Wednesday, March 31, 2010

STRAWBERRY UPDATE!!!!!The inquiries are coming in as to the date we will start the u-pick strawberries. We are still hoping for April 24, as the blooms are just setting and the berries are just developing. The season will go for approx. 5-6 weeks. Our picking days will be Monday, Wednesday and from noon until 5PM or "pick-out", and Saturday 9:00 till pickout. We will also accept special appointments on other days if there are sufficient berries to be picked. We will provide the picking baskets. The price of the berries will be $2.50 lb. We will allow so many people in the patch each morning , depending upon the quantity of strawberries ready. It would be a good idea to call ahead for the availability. We want to make sure that everyone who makes the trek here will get what berries they want. We will have some guidlines for pickers that we will have posted here at the farm and also will be posted on the blog so that you will know what to expect when you come. We will also have daily information on our answering maching once we start picking season. As we watch the berries ripen we will confirm and update the information. All of this is contingent upon the whims of Mother Nature, call or e-mail us if you have any more questions. From our farm to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If the answers are "Blowin in the Wind" we should have all of the answers today, with as much wind that has blown through here! I can just imagine all of the tiny tender shoots that are barely breaking the earths surface tucking their heads back into the soil and saying to themselves, "Oh not today, we will lay low for a little while longer" March has come in like a lamb and is going out like a lion! We are grateful for the sunshine, though, the fields are drying out so that we will be able to get the rest of the planting done in the next couple of weeks. The blackberries are making their comeback from a winter rest, we should have some for u-pick this year. Blackberry season is usually the latter part of May and the month of June. We will keep posted updates on their progress. The strawberries are loaded with blossoms, if they all don't blow off, we hope the bees can fight the southerly wind and make the flight to the berry patch. Speaking of bees, (as you have probably guessed, I am fascinated with them) did you know that all worker bees are female, they are the ones that clean the hive, gather the food for the colony, build the comb for the nursery, feed the queen and the babies, make the honey for us, provide heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, and they only live about 28 days,'s no wonder! From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I do believe Spring has finally Sprung! I am going to go out on a limb and put away the electric heaters, and hook up the watering hoses. It will soon be time to start irrigating the crops. This weekend we got most of the raised bed garden planted so now we can just sit back water, and wait. We are going to make the mulched beds in the big garden this week so we can plant the rest of the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cukes, etc. The seeds for row crops like beans, corn, okra, peas, are planted straight in the ground. Rocky has been preparing a new section for melons and pumpkins, hopefully it will be composted enough to plant this season. I must brag about my Christmas present that all of you who come to the farm will see and possibly try. Most girls like jewelry, or clothes, or a new car, my heart goes aflutter when my husband buys me farm machinery. I have a fully automated, riding produce picker, and I would almost bet that none of you have ever seen anything like it! I can't even begin to describe it, you just have to come see it! Just to tweak your curiosity ..... when you pick, you lay down on it like you would a massage table, now I have you wondering , don't I? This week will be busy, busy, busy, as the weather is supposed to be warm, so it will be pleasant to do "farm work". The baby goats are growing fast, we only have the little girls, as all of the little boys are spoken for. We are still having an occasional birth, about 10 does are left to kid, then we will have a break before the next round of babies due in June. All of our little "teenage" girls from last year will have their first kids at that time, about 16 of them. We bred them later so that we would have milk through the winter, when the demand is so high, as all of the goat dairies normally quit milking for a spell. Then we will be done with babies for the year. From our Farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gambling is not something I do on a regular basis, I am a sure bet kind of person, but today I am going to take a big chance and plant some tomatoes and peppers. The anticipation is just to hard to resist when the weather is warm and sunny and the ground is moist and soooooo inviting. The plants in the greenhouse are clammoring for fresh air and bees. I rationalize that I have planted an abundance of starts, so if I have to replace a few O.K., if not then I am that much further ahead with an earlier harvest. I have gotten into the habit of getting up in the morning before the sun rises and taking my flashlight to the fields before the wind starts to blow and checking the progress of what we are growing. I will never tire of the miracle of what one small seed or cutting will produce! Speaking of bees, again, did you know that the queen bee takes a "virgin flight" when she is ready to become a mother and flies about 200 feet up in the air emits this strange erotic sound, not unlike the song of a siren and calls all of the eligible man bees in the neighborhood to come mate with her. After she has had her fill, literally, she flies back to the hive to live a life of celebacy and produce baby bees for the rest of her life. The man bees fall to the ground dying because their private parts have fallen off! Oh Dear! .Hmmmmmm! Makes you think doesn't it? From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whewwwieee!!!Today is the unveiling of the crock of saurkraut that has been fermenting for several weeks. To those of you who are brave enough to tackle this task, you have my utmost respect , as there are very few accomplishments in the kitchen as iffy as homemade saurkraut. We have been keeping our distance from the mysterious happenings inside the crock knowing that it is best left undisturbed once the brine has covered the cabbage and the fermentation process begins. We don't dare peak inside the cheesecloth as any whaft of air from the inside permeates the room making the kitchen smell exactly like old, wet, tennis shoes. Amazing that anything so smelly will taste so good. For those of you that eat saurkraut, fresh is completely different from what you buy in a can or jar. You must come to the farm for a taste! You will never be satisfied with store bought again. We are putting the finishing touches on the new market building. We are still planning to open mid-April for strawberry picking. We will post the days and times, as we get closer to the ripening of the berries. Goat cheese will be available in the market this week, along with yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk. I have several batches of soap that also will be ready this week, so it will be plentiful also. Call or e-mail us if you have any questions. