Monday, December 21, 2009

Quiet on the blog...

It's been quiet on here lately and I apologize for no new updates. We have moved to the new farm house and are slowly getting settled in. We have not got the internet yet, so until then this blog will be kind of quiet. We are starting to think about what to plant in the garden for 2010. If anyone has any suggestions, let us know soon as we are starting to make plans. Also, we have a member list started for the 2010 season (for our CSA), so if you are interested let us know that as well.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Busy at the farm...

It's been awhile since my last post. We have moved, but not into our farm house...yet! Our drywall finishers just finished up this weekend, so we will be painting and installing cabinetry this week. Our floor will be installed on or around Nov. 30 (we had a special order), so it looks like move in time will be around Dec. 1. It as taken longer than we like, but we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!

In garden news, we have mowed and started plowing up the garden. Plowing in the Fall makes the soil much more workable in the Spring. We would still like to spread some organic fertilizer, but we shall see how that goes. Once we get the house done and get settled in, we'll start planning for our 2010 garden. It's always exciting to come up with a plan and start looking through seed catalogs to decide what to plant. If any of our customers have a certain variety or vegetable they would like us to try, let us know. We're open to ideas.

Hopefully I can get some new pics up soon. Lots is happening at the farm!

Friday, October 30, 2009

We have electricity!

Just a quick update:

We have electricity, yeah! We have had to wait awhile because of all this rain we have been getting, but Mid-American was finally able to get out to the farm. They had a bit of trouble trenching in mud, but it's done so we can proceed with finishing the drywall. After that, it's paint, flooring, cabinets, lighting, finishing up some plumbing, and then we can move in!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More house pics and some funny pumpkins...

Well, these pics aren't terribly exciting, but they are the most recent. As you can see below, they have dry wall up.

This view is of our hallway and kitchen.

This is a bedroom closet and door into the bathroom.

This is our drain field for the septic system. It is now done and ready to be used.
And these are the pumpkins my kids recently decorated...just because I thought they were cute!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

House News...

Here is the exterior finished. We'll probably add some shutters later.

They've started installing our septic tank. They still need to do our laterals. Since our soil is clay at the house site, we have to go with a sand filter system. Luckily for the CSA, our garden soil is rich loam (they say some of the best in Marion County)!

This is what the interior looks like as of this morning. Our contractor was starting to add insulation and hang drywall today. Once he is done with that, he has to wait for our electric to be hooked up (by Mid-American) to finish the drywall. We are 8-10 workable days out on the list, so we need to pray for DRY weather!!! We are supposed to be moved out of our house in town by Oct. 29 (which is fast approaching)! Luckily we have family to take us in so we are not homeless if the house isn't quite done yet:)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Newest House Pics

Okay, these are the most recent house pics I have. They are missing a porch post and some siding (which are completed now), but it gives you a general idea anyway. I'll try and post newer ones in a day or two. I'll probably have some pics of interior work too!

Monday, October 5, 2009

House Update

I have been trying to get new pictures of the house up on the blog, but for some reason it's not working. I will try to get it figured out soon! We really like how the house is turning out, I wish I could share it with you. The outside is finished and we are meeting with the inside finisher tomorrow. He will hopefully be able to frame up the interior walls tomorrow and set our bath tub, then we'll get the plumber and electrician there later in the week to do their jobs. We are hiring out more work than we originally thought we would. The things we will have to do include: paint, flooring, trim work, installation of cabinets, countertops, sinks, toilet, etc. We thought we would have to do light switches, outlets, and all light fixtures/ceiling fans, but our electrician is saying he'll do it all for the price he had quoted us. So, that's a bonus. We are hoping to be moved in by the end of October...we shall see.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pumpkin Harvest!

We have a bountiful harvest of pumpkins. Large Jack-O-Lantern types, Sugar Pie Pumpkins, and miniature pumpkins too. This is the first year we have grown pumpkins, and they did great. I have heard that other people didn't have a very good growing year, as it has been cooler and not as humid, but it doesn't seem to have effected us too much. Below are a couple of pictures.

Excuse, the dirt...this was before washing!

Fall harvest display of pumpkins and a corn shock.
If anyone is interested in coming out to the farm for a tour and/or to buy pumpkins let me know. You can email us at picketfencefarm (at) gmail (dot) com. Prices are as follows:
Large Jack-o-Lanterns $4
Sugar Pie Pumpkins $2
Miniature pumpkins 3 for $2
Corn Shocks $5

We have not harvested all the pumpkins yet, so if someone wants to pick their own, that option is available too. And, as always, all of our produce is chemical free.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House Update

They've started on our house! It's exciting to see it finally going up after waiting all this time. Here are a few pictures of the progress.

