Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Great Opening Day

We had quite a surprise Friday evening - during the day, the berries ripened!  We quickly drove around putting our strawberry signs up.  Our first customer, Phyllis, arrived bright and early Saturday morning at 6:40!  I meant to take her picture, but it got quite busy about the time she left.  She is a very loyal customer - Phyllis, come back soon so I can post your picture!

Strawberry pickers came and went all day - braving the weather.   Storms were all around us, but barely a drop of rain fell here - yahoo!  Thank you to old friends and new friends who came to visit the farm today :)

Our last family of the day taking a rest with Farmer Jeff on the John Deere swing after picking strawberries.   Makaylan, Grayson, and Payton (not in the picture) helped me plant flowers, played with the kitties and doggies and fed the catfish.  A wonderful end to a busy day!
We wish you all a joyous Easter! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Everything but the kitchen sink

Farmer Jeff and I scoped out the fields today and came up with a FEW berries.  We're having strawberry shortcake tonight, strawberries and whipped cream on waffles tomorrow morning, and strawberry pie in the evening.  We are testing the berries out for all of you.  We'll let you know how the taste tests turned out!

 Ladybugs are sweet, cute, and harmless bugs that help keep the bad insects off of strawberry leaves.  We love to see them in the fields.  But our daughter, Rachel, is very afraid of them and we don't know why, but she will not go near a ladybug.  When I saw this innocent ladybug, I had to snap her picture.  Thinking of you, my dear, crazy daughter!!

No, we are not burning this tree - it's an optical illusion.  We are burning a brush pile of dead tree limbs, trunks, and other cuttings from cleaning up the farm.  Can you say weenie roast and s'mores?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Game on!

That's right - we've been working hard so you can play when you come to the farm.  Straw Mountain is ready for climbing in the barn, complete with the talking pipe so you can talk to friends on the other side of the mountain.  I've been busy painting checkerboards and tic-tac-toe onto tree stumps, and Jimmy is busy making more corn hole games.  You can also stuff Sergeant Scarecrow or play strawberry toss.  There's lots to do down at the barns this year.  See you soon!  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Invest in gold

Mother nature's gold, that is! Here are a few pictures of some of the "gold" around our farm.

Nala's jumping into a field of golden flowers.  The bees love the flowers, too.

Can you see the honeybee on the strawberry blossom?

Busy bees on our farm
Jeff's sister, Valerie, next to hundreds of beehives on their farm.  Her husband, Kent, is  a Master Beekeeper.
And, finally - golden honey from our farm, thanks to Kent, the Bee Man.  He's president of the association.  If you'd like to learn more about bees, you can attend one of their meetings.They're held the 1st Monday of each month in Mayfield at the County Extension Office.  A potluck dinner starts the 6:30 p.m. meeting!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I just can't help myself!

Q:  Why didn't the melons get married?
A:  Because they cantaloupe!

Like an amusement park ride - up, down, swing around!

The machine pokes holes, Josh and Jimmy plant seeds

All the crops are finally planted.  When you come to the farm, the corn should be poking through the plastic, and maybe tiny cantaloupe leaves will be visible.  We planted Athena cantaloupe - a favorite variety.  They should be ready mid-June.  We sell these to stores,  roadside vendors, and donate some to the area foodbanks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This is really corny

How is an ear of corn like the Army?  It has a lot of kernels. (You're supposed to laugh here.)  Farmer Jeff retired from the Army as a kernel - a Lieutenant Colonel, that is, so it's appropriate that one of the other crops he's raising is corn.

It is a peaches and cream variety of sweet corn - yum, yum.  Thanks, too, to Josh and Jimmy who are riding the setter.  The rains delayed planting by almost a week, and it's still pretty muddy going,  but they got about 1/2 of the planting done today. They'll finish planting tomorrow.  That's a lot of corn!  But don't hold your breath for another corn joke...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Better safe than sorry

Jeff tracks the weather relentlessly during spring when Mother Nature is very fickle.  Here he is repairing the overhead irrigation system.  Along with row covers, these 2 systems can provide much needed warmth and protection if we have frosts or freezes in March and April when the blossoms are abundant.

Yesterday was a prime example.  We'd had warm days, then rain, and a prediction of frost this morning.  We couldn't pull the row covers back on (wet covers dragged over delicate plants = damage), so Jeff started checking for frost at 4 a.m., and subsequently about every half hour.  Thank goodness, temperatures weren't as low as predicted, but needless to say, he will be going to bed early tonight!  This diligence can save a crop.  In April of 2007 we had a freeze Easter morning.  The only thing that saved our berries were our row covers, and overhead sprinkling starting about 10 p.m. with us monitoring it until about 8 a.m.  Yes, we were cold, wet, and exhausted, but we had berries in May.

We heard from one grower in South Carolina yesterday where it was 86 during the day and freeze predicted that night.  They put their row covers on shirtless because it was so hot :)  Strawberry growers do not gamble - the stakes are too high!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm over it!

I just didn't have the heart to post during the cold, wet weather last week.  But the sun's out, it's warming up, covers are off the plants again, and all is well with the world.  The plants have grown!  They're almost 12 inches across now and are filling out.  Look back at March 20th - they were about 7 inches in diameter.

And, if you look very carefully at the plant on the right, you'll see in the far lower left corner that the blossoms have fallen off and been replaced by a tiny green berry!!!  There's 2-3 more further to the right that are also baby berries.  Red berries here we come!