Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things a-growing!

Greetings all!  Taking a brief moment on this rainy morning to post a few photos updating you all on the happenings at Parker Family Farm.  We had our first markets of the season this past week.  We will be attending markets in Brewer and also our newly formed Farmer's Market in Hampden in the parking lot of Schachts.  Here are some photos Emily took when she and the children came out to the market for a visit.

 Also, this weekend was another round of letting the cows out.  John purchased a couple more steers at an auction last week and then another arrived the next day that had been purchased and was waiting arrival at the farm.  Here they are being let out from their welcome pad onto fresh, lush pasture.
 As you can see, they don't take long to get acquainted with the grass.
 Testing the waters...
 During one of our family dinners this week we had a great opportunity to sample some of our hard work.
 Coming soon to a market near you!  Parker Family Farm Snap Peas are here!
 We are trying a new lettuce mix from High Mowing Seeds this season.  It looks great in the garden.  We'll have to see how it does on the plate!
 The seedling house is getting crowded!
 The grapes are doing what grapes do.  We just had to add some more trellis so they now have the space to roam about from east to west.  We hope to have a full trellis of plump clusters of table and wine grapes by August and September respectively.  They are looking good now at least.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things to come and some other updates

Greetings all!  Our farm is bustling with activity, growth, life and happiness right now and I thought I would take a moment on this fine May morning to update everyone on some of the goings-on here at the farm.  First, our Boar Indy decided he didn't like being fenced away from his piglets and Scarlet.  I looked up from the garden a couple days ago and found him on the wrong side of the fence (although not according to him). Turns out, all the fear I had about boars being aggressive with piglets was unfounded and all my hopes about the Large Black breed's propensity toward gentility and being great parents were completely realized.  Indy and Scarlet make a great team.  Lays on the outside of them all to protect them at night.  As Tim would say, 'good going mate'.
Speaking of Tim, here he is with Indy contemplating a rodeo.
 This is the result.  It didn't last long but enough for a photo.
 Here are the piglets, or at least as many as I could snap in a frame.  They are on full tilt run here.  You'll see why if you scroll down.
 Mama called them over, laid down...
 Supper time.
 I was very excited to see the progress of the grapes.  They held off from budding out until after that last cold spell last week and now they are sending out their yearly growth and you can see in this photo some of the grapes we will hopefully be enjoying in the late summer.
 And our bees have finally arrived.  After building this top-bar hive for last year and then not getting a bee order into Gold Star Honey Bees in time, I was very excited to get them home this spring.  I had to get them Sunday from Bath and drive home with 3 lbs of bees in the back seat.  Not as scary as it sounds and not as scary as getting them out of the box and into the hive.  Either way, they are home.
 Here they are settled into the hive having broken the queen out of her little container(in the foreground).  Now I have to get that out of there.  Yikes!
 And here are some shots of the actual garden including things to come online for our Member's Choice Members in the coming weeks.  Also, our table at the Brewer Farmer's Market will soon be a reality and the Hampden Market we started with a couple other farmers opens on May 25th in the Schacht's parking lot!  See you there.
Sage that over-wintered outside!
 Fernleaf Dill planted just yesterday!
 An experimental pac choi.  I planted it amongst many other things so I couldn't cover it with row cover.  Thus, the flea beetles had a field day.  This will be offered at a discount to our Members.  We have some others that were covered.  What a difference!
 The baby spinach will be ready next week.  Finally!  One of our specialties...
 May 16th, we spotted the first pea flowers of the season!  It won't be long now.
 Our attempts at replicating the Parisian Market Gardens of the last few centuries.  Pink Beauty Radishes peaking up between Red Salad Bowl Lettuce, all inter-planted with a row of Sugar Ann Snap Peas.  What a great system of intensive land use.  Instead of three separate beds I have one with complimentary crops.
 White Russian Kale in its infancy.
 A quick Lettuce Crop before the Tomatoes go into the hoop house.
 Australe Lettuce is beautiful and deliciously crisp.

 Green Sprouting potatoes to give them a jump on the Colorado Potato Beetles and an earlier harvest.  Vole Trap in the background.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Arrivals

There have been some big events at the farm recently so I thought I would take a few minutes to update everyone.  Just this weekend we turned out the new cows.  When they arrive they are in a small area so they can become used to us, learn where home is and learn where water, food, shelter, etc. are.  Wow, look at the number of guys standing around in this picture.  I should note there is not usually this much standing around at the farm, especially on the day we turn out the cows.  Happily, these cows were quite well-mannered and thus far there has been no chasing...
Here they are getting a little more adventurous and heading out onto the pasture on the fine grass of early May.
 Finally, Scarlet has had her piglets!  We're very excited to welcome 11 new baby pigs into the world here at the farm.  She had them in the early hours of May 1st.  Here is a shot of her only a couple days before the big event.
 And here they are in their warm, enclosed space, insulated with hay bales and protected from the elements. Lizzie was so excited to see all the piglets and here she is congratulating Scarlet on a job well done.  Scarlet was exhausted most of the day on the 1st but is beginning to move around more and more.  She is nursing well and the piglets are very capable and adventurous already.
 This is not a good shot of the adventure to which I was referring.  Being born is hard work!  Just a little pig-nap.

 And finally, in this video you get a sense of what it is like to grow up on a farm.  At 4, our daughter is already getting a world class, hands-on education, seeing things first hand and having a blast doing it.  She is always so interested and asks such great questions.  One of the greatest joys of being a farmer is to see this interaction between the young mind and the real world.