Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28 Harvest

The snow was above my boots as I made my way through the garden to the high tunnel this morning. I unzipped the door and stepped inside to the now-familiar smell of damp earth. Snow had, for the most part, slid off the curved hoops and was deposited nearly five feet high on both sides, dampening the sounds from the outside.
Many of the raised beds inside are empty now - with remnants of a few small shallots and dried stalks of basil I had tried to save after the other tender plants froze in October.  We had planted two beds to carrots in late August and I had made several staggered plantings of lettuce and Swiss chard after that. You can see the Swiss Chard above. It seems that the greens have stopped growing and are waiting for warmer temperatures and more light. It will be interesting to see what happens as the cold - and the light - strengthens. I harvested some broccoli florets - enough for a meal for the two of us - along with some parsley and sage.  Carrots were my biggest harvest - aren't they lovely?
 Next year I'll be better equipped to plan for the winter harvest by starting the greens a little sooner and planting them nearer the middle of the high tunnel instead of on the edge as they are now.
We'll plant the bulk of the high tunnel to tomatoes, eggplants and peppers again in the spring adding plantings of herbs such as cilantro and basil and shallots from seeds. Our Farmers' Market customers begin looking for fresh tomatoes almost as soon as the Market opens in late May and, though I was pleased with being able to harvest tomatoes in mid-July, I'm aiming for a even earlier harvest in 2013.
Some of the carrots you see below are heading to the soup pot this afternoon but I've enjoyed some of their exquisite sweet crunchiness for my lunch!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's A Winter Wonderland!

It's winter on the farm! The predicted snowfall of 12+ inches came to pass and today we're working to first make paths and then put the tractor and snowplow to work clearing the way to the outbuildings. I'm waiting for a path to the high tunnel to observe firsthand the effects of growing green things (winter greens, Swiss chard, parsley and sage) in the presence of snow.
The chickens are still on strike and though one egg miraculously appeared on Christmas Day, the ladies are not enjoying this snow!
Our Christmas table groaned with the weight of lots of home-grown or locally-harvested foods including venison skewers, a wild turkey, roasted butternut squash with shallots and garlic, mashed potatoes and green beans.
We still have a good supply of wonderful organic potatoes in many colors, tastes and textures. We'll deliver, too!
The folks at the Genesee Environmental Center offer breakfast on Sundays – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – with our organic potatoes. Thanks are extended to Larry and Diana Hinrichsen for being such good customers and supporters of locally-grown produce.

The Return of the Light

Many references to the light have come to me as I continue to walk through the darkness that evil can bring to one's life. My spirits were brightened this morning (Dec. 23) by the sunshine reflecting off the snow and the ice on the spruce trees that surround my farm home. My perch in the dining room offers me a view of the snow-covered orchard and a bird feeder offering sunflower seeds to a host of birds. Yesterday's winds have subsided and left random piles of snow, dotted with the ever-present pine cones and branches and pine needles. In all seasons, not a day goes by that I don't feel grateful for this place where I have been planted.
My oldest brother Steve and his wife Johanna created these ice candles to welcome the light in the Alaskan north where the winter darkness is even more pervasive. Our church family is working through its grief by planning a ceremonial sharing of the light on the night before we re-enter our sanctuary as a group for reconsecration. Perhaps similar icy sculptures will line the sidewalks that night (Jan. 5).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Across The Country

We've been away from the farm on a visit to Oregon to see our delightful grandchildren.
Rowan and Amelia enjoying the new sandbox built by their grandpa -- with Rowan's help!
Since our return, it's been non-stop work to get our place ready for winter with no time for blogging -- even if our internet connection had been functioning!
Here I am this morning enjoying a lovely yogurt smoothie made with organic blueberries from the freezer. But it's what I found on the foil wrapper of the Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt that brought me to blogging today. It certainly sums up why it is we are doing what we do here at Metzger Heritage Farm.
"We think organic food is ...

Better for you
An organic diet can dramatically reduce pesticide exposure

Better for the planet
No persistent pesticides which contaminate soil, air and waterways

Better for farmers
Less pesticide exposure and more economic opportunity"
 How about some wonderful organic Potter County potatoes for your Thanksgiving dinner? Choosing organic may cost you a little more money but we think you'll agree they taste better and are much better for you. Call us to make arrangements for pickup or delivery. We have an assortment of tastes, colors and textures.
We also have some organic winter squash - hubbards, butternut and buttercup varieties.
As we turn our hearts toward Thanksgiving, we are so very thankful for the opportunity to help bring wholesome and delicious produce to our community.

