Collaboration · flowers · Green Gardens Community Farm · Uncategorized

A Day for Love: Arranging Flowers for the Goetz-Berman Wedding

It’s hard to believe that a month ago today, the two of us were at the wedding of Robert’s sister Elaine and her husband Dan. We were honored to arrange the flowers for the ceremony and reception. We had initially planned on growing them, but we got a little ambitious with our garden plans, and the weeds got away from us. With help from Green Gardens, we pulled everything off amazingly well.

IMG_1165.JPGA little before the wedding date, we placed our order with Trent. The day before the wedding, we cut some flowers and greens from our property. Much of it was trimmed off our trees that needed pruning, or were actual weeds (they were primarily Queen Anne’s lace) from our lawn. They worked beautifully with what we ordered. A little later in the day, we got in touch with Trent and he let us know that he had our flowers and filler cut and waiting in buckets for us. The arrangements consisted of zinnias, a few dahlias, multiple types of basil, a couple types of celosia, gomphrena, sunflowers and cosmos. There were a few other flowers that we had in small numbers as well.

They were stored overnight in the basement at Robert and Elaine’s parent’s house. It was cooler there, and they would likely hold better. We were very happy with how that worked out. Robert spent much of the morning with the groomsmen while I did the flowers with the help of Elaine’s friend Gretchen. She was a lifesaver! It can be said that I don’t do well under pressure, and an extra set of hands and eyes, and a kind voice were so welcomed.

The flowers started with the bouquets for the bridal party to carry. I wanted to make sure I used the prettiest flowers first. Elaine’s bouquet took some work, but eventually I got it. Gretchen wrapped the stems with twine and gave them a great polished look. We trimmed the stems so that Elaine’s bouquet was a little longer than the rest. It looked amazing.IMG_1188.JPG

After the important bouquets were finished, we worked on the 55 or so centerpiece arrangements. Elaine and many family members and friends had been looking for small bud vases and jars for almost two years before the wedding. They looked lovely together, and were fairly easy to arrange.IMG_1190.JPG

All together on one table, they were a sight to see! I got so many compliments on them, and I really enjoyed myself. It was stressful, as I didn’t want to disappoint Elaine and Dan, but in the end, it went really really well. Other than the flowers, vases and twine, the only things we needed were loads and loads of floral tape, and some super sharp flower snips. Arranging flowers isn’t the most complicated thing in the world, but it definitely takes some practice. I look forward to more opportunities to work on it.IMG_1203.JPG

Animals · Chickens · Collaboration · Green Gardens Community Farm · Meat · Production

Raising Meat Birds

Something super exciting is happening at Frontière Farm House very soon! Our first batch of meat birds is going to the processor tomorrow, and we can’t wait to share them with all of you.

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The meat flock lining up for breakfast.

Back at the end of March, we received a shipment of Red Ranger and Husky Ranger chicks from The Chick Hatchery. They were so tiny when they first arrived! We struggled a little at first, and a few didn’t survive, but since that initial issue (which we’ve worked out for future batches) they haven’t had any health troubles. When we first got them, they grew so quickly. In fact, if one of us didn’t see them for a couple days, we noticed their growth very easily.

We are getting close to processing time, and we wanted to share more information about these soon-to-be delicious birds. As said previously, they are Red Ranger and Husky Ranger. These are both chicken breed crosses that have been selectively bred to grow fairly quickly. They are slightly slower growing and have far fewer health problems than the traditional Cornish cross, which was very important to us. In addition, the Ranger types are better for free range/pasture raising (hence the name). We have our birds in a mobile chicken coop, often called a chicken tractor, which we move to fresh grass every single day, and sometimes twice a day. They can eat all the grass, weeds, bugs and dirt they want. More than once we have seen them chase flying insects in the tractor and eagerly gobble them up. This is what chickens are meant to do! In addition, we feed them a high-quality meat bird grower feed which is blended at a local mill. It doesn’t contain any hormones or antibiotics and is made from grains grown local to us. Supporting local farmers is something that we do as often as possible!

Red Rangers and Husky Rangers mature in ten to twelve weeks. It is a short life, but our birds are very happy every single day they spend on our farm. We have a goal of making sure none of our animals have more than one bad day. We will be bringing them to a USDA inspected facility where they will be processed. We have heard nothing but good things about this processor, and we are confident that they will do a great job of minimizing suffering for our birds. Once they are killed, plucked, and cleaned, they will be wrapped, weighed, labeled, and we will bring them home in coolers. We will have them available fresh for the first day at the market, and then we will freeze them shortly after. We are taking pre-orders for the birds. For just $5, you secure your whole bird. That will go towards the total cost. They are $4.50 a pound for the whole birds, and if we end up doing halves or eight pieces, the price will be slightly more.

In addition to picking them up from us, we will have chicken available through our friends at Green Gardens Community Farm! The pricing will be the same, but pre-orders will not be available.

We already have our second batch of birds started, and these will also be ready in ten to twelve weeks. If you miss out on this first round, you don’t have too long to wait for more!

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Sixty birds for the next batch
garden · Production · Vegetables

Preparing the Garden for a Successful Year

Summer of 2017 was a summer of next to no rain. It made for a difficult first year of gardening for us on our new property. We got a soil test done last year which told us what our garden was lacking. One of them was organic matter. Back in September 2017, we plowed the garden and seeded with winter rye and forage radish. The radishes have long roots which helps aerate the soil, and the rye helps build up organic matter when it’s tilled in.

 

Last weekend, Robert went through our careful orchestration of acquiring the tools we need to do large scale garden work. We borrow a cone spreader from our friends at Green Garden, and a tractor from our friends Dave and Nancy. He also had to borrow a van to transport all the bags of fertilizers home.

IMG_20180408_142947.jpgOur garden is about 3/4 of an acre. Because of the large size, and how poor our soil is, we needed large quantities of everything. It started with 1500 pounds of lime. Lime helps raise the pH of the soil. Most plants want the soil between 6.5 and 7, and ours was at 5.4. In addition, 400 pounds of 19-19-19 fertilizer was added. This adds nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. And finally, our soil was especially poor in potassium, so 40 pounds of potash was mixed in, which is 0-0-60.IMG_20180408_141816

So far, so good with what has been spread. We still need to till in the rye and spread our plastic mulch. But, it’s progressing, which makes us both happy. We can’t wait to share what we are growing with you!

Animals · Chickens · Ducks · Eggs · geese · Goals · Meat · Production · Video

New Kids In The Flock: Recent Additions to Our Farm

We’ve been told that spring is coming, but we beg to differ. We’ve had alternating days of wonderful weather, with clear skies and reasonable temperatures, and complete garbage. This morning, I woke up to snow dusting the entire yard. Luna wasn’t super impressed with it when I took her out to do her business and care for the animals.

First thing every morning, we let the flock out of the coop. The chickens, ducks and muscovies spend the night in the coop, and the geese stay outside. They are too large, and just too mean to keep in with the rest of the flock overnight. Plus, we have them as “guard dogs” so we want them to make noise if something is amiss. This is what “Unleashing the Feather Beasts” looked like back in the fall.

In the last month or so, we’ve added several birds to our flock. The first were a pair of male muscovies. We got a white, as well as a lavender. Shortly after, we got a trio of females to go with them. We plan on breeding them to raise babies for both egg and meat production. We also acquired three female Toulouse geese, which seem to have bonded with the trio of American Buff geese we have. The plan for those is also raising babies for meat production. Plus, we’ll enjoy some eggs while we wait for the ladies to go broody.

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Our two handsome Muscovy boys

We have also ordered more layers, as well as our first batch of meat birds. The layers are going to be Easter Eggers, to add a little color to our cartons for the market. The meat birds are Red Rangers as well as Husky Rangers. The Easter Eggers will be added to our laying flock after brooding in the barn for a few weeks. The Rangers will be put into tractors to be moved around our pasture. We have several reasons we’ve chosen Rangers as opposed to the usual Cornish Cross meat birds, which we will go into more detail in a future post. Keep an eye out for that one!

Eggs · Production

Announcing the Frontière Farm House Egg CSA

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Releasing the flock onto fresh pasture

Today, February 23, is National CSA Sign Up Day. We would like to take this opportunity to announce our Egg CSA!

Our eggs have been in high demand since we started selling them. We have several customers to tell us how much they and their children love our eggs. Because of this, we decided to offer a CSA as a thank you to these great people.

First off, what is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. What it means is that the community or consumer prepays for a “farm share” or a set amount of product at the start of the season, and gets great farm produced food throughout the season in return. The consumer wins because their share is worth more than what the products would cost at market, and the farmer wins because they get more money up front to help fund their growing season.

How is our CSA going to work? We will sell CSA punch cards good for twelve dozen eggs, and you will pay for ten dozen. You will choose either chicken eggs, or duck eggs at the beginning, and the cards will be marked accordingly. We are starting with a very limited number of shares, as we would still like to provide eggs to other market shoppers.

Once you purchase your punch card, you will be able to purchase eggs with it whenever you want! They won’t expire, and you can choose to skip a few weeks, or get a few dozen at a time. We do ask that if you need several dozen at once to let us know as soon as possible, so that we can set them aside for you. Eggs can be picked up at the Marshall Area Farmers Market, or if you message our Facebook page, we can make other pickup/drop-off arrangements. We also cannot guarantee that we will have eggs available at the market later in the day. We sell out most weeks, so again, if you need eggs, just let us know ahead of time.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We will respond as quickly as possible. If you would like to sign up, email us and let us know if you’d like the duck share or the chicken share. Thank you for supporting us as we endeavor to grow our farm.

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Some of our very first eggs