Friday, May 30, 2014

Flower Business, Produce, New Garden Shed

This has been our delivery week of our CSA baskets.  It actually is such a surprise to me each time we put a box together, how amazing nature is in rewarding us with the gifts of our labors.  This week in the basket, we had carrots, beets, cherries, peaches, apricots, squashes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, some lettuce, snow peas. And it isn't even June 1st yet!
Our Farm flower membership is doing fine.  Would like more members but I just haven't had time to advertise that much about it.  This week's delivery had bouquets of glads, sweet peas, a few roses, some straw flowers, hydrageas, butterfly bush.  

Most of the flowers I am growing in the back fields are annuals and they haven't started blooming yet anyways.  The hydrageas are georgous, as usual and every color is blooming all around the yard.
Frank is building me a garden shed in the back area to keep tools that we need to use in the vegetable and flower growing areas.  It seemed like every time I needed a certain tool, I had to walk to the old shed closer to the house to get sometime and it was so inconvenient.  "Wish and you shall receive" with my Frank, he really is an incredible builder.  Here is a picture of it about 1/2 way there.  We are using old galv. barn siding we bought from a friend and Frank built me a sliding barn door.  I will take a picture of the finished building on the next blog because I would like your opinion on what color I should paint the door.  We were at Home Depot this week and they were still having their sale on some 12" x 12" concrete pavers for 88cents.  So I bought some and we are going to put a path of the pavers into the shed to make it easier to roll a wheel barrow, etc. and to keep weeds and mud out of shed. And of course, it will look cute!!!
Most important.
The stuff piled on the side are all my tomato and plant stakes that will be put behind the shed for storage. Hope you come back to see the finished shed next time.  From our Windmill Farm!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We delivered another round of CSA baskets to our members.  They were pretty full with zucchini, gray squash, small cucumbers, strawberries, kale, onions, carrots, beets, snow peas and fava beans.
Along with delivering the produce, we delivered our fresh country bouquets this week to our new Flower CSA members. 
We only have a few members so far, but are hoping as the word gets out more and more people will join and enjoy receiving a bouquet delivered right to their work or their front door twice a month or once a month. 
Needless to say, we were pretty busy but did get away for Mother's Day to go visit the family and had a wonderful BBQ at the kids house.  The In-law Bakers were there two so it was fun catching up and visiting with the other set of the "parents". 
The Edible Shasta-Butte Magazine will be out soon.  I finished writing the last article for the magazine's special section where they followed our farming life for the 4 seasons.  It sure has been a wonderful experience because Candice and Earl, owners have made it so easy for me to tell our little story of what happens here at Windmill Farm.  It also has been fun meeting some people who contacted us after reading it in the EdibleShasta-Butte magazine.  Two people are now CSA members of our farm and they would not have known about us if it wasn't for the publication.  If you see the photos on their main page, there is one of our little roadside stand.

The wild and crazy thunder and lightening storm that hit a few days ago has us worried as we don't know how much damage the wind and rain had on our "almost ripe" cherries and apricots.  Rain will cause cherries to split and then get mildew inside the cherries.  We did pick the one cherry tree that had the most ripe cherries just because we knew if they stayed on the tree any longer, we might have lost all of them.  Frank and I have decided that this fall we are going to plant 20 new cherry trees.  There is no greater thrill than to have fresh cherries.  And since it is one of the first fruits starting up in the season, people are dying to have something fresh to eat.  I was told that Sam's Club had cherries that were $7 a pound!!!  Good grief you could almost buy steak for that pound price.
Hasn't food prices just been a shock??  I can't believe how much even a pound of ground beef costs.  We used to occasionally have bacon on weekends when the family came to visit.  The last time I went to the grocery store bacon was like $18-$20 for a 2 lb. package.  That is just horrible.  Families really have to become smart buyers to be able to afford these prices.  One good point might be that more people will consider growing their own vegetables this year to help with the cost of food and that would be a great experience for the whole family.
With the rain, now that means lots of weeds in the fields.  So if you don't see a new blog in a few days, that is where I will be!! Weeding.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wooden Pallets Take Note of Precautions

People have been going crazy using the used wooden pallets making furniture, used in gardens or covering a wall for some time now.  Pinterest is full of fabulous pictures of what clever people are doing with the wood.  I have even seen some photos of restaurants that whole decorating themes have been the use of these wood pallets.  You know when the recycling idea has become main stream when you start to see similar items in major furniture stores or catalogs.
I was reading in an article recently about the precautions people need to have in using these old wooden pallets.  It stated that "recent regulations designed to prevent invasive pests from hitching a ride in the wood means some pallets really shouldn't be used in the garden or in the home or even burned for fuel either.
Pallet manufacturers in Canada and US must now either heat-treat or fumigate pallets as a precaution against such pests as the emerald ash borer.  Treated pallets are marked with the International Plant Protection Convention logo and letters indicating what type of treatment was used.  Pallets with "MB" in the logo have been fumigated with methyl bromide, a poisonous, ozone-depleting gas that has been phased out for most agricultural uses.  Pallets marked "MB" should never be used for gardening or fuel, while those with the letters "HT" were heat treated or kiln dried and are safe to reuse.
Even so, it’s wise to approach pallet reuse with a degree of caution. Wood is porous and may have been exposed to chemicals, bacteria, or unsanitary conditions during shipment.  For garden use, seek pallets that have not been used to ship toxic products or food.  Wash any pallet with soapy water or bleach before using." (excerpted from June/July Organic Gardening Magazine).

Friday, May 2, 2014

CSA Starting Up!! Roller Coaster Getting Organized; Flower Bouquets

Well all the planning, scheduling, advertising, rotatiling,
buying seeds, starting seedlings, planting, watering, cleaning the sorting shed, buying boxes and liners, getting cooler cleaned out, putting up supports for peas and tomatoes, spreading straw, hoeing; it is finally time to start the CSA.  But yikes!!!  I am about 30 days earlier than I was last year, no wonder I am stressed out and sort of beat before I have even delivered the first basket.
I blame this on Gridley soil and weather and can not say it enough to anyone who doesn't live here in Butte County.  It is wonderful!!!  Can you imagine, where we lived for over 30 years we never started our garden until after May 15 and between May 30th.  And in those 30 years of having huge, huge gardens, I only had about 4 times that I got a decent sized watermelon, maybe 3 of them; and the corn never got higher than 5 feet with about 10 ears of corn.  This Wednesday, we will be delivering our 1st Community Supportive Ag basket.
Wish I could say I am finished planting but I am not.  I have the peppers to purchase and plant and the tomatoes are due to come on Friday and will go into the ground on Saturday.  We still will end up getting tomatoes in 65-70 days, that means BLT sandwiches around 4th of July.
The first basket we delivered had:  beets, carrots, cilantro, onion, peas, snow peas, kale, kiwi, strawberries, lettuce.  We have a few new members who are all friends that live up in Paradise.  So our trip delivering took us about an hour later than we anticipated due to trying to find our way around Paradise using the fastest routes.  Then we have our evening deliveries to Yuba City and Marysville so for 2 days we are working to ensure our produce gets there in the freshest shape possible and to meet all our member's time line needs.
The flower CSA is just getting going.  How can any flower arrangement go wrong with beautiful spring flowers???  In the bouquets were sweet peas; peonies; lavender; roses; parsley blossoms; mock orange; and leaves from the canna lily plant.
So if you wondered why I haven't shared some news from our farm for a few days, these are the reasons why.  Things will get back into a grove soon-or will it?? Don't give up on checking back on the blog, I just hate not sharing with you what we are doing.