Thursday, February 04, 2010

Day 15 on the Countdown to Baby Chicks!

There is not much to report on the eggs/chicks. Things still look the same in the incubator. I need to refill the water trough more frequently and I still am guessing at the humidity. Eventually I will order a gauge from the poultry equipment catalog. The heat is finally holding steady, thankfully, so I don't need to worry about constantly readjusting that! Once we get to February 9th I will need to remove the mechanical egg turner and place the eggs onto the screened floor of the incubator. This will need to be done very gently and carefully. I have NO idea what I am doing, but will imagine I do! Act as if, right?

Life around here is getting busy. We are busy getting ready for farming. (Farmer Jeff has forgotten he also needs to help Chicken Mama rig up a brooder for the babies...!) We bought many packets of seeds (over 50!) at the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Bank in Petaluma. Farmer Jeff and I were each walking down the aisles collecting seeds. We ended up spreading them all out on the floor, grouping them in food categories (cucumbers, radishes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, beans, and assorted herbs) and interestingly enough, we didn't duplicate a single one! If you live near by you really should go and see the place. We swoon the whole time we are in the store. I feel myself growing faint and needing my smelling salts just thinking about it! Okay, not really...but it is simply amazing to experience if you are a farmer/grower.

Farmer Jeff has gone on to order yet more seeds from a couple other of his favorite seed places (Seed Savers, Johnny's, Tomato Growers Supply, Victory Seed) and the dreaming begins! He has been carrying around a diagram of how things are going to be planted at our furthest/biggest site. He is engaging a little crop rotation action.

We have set Feb. 15th as the start date for seeds and have actually planned when we can go away around the growing season. We can't leave the seeds because if they fail we lose the whole crop, but we may be able to get away later.

It is raining again. I feel as though I should have gills or at least webbed feet with all of the water. We are supposed to get 5 inches of rain from this storm alone. Last week we ended a 10 day stretch of rain with a total over 13 inches of rain. Crazy!

In between the rain Farmer/Inventor Jeff is out taking apart his portable smoker. He is removing the existing lid and will weld it onto/over the built in pig roasting pit. He will then add a rotisserie/motor unit to the portable smoker. If you get the idea that:
A. Farmer Jeff likes to build things, you are correct.
B. Farmer Jeff likes pork, you are correct.
C. Farmer Jeff can't sit still, you are correct!
When Farmer Jeff stops...he falls asleep!

I leave you with a picture of our sweet feral porch kitty, P.J., safely perched up in the tree.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

An Incredible Gift of Seeds

As you know, Farmer Jeff has started his tomato babies. I actually thought he was all done with tomato seedlings, but today we received an incredible gift of seeds in the mail, including more tomato seeds! Who in the world sent us seeds, I asked.

We were gifted seeds from our local Sonoma County chapter of Slow Food. Slow Food is, in the words of the organization, "a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world".

We believe in growing as much as is physically possible. We also make a lot of items from scratch including bacon, wine vinegar, cheese, jams, catsup, and go so far as raising chickens for eggs, composting all vegetable and fruit matter from the restaurant and so on. It just makes sense to us. We don't do it for any other reason than that. It just makes sense.

Now, within Slow Food USA exists the Ark of Taste. What is that?

The Ark of Taste seeks, first and foremost, to save an economic, social and cultural heritage - a universe of animal breeds, fruit and vegetables, cured meats, cheese, cereals, pastas, cakes and confectionery. Slow Foods mission is to preserve endangered tastes - and to celebrate them, by introducing them to the membership and then to the world, through media, public relations, and Slow Food events.

Farmer Chef Jeff and I (and Eastside Farm) were given the following seeds: Amish Pie Squash, Sibley Squash, Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, Tennis Ball Lettuce (grown at Thomas Jefferson's house, Monticello!), Grandpa Admire's Lettuce, Speckled Lettuce, Moon and Stars Watermelon, Sheepnose Pimento Pepper, Jimmy Nardello's Pepper, Lina Cisco's Bird Egg Bean, Christmas Lima Bean, Red Fig Tomato, and Burbank Slicer.

We will be able to introduce them to the public through use at the restaurant AND at the Farmer's Markets! (Farmer Jeff ran downstairs to the sprouting room tonight to get the babies into sprouting trays. ) Most of the seeds are from the Seed Savers Exchange.

We didn't realize before tonight that we are already raising some of the items on the Ark of Taste list. We currently grow Sebastopol Gravenstein Apples, Meyer Lemons, Jacob's Cattle Beans and Cherokee Purple Tomatoes.

In addition to the fruits and vegetables, there are ...drum roll please...CHICKENS on the Ark of Taste list! We raise the following prized breeds: Jersey Giant (Bess), Plymouth Rock (Laverne and Shirley), and Wyandotte (Bebe and Cece). Go girls! (This is Cece)

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