Archive for March, 2010

My First Garden Experience

I actually grew up a city kid in Los Angeles. I was raised by a single mother who had a hard time making anything grow – including geraniums (now honestly, who can’t grow geraniums?) I remember way more weeds in our flowerbeds then anything else, and one very sad rose bush that I don’t ever recall having flowered.

BUT we did have an old neighbor couple right next door, Irene and Emery Gellert, with a very extensive flower garden and a home that I was welcomed into. I had a VERY well worn path beaten between my house and theirs. They must have been in their 70s and had no children of their own. I learned at her hand the very peaceful art of “watering” a garden, and how to walk among the bees and not be afraid, how to not to excite them while they worked so I would not get stung. I learned from her how to face my back to the sun so I would not burn the end of my nose, and how to put a daisy in my hair so that it would stay.

Their garden must have covered about half an acre, but was terraced up a steep hillside, with many beautiful paths, retaining walls, stairs and landings to all the different planting beds. It must have taken years to build the whole thing. Their house had huge vases in every room filled daily with fresh picked flowers in all shapes and colors. They were both from Hungary, at the time (I was 6 or 7 years old) I only knew that it was a far off land somewhere else in the world. He had a silver Olympic medal for gymnastics that was displayed in a very special frame in their living room along with an old photo of himself as a much younger man. There was also an engraving that I was too young at the time to read, but I sensed it was something he must be very proud of, so I always tried to walk by it with quiet dignity. I learned from him how to drink hot tea from beautiful flowered china cups with saucers, and to enjoy the heavy, dark semi-sweet chocolate layer cake she would bring us as we sat among the gardens and enjoyed them. He was a painter, and I would sit propped up on a stool for hours and watch him paint with oils on canvas. He loved to paint her gardens. She loved him to paint her gardens. They loved each other.
I was in heaven in their garden.

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Ah, spring!

First gosling of the season

First gosling of the season

With its promise of all things coming back to life after the long winter’s rest, and the very air around us filled with love and the hope of all things good and bountiful to come. We have been dreaming for weeks now, with the first arrivals of those seed catalogs, putting our minds into that euphoric state of the ground being ready to work again.  The thought of the taste of a tomato, still warm from the sun. Or that very first bite of watermelon on a hot day with a little pinch of salt following a long winter when there is nothing growing about except for the cabbage (and one can only eat just so much cabbage before one is sick of it!) The warm breezes, first sight of the bulbs poking their green heads up after their long nap, the first fuzzy little chicks that hatch, the first blossoms on the fruit trees, and preparing the nursery pens for the baby goats that will be here soon. Oh the anticipation and the joy! I love it!

Last night we had our first gosling hatch in the incubator. It was weak and struggled most of the night, but took a turn for the better after we gave it an eyedropper full of warm sugar water, and it’s up and about this morning. I brought it into the house along with two chicks that hatched at the same time, and will be keeping them under my watchful eye for a few days.

Speaking of seed catalogs, I love this quote from the book Truck by Michael Perry. It’s so true!

“Seed catalogs are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than Enron and Penthouse combined.”

Welcome friends, one and all, to our farm blog!

I begin this writing in my 9th spring on this bit of land, right after the spring equinox in March, during the year of our Lord 2010. I hope that in reading about the goings on here, our triumphs and trials, you may learn things along the way that help you out in your own endeavors.

I will start off by saying that, if you are trying to do any kind of farming for a living, even at its best, it is anything but the “simple life”! Whenever you are working with plants, animals, dirt, water, seasons and the weather and trying to control same, no matter how much you plan you can never predict the outcome. I am the first person to say I would never tell anyone else how to run their farm – we all must do what works for us – but I will share with you how I run mine.

I’ve found that it’s always best to have a plan A and a plan B so when plan A does not go like you thought it should (and a lot of the time it doesn’t) sometimes you must go to plan B (salvage what you can and learn from it). Oh, and then there is plan C… That is when both plan A and B go awry and it’s time to realize that sometimes no matter what you do, or how much you plan, or how hard you try, you just can’t control plants, animals, dirt, water, seasons and the weather. That’s just reality, folks.

One of the very first things I planted here was a pair of avocado trees- 1 Hass and 1 Fuerte. The Hass having the best flavor, and the Fuerte, a tree that produces a heavy crop ever other year, would be the pollinator. I did my research. I would have a plethora of heavenly “alligator pears” for guacamole in no time. I would be the envy of all who knew me. I went to the nursery and spent on the upwards of $80.00 (and this was 9 years ago!). I dug two nice deep holes, lined them with compost, chucked in a handful of goat-o’s and planted!

For three months my dear little trees reveled under my care… then came the frost…and my little dears had brown crunchy tips on their leaves. Ok – plan B – I mulched around them with a heavy layer of straw. No luck. The frost continued, and now they looked like little brown crunchy cornflakes. I even went to the trouble of making them little Reemay coats, and putting whole bales of straw around as a wind block. Alas, my little trees gave up the ghost, and my dreams of being the avocado queen were lost forever. The land imparted to me what it would let me grow here, and what it would not. On to plan C…sigh….

Vegetable Starts Available Soon

Plant Starts

Heirloom tomato plants, squash, herbs and more. Watch for our prize-winning produce at the Ventura County Fair!

Fiber


Nikki checks out Libby before her haircut.

Home grown angora yarn now available. Also many colors of raw alpaca fiber, perfect for spinners and felters. Please contact us directly for availability and pricing.

Chicks! Chicks! Chicks!

Organic Poultry and Eggs

Sexed pullets available just in time for Easter – Gold, Red and Black Stars. Will be excellent layers of large brown eggs. Can begin laying as early as 18-22 weeks old.

We also have heirloom breeds – Morans, Speckled Sussex and more – inquire for pricing and availability. Please contact us if you need laying hens or have other poultry or gamebird needs.

Farm fresh chicken eggs available and duck eggs (seasonally.)

Pygmy Goats

Pygmy Goats


Please contact us directly to be placed on the waiting list.