Sunday, October 18, 2015


We planted 100# of potatoes.

50# each of red Pontiac & all blue ...

Hubby dug them up today.

They (cause I'm ill this week, flu like symptoms) gathered them up.

We got about 50# total back ...


Well a couple of possibilities ...

Weeds: we had quite a few weeds pop up when the rains began, since the in-laws had to borrow the small tractor this summer we didn't have a good way to keep it under control.  I'm sorry, I'm still too much of a city girl to go out and weed on my hands and knees .... Plus, it was a really crappy year.

Weather: it was actually a pretty cold summer!  Global warming my butt!  The soil never really warmed up the way it was supposed to - even the tomatoes didn't ripen until late August/early September .... Then there was the rain.  It just could not make up its mind - too dry in the beginning, too cold, then downpours of 4inches or so at a time for a week then nothing again for several weeks. It!  This is the first summer I can remember where we NEVER hit 100°F!!!!!  Normally we get 3-5 in July.

Equipment troubles: First we did not have our little tractor, the Allis-Chambers, which pulls the weeded behind it, so when the rains came the weeds took root and grew along with the 'tators ... Then hubby said the potato digger attachment he got for the big tractor (the Ford) wouldn't dig into the ground - he wanted it to go in deeper, at least 1 foot, but it only went down about 4inchrs.  

Critters: yup I'm blaming the fauna ...  We lost soooooooo many tomato plants this summer because the DEER (aka venison) ate every tomato plant that did not have cages around them.  I had purchased about a dozen cages at Menards a few years back but we had so many more plants than that this year.  At least, BEFORE the deer came.  I'm pretty sure they got into my potato plants as well.
The deer are not the only critters we have either ... We also have rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels.  All these critters will eat the food in the field.  Oh, and RACOONS. ... We have an exploding population in Minnesota of 'Coons -- they sure do earn their bandits mask!  We have not seen them up near the house, but when we have sweet corn they leave the evidence of their picnics all over the side of our hill :-(. We did not have a corn crop this year (remember it sprouted at about 3ft tall) so they would have had to find something else to munch on ... I'm betting, my potatoes!

The Human Eliment:  we have found we have poachers ... I've always wondered if we had people taking the corn at night - actually no biggie as long as they don't clear us out - but I'm beginning to think they take other produce out there as well.  They may have, though not likely, taken some of those potatoes too.  Even if they did, I can't see it being 50# worth (even though I do know a couple of folk who might actually be able to take that much).
Actually I think the issue was PLANTING TOO CLOSE together.  Hunky decided to plant them while I wasn't available and he put them 4-6inches apart.  I had told him a FOOT apart .... twice the distance h,e did .... But once they were in it was too late.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Deeer Santa

Please bring me the head of the POACHER who is setting up on our land!

Yup - we've got a pacher ....

we are right next to a swamp, and we've got a corn field/garden, and we're pretty well located close enough to get to easily but far enugh away where the cops have a tough time getting to us unless called ... part ^ parcel of living country style.

we've opened our land to the POLICE force and ONE local BOW hunter to help cut down on the deer population .... these guys we know, they are good guys .... joke every year is we get the first one they take down - we haven't gotten any deer yet though.

although Jim (the local guy) has given us some f his kill from previous years as a thank you for letting him hunt.  very nice especially when he probably didn;t get a dang thing out there.

but poachers -- they piss me off!

at least stop by the house and let me know ... at least play by the rules

you dont set u a trail camera * a pole of BAIT corn to hold the deer in place!

thats what is RUINING the sport of hunting and 
, even worse, the action of THINNING A HERD!

It is ILLEGAL to hunt baited deer in MN ....

and <strikethrough> if yu want your TRAIL CAM back .... its at the POLICE STATION

the officer CONFISCATED IT right then & there!

Not my doing, don't blame me ...


I wonder if thats why i sometimes don't have chicken eggs ... I'm betting you're poaching them too :-(


Thursday, June 11, 2015

More In The Ground

I threw my back out Tuesday afternoon - teasing my youngest daughter caused her to jump on my back and zinged it ... Then putting a box under the computer table locked it up!  Too bad too, it was actually feeling better until then ...

