Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Silly Salmon Faverolles!

The newest members of the flock, the Salmon Faverolles, Pacifica and Coho, never want to go to bed.

Everyone else knows what time to go to bed. They start wandering inside about an hour before the sun sets and by the time it is down, everyone is inside.

Everyone but Pacifica and Coho. Silly Girls! They want to be camping outside!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hold on to your Hats!

It is WINDY!!! We have had crazy wind lately and it is keeping us from being able to plant the eggplant and peppers. Farmer Jeff struggled today getting the plastic row tarp down over the rows because the wind was blowing so badly. In the end, it was dealt with. With luck we will be able to plant tomorrow.

The baby swiss chard is also ready to be planted. It will go in the raised beds as well as the pickling cucumbers. Wow...we are growing a lot of food. Tomorrow I get to fill out the CPC forms, Certified Producer's Certificate, in order to sell at the Farmer's Market. We have to list EVERY SINGLE PLANT that will produce either fruit or vegetables. Oye! We then have to estimate how many pounds of produce each of them will...produce. Does anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow for this job?

We have 35 varieties of tomatoes with anywhere from 1 or 2 up to 12 of each kind of tomato. We have 8 kinds of squash in 30 foot rows, okra in 60 foot rows, 4 kinds of corn in about an acre, swiss chard in raised beds, 400 pepper plants/7 varieties, 200 eggplant/6 varieties, assorted lettuces, collard greens, cucumbers, and other veggies I know I am missing. We will plant Genovese basil at the end of each row to take advantage of the little drips from the irrigation.

Once we have figured out all of the vegetables, we have to count all of the fruit trees (we have over 25 on our property) and then there are easily that many at the other property where we are farming. Sigh...

It looks like we will be selling at the Healdsburg Farmer's Market on Tuesday nights June through October and then Windsor Farmer's Markets on both Thursday nights and Sunday mornings. I guess we will sleep after New Years!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hot Chickens, Hot Dogs, Hot Chicken Mama and other news

How hot was it? Hot enough. Today it hit either 101 or 102, depending on who you believe. All I know is that our family has been hammered by the heat. Not quite like "Lawrence of Arabia/The Devil's Anvil" heat, but too hot for me!

We had a warning that today would be hot so I rigged up some new misters yesterday for the chickens. Small problem: I did it in a hurry on my way to a catering job and 2 of the 6 emitters worked...that was all. Grrrrr....

This is the third day of heat and my honey has gotten to see firsthand how I handle heat...not well. Kind of like a delicate flower...or a cube of butter. I melt/wilt to an unrecognizable form. My face goes red, I swear like a sailor and feel trapped like a rat in a glass jar. That bad.

Today it was 95 degrees at 10:40 am and it just got worse from there. Sigh...I didn't do much today but do what I could to stay cool, including climbing into an empty bathtub and just turning on the cold water!

The chickens are surviving the heat with the help of the misters and the fan in the coop. The dogs have gotten to come inside, the inside kitties are sleeping in the sun (yes, they are crazy) and the outdoor kitties are hanging out.

Garden Update:
The tomatoes are HAPPY!!! The property that was hit the hardest by the frost (can you even believe that less than a month ago we had frost???) was replanted and they are all fine, as are the corn. The 200 plus eggplants (6 varieties) and peppers (over 400/8 varieties) are still in the greenhouse but will be planted on Sunday and then the other plants will be moved to the greenhouse.

Ginger Update:
She is fine. Still no signs of a return of cancer, thank you God. I am so happy she is healthy.

Callebaut Update:
He is fine. His tummy issues seem to have calmed down and he is much happier. I am happy not to be supporting the emergency vet hospital!

Farmer Jeff and Chicken Mama Update: Farmer Jeff has his hands full with the garden, the restaurant and the catering jobs this past week. He is happy, exhausted and falls asleep when he stops moving!

I am happy to have a few days between catering jobs to catch my breath, see friends, get caught up on paperwork and hang out. My wrist is almost completely healed (Yeah!) and tomorrow I am going on a field trip to the super-cool yarnstore, Knitterly, in Petaluma. There I will learn first hand what a yarn "trunk show" by "Habu" is all about!

Coming soon...the second half of the Portland trip, including the famous Bacon Maple Bar donuts from "Voodoo Doughnuts" shown on Anthony Bourdain's show this week, No Reservations.
(They are strangely wonderful!)

Stay Cool!!!!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Upcycling and Recycling

"Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value." The term upcycling was coined by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things .

Until I spoke with some women from San Francisco that were in the recycling business I had no idea that a word had been coined to explain this age old practice. Isn't that what quilts were traditionally made from, "post-consumer" clothing?

I have stepped into the special world of upcycling by creating shopping bags from our chicken feed bags! I have envisioned using these for close to a year and finally just said, oh what the heck, and made the darn thing.

I hate to say it, but I am so tickled with myself and so JAZZED over the final result, the bag, that now I am trying to figure out how many of these sacks I have stashed by the chicken coop! I think we have saved something like 30 of these bags. I will need to wash the ones that have been out in the rain and elements, oh...and find the time to sew them!

In the meantime I am trying to figure out where I can get hold of cheap black webbing for the straps. I would like to use 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch thin nylon webbing. I just bought the sample webbing at my local fabric store, but I would like to find it for cheaper than $1 a yard.

I need to time myself in making the bags to figure out what to charge for them. They are really basic: no pockets/buttons/cell phone holders. In other words, a bag! Thoughts?

I am still making my sustainable sacks. Currently they are for sale at The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg. Once the Farmer's Market on Thursday night in Windsor begins, I will be selling them there, too! I think there is a market for the both of them. Besides, I have way too much fabric that needs to be used!

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Playing in Portland

Farmer Jeff, our Mom and I all flew up for a wonderful weekend in Portland. Farmer Jeff’s bro, Greg, lives in Portland and we decided to pay him a visit before things got too crazy on the farm to get away. I didn’t realize how much I thought about the farm until I had a dream last night in which the fans were blowing on the vineyards and I was afraid that our tomatoes would freeze! Heavens! I don’t worry about it during the day, but I guess I do at night!

We arrived on Saturday night and took no time in finding a great old restaurant, Jake’s Famous Crawfish, for dinner. On our way out the door of our downtown hotel we almost literally walked smack dab into 2 people. I took one look at them and yelled, “STOP…We know you from Florence, Italy!” Honestly, you could not have planned this. One year ago on Saturday night we were walking to have dinner in Florence, Italy and found ourselves walking with a young couple in search of the same restaurant. We started talking and found out they were a couple from Houston on their honeymoon! We chatted as we approached the restaurant and then were seated at our respective tables. It just so happened that we finished dinner at the same time so we walked back together towards the city center. We hit it off so well that we agreed to show them around Florence the next day and then go to our favorite restaurant there, Da Ruggiero. (To the left is a picture of Mike taken in Florence and yes, he IS sticking his hand into a bronze boars mouth!)

You can only imagine our shock at running into the very same couple in Portland! They were here to …celebrate their first anniversary! I have tried to email the man but had my email come back to me, so I begged him to please write us because we were meant to be in touch. He has written to us already with a promise to come and visit us in Sonoma County. We are just supposed to be in one another’s life!

Okay, off to dinner we go. We walked 12 windy blocks, past Powell’s, the best and biggest bookstore I have ever been in, and had a fab meal. We ate WAY too much, the recurring theme of the trip, and had a great time. We started with the fried calamari, mussels puttanesca and their famous crab and shrimp cake with a light ginger mayo sauce. I then ordered grilled Alaskan Salmon…basically because it is the only salmon I will have until next year. (Ban on Salmon on the west coast this year) Sigh…Farmer Jeff ordered the Jake’s famous smothered crawfish over rice. It arrived in a small cauldron and was enough to feed him that night and brother Greg AND his roommate the next day! Mom got sautéed rainbow trout and brother G ordered razor clams. We were all very satisfied and FULL and passed on dessert that night. TOO Full!!!

The next morning we were off to another meal, breakfast. We ate at a great new Jewish-style deli, Kenny & Zuke's. It was incredible. Farmer Jeff got eggs scrambled with onions, lox and topped with sour cream. I got potato pancakes and a side of noodle kugel. The kugel was perfect, the pancakes were a bit thick for me, but still good. Brother G ordered a bagel and Mum got the Challah French toast.

From there we went to …MECCA. I have found a new yarn store. To the tune of, “I left my heart in San Francisco”, I could sing the song, I left my cash… at the yarn store. What a very cool place. My dear sweetheart could not imagine that I could EVER "need" more yarn. Silly boy! The true test, of whether or not I must have it, usually is indicated by the urge to put it in my mouth looks THAT good! (Romi, you know what I mean!!!) The name of this wonderful store is Knit Purl. They have a tradition of Thursday night champagne, nibbles and knitting. Doesn't that just sound FAB?!!!

Part 2 of the trip: a visit to Mt. Hood, the amazing Chocolate/Pepper/Salt/Flower store, the Japanese Garden and more flowers.

I leave you with one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Eastside Farm dot com

I am pleased, tickled, and over the moon to announce the debut of

Here I thought I would be posting a blog on our weekend trip to Portland, Oregon, but I am bursting with pride and joy. YEAH!!!

Please take a look. Keep in mind that it has JUST made its appearance and we are working out the kinks, etc.

In other words, this is my baby, so just smile and tell me she is the most beautiful baby in the world!