Archive for the ‘What’s that?’ Category

This is a question we’ve been asked a lot lately. With our baby just 7 weeks old, and both Rich and I working “real” jobs, people wonder how we do our farm gig as well. I know there are lots of you out there that are just as busy, just maybe with different interests. And like everyone else, we make it work, because we love it. So, to give you a glimpse of a typical day, here is how we do it:

After work, we make dinner, then run outside and do our chores until it’s too dark to see. We come in, bath time for baby boy, and off to bed. Repeat.



But without a doubt, this is my favorite part of the day. And we can’t wait until this is our “real job”.



Read Full Post »

Rich scoping out the new roof.

It’s one of those things that happens when you buy an old house. It’s inevitable.

The roof leaks.
Now, granted, our roof has leaked since we moved in. And it’s sprung a new leak every year since we’ve been here. But, of course things happen, and money and time ends up going to other things. Until now. A few weeks ago, Rich and I were moving furniture so we could start painting the nursery. The very next day the ceiling was covered in water damage. I called the roofer and was told he was 5 weeks out, but he would get to it before spring. *Whew* Then Sandy hit. Now, there is water damage and paint peeling from the ceiling and the wall.

I am ever so grateful for the patience of our roofer. When he heard this frazzled, crazy, rambling, pregnant lady’s phone message Monday morning, he called me right back and said they would have the roof finished by the end of the week. HOORAY! So, after less than a full day’s work, his team has most of the roof done, and will reportedly be finished by noon tomorrow.


In appreciation of your understanding, and quick response, we have released the hens to protect your roofing supplies, and truck until you return tomorrow.


Guarding the roofing supplies.

The Guard Chickens on Patrol

Our newest girl Dot bringing up the rear.


Read Full Post »

Farmer Rich here!

From picking, to cleaning and refrigeration, time is one of the greatest enemies to the quality of your veggies.  While our poor little kitchen sink is fine for washing veggies, we are limited on the space available to properly dry the food before it can be put into the fridge.

If we only had a convenient space to prepare, wash and dry our vegetables in order to make the process quick and easy . . .

Good news! Farmer Linde and I finished up our new outdoor wash station:

By re-purposing an old piece of counter top, a (free) Craigslist utility tub and a piece of old hardware cloth, we now have a quick and convenient way to rinse and dry vegetables before storing or selling.  This simple design will reduce our water waste by allowing us to capture the rinse water in a 5-gallon bucket so it can go right back into the garden.  A quick scrub and this new farm feature will be ready to use!


Read Full Post »

What the spud?!

“One of these things is not like the others…”

(It’s a potato!!)



Read Full Post »

So, I think seaweed and fish emulsion are magic. I have been meaning to spray the leaves of all my plants with a mixture of the two for weeks. When I used it when they were seedlings, they would shoot up an inch overnight. But, there was always something else to do. So yesterday, I finally took the time to fill my 2.5 gallon sprayer with water, liquid seaweed, and fish emulsion (all natural, no chemicals, nothing that you can’t eat safely). And here’s what I came out to today:

A female cucumber blossom. (See the baby cuke?!)

Pear Tomato Blossom

Russet Potato Blossom

Kennebec Potato Blossom

Red Gold Potato Blossom

I love the different shades of potato blossoms.

Russet Potato Row

Walking Onion


And just for fun, a shot of Clementis and some unknown flower in my flower bed.

I love summer!


Read Full Post »

Good News: I found a good spot for the fennel patch! They come back yearly, and shouldn’t be planted near other vegetables. So this is in the back and out-of-the-way.

Bad News: There is no prospect of blackberries in our future. I had to rip them all out, so that’s now the fennel patch. 😦

It’s my fault really. I bought the blackberry plants from a local individual, because they were supposed to be heirloom, and organically grown. Unfortunately, they also were infected with orange rust.


Mine wasn’t this severe, yet. But orange rust is a systemic problem. It infects the whole plant, and the symptoms show up on the leaves-at first. And it returns year after year. It stunts the growth, and we wouldn’t get many berries, if any at all. There’s no treatment for it. It’s not supposed to spread to anything we have planted, but I figured why take the risk. We have wild brambles all throughout the woods, and if it spreads to them, we’d likely be unable to ever have successful blackberries.

Talk about a bummer. I could taste those blackberries since I planted them….Oh well, this fall I’ll buy from a reputable source, so if it happens again, I can return them!


Read Full Post »

Do you know what genetically modified foods are? 

Do you know that you likely eating them everyday, without even knowing it?

I’ll be honest, until about 2 years ago, I was totally in the dark about it. Just hearing Genetically Modified makes me think of some sci-fi thriller. Unfortunately, it’s something you and I have been eating in our food daily since the 1990’s. And if you aren’t already, it’s something you should become familiar with.  So, here’s the basics:


GE: Genetically Engineered

GMO: Genetically Modified Organism

GM: Genetically Modified

DEFINITION: the manipulation of DNA, by humans, to change the essential makeup of plants and animals. This is something that could never happen in nature.*

Plain English: Scientists take DNA from one thing, say a fish, and insert it into another thing, like a tomato. (This actually happens!)  The end result is something that usually appears to have great benefits for the food system, but may actually have dire consequences to man, animal and earth.



Monsanto is a giant company that produces pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers (ie. RoundUp). They also control nearly all the world’s seed supply.  They are primarily responsible for genetically modifying food. Proponents of GMOs say that by genetically modifiying food, they increase crop yields, improve lifestock, and help end hunger. They’ve also claimed that GMOs can help stop climate change, and decrease pesticide use.*

Awesome, except all signs point to this being false.

Monsanto is a giant, bully of a company with lots of money, and lots of people in powerful positions. (They actually drive small farm businesses into the ground by filing frivolous lawsuits, just so the farmer’s go bankrupt! Check it out here, and here.) For example, former Monsanto employees currently holding positions in US government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Supreme Court, include Clarence Thomas, Michael R. Taylor, Ann Veneman, Linda Fisher, Michael Friedman, William D. Ruckelshaus, and Mickey Kantor. Linda Fisher has been back and forth between positions at Monsanto and the EPA. (Wikipedia)

So, it makes many people curious, myself included, what exactly this GMO stuff is all about.

Unfortunately, we don’t really know. Why? Because Monsanto is so powerful, they’ve been able to avoid regulation, mandatory labeling, and any outside studies of just how exactly GMO affects humans (or anything else for that matter.)

Bacillus thurgingiensus (Bt)

Bt is a natural bacterium found in the soil. Monsanto has been taking this bacterium and inserting it’s genes into plants, so that plant produces toxins. The end result is the plant actually kills any bugs that attempt to eat it.  Back in 1995, a potato was the first plant approved in the US to carry this gene.  Currently, there is also soybeans, cotton and corn.


Roundup-Ready GMOs

Soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, cotton, alfalfa, and Kentucky bluegrass have all been modified to include material for Monsanto’s pesticide/herbicide.  As a matter of fact, 86% of corn, 90% of soybeans, and 93% of cotton grown in 2010 were modified to include this material.

Why? Because they can spray all kinds of toxic pesticides and herbicides on these crops, and it kills everything except the actual crop. The crop then goes to us to eat, or to animals for feed, that we ultimately eat. Either way, we’re eating it. Yikes!

Current food on the market containing GMO:

  • Sweet Corn -Coming to a Wal-mart near you, directly from Monsanto!
  • peppers
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • rice
  • sugar cane
  • rapeseed
  • flax
  • chicory
  • peas
  • papaya
  • milk
  • soy
  • honey                                                   Source

Milk and GM hormones:  

Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) is produced in a cows pituitary gland. Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is a GM version of this hormone. They inject it into cows, which increases milk production by 10%.  Unfortunately, it seems also to increase the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers in humans, and infections like chronic mastitis in the cows, which are then treated with antibiotics. (Resistance to antibiotics in humans is rapidly on the rise!) The FDA approved rBST use in 1993.

The Science Behind it:

Some preliminary studies from other countries don’t look good. In 2011, and international study showed birth defects in birds and amphibians, cancer, endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, and reproductive and developmental damage in mammals.*

Other studies have shown that it makes plants defenses weaker, growing resistance in bugs, and soil and land infertility. (I’m thinking-single crop, bug resistance, infertile soil=Irish Potato Famine?)

Many countries have ban the sales and growth of GM crops, and the use of rBST is illegal in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe.

So, what can we do?


Buying all organic ensures that you will never be consuming GMOs. (in 2000, the organic regulations ban GMO from being included in the organic standards.) Although, it’s tough to buy all organic, even increasing your organic purchases, and buying locally when possible will ultimately have an impact on the Monsanto millionaires that are hiding the truth from us. Like, maybe GMOs aren’t even that bad, but we’ll never know, because Monsanto won’t let us!

Buy organic milk, or milk that says rBST-free on the label. (Found at most grocery stores.)

Check out the Just Label it! campaign to encourage the big wigs to start letting us know just what it is that we’re eating! Also, send letters to your congress people, and/or the FDA.

Collingwood Farm purchases all non-GMO seeds by buying organic, or heirloom varieties (We love Baker Creek Heirloom). Also check out the Safe Seed list (a list of companies that have signed a GMO-free pledge).

Did I say buy local?? Buy local, Buy Local, BUY LOCAL! You won’t get any GMOs from Collingwood Farm!

And, if you’ve invested in biotech stocks, maybe think of switching to something less sinister.

Want more info?

I strongly encourage you to watch the documentaries:  The future of Food and Food, Inc. There’s nothing gross in these films, and they are really enlightening to our food production in this country.

Also check out *Mother Earth News. Most of the information from this post came from their recent article.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »