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Last Visit 2013-12-21 10:16:06 |Start Date 2006-10-04 18:08:27 |Comments 59 |Entries 79 |Images 19 |

Category: football

01/08/11 11:30 - 19.ºF - ID#53414

bye, colts

the indianapolis colts were my favorite team this year (sorry, bills, but you have become my second choice), and sadly, they lost now in the wildcard playoff.

new orleans, my third favorite team, also lost today.

i don't have anyone left to root for.

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Category: chickens

01/06/11 07:39 - 25.ºF - ID#53400

my new girls

I have certainly taken a liking to my chickens. It all started when I got 10 hens for my birthday this April. Our flock has now increased to 48 birds.

My latest additions were 3 of these buff brahmas (this is not my photo, but it shows what they look like). They are the sweetest girls ever! They LOVE people and are the friendliest of the 9 different varieties that we have.


But, they are HUGE!!! I think one of them weighs about 9 pounds. In contrast, my White Leghorns (which is your standard everyday, factory farm, egg-layers) weigh around 4 pounds each.

I can see the economy of raising 4 pound chickens instead of large chickens. I'm already spending $20/week on food! Yes, that is over 50 pounds per week, although they do eat much less food when there is no snow on the ground and can forage for themselves.
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Last Modified: 01/06/11 08:23

Category: beer

12/22/10 12:20 - 23.ºF - ID#53318

beer wars

the other day, i watched a documentary called Beer Wars. good documentary; it seems that in a lot of ways beer is a few years ahead of vegetables in terms of big vs. small, as the craft beers are growing in popularity.

but there is a super-villain in the beer industry. and the short story is that i vowed never to drink another budweiser or anheuser/busch product again in my life. they are evil.

i broke that promise only two nights later, tonight.

i wanted to get some beer for me and mark. i drove to the beer store to pick up some OV, old vienna, for $7/12 pack. (the cheapest, best non-anheuser/bush product in a 20 mile radius, at least.) when i went to check out, the cashier informed me about their special on budweiser-select 55: only $7/24 pack! i am pretty poor, so this was absolutely too good to pass up.

i let down my principles so quickly. (i got both the O.V. and the busweiser select 55)

but it seems that anheuser-busch had the last laugh. budweiser-select 55 has only 2.4% alcohol. that is like drinking one water for every beer. (OV, and my other favorite beer, Labatts, are both 5%)
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12/16/10 12:07 - 25.ºF - ID#53284

life in holland

here's an update on my life. perhaps i will get in to blogging again, as it's the "down season" (as long as my mac holds up, anyway)

we grew over 40 different vegetables this year. big winners were corn, tomatoes, hot peppers, and greens.

the farmer's market downtown was great.....when it didn't rain. it is absolutely horrible when it does rain. it is terrible to have to bring all that produce home.

this convinced me that we need to start a CSA next year. we're starting small, aiming for just 12 families this year. we will still sell at farmers markets, but the long-term goal is to grow the CSA because people at farmer's markets are so fickle. for now, we will only distribute from our farm directly.

one thing i LOVE is our chickens. mark got me 10 hens for my birthday this april. they are fun, and i view them as pets, not livestock. anyway, the eggs were a *huge* hit at market. so we got 30 more chickens this october, and they will start laying in march or april. the chickens live in the barn, where our farm is, and we have moved in to our house, about 4-5 miles away, in town.

it is much easier to make money from selling eggs than it is to sell vegetables. we have yet to make any profit on the farm (this year, our expenses were very high, and last year our harvest was poor). mark and i are hopeful and confident that year 3 will turn this around.

so i work as a bookkeeper on the side (i really like doing this, and i hope to expand this business.) and i also do income taxes. i do not like this job at all, but the seasonal work is exactly what i need.
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Last Modified: 12/16/10 12:07

Category: farming

08/17/10 10:40 - 74.ºF - ID#52466

downtown farmers market

so far, it's been a great growing year. our garden has vastly expanded, and our knowledge has grown even more. plus, it's a lot of fun to be your own boss.

i wanted to let everyone know that i am selling at the downtown buffalo farmers market on thursdays. it's on main st, near lafayette square from 8am-2pm. so come over to say hi if you're free.

i have sold out of veggies almost every week (turnip greens, however, did not go over very well). we make about $100/week, which i think is pretty good for our second year of this enterprise.

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Last Modified: 08/17/10 10:40

Category: home

01/06/10 12:20 - 21ºF - ID#50753


mark and i are buying a house. we are just in the early stages. basically: we made an offer, they accepted. we're going to the bank tomorrow, getting the home inspection on Sunday. this is very exciting!
i really hope it works out, we love the house, it's the perfect location, it has room to expand for our future pets and kids, and gives us a great base from which to run our farm.
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Category: work

11/05/09 07:35 - 38ºF - ID#50228

new job

i really needed a job, so i went to the temp agency. it turned out that they liked me so much that they asked me to work for them, at their agency.

i now have a job giving other people jobs. i actually really like this job. and they really want me to stay.

i now have a dilemma.

i've been studying income taxes so that i can be an income tax preparer. i thought this would be the ideal job for me while i spend much of my time farming. pretty much because
1. tax season is January 15-April 15, which won't interfere with my farming
2. i am really good at math
3. i already know a lot about income taxes
4. the training only cost $80 (after reviewing my life, i realized that the only thing i regretted was wasting so much money on education that i didn't end up using)

i suppose i don't have to decide what to do soon, but i am wondering if i should stay at this job or actually switch to an income tax preparer job.

