Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lots of Onions!

We received our onion order yesterday from Brown's Omaha Onion Farm.  They look really nice.  We went with three long day varieties...Walla Walla, Red Zeppelin, and Copra.  Hoping to start planting them soon, maybe Saturday.  It's going to take awhile though...34 bunches @ 50-60 per bunch= at least 1700 minimum.  Hope they grow well and sell well, or we'll be eating A LOT of onions!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Broiler Chickens Ordered

We have ordered our broiler chickens from Welp Hatchery and they will be here in April.  They take about 8 weeks to butcher normally, but ours may take a week or two longer.  Broilers tend to have very rapid growth (getting very large, very fast).  Because of this, they are prone to broken legs and heart attacks (among other problems, I'm sure).  We have heard if you feed them a ration for laying hens, this prevents some of the problems, but takes a little longer. We'll also be pasturing them, so they will have access to outdoors (bugs, greens, sunshine). We are also looking into a type of bird called the Freedom Ranger, which is originally from France.  They are a free ranging meat bird, take a little longer to get to butchering weight, but don't have the problems Cornish Rock broilers have.  The only draw back may be that they do not get as big and the breast is smaller and thinner than what people are used to these days.  Dolly Parton chicken farm maybe?  We'll see how this first batch of broilers do, then go form there.  We have a list we are starting for anyone interested in purchasing chicken from us.  If you're interested, drop us an email.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Farm Marketing Items...

We just received all of the items that we ordered from Ramaeker Screenprinting and are happy with it all.  The t-shirts turned out great.  We also had some egg signs made, along with a banner sign (not pictured), shopping bags, and business cards.  We'll wear the shirts when we are selling at the farmer's market.  It's exciting to see things coming together!  Now, no more snow!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dreaming of a Bountiful Harvest...

I have been looking through some old pictures this week and came across a few of our produce from past seasons and thought I would share.  I can't wait to get out in the garden to work the dirt and plant seeds.  I really can't wait to enjoy some of the harvest...anyone else dying for a REAL homegrown tomato?  Tomato sandwiches are what dreams are made of!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Chicken Run

Troy made a new chicken run for the baby chicks (who, by the way, are not looking very babyish anymore).  They needed to have access to the outside, but our fence would have allowed them to escape through the holes that were bigger  than the chicks.  He plans on building a smaller house on the end of this with some nesting boxes so we can move it all over the farm more easily a la Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms).

 A few of the chicks hopped right out when we opened the door.  Look at how big they are getting.  It is amazing how much they have grown in just 5 weeks.

 The rest seemed a little more cautious...not sure what to expect.  They kept peeking their heads out and chirping little warning calls to the few that braved the outdoors.  It was fun to watch. 

As I look outside, more of them have come out to investigate.  We put a little waterer outside and they seem to like that too.  I am sure they'll all love it out their once they discover they have more freedom. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Seedlings in the Greenhouse

We have worked out in the greenhouse the past two mornings and have more planted.  To go along with our broccoli, cabbage, and lettuces, we have started tomatoes and peppers.  We still have more to plant, but have to do a little at a time as we find the time to do it. 

Here is where my five year old walked in and said, "Man, you guys really made a mess in here!"  Yes, I guess we did.  At least this time it is outside and not in the house!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Greenhouse

We were finally able to get the greenhouse covered on Saturday.  Not the best day to do it as it was pretty chilly and WINDY.  The wind definitely made it more challenging, but it's done, so I can't complain too much.  Below is the pic I took before we started covering it.

Here is a pic midway through.  My Mom and Randy were able to come help us, which was great.  We needed the extra hands!

Here is the finished house.  It isn't the prettiest greenhouse, but it is functional.  We hope to be able to make it look better next year, when we have a little more time and funds.  We're planning on getting out there tomorrow morning to pot on some seedlings, start more seedlings and set up a heater for nighttime use.  More pics to come.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Farm Shirt Design

We met with Ramaeker Screen Printing today and ordered some t-shirts, business cards, and bags.  This is what the front of our shirts will look like.  In our logo, the Bountiful Harvest Farm is a gold color, but we didn't think it would show up very well on the gray shirts we wanted, so she is doing the lettering in white this time.  I like the way it looks.  We will probably get some more shirts and hats done later with the other logo though.  Can't wait to get the shirts back from the printer and see how they turned out!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bees and Trucks

Last year we started the season with two bee hives.  Sadly one died, but the other thrived.  We decided to leave the honey in the hive hoping the bees would survive the winter.  We checked them last week and they are very much alive!  Below is the hive.

This picture shows us feeding them some sugar to get them through to spring, when everything starts blooming and they can feed themselves again.

And, in other news the farm has a new dump truck.  We had a regular pickup that we sold because we thought we could get more use out of a dump box.  This one was scored on Craigslist for a pretty good deal.  It has a hitch so it can pull just about anything, plus we can haul just about anything...manure, compost, wood chips, mulch, rock for driveways and landscaping materials.  It has been well taken care of and looks good for a 1981 model.  That makes it vintage, right? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Chicken Update

Well, the baby chicks keep growing like crazy, but they are still cute.  The kids have fun watching them, and I have to admit they are rather entertaining.  This is how they look today at about 3 weeks old.  They are starting to get their reddish feathers.

Here they are learning to drink out of the nipple type waterers. These are great.  The water stays clean all the time...there is no waste and no mess.  I believe Troy ordered them online from  We definitely recommend them!

Our older hens got moved to a new home.  They are adjusting, but I don't think they like it as well.  Our egg production is down a little since the move.  Troy built this little coop attached to a run that he moves every day.  This Spring we will be moving it all up and down our orchard line under the fruit trees.  Hopefully they will fertilize the ground and eat unwanted bugs too.

Here are the girls enjoying fresh pineapple scraps.  Maybe they will forgive us if we give them treats!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baking Day

Today we decided to make some homemade bread (and cinnamon rolls as a treat), and it was delish.  We currently buy our organic wheat berries from Azure Standard, then grind the wheat into flour.  It has been hard for me to be consistant in making bread for the family because of the time involved, but it tastes so much better and is healthier, too.  I need to stop making excuses though and just make it a habit...every week.  We have talked about trying to grow a plot of wheat this year on the farm and see how it would be kind of neat to be able to grow our own.  We are going to try to preserve as much as we can for our family out of the garden this season for next Winter.  Rising food prices, plus the fact that you can't trust how safe food is at the store, are fueling this decision.  We'll be canning tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce, fruit sauces (apple and maybe pear), and jams.  We'll also try freezing broccoli, green beans, and strawberries (along with the sweet corn we already do every year).  If other things are abundant in the garden we'll try preserving those as well.  Just another step toward self sufficient living.