Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Catching Up!

We have been very lazy this winter in keeping up with our blog. We promise to do better. It has been such a bitterly cold winter this year, especially for the south. We are just not used to such cold temperatures and so much snow and frost and neither are our crops. The last few days, though, we have been enjoying the warmth of the sun and the normal South Carolina winter. We are celebrating. The crops that survived are growing and we hope to start harvesting some of our greens by the weekend. I did have to reseed a lot of the lettuce and have been transplanting kale and Swiss chard in the field. I hope that the ground hog's prognostication is correct and we will be having spring in another four weeks. We are ready for it.
The Crooked Cedar Farm has decided to put in a flock of laying hens. We have had so many requests for farm fresh organic eggs from our customers. I had been trying to get them from other egg farmers, but the supply was iffy and I couldn't be sure how they were grown. By growing our own, we can be sure of their authenticity.
Years ago, we had chickens and now we will have them again. Looking forward to their arrival in March and now we are busy getting ready. Construction is under way. Building a chicken house and run. We have added on to our farm shed and now we have started the chicken house. The girls will be arriving the second week of March so there is lots to do do to get ready.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

December certainly came in with a blast, A COLD BLAST!! We, at the Crooked Cedar Farm, have been enduring, as well as everyone else in these parts, a very cold time of it and it's not going away quite yet. Last Saturday morning we did make it back to the All Local Market and had a good day selling our produce. Not so this week, however. We covered most of the greens and salad mixes with frost blankets at the beginning of the week and just removed them today. No picking last week or market today, either. Just too cold. Rain is expected tonight and the temps should be above freezing. The plants really need some rain and thawed soil so their roots can take up the water. Tomorrow afternoon, the frost blankets go back on as the weather is going to be freezing again until mid week.

While it's been so cold, we have done a little decorating and shopping for Christmas. It will soon be here. It seems to come around faster every year.

 Our son, his wife and his two children came over last Sunday and brought me a beautiful flower, a red cyclamen, for my birthday. It looks so pretty on the kitchen table. We had such a good time with them and our two grandsons. I also had calls from our other son, his wife, other family members and friends for my birthday. It was a good day.

I was able to work in the greenhouse this week, which was a toasty 70 degrees. I planted the window boxes that Selvin gave me for my birthday. They are going on the three windows on the front of the house that aren't covered by the porch. I've wanted to have window boxes there for a long time and they should be very pretty when the plants grow enough to be seen. The broccoli and kohlrabi seedlings are looking great and will soon be big enough to come off of the heat mats. I'll keep them under the lights, though, so they won't get leggy.

Everyday I are replenishing the wood pile on the porch and the wood stove is pumping out wonderful warm heat. Love that wood heat. While it's a lot of work to cut, split and haul the wood, we would rather have this kind of heat. We do have a gas pack furnace for a backup heat source.

Selvin's back continues to improve and he is able to do a few more things around the farm. Just light tasks, but still taking it slow.Today I picked just a small amount of spinach, which I put into omelets for supper tonight. We also had our great "Summer in a Jar" tomato soup. Nothing better on a cold winter's night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Ready to Start Harvesting

Today we started getting all of our big washing and picking tubs ready for the upcoming harvest this week. We also washed the big plastic bags that we hold the washed and dried greens in for the market and home sales. I checked the field and will start picking and cutting greens tomorrow. We are going to the market on Saturday so its time to get going. Just have to wait for the rain to finish. It should be clear tomorrow, but cold. I'll need to break out the gloves and stocking hat. If I am able to pick enough this week, I will sent out an e-mail for farm sales. We'll see how much this first harvest yields. While it rained this afternoon, we went through the remaining peppers to see what was still good. We have lots of hot peppers, which seem to hold better and dry great. I am thinking of making some pepper vinegar to sale. Lots of people love hot vinegar with their greens.
Time to cook supper, fish and grits, then settle down on the sofa. It's good sleeping weather.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Raking leaves

Today was a great day to get outside and rake leaves. It was cold and partly cloudy early this morning, but by 11 am the sun came out. Instead of trying to use the leaf blower to get the leaves in rows, I used the riding lawn mower. I just raised the cutting deck to its highest position,turned on the blades and away I went across the yard. This worked great to get most of the leaves in rows and then I came back with my rake to finish raking everything nice and neat. I then collected the leaves onto a tarp and pulled them to my flower beds and spread the leaves as mulch. The yard looks much better. Leaves are still falling, but I plan to start topdressing all the flower beds with pine straw for that finished look.  Everything always looks so much better mulched and it sure helps keep down weeds. Mulch will keep the plants warm this winter and keep the work down next spring.