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, Monday, and it is Sunny outside! We survived the storm with just a little extra effort and I think the snow gave the strawberries a little boost. Even the peach blossoms look to be in tact. I am going to put on my muck boots and trudge to the fields to see if the onions were victorious over the wind and the wet. Looking out at the asparagus beds it is obvious that the melted snow soaked the beds deeply and thoroughly. The animals usually fare well in adverse weather as they all just hunker down in the sheds till it all blows over. We keep the babies under heat lamps in the barn and sneaking in on them to take a peak while they are all asleep, gives a new meaning to the term "Dog Pile". You can't tell where one stops and another one starts, just one big pile of legs, ears, tails and noses! It is time to clean out the freezer of all of the fruit that was put up last season. Jams and jellies are so much easier to do in the house when it is cold outside. I have found apricots, blackberries, wild grapes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and a few figs. I started selling the preserves in the market last year and now have a hard time keeping them on the shelves. I still shake my head in wonder that people will actually pay money for what we have stocked our pantry with for years. From our farm to your table, thank you so much for all of your support!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!!! I think we should put in a bid for the next winter Olympics here in Texas, I think with all of the snow we have had this winter, we would have a shot! What a wondrous sight we woke up to this morning. If we weren't so concerned with the hungry animals and the fruit and vegetable production we would just put another log on the fire ,drag out the scrabble game and pop corn popper and wait until tomorrow when it is supposed to be 70 degrees. Thankfully the blanket of snow will protect the strawberries from the cold winds and frost so we should not be set back too far with production. The roads seem to be clear, so I don't think that church will be cancelled this morning. We put an ad on Craigs list to sell some of our baby bucklings, the response was tremendous. As they make wonderful pets and companions, we are grateful people are wanting them as we can't keep them all. A friend gave us a couple of miniature horses that we are going to bring to the farm. Rocky is going to make a wagon and we are on the lookout for a set of harness so that we can give the children rides around the farm. Also another friend(we have great friends) gave us an old commercial cooking stove . We had been looking for one that we could use outside to do canning and baking, as there is nothing more miserable than to have a canner going in the house with heat and steam pouring from it when it is 90 degrees outside. This fall, we are planning to have small classes teaching some basic self sustaining living skills like canning, dehydrating, sprouting, etc. We will keep everyone posted with that information as the harvest season progresses. From our farm to your table, thank you so much for all of your support!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good Day to all on this blustery Friday. We are battening down the hatches and preparing for the winter blast that is supposed to hit tomorrow. We keep dragging out the heaters and heat lamps then put them back in storage, then drag them back out again. The critters are totally confused. Rocky is back at the fire station after a two week hiatus here on the farm. He was anxious to go back to work to get a vacation! We are continuing to plant when we get a break in the weather. We planted some new variety of blackberries that produce through the summer until frost. I will believe it when I see it! The bees are making fine work of the peach blossoms that are opening, I am gathering up all of my bed sheets and table cloths just in case it dips to freezing, I will be out covering up the blooms. I am going to make sure that I get some peaches this year, even if I have to dance around the trees with a long extension cord and a blow dryer. The strawberries are just starting to bloom, so they should be alright, as the black plastic they are on holds heat from the sun and keeps the soil underneath warm. I am excited to see friends from the past as everyone is coming to the farm and catching up on their dairy supply. We will have goat cheese again in a week or two, as there will be extra milk to make cheese, soap, yogurt, kefer, buttermilk, etc. Time to go get the cows up for the mornings milking. They stand at the gate at approx. 