Friday, July 31, 2009

Farm Friday

Without further delay, here is the promised Farm "Friday" post. I have tried to make up for my tardiness with a full update on farm life and more than a few pictures.

I started working for three days every week at Birdsong Community Farm in February, where I learned much about running a farm on both the production and marketing aspect. My time there also strengthened my friendship with Josh and family, which is a continuing blessing. I am working solely at our farm now, as Josh has decided to close his farm in order to devote more time to ministry. He hopes to transition his customers over to me, which will be enormously helpful to me as I grow our farm. I'm afraid that it will be a disappointment to our area's local eaters at first, as I am not ready to supply the amount of food that Birdsong has been producing, but hopefully I can catch up soon and provide the fans of fresh, natural, local produce with the food they love.

As if that opportunity was not enough for me, I was contacted a week or two ago by Mr. Hume, a man with another venue for my produce. I had met Mr. Hume at a farm conference in January, where he let me know that he was a friend or acquaintance of many of the chefs in Birmingham. He sells several particular products to fine restaurants (including those of Frank Stitt) and upscale markets, all of which are grown by farmers within 50 miles of Birmingham. When Mr. Hume heard that I was no longer working at Birdsong, he set up a meeting between us (before anyone else could get to me, as he put it :), where he offered to bring me in to the group of farmers that supply his markets.

Thus the Lord continues to bless our farm, and we're working hard to make good use of the opportunities which He has given to us. I have mapped out my fields for next year and we will soon begin to dig out stumps and sow cover crops. I hope to grow about half of an acre in vegetables next year, while continuing to grow chickens, keep layers, and establish a flock of sheep.

Meanwhile, there are 150 meat chickens, 15 turkeys, 30 hens, and 2 sheep on the pasture. Our garden continues to yield a bountiful harvest, in some cases a more bountiful harvest than we can manage. Now we are preparing to plant our fall crops, such as broccoli, lettuce, chard, turnip greens, rutabagas, kale and carrots.

Now for the pictorial tour of the farm. All of the pictures are clickable.

The turkeys should be ready to process soon. I'm going to weigh them tomorrow.

This is Percy, the movie star, with Benjamin (a.k.a. Big Ben) in the background.

I think this is a banana pepper. Many of our peppers lost their labels and were mixed up.

I planted Cucumber-Leafed Sunflowers, and they look like they will bloom soon.

You must click this picture to see what Smokestack is looking at.

This is the Goliath among our corn. We haven't measured it yet, but it's at least 10 feet tall. That's the nice thing about planting old heirloom varieties: you never know quite what you'll get. We planted Texas Honey June sweet corn.

These are Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes. They have a very nice sweet-tart flavor and are extremely prolific.

Here's a random shot of the Matt's Wild cherry tomatoes to prove their prolificacy.

Not all of our tomatoes look like this, but this plant is loaded. These are Homestead tomatoes.

Acorn squash. We ate the first one with lunch today and were very pleased with the flavor and texture. The plants are running way out of their proper bounds and are covered in squash.

I think this is a pumpkin. We didn't plant pumpkins, but apparently some pumpkin seed slipped into the packet of acorn squash seeds.

Watermelon! This one's a Clay County Yellow Meat, developed in Clay County, Alabama.

This is a banana melon. It will turn yellow when it ripens and is supposed to taste somewhat like a banana, but with salmon-pink flesh.

Another watermelon. This one is a Moon and Stars.

This squash must have been missed more than once. I put my cell phone (the only available object) next to it for perspective. I think this is the biggest summer squash we've had.

There are cucumbers everywhere. We've made a gallon and a half of pickles already.

And finally, our Burgundy okra. I love the coloring, but they will turn green when cooked.

Have a great week,

Friday, July 10, 2009

Farm Friday

After a two week hiatus, here is a real farm friday post.  Our garden is filling out now and the squash and green beans are beginning to bear. The tomatoes have not ripened yet, but there are many green tomatoes on the vines.  The rest of the plants are filling out and will hopefully bring their harvest soon.

I sold the goats on Wednesday, and although we still have our dairy goats, I am not having nearly as many problems while doing my chores now. They were good goats, and I hope they do well for their new owner. 

Next week I will elaborate on our new chicken prospects; we must save something for later. For now, they are growing happily in the pasture. The turkeys are getting very large now as well, and are just beginning to gobble.

Have a great weekend,

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day

On this day 233 years ago, the most important document up to its time in the history of the American colonies was read before the troops by General George Washington.  I don't think that the impact of the Declaration of Independence is well understood today; our society rarely seems to consider history.  When those 56 men signed the Declaration, they knew that the act would be branded as treason. They were marked for systematic persecution.  I found a wonderful article about the terrible sufferings of many of the Signers.

Independence Day is my favorite holiday. It embodies the spirit of liberty and patriotism- not to the Government, but to the country- which inspired the founders of this country. It offers an opportunity to consider our own day, as we see our liberties eroding. If called upon, would I have the courage that these great men displayed: a courage that defied the greatest military power on Earth and scorned loss of property, torture, and death? I fear that the true Spirit of '76 is rarely found now.

God has used the United States mightily for the advancing of his kingdom. It is often said that America was founded as a "Christian nation". Some of the Signers of the Declaration do not appear to have been Christians; however, the culture was heavily influenced by true Christianity, so even the unbelieving Signers thought and wrote as the believers did. Without the Christian foundation that our country was founded on, liberty would have been meaningless , a vain concept. See the French Revolution- a bloodbath.

Much is made of John Locke's influence upon American Independence, but Locke borrowed his thinking from the Scottish worthy Samuel Rutherford. Rutherford penned the revolutionary tome Lex Rex in 1644, in which he stated that the King was ruled by the law and not superior to it. Rutherford's book was also considered treason at the time, and the principles outlined in it were embodied in the Declaration of Independence's list of the wrongs and injustices of King George III.

What a blessing it would be if our country was governed by statesmen which displayed the courage and understanding of the Signers. Instead, secular philosophies have displaced the ancient wisdom, and apathetic citizens watch as their government gratifies them with one hand while stealing their freedom with the other. Our nation has fallen away from its foundation on God's law and instead turns to man for guidance.  It is steeped in sins of murder and idolatry.  We must pray for repentance and reform for our land: otherwise we will never save the nation for which the Signers sacrificed so much. 

Friday, July 03, 2009

Farm Friday