Monday, January 23, 2017

Buying Club this weekend

Greetings from a windy, stormy, Dancing Hen Farm.

Our winter buying club is open again for deliveries this weekend (1/27 and 1/28).  Please note there will be NO buying the following weekend, so place your orders now.  As always, ordering opens at 5 am tomorrow and closes at 5 am on Thursday.  We continue to have a good supply of apple orchard pork, eggs and some storage vegetables.  If you have questions concerning the buying club, please contact us at the farm.

Wow what a difference a day makes!  Yesterday, we worked and walked outside without jackets and our house was warm enough that we opened a few windows to let some fresh air inside.  Tonight, the wind is howling outside and sleet is pelting the windows!  Just when I was getting spring fever, it looks like winter has returned with seasonal temperatures forecasted through the weekend.  Good thing my fit of spring fever didn't cause me to pack the wool socks and thermals away!

On farm, Farmer Don has completed his new seed house.  This is the greenhouse with a double plastic covering, I have talked about in previous newsletters.  The plastic is on, the woodstove is in position, tables are in place, and our germination rack is positioned near the stove for the greatest warmth.  This means we are almost ready to seed!  Now we need experiment a bit with the woodstove and see how often we will need to add wood and how great the air temperature will fluctuate.  I am thinking on the coldest nights, we will need to set our alarm and get up to stoke the stove during the night.  A small price to pay to avoid frozen and stunted plants.

Yes, winter newsletters tend to be a bit shorter.  It is growing late and I have a dog patiently waiting to go out for one last walk before bed.  I will end here with another "thank you" for your continued support.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Buying Club Ordering is Open!

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

The buying club is now open for ordering to be delivered this weekend. (1/20 and 1/21).  Ordering will close Thursday (1/19) morning at 5 am.  We still have a good supply of Dancing Hen Farm Apple Orchard pork available, as well as eggs, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, as well as Wild for Salmon portions and burgers.

This was a busy week on farm.   The greenhouse Farmer Don has been working on is quickly nearing completion.  As you probably remember from past newsletters, this greenhouse has two layers of plastic to help with insulation and a woodstove.  Both layers of plastic are now attached and the woodstove is now in position.  A bit more work needs to be completed on the end walls and the stove pipe and then we will be ready to plant!  A HUGE thank you to Lydia and Ken for their help with this project.

Speaking of Lydia.  This week we say "good bye" to Lydia as she moves onto another adventure in life.  She is moving to Helena, Montana to work with a community garden project.  Lydia worked for us for 4 years and hopefully she will be able to use some of the knowledge she gain here in her new job.  Good Luck Lydia and don't forget to come back to visit.  Or maybe we will have to venture out to Montana!

Winter is a time for us to review past growing seasons and plan for the coming season.  It is hard for us to believe that this will be our 10th year of growing at this location!  We have learned so much, but we feel we still have so much to learn.  In 2017, we will continue to offer our CSA, but we have decided to shorten our main, summer, season and offer an expanded fall season.  That's a total of 26 weeks of vegetable deliveries if you choose to participate in both the summer and fall CSA!  Egg and chicken shares will also be available to our CSA members.  New this year we are experimenting with cut flower production.  For this season, flowers will be available at the farm markets we attend.

Thanks again, to each of you, for your continued support of our small family farm and local agriculture.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Good Luck Lydia!

Dancing Hen Farm relies heavily on interns to help us produce the harvest we share with our farm family.  It is always bitter sweet when our interns move on to new and exciting adventures.  Farmer Lydia has worked with us for the last 4 years and next week she will be moving to Helena, Montana. In Helena, she will working with a community garden program.

Good Luck Lydia!  and Thank you for your help!  May you never forget the pigs or the rainbow wig!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Buying Club deliveries this weekend

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm.

The holidays are over, the tree is down and the decorations are packed away for another year.  And farm life is returning to a more predictable winter rhythm.  AND Farmer Don has decided to start up the winter buying club again. 

Ordering will open up tomorrow, Tuesday, 1/10, morning at 5 am and close Thursday, 1/12,  morning at 5 am.  Deliveries will be on Friday to Bloomsburg and on Saturday to Dallas, Forty Fort and Mountain Top.  We will have apple orchard pork, free range eggs, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, garlic, cabbage, beets and hopefully onions and carrots available.  We are also getting a new salmon delivery from our friends at Wild for Salmon, so salmon portions and feta dill burgers will also be available.  And Whitenight's raw milk and raw milk cheese will also be on the list.  Happy ordering!

On farm, like all of Pennsylvania, we are dealing with a roller coaster of temperatures and weather.  It was 3 on farm this morning and to be in the 50's on Thursday!  I am not complaining, each week that goes by is another week closer to spring and another week closer to farm fresh veggies!

Today we went on a very chilly farm walk and quickly peeked in our greenhouse and under some plastic we have in our lower fields.  We have some tiny lettuce, kale and Asian green plants in these locations, waiting patiently for the sun to get higher in the sky.   The plants looked cold but, healthy!  Hopefully they will survive the rest of the winter and begin to grow again towards the end February and by March we will have greens to harvest!  Those late winter/early spring greens are my favorite!

Farmer Don is still working on his heated greenhouses.  He is close to putting the plastic on the houses.  The woodstoves have been added to both houses, but one stove is frozen into the mud.  He moved it in when temperatures were in the 50's and the heavy cast metal stove immediately sank.  His plan is to put the stove on a large piece of stone we have.  Unfortunately Don ran out of daylight the day he moved the stove and the temperatures sank as quickly as the stove and now the stove is frozen solid in the ground.  Hopefully adding plastic to this house will allow the ground to thaw and the stove can be positioned onto the stone.  We are really excited to have these heated spaces to grow next season's transplants.

Farmer Don is also still busy in the kitchen.  I cannot complain, he is a good cook and it has been nice having him taking over much of the cooking these past few weeks.   A personal cook is a real luxury!  Come planting season, I will be lucky to get him to come in to eat supper, let alone cook.  But, that is ok, we both love what we do and the seasonality of the farm gives us this chance to re-energize in the winter and gives Farmer Don time to spend in the kitchen.  One of his recent meals was a beef stew topped with floating biscuits.  Nothing better than a soup or stew on a cold winter night!

We want to again send out a huge thank you to everyone who already signed up for our 2017 CSA!  We have already begun to order supplies and seeds for next year.   This will be our 10th year of growing at this location and we are eagerly planning for the upcoming growing season.

Enjoy winter and don't forget to place your buying club orders!  As always if you have questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us.