Monday, August 22, 2011

Long over due post.

Well hello! It has been awhile and I am really sorry. Things have been a little crazy here. Trying to keep up with weeds, kids, rabbits, herbs and produce. There are a lot of new and exciting things happening.

As you all know we have been trying to up our rabbit stock. We recently got 2 different sets of new additions. The first was a group that had been together for awhile. They had already been bred a few different times. We got 8 does and 3 bucks in
that group.

The second group was a group of 3. 2 does and 1 buck. They had belonged to an older couple and they had cages that they moved along the ground. Which comes to my next statement of we have finally started grazing our rabbits. The cages that move along the ground are called "tractors." It is kind of the same scenario as a "chicken tractor." We have had numerous questions and comments as to what a chicken tractor is. We have had every response from "a rabbit riding a tractor" to "a cage painted the color of a John Deere." Yes they sound silly, but to a non-farmer, some statements such as "chicken tractor" tend to get the mind wandering. That is what I love about farming, is there always something more to learn and something new coming out everyday in technology, ideas and products.

So after introducing them all to our rabbit "herd," we needed to revamp, reorganize and relabel. We are starting to fill up the barn. It looks pretty nice. It is very exciting for us because it is getting us closer and closer to our goal. Which means it also gets us closer to having as much rabbit available a week as demanded by our customers.

Julianna chillin while we pick herbs.
Eric Jr helping daddy with water bottles for the rabbits.
Of course in the mean time we get great pictures and teach our children how to farm. We are starting them young, but Eric Jr is loving it. At 2 years old he knows how to steer the tractor wherever it needs to go. He drives daddy to the barn and to feed the cows. He is excited every morning to wake up and go do chores. Now we know this will not last long, but we are taking advantage of it. It is great to see the absorption of knowledge in a little man like him. So hyper and full of energy and life, it amazes me at how much he loves to do this! He is our dirt boy. He walks out to the house and is completely covered in dirt. Sometimes I wonder where it comes from. And of course his sister is following right in his footsteps. She gets just as dirty and into everything that she can get her little hands on. She loves to follow her brother around and he loves to entertain her.

She was making sure we did it right!
Next topic is herbs. We have been revamping our dried herb line throughout the years. We first started in putting our dried herbs in plastic bags. Then we discovered that they sold better in shaker bottles. So we tested that out for a season and now have tried to completely revamp everything into those shaker bottles and find new and exciting combinations and herbs to place in them. We just recently got an account with Cornell Orchards. Which if you have purchased fruit from us before you would know that we generally get 90% of our fruit from them. Including the absolutely loved donut peaches! So if you are in need of our dried herb shakers and cannot get to market or there isn't a market before you absolutely need it, you can go to Cornell Orchards to get it!

Eric Jr helping me put the Lime Basil in the box.
She loved the color, or was it the taste?
The herbal teas and salves that I have been talking about are being put on the back burner for now in order for us to catch up and produce the amount of herb shakers we need to fill our orders. Ideas are still running through my head as to what mixes to make and herbal teas would be good for soothing, cooling and overall well being. I am still continually researching and learning about the properties of every herb. The cautions and the reasons behind the salves, teas and mixtures.

The rest has been a little mumbo jumbo. The stand is now being filled with fruit, and produce. We have tons of tomatoes coming on! The heirlooms look gorgeous! And taste even better! Peaches have been in. We are getting peaches from Cornell Orchards. Our first batch was Starfire.

We also got apples last week from Cornell Orchards. I cannot believe it is apple season already. This summer has flown. I think it was because spring took forever to get here, or maybe because we have been so busy I haven't had time to figure out what day of the week it is.


And more herbs.

Mom and Dad pickin tomatoes.
She got the first tomato this year!  I will get it next year though!
  Well, I won't keep you any longer, I am hoping to get back in the routine and writing. But for now I hope you enjoy the photos and the update.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

I am writing this post at 11:45 pm because this is about the only time that I have a clear mind with no children crying, no phones ringing, no commotion. It is just me, the fans and silence. Ahhhhh......

