Friday, March 11, 2011

Knitting Chick

Last summer, Wendy and Kristin Pike convinced me to learn to knit. I was pretty dubious about this and honestly didn't think that I would like it. Not one single bit.

I learned to crochet, very poorly I might add, during my teen years. I did enjoy crochet but never really made anything of consequence, just practice squares. Fairly boring.

Knitting was a whole different ball game for me. It took practice to work with 2 needles instead of just one.  Heaven forbid, I make a mistake! Then the whole thing would have to be ripped out to correct it, not just pull a stitch like in crochet.  You, knitters, are probably laughing about now --I'm new remember. :o)

Now, I'm obsessed! I absolutely love it. I knit and knit and knit some more.  Much to my husband's chagrin, I can even knit in the car.

My first "real" project was a hat for my daughter, Lauryn. It turned out okay, but I won't be posting any pictures of it.

My latest project were these baby socks. I'm thrilled with how well they turned out.  Socks were my goal, I figured that once I could knit a pair of socks without holes, I would have arrived.  Well, I have "arrived" and still there is so much more to learn like cabling and double-sided knitting and the list goes on.

Like Wendy always says, "We're just practicing for our Granny years."

The pattern for these can be found for free at this site.  Any other knitters out there?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You Know You're A Farm Girl If...

If you are a woman and a farmer, you’ve probably experienced the crossroads where lovely femininity intersects with rugged farm life. It is a beautiful but complicated line that we walk each day as farm girls, balancing who we are and the work that we do.

Being a farm girl is a good, challenging, and fulfilling lifestyle, and there are some things in life that can be experienced no other way than farming. The Polyface Farm chicks and I had fun thinking of what makes us farm girls. What makes you a farm girl?

You Know You’re A Farm Girl If...

you feel lost without your leatherman multi-tool - cows make you happy - you find yourself doing spontaneous animal impersonations - dirt is your daily make-up - you have singed your hair on a brooder hover - you wear muck boots into town - you sing while gathering eggs - you don’t want to eat anything you haven’t grown - you find hay down your shirt at the end of the day - your idea of a late night is 9:30 p.m. - your high heels give away your rural roots as you plod down the street - you love farm boys - your arms and legs are different shades in the summertime - you have dirt under your fingernails & your idea of a manicure is to cut them shorter - you find bobby pins, lip balm, drill bits, water nipples, and nails in your pockets - you get excited when you find a really cute flannel shirt - your hands are cut-up and calloused - you refer to farm animals with terms of endearment, such as “honey,” “babe,” and “darlin’.” - you daydream about being Laura Ingalls Wilder - you are thrilled with work gloves that fit your hands!- you wear your pajamas under your overalls - you change clothes in a hoophouse after getting soaked fixing a pig waterer - you talk to tractors - after re-doing your hair for the third time that morning, you give up on appearances and tell yourself you’re just a farm girl

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crossing the River Part 2

Well we did it! After a very intense rainfall this weekend it was time to get the cows back across The Cow Pasture River. The river was high today and a bit swift. Michael, Daniel and I were nervous but confident the cows were going to cross without fail. It was time for them to come back across to the river field for fresh pasture. You can see them lined up and ready to go.
Daniel crosses the swinging bridge where I follow behind and Michael stays across the river to call them over. Since the water is much faster than last weeks move we cannot have any vehicles or people crossing in the water with them like Daniel did on the tractor last week. Michael did a great job calling them across the river and kept them from floating too far downstream. The current nudged at them but they were tough and came through just a little further down stream than we anticipated. It was wonderful to watch them all keep up the fast swimming pace.
The team effort we shared today was palpable. Daniel is always right on target with his directions. I give a slight verbal push from behind we eventually get the timid calves hanging in the rear into the river too.  It was a huge feeling of relief when all of them were finally finding shore on the other side. We will be sleeping better now that they are across. They're calling for more rain the next two days. You can see them calmly grazing as if nothing significant happened!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lessons in Pruning

There's been a whole lot of pruning going on here at the farm. The apple and mulberry trees have gotten cut back, and what were once giant tangles of concord grapevines are now composed trunks, ready to settle in to spring. I am learning how to prune, and while methods certainly vary from plant to plant, I'm seeing that it has a lot to do with looking for and removing parts of the plant that are dead. It's a funny thing, training your eye to look for lifelessness. Perhaps it's the very nature of winter that makes us see the melancholy in everything - but pruning has made me very tuned-in to the overall deadness of winter.