So yesterday (Wednesda) hubby & the two youngest .... Kind of, but more on that later ... Put out hubbies new inventions & planted the starters for the slicing tomatoes, the watermelon,one & the canteloupes.

Told hubby to plant the tomatoes on the same side as the potatoes said nice both are of the Nightshade family -- when we do rotations they will move together as well.

It took a couple hours to get in nearly 100 tomatoes plants .... Hubby said that if I do them again next year he wants them started in rows instead of just scattered on the top of the starter trays ... LL ... Didn't have the heart to tell him that those ones WERE planted in rows, they just scattered when they got watered!  I actually don't like planting them either way - the roots get tangled and it's tough to separate them when planting.

Most of my watermelon & canteloupes died waiting to get into the ground .... They grow too fast - I had them in 2 1/2 inch pots, two seeds each, but they grew too fast to last.  I didn't have any 4 inch pots to put them into.  

So now we will have to wait for it to finish raining,then dry a bit so we can plant the cherry tomatoes, peas, beans, and pumpkins ... Maybe even some Hubbard squash -- have you ever seen that stuff?  It look like monster squash!  But it's what they really use in CANNED pumpkin in the stores (pumpkin Hubbard is a breed and meets the truth in advertisement qualifications)

I do have carrots -- and would love to plant more lettuce types, as well as cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips.  But they would all have to start as seed and we have way too many seed eaters around here!


We have corn and potatoes popping their heads out ... YEA!!!!

Hubby says if I get 5# of potatoes for every plant that has popped up - I'm in trouble!

Riiiiiiight .... Did I mention that we tend to go through at least 5# of potatoes a week when we have them fresh?

I don't think we will have issues eating them all.  In fact, the tough part will be saving seed potatoes for next year. 

Onions are looking pretty.  They are beginning to bulb out at the bottoms now but I have to thin them out so they can get big ... The whites are either walls walls or candys - either way, they should get between baseball & softball sized.  The red onions should get to be about 3 inches in diameter so I can leave more of them get her.  

I will pick some tomorrow to take to the cabin .... Even if the bulbs are too small, we can still use the tops as green onions.  My mother-in-law can't have onions though because of her gall bladder so I'm not sure if we can use them.  But at least I know she has friends who would like them.


The dog has been rather naughty ... Now she's a year old, she has discovered that her toenails are "can openers" for the chicken pen!  The furry pooper has been scratching thru the deer fencing to get into the chicken paddock and chase them around -- a few have attacked back but she hasn't been hurt yet and neither have they, but it would only take one to set a very bad pattern!

She does "herd" them when they get out on their own sending them back to the coop lickity split.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Farm Update

End of May/Beginnng of June:

Hubby walks the fields yesterday and came in rather excited ....

The Potatoes have finally begun to poke their heads out, he says they are still rather spotty but we are glad that cutting them and letting them scab until the field dried out didn't kill them!

We planted
 50# of each type (red Pontiac & all blue) so if we could get just that much back we will be okay, we will break even .... If we get more than that 50# each back all the better -- I'm just hoping we won't get the 10:1 return that hubby has been hearing/watching on YouTube!   

The last try at potatoes we planted 2# and got like 3# back, but they were very small and my youngest son said they tasted very sweet raw ... He ate them that way too.

So ... If we are going to get a similar 2:3 ratio .... Then I can expect some 75# from each type back ... Not the greatest but it will work.

Hubby is still talking about turning the attached garage into a root cellar .... I think he's over thinking it right now.  If we get a 1:5 return, then yeah I could see us having to find a good way to store 500# of potatoes, but if we do get that 1:10 return ... Oh my gosh! I think I'm gonna be canning for quite some time!


We also have very few corn sprites coming up as well - but that doesn't surprise me, the weather has been rather chilly lately and the soil really should be around 70°F in order for the corn to sprout/emerge

We've been having issues with spotting droppings from the planter these last couple of years so we will have to wait a bit to see exactly how much was actually planted.  HOPEFULLY this year we will actually have a crop - enough to both can/freeze and sell!  But we will see ... I want to make sure I have enough to feed the family all winter until next year AND feed the chickens, if possible, to help cut back on feed costs -- so we may not sell this year even if we did ge a bumper crop.


