There is peace there.

I had to work in Chicago one day last week.  A 30 minute drive and 18 train stops got me to the city.  I love the sights and adventures that the downtown provides, but I also find myself a little on edge.  Managing transportation and pretending to be aware and confident in unfamiliar surroundings is exhausting.  I’ve been to Chicago several times, but never alone.

In the cab on the way back to the train station, the driver asked which side of the station I would like to be dropped.  Since I had no idea, I replied, “Whatever is easiest for you.” He laughed, “You must not come here often”.  Then we started talking about the rain and how he actually likes it because it typically means more business for him.  I explained that I could do with a little less rain so we could get vegetables planted.  “Ahhh… a farm!” The cab driver seemed excited and nostalgic, like maybe he grew up on a farm.  He said knowingly, “There is peace there”.

It was such a beautiful statement.  It stuck with me as the view from my train window changed from buildings to cornfields.  I could feel myself relax and unwind.  I thought about how lucky we are to get to soak up the quiet, calm, fresh air on the farm as often as we like.  He was so right, there is peace there.

 

Planning & Planting

I love spreadsheets (probably a little too much). Many hours of research went into developing this year’s planting plan. We followed it diligently until a few days of heavy rain changed our plan into wishful thinking. Dan calls it farming. The ground has been too wet to till, so we have been sneaking plants into the ground whenever we can – sometimes by the light of a pickup truck.

Here’s a quick update:

  • Garlic and Horseradish are growing strong from last year.
  • In the ground: Broccoli, Red & Green Cabbages, Red & Yellow Onions, Cauliflower, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale, Red & Yellow Potatoes, Snap Peas, Beets, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, and Radishes.
  • Seedlings to be transplanted soon: Tomatoes (so many tomatoes!), Cucumber, Peppers, Eggplant, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Brussels Sprouts, and the next rounds of Broccoli and Cauliflower.

We did have a very productive Mother’s Day and took advantage of the beautiful day!

Farming is my cardio

I am exhausted but so very happy with all we accomplished today!  We relocated all 3 chicken coops to their “Spring Habitat”, away from where we are planting veggies.  About 30 gals found their way out of the area and needed to be escorted back to their roosts.  This is always more fun with a 4 year old.

We have potatoes, onions, beets, sugar snap peas, and carrots all planted in the field!  The garlic and horseradish appear to be growing strong.  A sweet little bunny watched us plant the carrots.  Guess I’ll be Googling “how to keep rabbits out of the garden” tonight…

Flip-flops in February?!?

We didn’t really break out the flip-flops yet, but we have had a very productive February!

  • We got some chicken coops painted and new roosts built on those 70 degree days.  (It’s not breaking child labor laws if he begs to help!)    
  • We joined the Chicagoland CSA Coalition – Band of Farmers and have been meeting with other local farmers to collaborate and share ideas. 
  • We found some antique supplies that we cleaned up and are putting to good use.  An egg basket and scale!  It’s fun to think about what has changed and what remains the same since these were last used.  I just love combining modern technology (Excel spreadsheets, I-Phone timers and camera, etc.) with these old treasures!

  • We celebrated CSA Day (February 24th) on Social Media with over 1,400 other farms. 
  • Our focus for March will be continued planning for our CSA.  We are overjoyed with the enthusiasm that people have for fresh, local produce and we are excited to give them the very best!

CSA 2017!

We just announced our CSA for 2017 and have already received a lot of positive comments and excitement!  Our goal is to provide our customers with a weekly delivery of extremely fresh produce, at a great value.  With less time spent setting up and sitting at a farmstand or market, we can focus our time and energy on growing the best possible produce.  We also hope this will provide our family more time together on the farm doing what we love!

January Planning

January is a time for planning and getting organized for the coming year.  We’ve been comparing varieties of plants, ordering seeds, planing garden space, preparing the greenhouses, and reading articles on the latest tips and techniques.

We’ve also been washing a lot of eggs!  Our chickens must think it’s spring because they have been laying extra eggs lately.  I think I’m going to make some cream puffs today to make good use of the surplus.

The picture is of a GIANT egg that one of our chickens laid this week!

It is October!

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and it is already time for pumpkins and fall.  I haven’t done a blog post in a while because we’ve been busy harvesting and working at the FarmStand.  Only a few weekends left before the FarmStand season is over.  I should probably get some more baby chicks to add a little more chaos to our daily lives…

Farm Stand is Open!

The Farm Stand has been open two weekends already!  We have learned a lot about setting up, cleaning up, and operating the stand.  There have been a few unexpected surprises, but all in all it has been a very positive experience.

The best part is the level of interest that many customers show.  They ask questions about our farming and growing practices and we love answering the questions and sharing our background.  People want to know where their food comes from.  We’ve exchanged recipe ideas, discussed chicken breeds, and just enjoyed a few peaceful moments in the sun.

We have met people with a passion for fresh, high quality, local food – and that is exactly what we set out to do!

Wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend

We had a fun and productive weekend at the farm.  We moved both chicken coops (built on hayracks with wheels) over to the “Chicken Habitat”.  It’s always an adventure to watch Dan use the tractor to maneuver the coops. The “Chicken Habitat” is a large fenced area with lots of greens and stumps for the gals to explore, while still allowing them a bit more protection from anything that might enjoy eating them…  Since the coops are on wheels, we can relocate them anywhere on the farm to give them new places to roam.

The newest group is 12 weeks old.  They’ve gone from adorable chicks through a gangly awkward phase (don’t we all…) and now look like small chickens.  We tried to coax them outside yesterday, but most of them are still a bit unsure and choose to stay inside.

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After a family cookout, we transplanted broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower until we ran out of daylight.

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