Posts Tagged ‘weather’


When most of these photos were taken the farm was very dry, but now it’s downright soggy. Not only was it dry, but we had several days of high winds — one day I looked up and the 12’x7′ “pop-up” greenhouse was cartwheeling across the field. I had made the mistake of taking two of the seven sandbags off of it to hold something else down, and before I could replace those weights, it was gone. Oh, well. I certainly got my money’s worth out of it the last 2 years.

The pigs are happy it rained because it’s easier for them to root around in the soil when it’s wet. They’ve made quite a mess of their pen since I took this video, but they don’t seem to care. Their beds are still dry since I keep putting more straw into the huts for them.

I tossed the pigs some treats, including one of last year’s pumpkins that I kept around just to see how long it would last. They played with it for a little while; I assume it eventually fell apart and was trampled into the muck.

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Thanks to John Myers and Bob King of the Duluth News Tribune for the nice article about CSA in today’s paper!

Click here for information about purchasing a summer CSA share.

Check out the photos below for a look around the farm. The winter rye is going to town in the hoophouses and starting to green up in the field. The only problem is, the chickweed and other spring weeds love the warm weather, too!

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Call it Pig Day if you want (that’s what the Hobby Farms calendar says), but it was Dig-Out Day in Duluth today after a nice Leap Day blizzard yesterday. My friend Heather-Marie and I managed to get one vehicle on the road this morning (her street had not been plowed yet at 9 am, let alone the alley — guess it’s a low priority area!) and headed out to my parents’ “summer house” near the farm to start our respective onion seeds.

We now know that my parents’ driveway catches a lot of snow. We parked at neighbor Olive’s house and shoveled a path to the back door, then set about seeding our onions. If all goes well, we’ll have white, yellow, and red onions in late summer thanks to our efforts today. At right are the onion trays in the germination station.

We’ve got more shelves almost ready to go for plants to hang out on for a while after they germinate and before they move to the greenhouse, which is expensive to heat at night this time of year.

After we finished the seeding, Heather-Marie and I stopped at the farm to get a few things and make sure everything survived the storm. The new hoophouse that Elden and I put up last fall (the smaller one in the photo at right) has led to some interesting snowdrifts forming between the hoophouses.

After admiring the snow sculptures, we headed back to Duluth, where the streets and alleys were almost all plowed and plenty of melting had already taken place. A snowblower in the background reminds me that Dig Out Day isn’t over yet, though.

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The wiggly pigglies arrived at Stone’s Throw Farm yesterday evening! My parents generously offered to deliver the pigs, and I didn’t turn them down. (A wise farmer once told me that if someone offers to help you, accept, because you’re going to need all the help you can get.) My parents weighed the pigs before they left and discovered they’ve been gaining over a pound and a half a day in the last 22 days.

The piggies seemed happy in their new accommodations, immediately putting noses to the ground and rooting away. I hope they’re warm enough this morning, as there’s probably frost on the ground at the farm. I put 3 bales of straw in their 2 huts last night, so that should help.

I’ll get some video today.

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It’s crunch time at the farm. Tasks done or not done right now will have reverberations throughout the rest of the season. Waiting too long to prep the fields could mean many crops are delayed, but working the ground before it dries out properly leads to soil compaction and can mess up the soil tilth, or texture. Seeding and transplanting is a priority, but skipping proper field preparation could make weed control later difficult or impossible. For some slow-growing crops, a seeding delay of a day or two can mean a week or more delay in maturity several months from now. Everything needs to be done right now, and the weather has not been cooperating very well.

I actually took the time to take a few photos at the farm yesterday with plans to share them here, but I forgot to bring my camera home. You’ll just have to trust me that things are hopping at Stone’s Throw Farm, including the spring peepers.

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A tornado hit my home town this weekend, but didn’t affect my parents’ farm. Supposedly there were no serious injuries, so that’s a relief, but I feel bad for the townies.

My parents reported that the piglets are doing well. They’re taking the sow back to my grandpa’s farm today, where she’ll be in the company of other pigs and probably have another litter later this year. Happy trails, Longtail!

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Most of the snow has melted out at the farm, except for back in “the cove.” Even there, it’s receding. The furrow my dad made to improve field drainage seems to be helping, but there’s plenty of thawing and draining that needs to happen before the ground will be dry enough to work. That’s fine with me, as I’ve got plenty to do in the meantime.

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I am in love with the piglets, yes, but this farm is not ALL about them. I have been starting some seedlings, too.

Again this year, I’m starting plants at my house in Duluth, since I’ve still been working my winter jobs (thank you, winter employers!) and it’s a little chilly to camp at the farm.

Here’s how the little hoophouse looked when I dragged myself out of bed this morning. I blame my friend Ron, who did several snow dances yesterday to let the universe know that he’d welcome more snow. At least someone’s happy.

It’s not all about the piglets, but that doesn’t mean I can’t post a quick video from my visit to Iowa a few weeks ago. I love the little piglet that looks so innocently at the camera, as if to say, “Who, me? I would never chew on my friend’s tail!” I’ve asked my mom for some updated photos . . .  she reported that the orphans are finally chewing on some of their dry food, so my parents might wean the litter today (I know, it’ll be sad) and stop preparing milk replacer for the orphans four times a day.

Also, we still have a few summer shares available, if anyone is looking to sign up.

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Today is the day the first gilt was supposedly due to have her piglets at my parents’ place, but it sounds like it’s turning out to be a day no pigs would be born. (Hmm, doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as A Day No Pigs Would Die. At least it’s not such a somber occasion — the piglets are just taking their time.) I googled images of Berkshire piglets this morning to tide me over, but it just made me wish even more that they’d hurry up and be born so I can go visit them.

I went out to Stone’s Throw Farm last week to check things out, pick up and drop off a few things, and I managed to leave my camera in the greenhouse. I found an excuse to drive out there today and get it, but the photos I took last Thursday were pretty ho-hum and today was another grey day. Driving by, the only clues that say “garden” are the greenhouse, deer fence, and some bare stalks sticking through the snow in the east field. The CSA share renewals keep trickling in, though, so apparently I’m not the only one around here thinking spring. Now, if we just had some piglets to entertain us in the meantime!   

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Last night I dreamed that it was June and I hadn’t seeded any peas yet. I think that means it’s time to do some serious planning for the 2011 season to make sure nothing like that happens!

I probably dreamed about Stone’s Throw Farm because Elden and I went out there yesterday to check on a few things. I’m happy to report that everything seemed fine. The hoophouse is shedding snow respectably well, the quonset shell (a.k.a. wind tunnel) had just a dusting of snow in the middle, and there’s even a little bit of rye growing in the hoophouse. I scratched in some rye seed in mid-to-late November and watered it a few times with a sprinkling can, but didn’t really expect it to grow. Apparently it’s been warm and moist enough in there for it to limp along.


The deer have messed up the west side of the deer fence a bit (as Elden said, it looks like 3 or 4 of them ran full speed ahead right through it), but that can be repaired in the spring. There’s enough icy snow cover now that I don’t think they’re bothering to paw the snow off the field to eat.

We snowshoed back to the cove to take a look and noticed that the two old shacks that were on our neighbor’s property just 10 feet from the property line have been torn down. Plenty of people considered them eyesores, but it’s strange to look west and not see them now. I suppose it’s nothing like the changes that have happened on our side of the property line in the past year and a half!

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