Archive for the ‘What’s Happening on the Farm’ Category

Sorry for the lapse in posts folks. After a few hospital stays, Our daughter, Nora, came 5 weeks early on June16. (Over a MONTH ago! How can this be?!)
She had a short stay in the ICU but is home, beautiful and healthy!

She doesn’t sleep much at night, and my son is only 15 months, so farming has come to a screeching halt. Theres always next season, right?!

Until next time,

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I am SOOOOO happy to report, we just got word of the most recent zoning code amendments, that will soon head to city council for approval. It looks like they took our concerns seriously. And, although there are restrictions now, when previously there were no restrictions, in regards to agriculture and agricultural animals, we think the restrictions are fair, and well thought-out. Rob Franklin and the planning commission obviously took our suggestions to heart. And we wanted to thank them for that! So,

Thank you Solon Planning Commission for taking us seriously!

We had some doubts and you proved us wrong.

The current recommendations are not final. They have to be approved by the planning commission, and then head to the council, but I’m sure there will be no further detrimental changes to our cause.

A quick summary of the current code amendments include:

  • 3 chickens/10,000 sq ft for a max of 20 chickens, unless you have over 10 acres. (We don’t see a reason to have more than 20 chickens on a property like ours, so we’re cool with it.) They’ve banned roosters, which might have been something we would be interested in the future, but it’s a compromise we’re willing to accept. Roosters can be aggressive, so we understand their thought.
  • 1 goat, sheep, etc. per 1/2 acre, max. of 5, unless you have 10 or more acres. Again, we think this is fair, and won’t affect our long-term plans.
  • They included set-back requirements for animal houses, size limitations for animal housing, etc. All reasonable and understandable, both for respect to the neighbors, and health of the animals.
  • They specifically listed vegetable production as an accepted accessory use.

I’ll keep an eye out for any zingers that might be thrown in as the amendments head to city council, but we are VERY satisfied. That being said, we also owe YOU a huge Thank you! So many of you came to meetings, wrote letters, and made phone calls to support us. It warms my heart, and means more than words can say. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! We would never had such a success with the city if it weren’t for your support.

Viva La Chickens in Solon! 🙂


Thanks again!


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To be clear, every Mother’s Day I’ve had and will have since duder was born is the best Mother’s Day ever! But, this Mother’s Day, we planted 80 feet of white potatoes in the field and 30 feet of sweet potatoes in the high tunnel. And I’ve already got one handsome little spud! (With another on the way!) Who could ask for more!?! 🙂


Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mommas. Especially mine!


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I brought our newest members home yesterday:

photo (1) photo

I know for certain we have at least 3 Black australorps (the best egg layers in my experience) and one Light Brahma, in memory of my beloved Fancy Boots. The other 6 are a toss-up. I ordered a “Rare Breed Egg Layer” batch, so we’ll see what we get once they’re a little bigger. How fun! And they sure are cute little devils. 🙂

I’ve also been asked to write an opinion piece for the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the Pro’s of having backyard chickens in the ‘burbs. Flattering,  yet I can’t shake the niggling feeling that I’m opening myself up for some trouble!! Oh well…

In other news, my baby boy turned ONE last month. Can you believe it!?! I get a little choked up thinking about it. He’s so handsome, funny, and smart, just like his daddy.

photo (2)He had one heckuva party, too!! 🙂

We’re just counting down now until our baby girl gets here! 12 more weeks!! I can’t believe that either!

Thanks for checking in!


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Things are beginning to feel springy around here lately! (FINALLY!) The sun is shining, and the temperature has actually consisted of TWO whole digits most days. I’m starting to feel my spirits lift from the winter doldrums.

As you likely know, we are expecting our second baby, due in July. We had our son last March, so the growing season was difficult to manage. Unfortunately, this year will be even harder. We had a scare last week, and I’ve been told I’m on light-duty. Not bedrest EXACTLY, but, you know, no long walks, strenuous exercise or housework, or even picking up our son. 😦

Not an easy thing to hear when it’s planting season.

Regardless of the short-term difficulties, it will be ALL worth it when we’re holding our new baby. And, its times like these you’re thankful for friends and family. Yesterday, we had some family come help Rich prep the high tunnel beds.


Adam, Mike, and Rich

Rich said he got weeks worth of work done with their help. So thank you ever so much, guys!!

I, on the other hand, have been undertaking the exciting task of transferring from couch, to chair, to bed, on a fairly regular routine, under the watchful eye of my mother. You’d never guess, but she’s a drill sergeant! (Just kidding mom, love you and thanks so much for staying to help us out!) I did get a reprieve today, and enjoyed some time at my seed-starting table with a little help.

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I didn’t even get 2 whole flats started, which is only a fraction of what we usually have. But, since I’m essentially sidelined for this entire season, I’ve probably started TOO many seeds. I suspect we’ll have some GMO-free pepper and tomato plants available for purchase again this year. I’ll keep you updated.

And, although we’re four months behind, we got our specialty, organic garlic in the ground today. Ok, well, I didn’t. I supervised while Rich did all the work. But, regardless, it’s in the ground, and I’m excited!!

Also, my mom is attempting to teach me to knit. A good way to keep my mind busy, and my tush in the chair, I supposed. Except for the fact that I am NO good at it! So, that being said, if you’re looking for some outside time, we could DEFINITELY use your help at our place this year. If you do a good job, you might be rewarded with a caddywhompus hand-knitted scarf! Or a dozen eggs, but that’s not as fun! 🙂

Let us know!


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We were asked to be in a Solon Times article this week regarding the proposed zoning changes in our city. They wanted us to show off our chickens, since the city is trying to restrict chickens to 2 per household, and until the coyote attack, we had 18. So, we all piled into the coop. I chased a frantic hen around for a while, and then we got this:IMG_1892[1]Not too shabby! Right?!

Then, she pooped in my coat pocket. Oh well, it happens right?

The article is fairly benign, covering both “Sides” of the issue, which include the planning director essentially saying farm animals are bad, and us and our neighbors saying they are not! The weird part is, apparently the planning director, who does not live in our city, has his own farm with chickens and turkeys and what not. Does that strike you as odd, that a guy who wants the right to own these animals himself is trying to restrict our right? Hmmm…

Anyway, the battle is still waging, and it won’t be over until the November ballot I suspect. Until then, if you live in Solon, I implore you to contact your council representative or anyone on the planning commission and give them an earful. It’s the only way they’ll get the message that what we’re doing is GOOD!!



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If you’ve been following our blog, facebook page, or newsletter, you know at this time last week, we felt under attack. And rightly so. We found out only days before, just by chance, through a article that our farm was in jeopardy because the city has decided to change the zoning laws, seemingly out of nowhere. (As if we aren’t always at jeopardy because of the bugs, deer, coyotes, and constant state of pregnancy by the head farmer. :P) Well, we, as well as nearly a dozen other folks from the city went to a public forum on Tuesday to state our concerns. And luckily, no one had concerns opposing our position, besides, perhaps some on the planning commission.

So, I wanted to give you an update on where we are now.

  • Thankfully, “cultivation of land” is not being prohibited in Solon. It’s not being specifically addressed, it seems, in the paperwork, but per the Planning Director, Rob Frankland, our market garden is safe.
  • The current limitation on chickens is 2 per household  (which we all objected to pretty loud and clearly), UNLESS you already own chickens. So, our 18 (that’s our allowable number since we just recently lost 14 to a coyote attack) chickens are safe. Once the weather breaks, we’ll be replacing them and getting our egg business back up and running (hopefully!)—more on this later.
  • They currently are limiting any farm animal over 30″ at the shoulder, with the exception of horses, mules and ponies. I specifically asked: “What is the difference if I own a mule or a goat?” I didn’t get a straight answer. However, the planning director essentially said these were arbitrary starting points (as I suspected), and that nothing was final.

We didn’t get any straight answers on when any recommended changes might be made. Just a lot of “Nothings final.” and “We want to hear from the residents” Which I was confused by, considering we are the residents. One member also stated “I don’t just want hearsay, I want expert opinion.”-on how many animals should be permitted per property. Which I also didn’t understand since, well, we’re experts since we own the animals, right? And I had just given them articles and contact information for a local person who works at Case Western University and specializes in zoning and planning for animal husbandry and agriculture in the urban area. Regardless, we felt our concerns were heard, and we felt supported by many.

You can read the most recent article HERE, where Rich refers to some Solon residents as animals. (Which was said in jest and everyone laughed. In writing, it doesn’t come across as well. He’s kind of embarrassed as he says “I sound like an old curmudgeon.”)

The goal now is to have residents voice their opinion on how many animals they would tolerate on their neighbor’s property. Should there be restrictions? Should it be based on lot size? Size of the animal? Who knows? These are things they want to hear about. There was a strong support from all our neighbors on Brainard Road. An ENORMOUS “Thank you” to them for coming. And EVERYONE who came. And everyone who wrote letters on our behalf. I get the distinct impression that they were flooded with letters supporting Collingwood Farm. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

If anyone out there knows of “experts” (i.e. professionals in the agriculture field that could speak to the appropriateness of chickens and other animals in the urban area) I would greatly appreciate their contact information. The more information we get to the planning commission, the more informed their decisions will be.

So, I cautiously say, things are looking up!

Thank you again to you all who support us. We couldn’t do this without you!!


PS: I don’t believe I mentioned it before, but we’re having another baby! In July! So, we’ll have a 16 month old, and a newborn. So, we might have another slow year farm-wise around here. I’m sure you understand!

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