Well - we should be getting the tomatoes, what few surviving melons I have, as well as the pease & beans in the ground tonight once hubby gets home.

He used PVC piping and landscape fabric to make me some planting frames to help keep weeds down.  And if the wind doesn't rip them to shreds, we should be able to reuse them for a cole seasons before we need to replace the fabric.

Hubby figures a large rock on each corner should be enough to keep the wind from carrying the platforms away and ripping up the plants ... We will see what happens.  It seems counter intuitive to put rocks INTO the garden to me -- but then, I'm just a city girl.

I have talked him into "rotating" ... Sort of, that's why it's in quotes, we will plant the potatoes & tomatoes in the same field since they are both of the nightshade family ...l the corn has its own field being a grass/grain ... The onions are in the retaining wall and looking GREAT btw!  The peas & beans will be planted in the other half of the field where the nightshades are basically cutting the field into two semi-equal pieces (by volume, not width) 

This gives me four plots for planting technically I'm supposed to have one area which does NOT get planted BUT since we planted NOTHING last year, the retaining wall hadn't been planted in several years, and the triangle field hadn't been planted in a couple years ....

Next year I will have to figure out which of the four will not be planted ... I'm leaning towards the long field but then, that's the one where we do the bonfire each year so it gets plenty of nutrients put back in ....  Hinny just varies where the fire gets placed - he evn tried it once on the west end where nothing seems to grow.

More on the miracle of bonfires later ...


More of that stuff later ... Just wanted to give a farm update ....

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mother Nature is a Fickle Little B ....

Bad Tempered Lady

What did you think I was gonna say??

We are in a light drought ... Which seems funny to say because we have to wait for the fields to dry out so we can plant more of our crops ...

My youngest son .... now 18 yrs old going on 19 in a few weeks, planted some 6000 onion plants --- 3000 yellow, 3000 reds ... but I wrote about that before - even had photos

Last week I was in bed not felling well, oh I was in misery, so hubby got the two youngest kids (boy & girl) and planted the 100 pounds of potatoes without me!

Sounds like he planted them way too close together but we will have to wait and see.  I told him 18inches apart figuring he would plant them 12 inches between which is what they are supposed to. Be at ... But it sounds like he planted them at 6inches instead .... Oh well.

50 pounds of All Blue, 50 pounds of Pontiacs.

I'm hoping they will store very well over winter, but I'm also planning on canning up a LOT of them for quick use.

Hubby wants to plant sweet corn and see if we can get it to grow in the long field where we haven't planted it in nearly 3 years .... Of course last year NOTHING grew since it was soooooo cold & wet until July, by then it was too late to get anything in, even the apples suffered - there wasn't too much rain in July or August but it didn't get really hot until September either.

So we have 2 crops in the ground right now ... Hopefully tomorrow hubby can get the corn in .... aka The Cash Crop ... if there's a lot of corn we will sell some, usually enough to help the kids pay for field trips, course fees, maybe even school lunch - of course the money we use for seed/plants/firltilizer comes out first.  We haven't had anything for several years now :(


My chickens ... 

They have turned suicidal, I swear!

They eat, they poop, but they aren't laying again!

We've given them food, water, and shell for calcium ...  they had started laying then just ... Stopped ...


I know they want to get out into the grass and scratch around, but we have to set up the "paddock" again - check for holes and figure a better way to attach it to the "corral" so they can't get out ...

We don't want the dog to have too much fun .... Although she has found the cockleburs and .... Well she's as bad as Velcro!  Oh man - poodles are not fun to get burrs out of either! She hates it, I hate it, grrrrr

She turns 1 yrs old next week ... Crazy pup!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Okay - Avian Flu is just NOT going away .... Unlike Mad Cow, they keep finding more & more strains of the Avian Flu!

Holy Crap!

According to AGDay (my go to source for most agriculture matters) it has effected 35 countries!!!!!!!!!

Although not all of the same strain:

In the US the majority have been of the H5N2 strain but there has been reports of H5N8

H5N8 was reported LAST year in:

H5N1 strain showed up in 2004 and also infected people -- especially in Chona (remember that scare?!)
But it is STILL being found in:
West Africa
Middle East (splatterings)

Losses due to AVian Flu in MN & IA ALONE could cost over $1BILLION!!!!

There have been killed/died/slaughtered over 37million birds so far in 15 states!  Granted the MAJORITY of these deaths were done in hopes of preventing the spread of the disease

You all know what this means?

Higher prices!

More for the food .... More for the products ....


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weather we like it or not

No matter what, you can't change the weather.

Even if that means SNOW towards the end of April .... Although we've been known to get that white fluffy stuff all the way into May - in fact I remember having nearly 4" of fresh snow on the docks the night before we put them in at the in-laws!

Last year was horrid - way too much water!  Fields didn't dry out until mid-July so no selling crop went in ... Nothing grew of the greenhouse starter pants put out ... If it wasn't for the chickens, we wouldn't have had any nome from the farm at all!

It's scary .... But this year looks to be about the same ... Only it wont be because we have too much water, but rather, not enough.

Copyright FeMA via

While we will not have the same issues as California, we will have horrid problems with water this year.

We are known as the Land of 10,000 lakes (total under estimate, btw) but little of those lakes are actually located near enough to farms to do any help.

Water is very important if you grow sweet corn .... 

Water helps get those kernels plump
It helps the stalks grow tall before they tassel

Actually when it's dry out, sweet corn has been known to tassel at just 3 ft tall instead of 5 1/2 - 6 ft high which is pretty much what you hope for.

We (farmers in general) hope to get our crop in ASAP so we can start selling early.

We do not like getting a crop in before  Memorial weekend ... The weather is generally dry, the fields are firm enough to hold the tractor but soft enough to work well for the seed.

The other enemy besides water ... Heat!

Too much and you've got swiveled plants, too little and - well - its just as bad.

It seems lately our climate has been warming later in the year ... In fact last year was a VERY cold summer.

Corm loves heat and water .... So a hotter, more humid summer is okay .... Not the greatest but at least we will get something even if it's only good enough for us or the critters ... At least it's something.

Dry & hot -- you get puny produce.  Things tend to tase woody & dry.

Dry & cold -- root crops will grow okay, but things like tomatoes, corn, peas, etc will have real problems ... They all really need the sunshine to ripen and water to plump it up.

Wet & cold -- forget it!  Nothing will grow.  Root crops will rot in the ground .... Topper plants wont grow unless they are Cole/Cold crops (I've seen it written both ways)

Aaaaaaa - CHOO

There is now a NEW strain of Bird Flu out there ...


Has been found in Indiana in a backyard mixed flock ....

It was found in Whitney County, IN which is in the NE portion of the state

My understanding is that they are still waiting on the return of the specific tests but they are pretty sure it's not the H5N2 virus which we've had here in MN and the rest of the way up the Mississippi river way.

I have not heard if symptoms are any different, but I do believe this is the strain that was in China which also hit several wild bird species 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Avian flu is going wild right now

They don't understand how its being stead .... They thought it was from migratory birds such as ducks & geese but the outbreaks seemed to go. Backwards to the routes flown at this time of year ...

Now there are even more cases reported.

According to this mornings AGDay report, Canada has seen a case in Woodstock, Ontario .... This is the first known & confirmed case in Ontario ... Woodstock is located on the southern tip of the Provence.

They know it is H5, but not which strain or N factor it is yet.

The farmer called in officials when he had several birds die suddenly and for no known reason over several days 

ALL birds in an effected flock must be euthanized - killed - and extensive cleaning put into effect.

I have not heard if its like Parvo which sticks around for some 5 years in the soil/living area such that farmers will have to raise some other livestock or if it's like people flu which only lives for so long then dies off, usually less than a onto ... I will have to do some research on my own I guess.