Selvin had to go to therapy this afternoon and then on to Lowe's to get the shelving units that we will be using in our market space. We have to redesign our allotted space in order to have enough room to set up our produce display. We will be returning to the All Local Market this coming Saturday. While he was gone, I watered all the plants in the greenhouse and raised beds and planted out some more scallions.  I have just one more pot of scallion seedlings to plant. Waiting for them to get just a little bigger.

Supper was the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers. Tomorrow I will have to cook something else other than turkey. It sure was good, though. We have now settled down in front of the fire. We'll both be asleep in no time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to the Blog

Now that Thanksgiving is past and things are finally settling down a little on the farm, we hope to now do a little better with keeping up with the blog. As many of you know, Selvin has been laid up with a herniated disc in his back.
He is improving and is getting very antsy not being able to work. I keep assigning little projects for him and sometimes have to call him down for trying to over-do. Need to get him well because salad season will soon be upon us. Yes, there will be salad mix in about another week.

During the last month the log splitter arrived and Kirby, Matt (our son who visited us during Thanksgiving from Washington state) and I have split two nice big piles of firewood. We let Selvin help by working the lever to raise and lower the wedge.

The Swiss Chard plants, that I grew from seed in the greenhouse, have been planted in the field. Still have three more flats to plant, but I think I'll use some of the plants in my flower boxes for the winter. The plants are not only good to eat, they are also beautiful when planted with pansies and ornamental kale.  It will also be good to keep some in reserve in case of die-off with the cold weather coming. I have also started white and purple kohlrabi and broccoli plants for the early spring planting. The little plants are staying very toasty and warm on the heat mats and under the grow lights in greenhouse. The snow peas are also coming up in the side garden. Planted six rows about two weeks ago and will plant six more rows after the start of the new year. They will grow slowly during the winter months and then come spring will shoot up and be ready to harvest around late March.

Tonight we are enjoying a quiet Sunday evening by a nice warm fire. Nice to just relax and get ready to rake leaves tomorrow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Digging Sweet Potatoes

It has been a real job the last few days getting the rest of the sweet potatoes out of the ground. With the rain last week, the lower part of the rows were very wet and sticky. The potatoes were also very deep in the ground. After much plowing, I think we have gotten most of them. Thanks to our friend, Darlene, for her help on Saturday afternoon. Selvin has not been able to do much work since his back injury. We finally found out that the trouble with his back is a herniated lumbar disc. Today he is feeling better and was able to sit in the warm sunshine and clean the potatoes as I dug them out. As soon as the inflammation and pain is under control he will have some physical therapy. The greens and lettuce continue to grow well, but I will have to replant some of the spinach. The hot weather caused some of it to "dampen off" and die. Looking forward to cooler temperatures.
Need some frost on the collards and then we can start harvesting and selling them. Maybe in the next few weeks we will have them ready to go. The broccoli crowns have been harvested and now the side shoots are forming.  The broccoli has been delicious. I hope everyone, who were lucky enough to get some, enjoyed it as much as we have.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Almost Finished Planting

Hurray! I have just about finished planting all of the seeds and plants for the late fall and winter garden. Just have to plant the onion sets, garlic, leeks, scallions, snow peas and Swiss chard during the next couple of weeks. Thursday and Friday were spent seeding all of the remaining raised beds with the lettuce for the Crooked Cedar Salad mix. The spinach, carrots, beets, and kale that were seeded two weeks ago have all germinated well and are growing, The weather has been warm, but too dry, so I have been watering daily all the plants and seed beds. Today, Selvin's back felt well enough for him to change the oil in the car. Hopefully, he is on the mend. I dug a couple hills of sweet potatoes this afternoon and it looks like we will have a good crop. Next week, we will use the tractor to harvest them, which should be faster than digging by hand. I have been working on a website for the farm and it is coming along. I think that soon I will be ready to share the web address so people can visit it. Tonight I made western omelets, brown rice and quinoa (pronounced "keen wa"), and grilled salmon for supper, with zucchini bread and ice cream for dessert.