This first picture is kind of blurry because it was taken from the road. This shows the crew working on the first day. We are building a polebarn style home through Dutch Mill Supply, and they have a crew of Amish men that build for them.

This is today (the second day). They have made great progress! They say it will only be 4 days (or so) and they'll be done with the outside, then our work will begin finishing the inside.

Here is a picture of said inside. By the looks of things we have A LOT of work to do...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Creepy Crawlies

Our garden is FULL of these menacing looking spiders. They are harmless though, and actually good for the garden because of all the pests they eat. I think I've probably counted a dozen of these webs and garden spiders, and I am sure there are more. Most of them are yellow and black like the one here, but I have also seen black and white with a little yellow. The webs are really quite neat.

Okay, we saw this snake on the road by our farm...lovely, isn't it? Can you hear my sarcasim? I'm not a big fan of snakes. Anyone know what kind this is?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Honey Harvest

I thought I would share some pictures of our recent honey harvest!

These are the guys from Busy Bee Acres, all suited up and ready to harvest honey.
This is honey from their box on our farm. See how it is FULL of honey. They set their's up at the very beginning of the season.

This is from our box that was set up later in the season. Quite a difference. They ended up getting 5 gallons of honey from 4 bee hives. We got 3 pints from our 1 bee hive. We are hoping to get another hive built over the winter, plus get them both set out early in the spring so we get a bigger honey harvest next year!

This is a picture of the smoker. The wood chips inside smoke to calm the bees and help keep them from stinging.
Thanks to Busy Bee Acres from Otley for all their help this year with the honey bees. It is something we are quite interested in and still learning about. Hopefully we'll have a great 2010 honey harvest!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our New House is Underway!

These pictures seem to be out of order, but no matter. We are excited that our new "farm house" is finally under way!

This is the slab foundation poured (with the rough in plumbing). It doesn't look like much yet, but after this sets for a few days the builders can get to work on our house.
This picture is of site work being done...this was the day our plumber was roughing in the pipes and drains in the slab.

This picture is of the footings after they were poured. I know, not very exciting...I am going to try and take pictures of all the different stages in the building process and then make a scrapbook for remembery (as my daughter likes to call it ;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fall Is In the Air!

“The cheerful joyous season,
The Autumn time is come.
With song and shout we welcome
The Golden Harvest Home.”
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2010 CSA Waiting List

I just wanted to let anyone who was interested know that we have started a waiting list for the 2010 growing season. We are expanding next year to add some more members to our CSA, so at this point if you sign up now it should be no problem getting a spot next year. We have a few names on the list already, but if you think you are interested please let us know. If my list fills up I will start a list for the 2011 season. Our price will stay the same for 2010...$400.00 for 20 weeks of fresh chemical free produce. We are also going to try and expand our herb and flower offerings. Call or email your interest, or check us out at

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Farm Fresh Flower Bouquets

Here are a couple of pictures of flowers we have harvested from the garden. They are mostly zinnias and cosmos this year. We hope to plant a wider variety for next season. Such pretty little bouquets...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Farm Happenings...

Wow, I guess it has been a while since I last posted. It seems this summer is flying by! We have been busy working in the gardens, and we are being blessed with abundant harvests for our members! I thought I would share some recent photos from the farm.

Lots of summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers.

A pumpkin growing...we planted Jack O Lanterns, Sugar Pie pumpkins, and baby types too!

A Sunflower...

Our corn field (and pumpkins) newly electrified...raccoons and deer beware!

And our electric fence charger...which seems to be doing an excellent job! No damage in this field that we have found.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweet Corn!!!

This week we have been harvesting a bunch of really delicious sweet corn...we just had some for lunch and it was perfect! As sweet as candy, my daughter said. We will have more than we can use, so I need to try and sell some. Anyone interested? It is has not been sprayed with any pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. We eat our fill, then preserve the rest by blanching in hot water and cutting if off the cob to freeze and enjoy in the winter. So much better than store bought! It will be $4.00 per dozen and you can pick it up at the farm, or I will be in Pella Saturday morning for a drop off. Email me at to make arrangements. Thanks!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Update from the Farm

Well, I haven't been able to update this blog as often as I would like to here lately. We have been busy harvesting, weeding (although the weeds are winning at this time!), getting our house in town on the market to sell, plus trying to make building plans for our new home on the farm. It has been a busy summer! The gardens are growing nicely (along with the weeds and grass) and we are getting great harvests. I hope to have our farmstand open in the next week or two, for those of you who are interested. I will post on here the day and time it will be open, if you would like to come email me for directions. I will probably try to post an ad in the local Reminder too if I feel we will have enough to sell. The CSA is going well and we hope to expand the garden and add more members for next season, so if you are interested email us and we will put you on a waiting list. I have one name on it so far. Some of the things we have been harvesting in the last couple weeks are:
summer squash
bell peppers
jalapeno peppers
cherry tomatoes
green beans
red potatoes
sweet corn and large tomatoes (just this week)
mixed flower bouquets (this week)
and I am sure I am forgetting something...but we have been blessed with abundant harvests for our members and our own family as well. God is good.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Organic Center

The average child in America is exposed to 10-13 pesticides daily in their food, beverages, and drinking water. Switching to an organic diet for just five days virtually eliminates any sign of exposure to organophosphate insecticides among school age children.

