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Showing posts from September, 2010

Northern Michigan Lamb & Wool Festival

I took my camera along, fully intending to use it liberally. I guess I was busy, because these two are exactly half of the photos I took during the festival.
Our booth...


We did alright, though it's always nice to dream of selling it all. But we had fun and are slowly getting our feet back under us after our busy weekend...

Manure + Sawdust + Time = Compost

I don't have time this morning to go into the advanced math (and science) that goes into composting. But it really can be as simple as the formula above. And, if you don't have manure and sawdust, you can substitute other things. Nitrogen (green stuff) + Carbon (brown stuff) + Time = Compost. You might have to fiddle with the C:N ratio, and add air (turning) and/or moisture, but you'll get there from here.

Here's a load of carbon being brought to the farm. For years we've used the sawdust from a local furniture manufacturer as our carbon source. It's been (essentially) free, and a great option for us AND them. Companies like to talk about zero level waste streams and the fact that they're involved in green initiatives.
But with economic hardship comes necessary cost cutting. One of the direct results of this cost cutting is bits of white plastic throughout the sawdust. Now tell me--who would want to use compost with plastic in it? After lots of discussion, we…

Wordless Wednesday

Pinto Bean Harvest

This post needs a warning.





Some of these photos might be visually disturbing, especially if you have an aversion to weeds.





The truth is, we didn't hoe at all in this field, and I guess cultivating wasn't enough.








See the bean pods (in there among the weeds)?



Here's a shot of the combine bean/grain head up close and from a different angle, so you can get an idea of what's all going on to harvest the beans. I *think* that it's magic, and I can't explain how it works to you.



Here the beans are falling into the hopper in the combine. They actually look really great, despite the weeds in the field.



And here's a shot to show you that sometimes harvesting is a group endeavor.

Wordless Wednesday

A Whole Day of Weaving

Saturday I spent nearly the whole day (other than taxi and maid duty) in the workshop weaving. My mother-in-law joined me to help with sewing strips together. She loves to sew, and is very fast. Here's a bit of her handiwork:

Eventually this pile will become blue jean rugs, like this one.

I had six rugs on the loom before I cut off and retied. Lots of color this time.

Here they are, stacked on my table, waiting for me to sew the ends. They'll go along with me to the Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool Festival.

I had such a wonderful day. Need to do this more often...

It's Almost Time!

It's coming! It's almost here...

The long-awaited day!

Thursday will be our inspection day--the last step (hopefully!) in becoming certified organic.

Patience... just wait. Thursday will be here before you know it!

Sunday Post

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
--Romans 7:6

Into the Corn Field

Adam's curse haunts us still...

Weeds grow along side of our beautiful corn crop. We cultivate over and over during the beginning of the summer, to keep weeds at bay. All we are really trying to do is to give the corn a head start. Once the corn is too tall to cultivate, we let the weeds try to catch up. They get a bit more sun near the edge of the field, and grow with abandon.

They grow tall, and lush, with seeds to pollute next year's field.

But walk a bit INTO the field, and the weeds aren't so thick. The corn canopy has successfully shaded out all but the most determined weeds. It's cool in here, and the corn leaves brush against you as you walk. Careful, the edges can be a bit sharp if you're moving too fast. If the corn is dry and brown, the wind causes a rattling noise as the dry leaves brush/crunch up against each other.
When the kids were little, I worried more about them falling in the big ditch by our house. But I've heard of kids wandering into or hidi…

Wordless Wednesday

Sheep Out!

The Farmer left first thing this morning for a dentist appointment. Just after he left, my phone rang. "Can you send the kids out to get the Polypays put back where they're supposed to be? They knocked down a fence."
Great. I had a meeting scheduled for 8:30 this morning. In all fairness, The Farmer asked for the kids to do it, and they could have. But an extra person sometimes makes the difference between difficult and easy. So we all headed out.
Sure enough--they'd knocked down not one, but two fences. (You can see one of the temporary fences laying in the forefront of the above photo.) As a result, there was only one fence separating them from the Suffolks. The Suffolks have a couple of rams in with them right now, and The Farmer likes to keep two fences between the groups during breeding season to avoid jumped fences and crossbred lambs.
So the dog and the boy went around back to herd them up again, while the girl started setting up one of the downed fences. I had t…

American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country

I recently put my hands on a copy of American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country, a gorgeous coffee-table book filled with amazing photographs. Every so often there is an interview tucked in between the portraits. Last night I read this, a comment from Doug Mosebar, from page 24:
"We're approaching a tipping point in America, where unless we're very careful we're going to end up relying more on imported food than the food we're producing on our own soil. And I think that's pretty scary. Something's got to give. But I think often times in life things have to get worse before they get better. So as this situation gets worse, I think there will be enough public outcry that it will give politicians enough, I'll say mettle, to do what needs to be done. Because we're all in this together. We tend to, in our culture, compartmentalize ourselves and act as if one segment doesn't affect the others, but it really does."
The book was published in 2008. I …

Saving the Land that Sustains Us

One of the things that we became interested in early in our farming career was the preservation of agricultural land. The Farmer went on a bus trip to Pennsylvania and Maryland to see how they've preserved their farmland using Purchase of Development Rights, and (his preference) Transfer of Development Rights. Since then (off and on) he's served on our county's committee to preserve farmland.
Our farm is situated in a triangle between 3 cities. Until the recent recession, sprawl was happening (in our direction, from all 3 sides) at an alarming rate. It's slowed somewhat, but we are still in that triangle. And we still speak to folks all the time who think nothing of selling a perfectly good house to buy 10 acres out in the country and build a new house.
We are still concerned about the sprawl and about the recent attacks on animal agriculture. But we're very (!) encouraged by the growing awareness that our food sources are important.
I found this video clip from the