So on to the subject at hand.

Things are hopping on the farm. Rabbits are ready for butcher. We have 20 Rabbits ready to be bred this week. Which means we should have quite a few right behind this batch.

We are revamping the stand, clearing the plants and bringing in the produce! We currently have had plums, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, costata romanesca zucchini, Garlic (Italian red, Carpathian, and Music).

We have had more fruit and produce at Otsinigo market.

The fruit from Cornell has started coming in. We had the Shiro plums, now we have Shiro plums and Methley plums. When we talked to Cornell Orchards last week they said that we would probably have Donut peaches, and the beginning of the NY Peaches for the next Otsinigo Market.

By the way, Otsiningo Marketers remember that there is no Otsiningo Market this weekend because of Spiedie Fest. But we will return the weekend after that.

For Ithaca Marketers, we are starting to have a steady flow of rabbits. We also are waiting for the tomatoes to turn red, they are so close. As soon as they start turning red they are flowing towards market!

Our herb bunches are starting. Last weekend we took Basil, Lemon Basil and Sage to Otsiningo Market. And we took Basil and Purple Basil to Ithaca market. This week we should have all of that at Ithaca market and possibly a few more. Tarragon is looking nice so we will possibly be having some bunches of those this weekend.

I just got done hanging 64 bunches of herbs (Basil, purple basil, tarragon, mint, sage, lemon basil and  lime basil). I de-stemmed the marjoram that was already dry and put it in it's storage containers. I will be grinding some tarragon and stevia hopefully tomorrow. Then I will start putting in containers and getting them packaged to sell.

I have been making some teas and making the family taste test them so I can figure out what we should make.

I made a Lemongrass and Stevia tea which Mom K, Eric and my mom liked. They all said it could use more stevia though.

I made a Lemongrass, Rosemary and Thyme tea which was very strong. I liked it. Mom K. said the rosemary was too strong, Dad said the rosemary was too weak. Eric was indifferent on it and my mom really didn't like it at all.

Dad also tried the lemonbalm tea bag that I made up and the Calendula tea bag. He said that the Lemonbalm was not strong enough and that the Calendula was not strong enough. He is a strong tea drinker. He uses 2 tea bags when someone would normally use 1. So I knew he would say they were weak.

For me the Calendula I thought tasted great. It was weak and I said that I needed to make sure that I put more in there. The lemonbalm was just right for me. The Lemongrass/Stevia was very strong for me. The Lemongrass/Rosemary/Thyme tea was delicious. I did think that the Rosemary or the Thyme was too strong and I needed to do a little less because you couldn't really taste the lemongrass in it. So I am going to play with those a little more.

I had planned on taking some Iced tea to market last weekend but my concotions did not turn out the way I had hoped. Hopefully by the next market we will be able to have something.

Obviously field maintenance is a must right now. Eric is planning on getting into the field to get between the rows tomorrow. We are also moving rabbit cages down by the barn for the rabbits we still have outside.

There is a lot to do herb wise and I am not sure where to start at this moment. I am going Wednesday to buy some muslin so that I can start making the herbal pillows. I am very excited to start doing those. Any input would be greatly appreciated on those.

I am trying to get the dried herbs packaged and ready to go because Iron Kettle Farm and Stoughton's Farm have both agreed to carry our herbs. And their busy season is coming right up. I want to make sure we have them there before they start to get busy.  Marlo from Garden Gate is also going to be taking our dried herbs as soon as I have them ready.

So tomorrow I will be spending the day, grinding, packaging, printing labels and labeling. Hopefully to get some stock piled for sale. The herbs are coming in great so hopefully I can keep up.

There are probably many other things to write about, but it is 12:10 pm and I am going to go to bed. Lots to do tomorrow....need my beauty sleep : )