Minnesota - the top turkey state - has been hit hard!

H5N2 has been found in:
Pope county
Sterns county
Nobles county
Kandiyohi county
Le Qui Parle county

The latest cases - 2 - were in Kandiyohi ... Pronounced Candy-Yo-Hi not candy-yo-he ... I think they need to listen to some local broadcasts before they do reports so they know how to pronounce cities & county names ...

In ALL the Minnesota cases, the turkeys had been housed INDOORS - which, I would assume, would increase the likelihood of spread.  If the coop isn't properly or adequately ventilated then the air can't circulate. And we had a pretty chilly winter this year too.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Business Plan .... For a FARM????

Yes .... 

I have always associated Business Plans with BIG, industrial farms which work with companies who supply food for your grocery store, feed for your pets, or ethanol for your vehicles ...

But according to our tax guy .... Yes we have a tax guy ..... We need one for the IRS 

Here's the reality of things .... But I don't think the IRS would accept it:

We buy ssssssssssstuff ..
We grow stuff ...
We sell the stuff we grow
And eggs too

That's it .... In a very tiny nut shell .... Or an acorn cap I suppose

But that's it

Do you think they'd accept a four line Business Plan???

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Flu season ... for Chickens?

Well ... Birds in general.

There is now a THIRD reported Avionic Flu virus found this year ...


It's HIGHLY pathonogetic has been found in two farms in Taiwan ....

H5N8 & H5n2 are the current strains that have been found

I'm wondering if this isn't some biotech from China that has gone astray and they just aren't saying anything ...

But ... I haven't found any proof ...

Just a lot of cases being found over in that region first before anywhere else 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Well ... Well ... Well...

Grrrr ...

This weekend we had quite the surprise

We knew we were having issues getting a good fill on the water tank ...

Oh, for those that don't know how a well system for water works -- you no longer have to get buckets from a hole in the ground ... Now there is an electric pump which pulls up the water and stores gallons and gallons of it in a tank.  From the tank it gets distributed around the farm ... The house, greenhouse, fields, chicken coop all depend on a working well system.

So, we knew there were issues ...

Not unusual really ... We've had to replace the pipe once because of a hole that worked its wY into the draw pipe allowing stones up into the tank/filter system ... Once we thought we had a similar issue but turned out to be a small stone blocking the shut-off valve which allowed the water to flow back down into the well causing a vicious cycle of fill/empty - had we known we could have fixed it by banging on the pipe instead of paying to have the Well Guy to come pull up the pipe ... As long as he had it up, we replaced the piping.

Well, we've been having troubles with the well filling up several times while it's being used ... Not in between uses so we figured it wasn't an issue with the valve ... Hubby drained the tNk and refilled it this fall and that seemed to fix it ... For a while ...

This weekend though ...

Wash machine was going in the basement ... Filling as normal.  Hubby wanted a glass of ice water so son #2 went to get it from the fridge door -- yes we have one of those fancy things that give ice/water from the door -- when NOTHING came out ... Hmmmm

So he switched to the faucet on the sink ... tap water - hubby hates it ... Again NOTHING!

Oh oh!

This could be a major issue!

But the washer was still getting water - just no where else.


Our first thought?  Filter issues

When the filter gets overly clogged -- when we forget to change it every other month or soner - our water pressure drops.

Hubby was too tired to do it Sunday night ... So we would have to wIt for Monday night ...

He came home and decided that he would add air to the tNk as well ...

Changed the filter ... Dirty but not too bad for being two months ...

Air is added to the tank so that ... Well, you have to understand how a water tank is built.

We have a tank from the 70s but I can't imagine that things have changed that much ...

There is an outside wall - ours is metal, but there is PVC types as well - in side that is a bag to hold the water ... When the pump draws, the water fills that bag and then pressure is built by compressing the air surrounding the outside of the bag (I think) - this pressure pushes the water though the pipes.

Well when there isn't enough air, or if the air has been used up, there isn't enough pressure to push through.

Well it seems to be working now ...

Of course ...

I haven't done anymore laundry since Sunday night ...  We will have to see what happens.