Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Lick Farm Gets a Tractor!!

Good Day Everyone! We have had a few "blogworthy" days lately and with the great weather break we had to get caught up on planting I am a bit behind in posting the latest news! Yesterday we decided to up our production (and life expectancy as farmers~ ha!) and added a 1948 Farmall Cub tractor to our farm. This tractor has just gone from antique to being employed full time at Big Lick Farm. It runs well, and will pull such attachments as a disc plow (to cultivate hard packed soil), harrower (to break up dirt clods and make a finer seed bed), sickle bar mower to cut grass and cut down our cover crops and also (the main thing we're excited about) a cultivator which is a bar with many little shovels on it that can be driven between your rows to cut small weeds and aerate the soil.
Again we have the help of our friends and neighbors Norm (who I just posted a blog about) and his son Scott who makes a living working and repairing tractors. I consider him a tractor whisperer or "tractor guru". What great friends to have when you acquire such an antique piece of equipment with many mysterious attachments!
For now our tractor is being housed in Lookinglass at Scott's shop but in the next few weeks as the weather improves and its new life begins at our farm it will be dusted off and do what is was made for!

You Say Pohtaytoe I Say Pohtahtoe (Potato Days!)

Asinete and I have been busy the last few days and night cutting our 500 pounds of seed potatoes into small pieces so that they can be dried in our garage(above) and then planted into the ground in the next few days. This year we are trying our hand at several varieties as the potatoes thrive here in our wonderful loamy soil. We will be growing Bintje, Norkotah Russets, Yellow Finn, Rose Finn, French fingerling, Banana fingerling and the great all around potato Yukon gold. Potatoes are fairly trouble free to grow. They also require little weeding as you keep hilling them up (adding more soil around them as they grow up) so that the baby potatoes do not get exposed to the sunlight and turn green. When potatoes are exposed to sunlight and turn green they become somewhat toxic so we want to avoid that!
For those of you who would like to lend a hand in planting we still are hoping to have several CSA planting days. We are just waiting for the weather to settle a bit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends!

What a great story we have! Pictured above is Norm Phillips who lived and farmed at our newly acquired farm for 25 years with is wife and son. You can see him on his tractor on the top two pictures working the ground which we have now inherited and which we are running our pigs on. We are lucky in that Norm is now our neighbor and has been very helpful in showing us all about his former homestead. This knowledge has included giving us information about all the fruit trees and varieties of grapes he planted in his vineyard to helping us last year to get our irrigation pump set up in the river. Few new property owners are so lucky as to get the same opportunity we have been given! Norm routinely drops by to see how things are going on his old farm and every time he drops by he seems to get involved in a project. Yesterday he offered to help us move the pigs down to the next section of field. He has expressed to us how happy it makes him to see the land being farmed again. Thanks for all your help Norm!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tomato Days

Happy Spring! Friday marks the end of a long, cold winter and we are ready! Our tomatoes are thriving with the warmer weather and we have been kept busy with constant transplanting to larger pots to make sure they do not become root bound. As of now we have nearly 2,00o tomato plants! I think we can all look forward to a great tomato year! For the past two days we have been blessed with the help of friend and neighbor Wayne May. Today we were able to finish our 6th row of onions. We still have around 500 left so we may hang onto those for a CSA planting day. The snow peas and spinach are sprouting in neat rows. How eager we are for the first taste of spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Let the Planting Begin!

Time to plant onions while the sun shines! Asinete and I got a head start on the 2,300 onion plants we have yesterday before the next storm came in. We did two rows with 800 plants (yellow Spanish sweet and "big daddy" sweet onions). Left to plant are Walla Wallas, Red Zeppelin, and Mars). All the beds that are shown in the photo above will be planted with onions (6 rows). The rain came in perfect time to water our new onion transplants in. We will hope for a clear/rain free weekend coming up so those of you who would like to join us planting can!
Our first crop of snow peas are finally coming up along with the spinach we planted alongside them.
The rainy day today was a perfect time to catch up on greenhouse work, potting up our tomatoes into 3 inch pots. From these pots they will be planted out in the field.
We will be giving a talk this Tuesday, March 17 from 6-8pm at the Umpqua Community Development Co (UCDC) about the "ABC's of CSA's" We will be presenting along with fellow CSA farmers Oh My Gato Farm from Winston and Norm Lehne Garden from Roseburg. Hopefully see some of you there!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Greetings from the Big Lick Farm Crew (pigs and chickens included!)

What beautiful days we have been having! Our pigs and chickens have really been enjoying it as well! Today marks the one week mark since we acquired our pigs and they have really been upholding their end of the bargain by rototilling our fields for us. Check out the picture from last Tuesday that I posted of their enclosure and then see it how it is now! Not only have they rooted up all the sod, eaten the roots and helped to aerate the soil but they also add their waste as a source of fertilizer (albeit stinky fertilizer!) And look at those faces.. truly only a face a mother could love!
We fired up our incubator today to hatch out some of our fertilized eggs... I guess we will find out in 21 days if our rooster has been doing right by those hens! The chickens are not completely free range as we do close them up at night and we leave them in their coop long enough in the mornings so that they lay their eggs inside their nest boxes and not under trees and bushes.. after all Easter egg hunts are not fun on a daily basis!
Today was spent weeding our garlic beds, pruning our grapes, potting up tomatoes to a larger size tray and of course watching the pigs have so much fun.
We are hoping the weather holds so that we can plant the 2,500 onions which arrived early this week (photo above). This year we are going to make sure that we have beautiful onions! We ordered Walla Walla's, Spanish Sweet, a red onion called Mercury and two types of storage onions (red and yellow). We will get these in the ground and mulched as our next project! Volunteers would be most welcomed for a massive onion transplanting party! If you're interested in volunteering to help us plant please call us at 863-2646 or email and we could choose a date!
Thank you!!!