I'm beginning to understand this concept in a way I never could before, not for all the palm trees and cement of my southern California upbringing. Winter is dead. The trees are bare. The wind is biting. Winter means seeing your breath even at the warmest part of the day. It means sore fingers and toes and layers upon layers of clothes. It means near desperation for ripe tomatoes, and kicking yourself for not eating more when it was August. It means cutting off lifeless branches, so that new ones can grow.

And so I'm learning that the act of pruning also lends to keeping your eyes open to what is still very much alive in the plant, and just sleeping for now. Look there, buds on the apple branches. And there, some green grass is starting to appear on the hill. We're a few weeks out from March 21st, but the changes are beginning to happen. I think this spring will mean the most it ever has to me...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our new sales building!

We are all so excited about the upcoming season and showing everyone our newly finished sales building!! Right now our freezers are full of beef, pork, chicken and eggs and we'll soon have fresh produce and herbs for you as well! We've expanded our gardens this year and look forward to being your 'one stop shop' for local, fresh food!!! There's so much to see! Make plans to visit us and get to know your farmer!
                                                 we also have t-shirts and books!!

Polyface Field Day - July 9, 2011

What you'll see and learn about on this special day:

PASTURED BROILERS     Raised ion moveable, floorless shelters, these meat birds net $2,000 per acre and cycle every 8 weeks.  The ultimate alternative to vertically integrated, inhumane, industrial factory chickens.

SALAD BAR BEEF   Mimicking the natural mobbing, moving, and mowing of native herbivores, cows receive a fresh pasture paddock of perennial polycultures every day.  Beeves finish on grass rather than grain, eliminating feedlots and enhancing the environment.

EGGMOBILES   Portable housing for laying hens, this production model utilizes birds as pasture sanitizers behind herbivores.  An ideal stacking enterprise that creates income and high-quality eggs from salvage operations.

MILLENNIUM FEATHERNET   Commercial pastured egg production utilizing high-tech electrified poultry netting and portable hoop structures—ultimately marrying the heritage “chickenness” of the chicken with the latest technological innovation for symbiosis.

PASTURED TURKEYS   Portable Gobbledygos provide shelter for turkeys,  especially aggressive poultry grazers.

PASTURED RABBIT  Harepens give weanlings all the forage they want but with enough movement flexibility to stay ahead of pathogens.  This model cuts feed costs dramatically and produces a rabbit in constant demand by the best gourmet chefs. A wonderfully quiet nutrient dense animal for small acreages and back yards.

PASTURED PORK  See pigs on pasture, slowly converting wooded areas into savannahs.  Portable feeders and electric fences provide hygienic and aesthetically pleasing outdoor production models.  Its truly hog heaven.

VEGETABLES   Polyface now offers a fully array of vegetables from hoop houses and beds utilizing microsites around the farm like barn eaves and southern terraces.  This is an independent layers business operated by a former intern.

SAWMILL  Lightweight and portable, bandsaw mills offer value added opportunities for woodlot owners and huge money savings for construction projects.  The Polyface mill will be operating throughout the day.

CHIPPING   Carbon and biomass accumulation can be generated efficiently on the farm with commercial PTO-powered chippers.  Watch the Polyface chipper turn brush and slab wood into compost-sized nuggets.

WATER SYSTEMS   From earthen ponds to gravity fed water, Polyface uses low-cost, low-tech systems to supply pressurized water to every corner of the farm.

ELECTRIC FENCING   Do-it-yourself portable and low-cost electric fencing systems are the key to reducing costs and improving management.  You’ll see new ideas for managing animals.

MULTIPLE USE HOOP HOUSES  In the winter, these structures house rabbits, laying hens, and pigs.  In the spring, summer and fall, Polyface enjoys season extension for vegetables under these tall tunnels.

TRADE SHOW  Visit with organizations and suppliers that keep Polyface functioning smoothly.  By invitation only, these businesses and groups will put you in touch with the latest greatest supplies and ideas in the pastured livestock and local food movement.

ACRES USA BOOKSTORE   Arguably the most comprehensive selection of eco-friendly books in America, you’ll want to take home plenty of mind-expanding books to maintain the momentum gained during this memorable day.

Click here to make your reservations
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