Halloween is coming

Treat bags… Check. Pumpkin…. Check. I’m on top of it!

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Fall

I love the cooler weather and the changing colors of nature all around. The farming season is done with my last delivery gone out this past Thursday. And now comes the ckean up. Putting the harvest shed back in order, tucking away deer fences and seeding supplies, clearing the greenhouses and tying up loose ends… 

I am still waiting for my pumpkins to change color… With the lack of sun and recent cooler weather they are lagging a bit behind… So are my green beans, and there are still a few eggplant and peppers and watermelons limping along, too.

I had hoped for a fall delivery for Thanksgiving, planned on raising turkeys and putting together a harvest meal in a box, but I am glad I decided not to. Once the season got rolling, there was little wiggle room to fit any more work into the days. And now I am grateful to be done with the tight schedule and the long drive for the deliveries every week.

It is time to slow down, breathe, put my feet up and enjoy life a little more, ponder what might come next. I am looking forward to finding a farm to call my own, to still grow vegetables and flowers, if not for a second CSA season, then for a farmers market or just a farm stand in the driveway… And to realize some of my ambitions to raise more animals… Like a cow or rwo for milking, sheep or goats and a few turkeys… I have a dream!

And I finally have the time to work on some artsy projects, some of which I intend to sell at the upcoming art fair and christmas boutique.

Fall, time to fall in love with life again!

A Season Review

I have been facing a bunch of difficulties here on the farm that are trying my creativity and abilities to say the least… Torrential rains and relentless critters munching away on my crops are just some of the influences that I am grappling with. Plants not growing or not producing crops is another challenge I am learning to deal with – calling on fellow farmers in the area who are willing to share their extras with me, or even buying things like sweet corn since mine was a complete loss.

There are many differences to Kate’s CSA besides number of members and her many years of experience. There were always 6 or 7 helpers on the farm, and a lot of action everywhere throughout the day.

I am here by myself, there is much less activity. It is quiet and peaceful and apparently quite inviting to the overflow of deer and rabbits and rodents that mess with my stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰ And much less (wo)manpower to do the work.

In essence, running a CSA is quite an undertaking. And while I enjoy the work and farming very much, I have my share of disappointment and frustration with the things that don’t go well. I still am proud of the beautiful food I grow and the full bags I deliver.

I had big plans for my CSA – fun festivals on the farm, volunteer days throughout the season, scavenger hunt on and around the farm… But all these plans were derailed and fell flat as time progressed. Too few members right from the start, insurance limitations, Kate’s decision to move in spring, preparing for her move early in the season, and finally her move and decision to sell the farm… Things did not turn out as planned at all.

So now that Kate has moved to California and decided to sell the farm, I will be finishing my season here in early fall, and depending on the sale and new folks moving in, will probably stay on through winter to look after things here. This means of course that my CSA on Kate’s land is shorter lived than I initially planned. I am not certain where I will settle next year and whether I will have the opportunity to continue my CSA on another farm.

I thank all my members for their trust and giving me the wonderful opportunity to grow and deliver vegetables this summer. A big thank you also to my lovely drop site hosts! I appreciate all the support and feedback this season! And I regret not having had the chance to have everybody out here for the hands on festivities everyone enjoyed so much with Kate. And to continue growing with everybody through the seasons I hoped would follow this one.

Farm Fresh

There is nothing better than farm fresh.  Here is such a good meal in one “small” batch… Just add chicken breast or bacon or trout… Yum.

I love raising colorful food. And flowers. And this year I have a thing for purple… From purple peppers to purple poppy, things are just looking gorgeous. Hmm… Wonder if there are chickens that lay purple eggs ๐Ÿ˜‰

Barn Cats

Rural areas have plenty of them. In fact, many farms have large colonies of 30 or 40 or more… Barn cats. Feral cats, mostly. Some fairly friendly and curious.

Every farm I have visited is feeding their cats and cares about them greatly. But because it is costly, farmers just cannot keep up with their vaccinations or, most importantly, getting them all spayed and neutered. 

Sadly, any healthy and happy barn cat population can be decimated in a blink of an eye by only one visit of a passing stray tom that brings in diseases such as feline rhinotracheitis (upper respiratory or pulminary infection), FIV, or feline leukemia which are easily spread by sharing water and food sources. Once infected, treatment, if at all possible, is costly and difficult. The only way to eliminate the virus from the farm is to put down every last cat.