Monday, October 15, 2012

17 Degrees!

We found out Friday night that the high tunnel doesn't protect tender vegetables when the temperature dips to 17 degrees. Today the look of our high tunnel is vastly different than it was Friday morning! We've pulled all the tomato and pepper plants and their trellising system. The good news is that the new plantings of lettuce and Swiss Chard survived and are thriving.
The first of the tomato and pepper plants went in the high tunnel the first week of May allowing us a growing season that lasted a little over five months. We began harvesting tomatoes the second week of July and continued harvesting them until October 12. Many lessons have been learned as we look forward to a new growing season.
Meanwhile, we still have beets in the ground that are available for sale to the public. In addition, we have a limited number of cabbages, shallots, Swiss chard and a few onions for sale. Winter squash is also safely harvested and stored and available for sale. Varieties include Hubbard, Butternut, Buttercup and acorn.
And ... POTATOES! Many of you enjoyed samples of the 24 varieties we planted as we unveiled them at the Potter County Farmers' Market this summer. The main harvest is now underway. Send a message or call (814-274-8004) to reserve yours today. We can mix or match varieties and sizes to suit your needs. Also, if you'd like us to store them, you can place your order and we'll save them here until you need them.
Potatoes are commercially grown with chemical herbicides, fungicides and pesticides at many times during their life cycle. Ours have none of that and you can even feel good about eating the skins - and let's face it, aren't the skins from an oven-baked potato amazing?

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Sign Of The Times

We don't need the calendar to tell us it's October when we have a high tunnel closed up for the chilly autumn nights.
We took the opportunity to go to a Friday night concert in State College (Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band) and missed the Farmers' Market last week -- and miss it we did! I missed seeing and visiting with all our customers. We'll be back this week - probably both Friday and Saturday due to the Falling Leaves Festival -- but Friday for sure.
The garden continues to produce and the recent frosts have been spotty here on the farm. The winter squashes and pumpkins on the hill did get frosted and so it's time to bring them in.
I planted carrots late this year to harvest in late October. I also planted some in the high tunnel with hopes of harvesting them all through the winter. The late-planted lettuce and Swiss chard in the high tunnel is looking good too.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

More Edamame - Plus Recipes!

While once featured in vegetarian dishes and so-called "health food" recipes, edamame have been turning up in recipes featured in mainstream magazines such as Taste of Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living and Family Circle these days. You have the unique opportunity to buy your edamame fresh at this time of year. Stop by the Farmers' Market tomorrow (Friday) in Coudersport and buy some to try.
By popular request, here are some recipes featuring edamame.

Edamame Appetizer
Cook 1 lb. of washed edamame (soybeans in the pod) in salted boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes, and immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain in a colander and pat dry. Toss edamame with salt (coarse salt or Kosher salt works best) and freshly-ground pepper to taste and serve with additional salt and pepper on the side.
(Please note that edamame may be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before tossing with pepper and salt.)

Edamame Hummus
3 cups shelled edamame
2 cloves garlic
2 Tb. tahini
3 Tb. fresh lemon juice
2 Tb. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Bring shelled edamame to a boil in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover and  occasionally, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water. Pulse edamame, garlic, tahini, juice, oil, salt, cumin and pepper in a food processor until mixture desired consistency add additional oil or water if too thick. Cover and refrigerate until party time. Serve with vegetables or  pita toasts for dipping.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's Edamame Time In Potter County

We took a couple of days off for the Labor Day weekend and traveled to Annapolis, Md. for some spectacular Drum Corps competition. In our absence, fruits and vegetables continued ripening and we found loads of edamame ready for the harvest.
If you haven't yet tried these tasty storehouses of nutrition, I suggest you buy a pound and try them.
I took a dip made of edamames I had put in the freezer last fall to a potluck gathering recently and received rave reviews.
We have a very good supply and if they don't sell, I know what we'll be doing -- though the freezer space is waiting for the arrival of a moose ....
Look for this ad on the local "news" blog -

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just For Fun

When I ordered my seeds last winter, I couldn't resist buying a few packets of flowers. I plant them amid the rows and beds of vegetables. If you drive by the farm, you'll see these ... and many more.
I think all the growers would agree that Friday's Farmers' Market was the best yet. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to support local farmers!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Home Grown Tomatoes

