Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tomorrow is the Delivery Day!

Who would guess it would rain the day before I am supposed to delivery my very 1st CSA basket to my members. I had today planned to pick, wash, sort, pack my baskets. My driveway is full of huge water holes and I am afraid that my cherries on the trees may be ruined. And I was going to wait until this late afternoon to pick the strawberries but they can get ruined in the rain also. I guess that is what being a member of a farm is all about, you share in the bounty of the harvests but you share in the pitfalls of nature too.

The re-purposed, up-cycled feed bags are really fun. I am now making smaller purses out of the smaller left over bag pieces. Maybe next year, I can have a Farmer's Market bag for each of my members and that is what I use to deliver their produce. That would be really fab! A good winter project sewing all those bags. If anyone is interested in purchasing the bags, just email me at and they are cheap to mail to you.I did finally get the last of the potatoes planted yesterday and even watered them. At least they will be getting a good soaking now.

Frank has been working on a small, outside shower on the opposite side of our sorting shed. It is going to be so cute and practical. Sometimes, we are just covered in dirt or mud so we can at least wash off our legs and feet or our whole body before we venture into the house.

I am planning on having some Farm Spa days where we have a few hours of R&R for people to rest in a peaceful setting, tour the farm; eat fresh baked items using farm fresh ingredients; and soak your hands or/and feet in antique wash basins filled with fresh roses or lavender or mixed herbs and have an aromatherapy foot/hand massage by my friend Meredith. If you think you might be interested in the Farm Spa, email, Facebook or telephone me 530-846-3344;

Frank is still working on the grandkids tree house. He wants a certain siding now so I am sure he will have that finished in a few weeks. He put in a basket on a rope so the kids can have food/drinks or toys hauled up from below, probably by Grandma or Grandpa.

We are sad today as our resident pheasant is not around. He has gotten so tame this last year, he never left the area around the chickens. He would call to us first thing in the morning and any time we were out in the yard hoping to get us to let his family of blond chicken girls out into the fields. Yesterday we noticed he wasn't around and today he isn't either. I know if he was able, he would be here. I fear that the fox has gotten him, or possibly a hunter or even a coyote. We are really missing him and are very sorry he is gone. I would like to think that a female pheasant has lurded him away, but I have my doubts. Very sad.

I will post pictures of our 2011 1st CSA basket. Remember to eat fresh, know where your food comes from, and try to buy food locally grown. We appreciate the support.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

CSA Delivery Getting Close

Finally the Windmill Farm gardens are starting to LOOK like proper gardens. The lettuces are great; the radishes are ripe; the cherries on two trees are ripe; the snow peas are ripe; the onions are ready; the strawberries are producing; the Swiss chard is ready; some herbs such as parsley, rosemary, lavender, sage are ready; the carrots are just about ready. I am hoping to start my first week of our Community Supportive Agriculture (CSA) deliveries next week. I am so anxious to start, as my wonderful members have been very excited to see and eat what we have been growing. As with each year, I always try to state that investing in your local farmers means you invest in Mother Nature too. The first few boxes may be somewhat light but later they get not only vegetables but fruits from our mature orchard, herbs, flowers and free range eggs too. Growing produce for CSA members is like cooking courses of meals. Everything has to be ready together to serve, in a basket but pests, weather, winds and even seeds may not all work at the same pace. It is my job to keep stirring the pots (dirt, water, and hoe) and adjusting here and there to make it all happen at one time to eat.
Frank has tilled a new section for me to plant a second batch of potatoes that should be ready to dig up around August. The 1st batch is pretty much all flowering, a good sign that the digging up time is getting close at hand. The cabbage plants are getting so large, they look like ART when I see them, I must get out there and take some pictures. The tomatoes have blossoms and with the few days of warmer weather have doubled in size. It is almost time to start stringing them to their stands.

The grapes have millions of buds on their clusters; the olive trees are the same, we will have a very good harvest of olives in the fall. I am not too sure about the apricots, the back field trees do not have very much on them, but the 2 trees in the mature orchard are just so full of fruit, go figure!
Our farm has been asked to be on a panel for the Civic Pioneers Institute, Environmental Quality Day June 15th to speak about farming and Land Use Functions and Processes. Steve Lucas, workshop organizer from LAFCO knows that I have been very involved locally trying to keep our agriculture zoning intact but Butte County is still moving forward to change over 4500 of beautiful, prime agriculture land to be zoned Rural Residential. I just can’t believe they would even consider doing this as Gridley has the best soil conditions, the best growing weather and ample water to grow almost any type of fruit or vegetable from cool weather crops to citrus. Yet they all state they are “PRO” agriculture, what does that mean, except for some areas that they want developed??? We will continue to fight it until the end.
Lots of nice little projects have involved our farm. Mayor Jerry Fichter asked us if we would put together produce to put in two baskets she is planning on selling at the Gridley Farmer’s Markets. I filled it with what we had growing, and it was presented at a Community Action meeting where I was able to give a little talk on CSA-and the importance of buying fresh and local.
One of my egg customers is a teacher at a local school and they are having a special project of showing the kids how chicks hatch. We were asked if we could provide some fertile eggs from our special heritage breed Maran chickens. I was able to provide the school with a dozen and I can’t wait to hear how that project goes. The school is also growing some vegetables on the school grounds and because I had some plants in my new greenhouse, we donated some plants for the children’s garden.
Sarah Reynolds showed a picture of a new market bag she purchased on her Facebook page; it was made from old feed sacks. I fell in love with them and always felt the empty bags were so beautiful, with all the animal graphics and such a waste to throw them away. So I got out my sewing machine and sewed up 3 market bags. Check the pictures out of Facebook-Windmill Farm for all the views. I have some neighbors saving me their feed sacks for horses, goats and chickens so I can sew up some more to sell. Not a bad price at $15, selling them via email, they are destined to draw a lot of comments when you use them for groceries, knitting or at a Farmer’s Market! Thank you Sarah for inspiring me as you always do with your talents!
Maybe if I wrote more on my blog, these wouldn’t be so long, but hopefully I haven’t lost your interest yet.
The next blog will have some comments about how our 2011 CSA season started and hopefully how happy my members are to receive their farm fresh produce from your neighborhood farmer, Windmill Farm.