Recently a neighbor’s barn cats have started sneezing and getting runny eyes. A sure sign of rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus. I am trying to help catch the sickest so they can get antibiotic shots, and giving L-Lysine in treats and liquid form to build their immune systems and recover.

I am also researching possible forms of antibiotics or other treatments that can be administered in food to reach all the kitties.

Having been involved in animal rescue for a good 20 years in Los Angeles, I feel quite strongly about caring for all animals, even those who are not snuggly and friendly, or in farmer’s terms, useful. They do rely on us.

Together with a friend, and hopefully the support of our local vets, I am working on creating a program to fund and host annual spay/neuter and vaccine clinics, and to make medications and treatment for sick barn cats available and affordable.

Wish us luck, I will keep you all posted on our progress. If you have ideas, connections, or time and energy to help us with this project, please contact me! All support is appreciated.

Purrs!

Eagle Update

โ€‹We just got word from the Raptor Center that the eagle is suffering from high lead toxicity and some eye trauma, and is now undergoing treatment.

Apparently, one of the main reasons for raptors entering the raptor center’s programs is lead poisoning, starting with hunting season each fall. 

The ammunition used by hunters are lead pellets. Eagles ingest them when feasting on the remains of turkeys or deer left behind by hunters.

Unfortunately, one of four eagles brought into the rescue center that same week as the one we helped rescue has died from advanced effects like internal bleeding and organ failure caused by severe lead poisoning.

For the three remaining, itโ€™s around-the-clock injections and feeding liquid food. Vitamin K is administered to slow down internal bleeding if possible.

If the three survivors are lucky, they will join other recovering eagles in the fly zone in a few months. A release back into the wild is at least a year away.


Please consider making a donation to help pay for THIS raptorโ€™s care.

You can donate online at  http://www.theraptorcenter.org or call the raptor center at 612-624-8457 

The Raptor Center is located at 1920 Fitch Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108 and the phone number is 612-624-4745

Rehabilitation Costs for each Eagle:

$60   One month: food for one eagle

$80   Radiograph for newly admitted raptor

$100 Initial admission exam

$500 Medical care and food for 2 weeks  

Stranded Bald Eagle Rescued

Earlier this morning Kate called to ask if I wanted to go on a little adventure to help rescue a bald eagle that had been stranded in a field for a couple of days.

We stalked through the ankle-deep snow to investigate and take some pics for the raptor center in Minneapolis to evaluate the situation. Upon receiving the pucs and learning that we wete able to get within 6 feet of the bird without it flying iff, they immediately sent a volunteer to meet us and pick up the large bird.

We were prepared for a bit of a chase, but the volunteer calmly and slowly approached the eagle and in just minutes the volunteer had the magnificent creature in his arms, massive feet and huge talons secured and wings tucked safely under the body.

Despite obvious signs of weakness and fatigue, the eagle was a beautiful sight to behold. Hopefully, with being in a safe warm place to rest and getting some much needed food and water, it will make a full recovery.

Lets keep our fingers crossed!

Thanks ro Sara Grace for the photos.

Wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year

May all your dreams and wishes be fulfilled and your resolutions successful.

My resolution is simply to love and appreciate myself and everyone and everything around me a little more today than yesterday, and a little more tomorrow than today… And to live life full of wonder and joy.

Brightest blessings.

Dig a little deeper to have more fun and don’t be afraid to let it show ๐Ÿ™‚

Home Alone for the Holidays

Christmas eve. I am sitting here in an empty house… Just my animals and I. No fancy dinner with lots of people. No laughter, excited voices, clinking glasses, christmas carols and no blinking lights and tinseled christmas tree… No embarrassing family stories, no presents, no regrets.

It may seem sad, to have none of the typical definitions we so readily attribute to the holidays. And yet, all the commercially created festivity aside, in the stillness I am content and I remember the true origin of Christmas. 

The birth of Jesus. He had no fancy dinner and no festive christmas decorations. Born in a simple barn with only the animals and his parents sharing a moment of quiet celebration and appreciation. 

To me there is no place more perfect to celebrate Christmas and the true gift of love and life and the power of truth within me than the quiet of a manger surrounded only by animals and the presence of spirit. What a blessing to be living on a farm, here and now, and to enjoy a time of solitude and reflection in this still and peaceful winter landscape.