Nine out of the top ten pesticides posing the greatest risks as a result of dietary exposures are endocrine disruptors.

This information is found on This site looks interesting, and I plan on searching it more. Yet another reason to know where and how your food is grown...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another Garden Update

The plants in the garden are just growing away (along with the weeds!). I thought I'd give a quick update on how things are coming along.

Little Bell Peppers

Green Beans (these are Early Contender)

Zucchini (a regular green variety). These seem to grow overnight!

Yellow Crook Neck Squash (these are just starting to form fruits)

And my sweet corn (Sugar Baby) is developing tassels. I can't wait for that first sweet corn on the cob!
For those of you wondering when the farmstand will open...I hope it will be in July, but we will have to wait and see. Our demand had exceeded our supply for the moment, but we are hoping to have extras to sell later this summer. We are already planning for a bigger garden next year! We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


What’s Happening on the Farm?
One word: Weeding! Now that we have our summer varieties planted, we are really focusing on weeding. This is our first garden on the farm and the weeds are really bad. We have been told to keep at the weeding and in a couple years we will have a (nearly) weed free garden...the key is to pull the weeds before they go to seed. We recently purchased bales of straw to mulch around our plants. We are also going to use newspaper (with a layer of straw on top of that) to keep weeds down. The newspaper is a trick I read about in Organic Gardening Magazine. Most newsprint today is printed with soy based ink, so it is a better option for the environment (than say black plastic mulch). The newsprint allows the soil to breathe, plus it will break down over time and condition the soil (like compost). Cardboard, brown craft paper, and paper grocery sacks also work well. We have also used some black plastic mulch along our west fenceline. The weeds are growing like crazy all along the fence, so we pulled the weeds and layed the black plastic down, securing it with ground staples. So far it is working well. We need to do the east side of the fenceline still. It is a project that takes about two hours per side. We have also had to get out our push lawn mower to knock down some weeds! The weather has been very wet and rainy (with more storms tonight and possibly tomorrow) and it has been too muddy to hoe or till the ground. The weeds have gotten way out of control in certain areas of the garden, so we mowed them down...we still have more to mow if the rain would ever stop. On a positive note, my cucumbers, early cantalope, and green beans are blooming like crazy. We even have baby cucs and zucchinis forming, so it shouldn't be long before those are ready to harvest!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Recipe Blog

I just wanted to let you all know that I started a new recipe blog that will feature recipes using garden fresh produce. Check it out at

How Does The Garden Grow?

I thought I would give a garden update. Things are growing well and we will soon have more to harvest than just greens and radishes!

These are the green beans, which are about to start blooming. You can also see the onions behind them.

Here is a picture of the cabbages. They are beginning to form heads.
Here are my beloved tomato plants, flowering and forming small tomatoes! I am longing for that first ripe garden tomato!
Here are my snow peas, blooming profusely...we should have some peas soon.
And this is a zucchini plant, about ready to bloom as well (it may be blooming already as this was taken on Sunday).

Monday, June 8, 2009

What We Have Planted Part 2

A few more things planted in the garden recently:

Pumpkins (Small World of Color Blend, Lumina, Prizewinner, Jack Be Little, Early Sweet Sugar Pie, and Jack O' lantern)

Winter Squash (Waltham Butternut, Early Acorn, Buttercup, Boston Marrow, Spaghetti)

Gourd (Small Fancy Mix, Large Bottle Mix)

Garden Bean (Cherokee Wax)

Radish (Salad Giant)

More planting to come in July and August for fall harvest...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet Kit

Meet our new dog Kit. She is a 7 week old Black Tri Australian Shepherd. I think she is going to be a great farm dog and a nice family pet. She is laid back and very easy going, but she also likes to play "herd" the family.
Is'nt she so cute!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Farm Pics

Here is a picture of the new tractor. The old one is for sale if anyone needs a tractor!

This is a picture of my Mother's Day flowers.

This is a picture of the trencher we borrowed and our new water hydrant!!! No more hauling water to the farm from town in plastic milk jugs!

And this final picture is of our new farm sign installed and ready to greet customers!