Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Happy Easter!!!

Hi Friends!

Happy Easter! Hoping this email finds everyone healthy and happy.

Finally, the folks who run the big, yellow bed and breakfast on the hill in Danville decided to let Joan come back to the farm. Yahoooooo! Feeling much better. Working on breathing and even that is coming around. Still a ways to go until we get back to where we were, but a real blessing to be home. Thank you to all for the support!

So, farm news includes hawks, foxes, tractor work, seeding peas and planting scallions. I can always tell when spring is close as the chickens get harranged by hawks (lost 2) and foxes (lost one). This has become a spring ritual as wildlife is hungry and our chickens make a nice easy meal. And, now that Mother Nature has let up a bit, tractor work can happen! Cool! Needed a new battery though to get going. I guess 10yrs of original battery isn't bad. I was able to work up the first 4 beds this week and today we seeded peas! Yea! Mr. Big (shelling pea) and Oregon Sugar Pod (snow pea) made the trip from cooler to ground! A great feeling. Snap peas will be right behind. Also today, scallions are going in right behind the garlic where the deer can eye them up but won't eat. Deer are out there big time. Around 18 in the bottom field the other night when I came home from the hospital. No good. Now we plant and seed, plant and seed, plant and seed. Ken is back for another year and has been a big help already. Looks like Stacy will be back Monday and our college friend, Annie, will be around to help also! We might have a work crew after all. Time to move on.

Buying club should open next week. Down this week for the Easter holiday. So, we hope everyone has a nice Easter filled with happiness and health. Be well, and thanks again for the support.

Farmer Don

News and Buying Club

Hi Friends,
This newsletter is coming to you from Geisinger Hospital, Room 209. We've temporarily moved the farm over to here. Been here for a week now going on two. My brave wife Joan endured a tough procedure today and came out the other side beat up but ready to move forward. We count our blessings and thank everyone for the well wishes and support we have received. We know many, many folks are in tougher shape than us and for them we send our thoughts and prayers. We're looking forward to being home soon and moving the farm back to the Toy Factory.

The farm. The weather? Spring? Fourth Noreaster? What's up? The minute I think I can get out into the fields along comes 4 inches of snow. The boss (Joan) says just plant the stuff, so it looks like scallions, salad lettuce, and spinach will go in the tunnel this week, along with an early crop of radishes. I do have the irrigation water up and running so that makes things a lot easier. The pea seeds are in just need some compost and a little kelp meal to add to the soil and we'll be off and running. Thankfully we are going into late March and the sun is really nice right now. I'll be doing another season with a big push on soil health. I really believe in the value of rich, healthy soil to give us those nutrient rich crops. My rototiller has become the tool of last resort. Many correlations between soil health and our health. We have to nurture both!

So, since I feel we are moving back to the farm this week, the buying club will open for sales this weekend. Lots of chicken and eggs to go with the last of the storage crops. Pork is still available, but some cuts are selling out. Raw milk, salmon, beet kavas and sauerkraut are all still available also.

And 2018 CSA shares are selling quick, but still available, let your friends know.

Be well!

farmer Don

Friday, March 9, 2018

Hi Friends,

First time writing on blog with out Joan pasting my email. So, here we go.
Cold night out there, fires every night are the priority after dinner. Early dinner is now the norm, then late chores, tonight Jorma Kaukoen and Quah on the stereo. Music is therapy. Drop the TV.

March; In like a lion

Hi Friends,
Sorry for the delay getting farm news out. Just life in the way as many of you know!
Well, this year, March is in like a Lion! Another year of delayed planting. I guess I jinxed us with the last email, raving over the sun and warm temps. This email I'll try to temper the excitement. Be a little more realistic. Yup, most years March is a winter month, so I shouldn't be surprised. Still moving forward though as I feel much more prepared for early spring cold weather. Two wood stoves going each night and a heated germination chamber providing warm, moist heat. That is if the power is on. We went just about 5 days with no power. I really feel for the folks over to our east, with much more snow and still many trees down and no power. Thankfully for us we had no snow while we had no power. Actually, farmer Phil and farmer Don made it off the farm to do a buying club delivery last Saturday. And, a big thanks to those friends who made it out despite the weather to pick up orders and offer support to the farm. We are very grateful for your support.
Back to the farm. A little snow this morning, no big deal. Had Rosie making snow angels, hopefully no chicken mcnuggets under the snow. Both Joan and I believe something stinky was under the snow. Oh well, nice to get the dogs out and running. In the seed houses we have close to 15,000 transplants in various stages of growth. Really happy with the progress there. Gotta thank our former intern, Lydia, for stopping by to help seed. Extra hands on the farm are always a big help!
So, with the wheel of time moving on, we can't slow down. Nurturing Joan back to health. I was able to harvest a couple days of spinach salad to go along with some tasty steaks to build up those red blood counts. Thanks to Forks Farm for providing the meat. Today is ham and bean soup, while cooking a beef brisket for Saturday dinner. I'm working real hard to get greens to go out on the buying club soon. Just stay in touch there and you'll know when the harvest will be.
Time to move on. Your thoughts and prayers are still being felt each and every day. Support like that is huge. Also, let me know if you have any questions about the farm, 2018 CSA, your accounts or anything. I am very behind updating accounts so hang with us and updates will come soon. Right now life is a day at a time.
Be well friends!
Farmer Don

