Tuesday, March 27, 2012

After having to wait an extra day for a grain drill, today we successfully planted all 6 acres of our pasture and cover cropped our 2 fallow vegetable fields! It was all made possible by our incredible new friends and neighbors, Terry and Judy Bachtold. Terry and Judy raise 100% grass fed beef cattle at their farm, Grazin' Acres Farm in Strawn, IL. We got to know them because Terry is our local USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service representative and Judy is our mail lady. We also bought our steer, Number 13 from them. We only met them a few months ago but already Terry and Judy treat us like family, trying to help us out in any way they can. We've also helped them out by looking after their cows for a couple days while they were out of town. However, after all they did for us over the past few days I don't know how we can properly repay them. Terry helped arrange our pasture and cover crop seed order with a local seed supplier, he then found and delivered to us a grain drill (a tractor implement that plants large quantities of small seeds very efficiently) to borrow free of charge, and then spent almost 5 hours helping us actually plant our pasture and cover crops this afternoon!
One of the reasons Emma and I chose this way of life was because we wanted to live in a place where we would actually get to know our neighbors and become a part of a true, mutually supportive community. Thank you Terry and Judy for showing us that we came to the right place.

Terry and Judy helping us load the grain drill

Emma and Chad loading orchard grass seed

Terry teaching me the finer points of using a grain drill, like obstacle avoidance

The student becomes the teacher... not quite

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goodbye corn field, hello pasture

Today we spent a whole lot of time on the tractor.  We borrowed our landlord, Mr. Harms' John Deere 3020 and tilled up 6 acres our new land.  Year after year, for the last fifty years this acreage has been planted in conventional corn and soybeans.  Tomorrow we will be planting it with clover, alfalfa and grasses, just the way it was for a hundred years before the "green revolution".  We also tilled 2 more acres of our future crop fields.  These we will plant in a cover crop of peas and oats, which we will then let grow for the rest of the year to protect the soil and provide fertility for next year's vegetables.

She's a cowgirl.  On a steel horse she rides.

Ridin' dirty

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First seeds

 Today we planted our very first seeds in the greenhouse.  We made our own potting soil using Elliot Coleman's recipe and packed it into soil blocks.  Into these little blocks we planted several varieties of Chinese cabbage, 2 Asian varieties of basil and Japanese green onions.

Making soil blocks

Planting Thai basil

We also bought 32 cubic yards of compost from a neighboring farm, soon to be spread on our vegetable field

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Buh buh
If this has you scratching your head, just watch this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw
And for more details check out my etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/kiyoshimino

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shorn Icelandic sheep look ridiculous

Yesterday we had our sheep shorn and the results were pretty comical.  Our sheep seem to have shrunk to about half their original size.

Isabelle?  What happened to you?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We have a Greenhouse!

Emma and I spent the first half of this week assembling a greenhouse in our garage.  Unfortunately after we finished it we realized it was a little too heavy for the two of us to carry outside.  So today our friends and fellow farmers, Chad and Dylan came over to help us move it out to its permanent home and to put on the finishing touches.