Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winter Update

A-frame greenhouse with our three hoop houses and the cold frame behind them. We planted beets and cabbage in the cold frame today and last week planted chard and kale and broccoli raab and radishes in the hoop house to the left.

Carrots we bought from Gemini farms

Ginger carrots

Once we added salt and enough water to cover all the carrots they went in the closet to ferment for a week or two.

Fermentation closet; in there now is porter and red chile porter, apple cider and carrots, both ginger and garlic

Pantry above the washer 
Burning scrap wood 

Flower beds made from hollowed out pine logs 

Happy hens

Firewood getting stacked as a privacy wall and windbreak

Chard and kale and radishes wintered over from last summer

Time to build them a proper season extender

Italian flat leaf parsley from three years ago.

The first step in building a half hoop house

This small hoop house is sufficient to feed a small family all year long. 
We have been building season extenders like crazy as part of our plan to grow food year round. The goal is to feed ourselves almost completely off this land. If we can grow enough food for ten families then we might make a small income off it. Food security is such a real issue and so many people give it almost zero thought. We are getting serious now. We planted garlic as late as November last year and this year started planting in early February. So we only really took off two months of the whole year from planting. Crazy. We just bought our first automatic vent arm for a greenhouse. Probably going into the cold frame. Another one will be needed for the A-frame greenhouse. We bought 100 ft of plastic sheeting and two 50 ft rolls of Agribond. One 30 and one 50. They are different thicknesses for different degrees of frost protection. So by layering them up we can start things all year. We just ate some mizuna this morning with eggs and the other day harvested radishes, kale and chard for a meal. It is nice to be figuring all this stuff out now. I cannot wait to see where this takes us next. We bought a 21 1/2 Qt pressure canner so we are going to start canning our own beans and soups and chicken or whatever! Anything low acid that we couldn't do before is now possible. Also an addition to the farmstead is a 15 gallon brew kettle and a wort chiller; both very useful pieces of equipment for brewing and we plan to brew up to 30 gallons at a time. Some 10 gallon batches of favorites and some one gallon batches to experiment more. It is all so fun and we are learning so much while doing it. Compost is being made now on a higher level and we are just so busy with everything on our small farm and in life. More posts soon, we promise as this stuff is all a week or two old and there is more that hasn't been photographed yet like the grape trellis we built and other hoop houses. I just put one up where the berry patch was and now will be planted in a three sisters style with Hopi blue corn, acorn squash and Aztec Dwarf White Beans. Corn has been planted here on the Spotty Dog Farm as early as mid April but we wanna push that to March possibly. Parsley and thyme and dill and other herbs are still growing and green in our perennial herb garden under some remay which was kindly donated to us from some farmers up in the mountains north of Santa Fe. The community has grown so strong and new people come see the farm all the time. Young children and older folks alike. We have many potatoes to plant as well as all the seed we have stashed away. One thing at a time though. We still have day jobs and other commitments but we do what we can. Prioritizing has been one of the hardest things lately as we want things to get done and be ready for planting but why cut more firewood when we already have two or three years worth right here? Compost needs to get turned and collected and a third bin built as the second one fills up. Soil needs to get turned in preparation for early spring planting. Hoophouses need to be built along with shade structures for later in the summer. So we really do have a ton going on here right now. More chickens are in the works (sex links are what we are thinking this year) as well as a bee hive or two. I sometimes wish this is all I did but without the day job there would be no farm. Something needs to fund our lives and we have it pretty good so as they say..if it aint broke don't fix it.


  1. Looks like you'll have plenty for us to do when we arrive in March. Can't wait to help out!

  2. Glad to see you back in Blog Land a little more often! To celebrate I've tagged you in a little blog love linky fun! Check it out: