekend!

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It’s been a busy few weeks at Stone’s Throw Farm, and we’ve even had a little company. One of our farm members, Guy, and his friend and mentor, Roy, set up two bee hives last weekend, which will be great for our pollinator-dependent crops and the general health of the farm. Guy and Roy checked on the bees this weekend and said they’re doing great; the queens are laying eggs and everything was as it should be. Then farm members Alisa and Don visited yesterday to see the piggies, which are now set up in a pen just north of the orchard. The pigs were happy on the trailer but seem very glad to be on the ground. This is the first they’ve encountered dirt, but they know what to do — dig! Alisa and Don also took a stroll with Elden and me on our little trail through the woods, where we currently have a carpet of what they helpfully identified as Spring Beauty wildflowers. They also pointed out a Jack-in-the-Pulpit growing right on the path.

My dad, Craig, has been taking care of the pigs and inhaling gas fumes non-stop while preparing the fields for planting with the tractor. He also seeded some oats and field peas that we hope the pigs can forage on later this season. My mom, Jean, has been faithfully watering our pots and trays in the hoophouses, pulling masses of chickweed and other enemies out of the field, and getting her perennial and flower beds in order. Elden has been out on the weekends getting his welder set up, improving the pig feeder roof, cutting firewood, and so forth. I transplanted the onions and then a ton of Brassicas — cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Napa cabbage, and Pac choi — as well as our first round of beets and lettuce. I finally was able to seed radishes and salad turnips, greens mix, lettuce mix, spinach, and snap peas, too. Most of these beds will be a weedy mess in short order since the soggy conditions didn’t give us a chance to kill the weeds before planting, but the weeding work will keep us out of trouble this summer.

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Stone’s Throw Farm’s Pick-Your-Own Day was this past Saturday and I enjoyed the company of a few dedicated farm members who picked their hearts out, helping me utilize the many green beans and cherry tomatoes ready at the moment. Unfortunately (typically!) I forgot my camera, so I wasn’t able to visually document all the fun you missed if you weren’t there. Trust me, though, there was a whole lot of pickin’ goin’ on.

I’m getting a little tired of my own company at the farm about now, so it was nice to have farm members around for that reason, too. My parents are on their way to Stone’s Throw Farm even as I type, so I’ll have no shortage of company this week, and the Harvest Festival is just around the corner; I’ll bring the farm to the people that day.

Even though a big farmers market can be a little too much company for this introvert, I’m kind of excited about this year’s Harvest Festival. It’s partly because I’ll now be a veteran at the Farmers Market and therefore a little more clued in about how things go there, and partly because the festival is free this year (I hope this means even more festival-goers) and it doesn’t start until 11 a.m.! This means we farmers won’t have to stay up so late the night before and get up so ridiculously early the day of in order to get everything harvested and to market. I think it’ll make for much bigger smiles behind the produce tables in the market.

If you can’t wait until Saturday, September 10, for a farmers market experience, check out UMD Market Day in the Plaza this Wednesday, particularly my friend Heather-Marie Bloom’s veggie, art, and jewelery table (Rising Phoenix Community Farm). A little bird told me Heather-Marie might be peddling her homemade chocolate beet cake this week as well — yum.

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I hope Stone’s Throw Farm members will be frolicking at our farm sometime soon — whenever all these cherry tomatoes are ready for picking! — but for now everyone is invited to Farm Frolic at Chelsea Morning Farm near Two Harbors this Saturday, August 13, from 2-6 p.m. The event is open to all and is a fundraiser for the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association’s Farm Beginnings course. Click here for details.

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My nephew Franklin (oh, and the rest of my family, too!) visited Stone’s Throw Farm this weekend and drove the tractor almost the whole time he was at the farm. Even when it was parked in the shed, he “drove” it. He did take some time out to “drive” the pickup down a bumpy bath, and he wielded a hoe in the field with me for a few minutes after we pulled the garden cart out to the field, but otherwise he was all about the tractor. My dad drove him around on Saturday and they picked up the manure spreader and pulled that around for a while. Needless to say, Franklin is a big fan of his Grandpa Craig. If his interest in tractors continues, he’s more than welcome to do my tractor work for me in the future!

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Before Chris, Dave, and Franklin arrived on Friday night, Mom and Dad helped me move the pigs into their next paddock, plant 2 beds of potatoes, prep a few beds for a cover crop, and Mom did all my greenhouse watering for me and buried part of the pig water line. We did a couple days’ work in one day so we could relax and enjoy Sir Franklin’s visit the rest of the weekend.

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Ellen of Hand Hollow

My friend Ellen (with the hugging pig at left) from New Lebanon, New York, made my day — no, week — no, year! — when she emailed me on Tuesday with the subject line, “Guess where I am?” The answer was Minneapolis! She had driven out to the great state of Minnesota with her dear friend Anna, who was kind enough to let Ellen drive Anna’s newly acquired car up to Duluth to visit me. I happened to have a day off yesterday from a busy week at the group home where I work, so it worked out perfectly for Ellen to visit.

Ellen is the superstar farmer at Hand Hollow Farm, and we met while apprenticing at Caretaker Farm (along with our friend Becky) in 2007. We haven’t seen each other since then, so it was pretty awesome to get to talk in person and compare notes. We ate Stone’s Throw Farm pork and Third Street Bakery cookies, played Carcassonne with Elden, and, of course, visited the farm. Ellen really liked the rusty truck.

Seriously, I did take her out to the farm, but my camera would not cooperate at the time. Figures. Not that there was much to see besides snow, but at least she got a sense of the place. I got to see Ellen’s farm the fall that she plowed the field for the first time and was making plans for her first season, but I’d love to get out there one of these years (sooner rather than later, I hope!) to see how things have progressed.

Thanks again for visiting, Ellen!

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Work and play

Elden and I enjoyed visits from his dad and stepmom (George and Annette) and my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew (Christine, David, Franklin) this past weekend. George helped us wrestle a bit with the Quonset building and Franklin checked out the steering wheel on the tractor and truck for me. Thank goodness for Playfront Park! And for David for taking these photos. I failed to get even one shot of George and Annette, but we won’t soon forget their visit all the way from Sequim, WA, on the smooth-as-a-rollercoaster train.

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My parents, Jean and Craig, shown here loading one of the last boxes of green tomatoes into the van on Saturday (and fighting over how to hold it? Okay, okay, it was a posed shot.), arrived Wednesday evening and endured two days of “cold” rain before finally getting a sunny day on Saturday. I put “cold” in quotation marks because it’s all relative and I’m very aware that it will soon be much colder than 50 degrees. It was certainly cold weather in which to be working outside when your coveralls are soaked through, however, which happened to my parents on Thursday. I was at work at the Food Farm and they were hard at work at Stone’s Throw Farm when it started raining for real. I could say something about rain gear being available, but I won’t!

We harvested about 200 pounds of green tomatoes, I’m guessing. Nice big San Marzano Romas — a shame they didn’t have time to ripen. It was worth a shot, I guess, but I’ll be trying some other varieties next year. My dad wanted to harvest all the green tomatoes, even the one with “blem-o’s,” — as my parents kept referring to bad spots, or blemishes — but I wouldn’t let him. I’d rather have them rot right there in the field than in boxes in the hoophouse!

I’m glad we at least had one nice day together, and it was great to have their help getting ready for the first frost Saturday night. My mom picked the last of the basil for me (it is now pesto in the freezer) and my dad helped me create an action plan for replacing the starter on the tractor, which burned up Saturday afternoon — quite timely, considering I wouldn’t have had a clue what was wrong if he hadn’t been there. We also pulled the squash and melon plants and the black plastic mulch that was covering those beds, so that’s a good job done.

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