6:00pm every evening (you can almost set your watch by them) and hollar at me until I let them in to the paddock. LuLu lives to eat and since we took her off of the "Jenny Craig" diet she was on while she was pregnant, she does not let us forget when it is meal time. Our free range animals are very lazy and would much rather you place before them an abundant assortment of hay and grasses all cut and neatly piled in a feed trough, than have to meander to the open pasture to forage for themselves. Oh, speaking of bees , when I mentioned bees a bit ago, did you know that when winter and the cold weather comes the female worker bees kill all of the male drones in the hive and throw them out the front door because they are lazy, and eat too much? Hummmmmmmmm. Makes you think doesn"t it? From our farm to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good Morning to All!!!! Or at least I think it will be as it is still dark outside and I cannot tell if it will rain or on the farm we love both, so it does not really matter as there is plenty to do outside or inside. The concept of changing the clocks just does not register with farm animals. The rooster crows all of the time, so he does not really care, but trying to roust 3 lazy cows and 30 sleeping goats when it is still dark outside is quite a chore. And take my word for it cows and goats get grumpy and they do not like to hurry. The girls are settling in to their new milking routine so the mornings are running smoothly. We are still having an occasional birth so the nursery is still expanding. The blackberry and raspberry bushes are starting to leaf out and the fruit trees are blooming. If we don't get a late freeze, we will have peaches, plums, pears, and apples in the market this year. The strawberries are also starting to bloom so there will be berries to pick. By our calculations it will probably be the 24th of April that we will open for U-Pick strawberries. We will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to Noon or sell-out. We will also accept special appointments at other times if their are sufficient berries to pick. We will provide baskets and take home containers. The price for the berries is $2.50 per lb. if you pick them. We will have some already picked and they will be $3.50 per lb. If there are any changes we will update the info here. From our farm to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What a glorious Sunday Morning!!! You know it is going to be a good day here when you poke your head out the back door and only hear the rooster crowing and the birds chirping. Absolute silence coming from the barn where all 42 goat babies are still sound asleep so you have time to prepare bottles before the melee starts. I feel like the old woman that lived in a shoe, as all of them now think of me as..... MaMa. It has been a good week as the little ones arrive one by one , two by two, three by three and yes four by four. Whew, that was a long night. Most of the girls did just fine, we had a couple trying situations, but Rocky being the expert paramedic that he is , is able to handle most emergency situations with ease.We have a few more does that are still due, but the first big baby boom is over. We have a new buck that we raised from a baby last year that is the papa to our babies, and we have had about 3 girls to 1 boy. In the dairy business that is very good. He is certainly a keeper. We have had some dry, warmer weather so the crops are getting some attention. We are still waiting until after the "Easter Snap" before we plant beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, squash, cukes, etc. but we are getting anxious to get everything planted. I am still in awe at the miracle of growing things and Rocky and I are truely blessed. I have to admit that I not much of an expert at gardening, but it does not stop me from wanting to plant everywhere. What I lack in horticulture knowledge, I make up in enthusiasm . This week we will try to post some pictures of the new babies. From our farm to your table, thank you for all of your support!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Good Morning to all!!! Spring is a glorious time on the farm, the new babies are coming, the new grasses are sprouting , the chickens are starting to lay again as the days are getting longer, and the fruit trees and the strawberries are starting to bloom. The bees are venturing from the hives to see if there are any sweet offerings from the first blooming wildflowers, and as our honey supply is dwindling from last fall, it is a welcome sign for an abundant honey crop this year. The goat milk supply is slowly increasing as the does have their kids . We are going to contact everyone who has left their name and number on our waiting list in the next week so that we can schedule a pick up time for milk. While we are getting everyone caught up we will schedule pickups all through the week, and on the weekends. The farm Market will still be open on Saturdays only until we open the new facility we are building in April. It will co-ordinate with the beginning of u-pick strawberry season. We will announce the exact date as we watch the progress of the strawberries and get closer to harvest time. Our days and nights are crazy right now as we do baby watch every couple of hours, call or e-mail if you have a question and we will try and get back to you as soon as possible. From our farm to your table, thank you for all of your support

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Halleluja!!! the babies are finally starting to arrive, the milk supply will soon be plentiful.Rocky is getting his on the spot OB/GYN refresher course that he gets every year at this time. After a very lllloooonnnngggg dry spell, we will be able to catch everyone up on their milk requests. It will be a relief not to have to juggle what small amount of milk we were getting to fill the long list of requests we were receiving. The girls have enjoyed their time off and are ready to get back to work producing some of the best tasting milk in the whole country. Thank you to all of you that were so patient in waiting and allowed us to give what milk we had to those that had to have it due to health and nutritional restrictions. Now for an update on potatoes, THEY ARE FINALLY PLANTED!!!! They may be the size of peas when we harvest them, but they are in the ground. Also we had a long enough dry spell, if you can call three days long, to plant beets, carrots, fruit trees, raspberries, blackberries, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and more. We were just in time for the next round of gently falling rain/snow to soak them all good. From our Farm to your kitchen table, we thank you for all of your support.

The Farmers in the Dell

Welcome to the newly established by the very technically challenged, blog from our Dairy and Farmstead in Collinsville, Tx. We are hoping to use this to keep everyone updated on what we are producing at our raw for retail goat and cow milk dairy and what is available at our u-pick berry, fruit and vegetable market. I hope all will be patient as we venture through unchartered territory as we are learning to blog. Our first blogs will be information, introductions and hopefully photos of our farm and it inhabitants. We will then pass on information on our products, hours of operation, what is in season, prices etc. We are looking forward to a wonderful 2010 season and hope to share with you the bounty from our farm,