Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hello Sandy!

What a difference a couple days, a Hurricane, and a cold front make!

The end of last week was beautiful! So, beautiful in fact, that Tim took a couple vacation days to catch up on a couple projects around the farm. One was oiling down the manure spreader. These picture were taken Friday.

Saturday the temperatures dropped, and  it started raining. It kept raining until Monday night when sometime while we slept, that rain turned to snow. These pictures were taken today.

It was eerie being out this morning. You could hear the trees cracking, and the giant crack and tumble of large branches or thud of trees coming down. Luckily none damaged anything. We scrambled this morning to get chickens situated. We weren't expecting this much, and we still have chickens and pullets in tractors. We lost a few, and I am kicking myself for not having them better prepared.

The power went out around 9:30. The snow continued until just awhile ago, around 4:00. The forecast is calling for more snow and then rain through Friday.

We have generators going. We have cooking set up. We are only inconvenienced. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy.

But I will say after the Derecho this summer, and the aftermath of a hurricane this fall, I've had my fill of severe weather and power outages.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Doings

The last week, I've been thoroughly enjoying the beauty of fall. I love fall. I love the colors, the warm days and crisp mornings. I love the food of fall. There isn't much I don't like about fall except that winter follows it.

Yesterday was very windy, and the leaves were blowing everywhere, and I realized fall wouldn't be with us much longer. We've been busy this fall.

There was our annual trip to the Pumpkin Festival. The kids, along with hundreds of others decorate their pumpkins. Then there are historical demonstrations to see, booths to shop, and places to play. Nolan and Vivian wanted to play in the hay (which was actually straw) maze. You know, because we don't have any hay to play in here on the farm.

We also attended a local farm day at a friends' farm. We got a tour of her high tunnel, met with others interested in local food, and enjoyed a meal prepared with local ingredients. It was a fun afternoon. Oh, what did my kids want to do while we were there? Play in the straw pit. You know, because we don't have any straw here on the farm. Well, except for Kellen, who took his normal position away from everyone with a book.

Vivian cleaning up the salad from lunch.
We've been clearing out gardens and putting some to rest for the season. We have a little help from the pigs this year. They do an excellent job of clean up for us! They even fertilize as they go!

Not all the gardens are getting a rest though. Tim and Kellen set up some low tunnels using almost all materials we had on hand. We have lettuces, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, and radishes going under them now. When it gets a little colder, I will add a layer of plastic for extra protection.

We planted a different variety of pie pumpkins this year. They are called Winter Luxury. They are so delicious. I've been baking and cooking a lot with pumpkin. Apparently, the chickens think they are as delicious as we do. Good thing I have a ample supply put aside for me!

And Kellen has been working on firewood. He has been splitting it and putting it in bundles to sell at The Wild Ramp. He has an ample supply waiting to be split. Hopefully, we will get our wood burner in soon, and put a good dent in that pile and our electric bill.

I used to think that summer was the busy season, and that things would slow down in the fall and the winter. After seven years here, I realize that there really is no slow season. Every season has its own busy about it. The tasks may change but the to do list always remains. We enjoy each season and its accompanying beauty and tasks as it comes. I just wish fall would last a little longer.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Why is Local Important to You?

This summer we've been involved with a new local food market in Huntington WV. Perhaps, involved, is not a strong enough word. We've been neck deep in the planning and building of this idea into a reality. In with us has been a talented and committed group of consumers and producers, a slew of volunteers, donors, and supporters. Talk started in March.  Less than three months ago, a miracle happened and The Wild Ramp opened for business.

The community support has been incredible. Farmers in the area have been excited to be involved. We hear farmers talk of increasing production to meet the demand. Consumers keep us ever on our toes with local products they would like to purchase. And The Wild Ramp is in the middle of  a Kickstarter to improve the store. It has been exciting, and we've been with it from the very beginning.

So, today, when Kellen asked me, "Why do people make such a big deal out of local food?" I was kind of taken a back. How had he failed to catch this when he has watched this entire process unfold?

He does understand how The Wild Ramp helps our farm. Since The Wild Ramp has opened our sales have taken a huge jump. Even Kellen and Lydia have taken products there and made a little money. He understands how The Wild Ramp is more convenient for our customers and more convenient for us. Making  money, Kellen understands.

His question was more aimed at understanding why other people should care about local food. I really didn't have a clear concise answer for him. I think there are so many different reasons people do (and should) care about local food it was hard to give a simple answer.

I talked to him about quality. That he also understands. My family has become food snobs. We didn't intend to make them that way, but it just happened after years of eating the fresh food that we grow. The kids can taste the difference.

He tried to get me by saying he could have the same quality shipped from somewhere else. Maybe, but you lose quality in the shipping time, and you add cost. (Score one for mom.)

I explained that some people who can't raise their own food just want to know where their food is coming from. Sometimes there are health concerns. Other times people care about animal welfare. There are a 100 different reasons why people want to know their farmer.

Some people support local farms (and other local businesses) because it is good for the local economy. Supporting local food keeps money in the local economy. It creates jobs. It creates new businesses. It boosts the community. Not so sure I had Kellen convinced on that.

I know, to many of you, local food is very important. Why is it important to you?  I would love to read your reasons and share them with Kellen.

And it if it is important to you, would you take a moment and check out Ramp Up! The Wild Ramp Kickstarter? Your support by backing or by spreading the news is greatly appreciated!