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Buying Club Open for This Weekend and Farm News

Hi Friends!
A quick update from the farm!
I hope you were able to feel the sun yesterday or will be able to get out a little today to catch the sun. What a relief after many days of clouds and rain. With the warmer weather coming daily, the farm is a busy place, mostly in the seed house, but also the high tunnel, field clean up and a rebuild on the second chicken coop. Our seed houses are filling up quickly and transplants are growing nicely. Right now veggies we have seeded include Bok Choi, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Collard Greens, Kale, Kalettes, Leaf Lettuce, Salad lettuce, Kohlrabi, Radicchio, Scallions, Spinach, Mustard, Swiss Chard, Komatsuna and High tunnel Tomatoes. Were really excited to have so many starts on the way and are hoping for a mild March so we can be able to get into the ground.
Today, with the nice weather all day, we'll mostly be outside doing field clean up after the transplants get a good watering. I'm still waiting to turn the outside water system on, at least until those overnight temps warm up a little. So, we haul buckets of water from the house out to the seed houses which makes for a major chore. Soon this burden will ease up!
A sure sign of spring here on the farm is always the increased predator pressure. Yesterday, the dogs and I woke to a fox chasing chickens all around the lower yard down here by the house. Luckily, Rose took to the chase and ran the fox off with no chicken casualties. Time to keep the hens shut up overnight and not out in the morning until the coast is clear. Some of you may remember last spring when the farmer was fighting a chicken eating raccoon. So far no coon, but the fox is around. Another sign of spring is the geese, large flocks flying overhead, including the all white snow geese. A beautiful sight.
On the home front, Farmer Joan continues to improve, while still trying to catch her breath. We're taking baby steps and setting small daily goals to get ready for some upcoming therapy which will hope will have her ready for the summer. All the prayers and well wishes are working! Thank you, thank you for the support!
Lastly, I wanted to say we will be doing a buying club this week. The order window is open and ready for orders. Hoping soon to have some greens to add to the options. And 2018 CSA memberships are still available. We will probably lower the amount of memberships we make available, so let your friends know. Thanks again gor the support!
Be well,
Farmer Don

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

News and Buying Club is Open for this weekend.

Hi Friends!
It is nice to touch base with our community once again! Thoughts, prayers and well wishes really helped us through a rough stretch there. After a ten day hospital run, we have Joan back home and starting to feel somewhat better. Just to be home means so much. Still a long road to go as we push for a healthier life. Thank you for all the support out there, it meant and means the world to us!
So, with the boss home and feeling better, the farmer has opened the buying club for orders this weekend, Friday Feb. 16th and Saturday Feb. 17th. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and allow us to deliver the goods.
Around the farm we are starting to feel the need to get up and going. The seed house is up and running, the germination chamber is full and excitement is building for the 2018 growing season. Many vegetables growing in the seed house right now, including scallions, lettuce, spinach, kale, celery, parsley with more kale and broccoli in the warm germination chamber. As a bonus, many cut flower varieties are in the germination chamber also, had some seeds so we'll give the flowers a run. Two weeks and we'll be into March, a big month for growers, a month that can be spring like or winter like such as last year with the big snow dump in the middle of the month. Oh well, just a wait and see situation. In the mean time we learn from our issues last winter to improve systems this winter. Always learning, always changing, always growing!
Another thanks to everyone who has signed up for 2018 CSA. I will be adding the early sign up members to the website soon. But in the mean time, thanks again for the support, tell your friends, Dancing Hen Farm is open for 2018 sign ups and come out and say hi at our buying club sites.
Farmer Don

CSA is Open Alive and Well

Hi Friends!
Just a quick couple of notes here. Number one - thank you to all our friends who have signed up for 2018 and are continuing the journey into sustainable agriculture with us! Knowledge and experience grow each year we are able to share the harvest with our friends and supporters! As I've said many time in the past, we couldn't do it with out you!!
Speaking of knowledge, I'm off to Hershey next week for the annual Fruit and Growers Convention. Many applicable workshops and of learning to be had. Looking forward to catching up with some of my grower friends and sharing notes and ideas to keep the wheels rolling.
The farm is enjoying the break from the really cold weather a few weeks back. This has allowed us to start up the seed house. Had to tweak the germination chamber a little, and will continue to do this until I'm really happy with the system, but boy it's fun these sunny days to be out in the "farmer Don man cave" with seeds, warm soil, barn cats, the dogs coming and going, bluegrass on the juke box, and dreams of fresh veggies around the corner. Next up is get one of the seed tables set up so farmer Joan and farmer Don can play some cards out in the cave.
And also I need to send a thanks out to all the support Farmer Joan has received from our community in the past few weeks. Can't say how much this means to us here on the farm to know we're not alone as we go through a small rough patch. Keep your good vibes, prayers and well wishes coming our way as we can feel these raise us up in tough times. Again, friends it's all about community!! And from us, love, hugs and good wishes are bouncing back to all of you! Be well!
Finally, I can announce that we are up and running for 2018 CSA sign ups. Right now early bird discounts end on the 31st but I may extend this into February. Gotta consult with the brains behind the organization to get her approval!
Time to poach some salmon and put it over some salad, simple dinner but good. Chicken fried rice worked well last nice, and hey we have some nice chicken ready to go so stay in touch with the buying club.
Thanks again for the support, be well,
Farmer Don