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Category: farming

08/29/09 11:43 - 65ºF - ID#49659

a sad day (tomato blight)

we were protected, at least for a lot longer than most farmers, especially the organic farmers, who can't use poisons to prevent the disease.

but late blight came to our farm this week. one week ago, our tomatoes were perfectly fine. but today we were forced to pull all of our 450 tomato plants. the signs appeared on tuesday. by thursday, i was fairly convinced, and friday i was sure. it took me a full day to convince mark, but he gave in today as well.

late blight is a disease that exists all the time, but it doesn't usually appear until after tomato season ends (after the first frost). but this year, a major distributor of seedling tomatoes (bonnie plants, in alabama) delivered infected plants to walmart, lowes, kmart, and other large stores in that vein. so everyone who bought their plants from those stores got infected plants. and although we had started organic plants from seeds, we eventually got blight, because the disease travels by air.

rochester has had no tomatoes this year. and pretty much everyone east of us didn't have any either. it is really sad.

we were actually lucky. despite the cold, rainy weather, we got to harvest vine ripe tomatoes for about 10 days before we got the blight. we got about 50 pounds of fresh, red tomatoes and enjoyed every single one of them. they were so good! i love tomatoes!

today we harvested the remaining green tomatoes that did not have signs of blight. about 200 pounds. they will ripen inside, but never taste as good as they would if they were ripened on the vines. 450 plants should give a harvest of about 4000-5000 pounds. we pulled the other plants out of the ground, because keeping them there would only help to spread the disease.

here are some photos, although the disease doesn't show up nearly as well on the photos as it does in reality. there are black splotches on the stems, the foliage is dying, and the fruits have darkened, leathery splotches. it is suggested that anyone noting this disease pull their plants right away. there is no cure, not even pesticides or fungicides at this point.

close up of green tomato. the "dead giveaway" sign of late blight is the white powdery substance, which contains the spores that are widespread by the wind.

nasty partially red tomato that rotted away, also containing white powdery spores.

our large harvest of green tomatoes.

beautiful harvest of heirloom tomatoes from the previous day.

despite this problem, will we grow tomatoes again next year?

hell yes!
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08/07/09 07:10 - 70ºF - ID#49483

get a job, hippie!

my bank account has been below $200 for months now and I'm sick of scrimping on every single thing, even toilet paper.

so I've been looking for a job for over a month now.

this has been so challenging! Whenever I've wanted a job before, I've always found one in two days at the most. but this time around, I spent an entire month. I was searching the want ads in about a million places and, of course, searching on the internet. I even went to two different temp agencies, but..... nothing!

I guess it was so hard because
1. the economy sucks these days. This has expanded my awareness of the economy a whole lot and I can empathize with people in rough places so much more now.
2. I now live in the country and it's much more difficult to find a job in the country than in the city.

This was the worst: I applied at an apiary (a bee yard) for a seasonal job and the lady told me that they run that ad in the Penny Saver every year and they usually get 5-7 calls for their two positions. This year they got over 50 calls! Man, it is rough out there.

I'd advise anyone who is just irked with their job to not quit right now unless you have enough to sustain you while you search.

So, after applying to 11 jobs, I finally got one. Probably the one I like best, because I'm getting paid to farm! And to work in a greenhouse. And it's full-time, year round.

I started yesterday; It's tough work! I was sure beat when I got home yesterday. You really work every minute there, except your half hour lunch and fifteen minute break.

I get paid $9.25/hour. This is pretty incredible, because I've looked around at jobs on farms before and they only pay about $4/hour, because they call them "internships" instead of jobs.

The only problem is the pesticides. (I don't spray them, but I can feel that they're there. And I've never eaten fresh-picked tomatoes that tasted like supermarket tomatoes before!) But I guess this just makes me appreciate our own farm even more.

The best thing, apart from the money that I desperately need, is that Mark has been cooking dinner for us! Yesterday, he made an amazing tofu/rice/boiled cabbage/swiss chard dinner and today he beat that by miles with his pasta with marinara and fried green tomatoes and mushrooms:


yum! what a great thing to come home to!
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Category: farming

07/28/09 09:32 - 74ºF - ID#49405



This has been an amazing growing season for peas. They love cool, wet weather in the summer and will keep producing until the weather gets above 80 for a few days.

I have frozen over 45 cups of peas. Unfortunately, I do not yet have a full-sized freezer, so I can't freeze any more. We are eating and giving away as many peas as we can! We have been eating them fresh from the garden nearly every day for over a month. I just might turn green.

Here is the story of my largest pea harvest in a day.


It took about an hour to harvest these peas.


Here I am shelling the peas. This took about two hours.


Here is the result after I shelled them. (The bin in the back is the empty pea pods.)


Then I boiled them for about two minutes per batch. I guess this took about 45 minutes, as I had to rinse them in cold water afterwords.


I dried the peas before bagging them. This is so they don't stick together. ( I have since bought a salad spinner for this purpose.)


End result: around 20 cups of peas this evening!

I do not understand how Tops can charge only $1 for a pound of shelled frozen peas. This is a lot of work! Don't get me wrong, though, I am happy to have enough home-grown peas to eat all winter long.

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