A good friend stopped by our table at the Potter County Farmers' Market on Friday and, while filling his bag from our selection of red, ripe tomatoes, said with a grin, "There are two things that money can't buy, do you know what they are?" Any Guy Clark fan would respond:
Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes,
What'd life be without home grown tomatoes
There's only two things that money can't buy:
True love and home grown tomatoes
It really isn't stretching it to tell you that our tomatoes are truly homegrown, beginning life as carefully selected certified organic seeds planted in certified organic potting soil and carefully tended until their transplant into the high tunnel or garden. They were then staked, caged or trellised, fertilized with organic fertilizer, weeded, watered and tended. We've been harvesting tomatoes for about four weeks and we're at the peak right now. Enjoy these photos today and we'll see you at the Farmers' Market this Friday where you can choose your own.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Do You Want A Farmers' Market?

Since we've been participating as a grower in the 2012 edition of the Potter County Farmers' Market, I feel qualified to offer the following question:
Do you want a Farmers' Market in downtown Coudersport?
The growers are doing their best of offer you a nice selection of seasonal produce and more. This year vendors are offering baked goods, high quality crafts, fruit trees, fruiting vines, cut flowers and even organic potting soil.
The number of vendors has grown and continues to grow. The number of shoppers does not. I'm happy to come to the square on Friday with the best of the best from our fields and gardens if it provides an opportunity to offer our local folks fresh, nutritious and delicious vegetables and fruit. As a customer, you are spending your local dollars supporting the local economy.
So if you're interested in having a Farmers' Market on the square in Coudersport, come on down on Friday afternoon, introduce yourself, take a look at our wares and let us know what we can grow for you!
Here are a few pictures of what's growing now at Metzger Heritage Farm.
 Swiss Chard is at its absolute best these days.
 N'oreaster Pole Beans climbing to the sun.
Organic Roma paste tomatoes ripening on the vine.
 Preview planting of Edamame Soybeans close to harvest!
 A whole slew of hot peppers in the high tunnel - jalapenos here!

 These hot beauties are known as Ring Of Fire!
 For a little more color - organic calendula flowers.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome Sunshine!

We are very fortunate to have escaped the brunt of the storm that passed through these hills on Thursday afternoon. A phone call from a friend alerted us to the possibility of a tornado and we took shelter in the cellar. We heard loud rumbles of thunder and pounding of the rain but, upon coming up above ground, all was well and the high tunnel was still standing. Even less than a half mile from here, trees were snapped and flattened.
It was decided to go ahead with the Farmers' Market on Friday afternoon even though Coudersport - and most of the farmers - did not have power. We all persevered despite numerous showers but didn't have a lot of customers for obvious reasons.
We have an abundance of produce - the second plants of peas is ready. Enjoy some with the amazing new potatoes. We also have tomatoes, Swiss chard, onions, hot and green peppers, some leaf lettuce and beets.  The second planting of beets is yielding perfect beet greens too. If you're interested and can't wait until Friday, send us an email or call 274-8004 to make arrangements. Thanks...
In case you have been missing the blog, we've been vacationing with our family in Montana. Here's a picture taken in Yellowstone National Park.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tomatoes In Potter County

This is the first year for our high tunnel - an unheated greenhouse space. In early May - on the 4th to be exact – we planted the first of the certified organic tomato transplants in raised beds in the high tunnel. On the days that followed, we opened and closed the ends and/or the sides depending on the weather and watered and trellised the young plants.
They responded by developing thick stems, abundant foliage and loads of tomato blossoms. This is the plant that produced the first green tomatoes and yesterday I noticed the telltale change of color that heralds the ripening process.
This photo was taken yesterday.
And here's a photo of the same plant today ....
For those of you who have been seeking tomatoes at the Potter County Farmers' Market - hang on for a little longer - they're coming.
I'm delighted with the prospect of harvesting ripe tomatoes in July. Most years it's late August before we have that particular pleasure.
Also ripening are peppers - green and Espanola (a milder hot pepper) and I expect a small beginning harvest of string beans as well.
All of the peas harvested yesterday have been sold - thank you to all our loyal customers! I'm heading outside now to pick more. We'll have a fresh harvest from Friday morning to take to the Farmers' Market that afternoon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pea Harvest Has Begun!

Arthur in the pea patch
The old timers told us they planted peas by Good Friday to enjoy by the Fourth of July. While the peas were in the ground by that arbitrary date, we're about a week ahead of schedule. It's a beautiful morning to be in the garden and the peas are loving the cool weather of the past couple of days.
If you're ready for peas now, give us a call (814-274-8004) or send an email to to make arrangements for pick up and delivery.
Of course, we'll have peas at the Farmers' Market on Friday.
Arthur just checked in to tell me that he's about halfway through the pea patch and has picked over seven pounds!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Try Something New

Sometimes we all need to try new things! I offered beet greens for sale at the Farmers' Market on Friday. They were a sell out - mostly to folks who knew how exquisitely delicious such things can taste. But there were a few folks who had never considered eating such things! One woman who examined the beet greens left my table with plans to thin her beet planting and enjoy her own greens. When you come to the Farmers' Market for your tried and true favorites, consider trying something new. All the farmers can provide you with cooking or preparation suggestions or even recipes!
At the Post Office on Monday, one of my customers visiting with a friend on the sidewalk stopped me and made it a point to tell me that "those beet greens were wonderful!" Her companion said she had been disappointed last week to find the greens were sold out so she'll be one of the first to get there this week!
What a joy it is to have the privilege of growing food for our neighbors and friends – thanks everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Fringe Benefit

This farming adventure has introduced us to such kind, warm and interesting folks!
Last year we met Dennis and Bridget Reynolds when we were directed to them as the source of Vermont Compost potting soil and we've enjoyed visiting with them several times since.  Every time our paths cross, I come away with a big smile on my face and yesterday was no exception.
A need for a bag of potting soil took us across the New York State border to Almond late yesterday afternoon as the storm clouds were gathering. Bridget was busy with other customers when we arrived and that gave us a chance to look around the store. The shelves of the coolers were stocked with lots of their organic produce – all kinds of salad greens, colorful kale, spring onions, Bok Choy. They also offer a selection of whole grains, specialty pasta, nut butters, maple syrup, honey. They also sell artisan breads from a local baker. But on the counter were quart boxes of organic strawberries – some of which were turned into a beautiful Father's Day strawberry shortcake here on Crandall Hill!
In addition to the potting soil, I also wanted to discuss head lettuce with Bridget. I had purchased 12 organic head lettuce plant starts from her as a growing experiment. Though I grow lovely leaf lettuce, I had never grown head lettuce. Those plants thrived both in the high tunnel and in the garden. I harvested the first of the lush and colorful heads June 8 and offered them for sale at the Farmer's Market. They sold like hotcakes and this week, the remaining heads were sold in no time. Customers from last week who came back for more had to hear that I was sold out!
I had hoped Bridget might have more plant starts but she had planted them all. However, she provided me with the information and seeds I need to start my own plants in our greenhouse. So all you folks who want more of that great head lettuce – red and green – check back with me in six weeks!
Here's a link to Dennis and Bridget's market in Almond, N.Y. –

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Farmers' Market Update

We participated in the Farmers' Market for the first time this year on Friday, June 8. It was nice to see folks stopping by to check out the selections of local farmers. I was particularly thrilled to hear folks say that they have been reading and enjoying this blog!
The Potter County Farmers' Market has been up and running for three weeks. Participants thus farm have included Wooleylot Farm, Sean McKeone, Fitzgerald's Family Farm, Card Creek Trading Post and Metzger Heritage Farm. While it will be a couple of weeks before the tables are loaded, everyone has something good and fresh every week.
Jim Jones of Solomons Words called me within minutes of receiving the update I sent him last week to offer his blog as a vehicle to promote the Farmers' Market and the local farmers. Thanks, Jim!
Here's what's happening on the farm this week:
Arthur took me on a tour of the upper fields Sunday evening. This is where we've planted the potatoes, some winter squash, sweet corn, soybeans and some shelling peas.
Meanwhile, back in the high tunnel, I snapped this photo of the tomatoes and their trellises.
And for the zucchini lovers here's a photo of the squash patch in the high tunnel. If all goes well, I should have a few zucchinis to sell on Friday at the Farmers' Market.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Safe For Children & Pets

I put a post on my Facebook page accompanied by this photo of a sign we have in our yard.
Wouldn't it be great if this sign could replace those little warning flags from lawn chemical companies cautioning us that poison has been sprayed in public places like Charles Cole Memorial Hospital or on your neighbor's lawn?
How do we launch a public campaign that would give folks information about the harmful effects of these chemicals so they could make educated decisions about whether they want to run the risk of poisoning themselves, their children, their neighbors just to have the promise of a green and weed-free lawn. What does this say about our society?
And while I'm on my soapbox, I will report that after a visit to a store that sells that stuff yesterday, I was dismayed to find that the smell of those chemicals clung to my clothes long after I had walked out the door. What is the effect on the people who work in that environment day after day?
I attended a meeting of the God's Country Water Dogs Monday evening. The group wanted to have a  discussion about the possibility of forming a coalition of local folks and groups with an interest in environmental matters. I went to the meeting with the idea that I could bring attention to the issue of lawn chemicals and perhaps find some support for this issue. There was good discussion at the meeting and I was impressed with the work being done by this group as they regularly monitor local streams and record their data. Discussion about a coaltion of environmentally-minded groups will continue. Another step in that direction is a picnic planned at the Genesee Environmental Center on Friday, July 13 aimed at bringing together various watershed groups in the area. I'll share more details in future posts.
Back to the high tunnel where I'm trellising and pruning my organic tomatoes today!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What's Growing?

For farmers, the weather forecast takes on great importance and, with our new high tunnel, we must be ever vigilant. A brief period of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy and chilly day can overheat even the most heat-loving plants. So far we've been able to be on top of it after a brief scare on Maple Festival Saturday when a quick trip to town for lunch was just enough time to almost overheat the tomatoes and peppers planted inside. It was a good learning experience.
Are you wondering what's growing in the high tunnel?
Here are a few photos I took this afternoon.
These are among the first tomatoes transplanted into the high tunnel in early May.

That's one of the first zucchini blossoms!

Yellow, green and purple string beans almost ready to blossom.
In the background are the first of the pepper plants - green bell and early jalapenos. At the other end of the tunnel are the rest of the peppers - orange, purple, red and green bell bell peppers and a variety of hot peppers.
These tomatoes were transplanted the third week of May, along with their companion planting of Rosie basil.

There are also many vegetables growing outside as well including this leaf lettuce enjoying the latest rain shower!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Next Generation

Our grandchildren (ages 2 1/2 and 1 year) were here for a two-week visit and I took this picture on the morning of their last day in Pennsylvania - note the pajamas! They live in eastern Oregon in a small town in the middle of vast stretches of rolling wheat fields. We delighted in introducing them to this old farm where their mother, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents and great-great-great grandparents have lived. The night before this picture was taken, we kept Rowan up past his bedtime in hopes of seeing fireflies. Sure enough - we spied a just a few of the glowing insects. While he's read about fireflies in a book, their habitat does not extend to eastern Oregon. When Grandpa carried the lad out into the darkness, he spied the crescent moon he had seen while on the porch and could not be dissuaded of his notion that there are two moons!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012 Farmers' Market Opens!

The guidelines for the 2012 Potter County Farmers' Market include this Vision Statement:
  • We envision a world in which people are buying and eating fresh, local food
    – Where local farmers are supported and thriving
    – Where schools, community institutions, hospitals and restaurants serve local food.
    – Where other Farmers’ Markets in our region share a mission of promoting and celebrating the
    values of eating locally.
  • We believe that local foods nourish the community and support the local economy.
  • We believe in sustainable practices, those that do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Friday marked the beginning of the Farmers' Market season in Potter County as three local farmers set up on the courthouse square in Coudersport.
Sean McKeone and his sons offered Shitake mushrooms, fresh spinach and rhubarb in addition to a selection of locally-grown fruit trees, brambles and plants. The Fitzgeralds offered a selection of jams, jellies, maple syrup and honey, eggs in addition to hand-painted sap buckets and free kittens! New the market is the Card Creek Trading Post – an endeavor being launched by Dennis and Netra Baker. Their table featured scallions, eggs, rhubarb, fresh flowers and a selection of plants including fresh herbs.
These farmers and others have put together a set of guidelines that provide some structure for the way our market will function. Participation in the Farmers' Market is open to all local farmers or others who wish to market handmade crafts, homemade baked cooks. Each participant is asked to sign an application form and comply with the guidelines.
Make it a point to visit the market often as the selection expands and changes with the season.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poor Man's Fertilizer

Since the northeast's big snow event on Monday and Tuesday, I've heard numerous references to "poor man's fertilizer".  I made reference to this in a phone conversation with my friend Louise and she told me she had seen it in the "Little House" books of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
And here it is from "Farmer Boy," Chapter 22.
That night Father said they’d seen the last of Indian summer. “It will snow tonight,” he said. Sure enough, when Almanzo woke the next morning the light had a snowy look, and from the window he saw the ground and barn roof white with snow.
Father was pleased. The soft snow was six inches deep, but the ground was not yet frozen.
“Poor man’s fertilizer,” Father called such a snow, and he set Royal to plowing it into all the fields. It carried something from the air into the ground, that would make the crops grow.
A Google search provides us with the following information: Snow contains nitrogen, a bit of phosphorus, plus traces of other elements. Commercial fertilizer lists a N-P-K ratio – Nitrogen (for greening), Phosphorus (root growth), Potassium (flowering).
Working the snow into the ground moves the moisture and nutrients deeper into the ground, plus they go to work to break up clods of soil into finer pieces.
Today the sun is shining and there are still patches of snow around though the gardens are clear. I've been working in the greenhouse the past couple of days repotting the tomatoes and peppers planted in seed cells in March. While it might seem early to talk about canning and freezing, I'm giving you notice that we are planning for a large crop of tomatoes this year. If you'd like to have a bushel or two for canning, it wouldn't hurt to get your order in early so we can plan for everyone. Remember, everything we grow is organic - which means you can be sure you're not including herbicide and pesticide residue in your jars!
Here's a photo of some of my tomatoes and please notice the snowy background outside the windows!
Looking for sunshine in the warm greenhouse

This post linked to: Rural Thursday Blog Hop

Monday, April 23, 2012

Winter In April?

It's been snowing since last evening and the ground, trees, gardens and high tunnel are blanketed in the white stuff. I will head outside later and take some photos. The Japanese Quince bush next to the house had just burst into bloom and there is a poor robin perched there wondering what on earth has happened!
I am working happily in my snug office getting up to date with AgSquared, a  new record-keeping system for small farms that promises to bring farm management to a new level. I saw a presentation from the company's founders at the PASA Conference last year and signed up to become a beta tester.
Arthur is working to get the heavy wet snow off the high tunnel. The weather has surely added unwelcome complexity as we try to get this unheated greenhouse up and running. Last week the winds wreaked havoc with the zippered ends and even threatened to tear the structure from its moorings. Now it's the snow.
Stay warm and dry!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Tree Planting Photos

Cousins Blair and Joe took command of the tree stakes
Jakob lent a hand and a smile!

Sabrina took time from her busy pre-graduation schedule to plant trees on the farm that belonged to her great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.
Nellie came from Wellsboro. It wasn't the first time she lent a hand on the farm!
I would bet that this woman has planted many a tree in her homesteading life. Thanks, Natalie.
This gentleman came all the way from Arkansas to help in the tree planting. (He expects to find peas and other garden goodies when he returns home next week!)
There are also some other helpers who managed to avoid the camera - Barb and Connie, Wanda,  Dawn, Colton, Sarah and Jane.
When I say we couldn't have done it without you, I mean it very sincerely. Thank you!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fruit Trees Going In!

Arthur & I went to Cummins Nursery in Ithaca, N.Y. yesterday to pick up the bulk of our fruit tree order. Above Arthur is checking out some of the trees with Tony from the nursery. In the photo below, the truck is nearly loaded!
And beginning bright and early this morning, the planting begins. We've enlisted the help of friends and family and here are a couple of early photos. Check back for more as progress continues!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why We Do It

We have just returned from a two-week stay with our grandchildren in eastern Oregon. "It's an ugly land," remarked Lowell, their next door neighbor, "but I like it." We've visited there often in the two-plus years since our daughter and her husband moved to Heppner.
It's wheat farming country and the landscape of rolling hills seems barren except for irrigated fields where the crops are grown. Some trees grow along creek beds and in spots where they're tended in people's yards. But it's mostly brown because, unlike the verdant western part of that state, it doesn't rain much.
We traveled to Portland last weekend to visit Arthur's sister and her husband and our route took us through the Columbia River Gorge. On that drive along the river you experience the transformation gradually as the brown and gray gives way to endless shades of green. Of course, the green comes with a price as it seems to rain almost every day this time of year and it makes driving on the interstate a real trial!
I was looking through my computer photo files while we were in Oregon and I was drawn to this photo of our potato field taken early last summer. It was a reminder of why we live where we do and why we are doing what we do.