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Showing posts from August, 2012

A Few Bean Varieties

First off, let me be clear--there were several weeks this summer when we had NO rain that I sincerely doubted we'd have a bean harvest. Thank God for rain, just in time.

And in all fairness, "it isn't a crop until it's in the bin". Bean growers in the thumb of Michigan have suffered losses very recently due to 5+ inches of rain all at once.

So we still aren't guaranteed a harvest. But so far, it's looking good!

If you look closely, you'll see differences in the size and characteristics of these beans.

Some mature earlier (you can tell by the yellowing of the plant). Some are smaller plants than others.

There are a couple more types of beans we didn't photograph. It started dripping when we were taking photos, and we thought we might melt. Not pictured are: black turtle beans, nuñas, and pintos.

Friday Fun Farm Facts--Cows

Cows have four stomachs.The averages cow has more than 40,000 jaw movements each day.Like snowflakes, no two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.Cows are herbivores, so they only have teeth on the bottom.Cows can detect smells up to six miles away!

Organic vs. Conventional -- Does it Have to Be This Way?

A few weeks ago, on a sweltering hot evening, The Farmer and I attended a soil health seminar on a large livestock farm. The participants learned about the operation, oogled some big equipment, muttered and shook our heads together about the drought conditions, and dug in the heavy clay soil to look for signs of soil health.
I was impressed with the humility and knowledge of the owner of this large operation. Despite his farm's status as a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation), he was genuinely concerned for and actively pursuing the health of his animals. I tell people who think that Big Farmers Are Evil to chew on the following idea: Even IF (and I know NO farmers that are this way), but IF hypothetically a farmer was in it purely for the money only, and cared nothing for his livestock, he would still take care of his animals. Because sick, neglected, abused animals do NOT make money for a farmer. Think about that for a while.
Now, are there bad players among livestock farmer…

Wedding Bells

Recently, our oldest daughter was married to a wonderful young man. We've been busy preparing for and recovering from the big event.
The picnic reception was held outdoors, and here The Farmer is drilling holes in golf balls for a ladderball game.

This is part of a cornhole game--we had to make a new set, as our old one was a bit tired.

The s'mores bar station that The Farmer built was a very popular place to hang out during the reception.

Here is a glimpse of the decor--months were spent combing garage sales and thrift stores for doilies and tablecloths.
This is what our entryway looks like right now. I've finished washing tablecloths and putting away mason jars. But I still have a bit more stuff to sort through and put away.
There were a few more things that we were involved in, but mostly our daughter spent her time wisely and planned carefully. She had help from many, many people, and I'm glad to say that things came together at the last and they are now officially …

Soybeans, Away!

Shipped off the last of the soybeans today. The last pallet of 2010's soybeans are worth more sold than tripped over.

Food Choices Not Just For Celebrities

Today's blog post is written by Jan of SlowMoneyFarm. Jan grew up on a family farm with Charolais, hay and corn as well as exposure to Brown Swiss cattle. She and her husband currently raise a variety of poultry, rabbits and raised bed gardens (vegetables and herbs) with a focus on heritage/heirloom production and conserving rare breeds. They bred and showed several national top 10 Giant Chinchilla rabbits last year, and Jan uses social media to promote and offer food choices to the public.
When Joel Salatin says something about agriculture people listen. What he does is special. It's a great thing. He's written books and given lectures around the world. People want to buy food from HIM.What most miss, however, is that he's doing what thousands of other farmers are doing coast to coast and border to border. He's finding what works for him, marketing it to work for him and selling to a specific market. That's not a bad thing - it works for him. But we're doin…

Monocultures – More than Meets The Ear

We are fairly busy with other stuff this week (primary election, daughter's wedding), and so perhaps you'll excuse me if I route you to read other blogs? Here's an interesting post:
I recently listened to a local farmer describe his extensive crop rotations, soil fertility and how he shunned chemicals.
Farm superior to the unhealthy "monoculture" of conventional corn and soybeans planted by his neighbor, he said. And he made it all too clear--he didn't care what his neighbor thought anyway.
Read the full post here.

County Fair

Last week was our county fair--a very small one, as county fairs go. I suspect that fairs are a dying breed, and so we participate in several ways just to keep the powers-that-be from looking around and saying "why bother?"
We pick garden veggies to enter in the vegetable competition. We enter our handmade items in the open class needlework competition. This year The Farmer entered a skein of handspun yarn. I also entered a skein of handspun yarn, a crocheted scarf, and one of my rugs.
And our kids show animals through the 4H program.

4H participants spend 2-6 months (depending on the animal shown) working with their animal, caring for it daily, getting it used to being handled. This teaches them responsibility.

Many of the kids form a close bond with their animals. All of the animals are sold at the end of the fair, and there are always a few tears shed as the kids help load their animals on the stock trailers to be brought to auctions or slaughterhouses.

You might be tempt…

Wordless Wednesday