Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Not a very nice farming day today...
I did spend a few minutes in the hoophouse this morning and picked about a gallon of mixed salad greens:  lettuces, mustard, arugula, spinach.  So yummy and tasty!  Hurrah!
Wood ducks fly from pond
Vultures circle placenta  
East wind brings cold rain 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Long Day

2 more calves were born after Bill's update this morning - all is well with all of them. 8 so far, many more to go.

New calves are dancing
Springing on four legs like lambs
Sprinting, high tailing

I seeded a lot more in the greenhouse ~ the rest of the sweet peppers, more chard, cauliflower. Totals of a few things so far: 10 flats of onion and leek plants (300-400 plants per flat), 325 sweet pepper plants, 100 hot pepper plants, 160 eggplants, about 350 heads of lettuce and raddichio, 140 cabbages, 215 celery plants, 270 celeriac, 300+ kohlrabis, about 500 broccoli plants, etc etc etc.  Not all will grow into full transplantable plants, and not all plants set out into the garden will survive, but this gives you a little bit of an idea of scale here.  If there are extra plants we can sell them or give them away, too.   

I moved a bunch of flats of head lettuce into the hoophouse to start hardening them off, preparing for transplanting into the garden.  Can't wait!

Beef Quarters for Sale

We have more beef going to the butcher this week so will have quarters to sell in about 3 -4 weeks.  Beef here eat grass as their primary feed their whole life. Cattle fed for beef (as opposed to breeding) are fed some grain, grown and ground on the farm, for the final few months before butchering.  You can order them cut up any way you want.  Email us for approximate pricing now, and definite pricing in 2 weeks.


Is complete! Last night when I went to check on them the calf was all licked off and the placenta was gone (eaten). The cow was lowing at the calf and acting like it was hers but not standing too well to be nursed. The calf, having been bottle fed twice (human mothers take note) was not sure that these other nipples were going to give him anything. He was obviously hungry and with help got a couple of mouthfuls. The cow kicked but stood long enough to squirt a little bit in his face. It was hard to leave him hungry overnite but this morning - wah lah! He was nursing and bumping her udder hard and she was standing very still. When let out of the pen  the calf was hopping all over the place and the cow was trotting after him lowing like a worried mother.
Another calf was born in the night - no problems. Whew. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Life and Death on the Farm

Update:  The prolapsed cow died this afternoon.  Her calf is still doing great.  When Bill went over to check on her, another cow was delivering a breech calf - not the usual position.  We got her penned in a smaller pen, waited for her to calm a bit (she was trying to jump over the railings), got pulling chains on the calf's hind legs and then I got in a protected corner and started pulling with contractions.  Got it moving, and then Bill jumped in to help.  The calf finally came - looked like it had been dead for a while - hard to say why or when.  It looks small, so we will watch her for a twin.  In the meantime, we took the orphaned calf and rubbed the dead calf's placenta all over it and put it in with the cow.  We'll see if she adopts it.  And if she has a twin.

Is this TMI??

In the meantime, it's snowing and blowing, very wintery out. 


Darn.  I am so ready for warm dirt with green plants growing in it.

The cow with the prolapse is still down, looking a little better this afternoon.  Her calf is doing great, being bottlefed, tho he will nudge his mom and definitely is interested in her.  There's another cow looking like she's in labor.

No gardening today - in the hoophouse, greenhouse or outdoors.  MSU basketball was the only GREEN thing going on here!

Dinner was a homegrown ham, just-dug parnips roasted with a few carrots for color, and homegrown green beans from the freezer.  YUM.


White snow on top of
Green sprouting fields signals VIC-
Tory MSU

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sweetwater Market

Was great fun today - good music and wonderful spirited discussions with people.  I got to share recipes with folks who have never, ever eaten parsnips before.  Whoa!  Are they in for a treat.  I was sold out by 11:45 and should have brought about another 10# with me.  I'll be there with the rest of them in 2 weeks, or if anyone wants to drive to the farm and get some, just email me and I'll have them ready.  They are such a treat this time of year.  These parsnips were planted last May - first week in May.  They grow all summer long and are mulched with a thick layer of straw in October.  When I uncovered 1/3 the rows yesterday, the ground was still frosty.  Parsnips are one of those veggies that get sweeter from cold.  My favorite way to eat them is to peel them, chunk them up, toss with olive oil and salt, tamari, and roast them at 400 ℉ for about 30-40 minutes depending on their size.  I also saute them till brown and tender, some times adding a little tamari and water and putting a lid on the pan if they need to  be tenderized a bit more.  We eat them every day when they are 'in season'.

We had a calf today and the mother cow 'cast her withers' - prolapsed her uterus.  Serious complication. Bill put oil and powdered sugar on it (old farmers' remedy) and pushed it back in.  Then he stitched her shut with plastic weed whacker line.  Do you really want to know this??!!  He just went out to check on her again and give her antibiotics if she looks good still.  If she doesn't look good, no antibiotics will be given and we will have to butcher her tonight and bottle feed the calf or try to get the calf on another cow.  If she dies in a few days, we will dig a big hole and bury her because of the antibiotics given.  We don't eat any cow given antibiotics until many weeks after it's gotten through their system.  This is one of those conditions where antibiotics is warranted.  Most meat, egg and dairy animals get antibiotics as a matter of course in all their ground feed rations.  It's not good for us, or them or our planet!
Update later...

Uterine prolapse
Wallowing in shit and blood
We put it back in

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kids' Day at Sweetwater Market Saturday April 11th

 Earth Day Poster Contest!  Contest Rules: Design a poster about your favorite food or foods at the market, sized at least 8 ½ x 11 or larger.  Bring the poster with you to the market on Saturday April 11th.  All posters will be displayed at the market, and at closing a panel of our arts and crafts vendors will choose a winning poster.  We will announce the winner in the April 24th What's New email.  the winning poster designer will receive a gift of $5 in market money at the April 25th market, and the entry will be published on this blog and in the Muskegon Chronicle.  All kids who bring in an entry will receive an extra special Kids Day treat!

Musical Saw Workshop!  Thom Eno, the famous musical saw player who has so delighted us with his playing of the National Anthem this winter, will conduct a workshop with kids teaching them how to play real music on the saw.  He will bring all the materials needed.

Another varied day's work on the Farm

Bill, Mike and I sorted cows - the ones with calves and the ones who look most ripe went into the barnyard with access to the barn.  All the others stayed out on the winter pasture.

We've only had 2 calves so far, but a few more look like it could be tonight. Addendum:  Yes, one more born this afternoon!

I seeded some more things in the greenhouse ~~ many kinds of sweet peppers, redbor kale, basil, cilantro. And planted more lettuce transplants in the hoophouse. It's looking pretty good in there!  

I dug more parsnips, and got them weighed and ready for the Sweetwater Market tomorrow.  Still have to sort onions, and get the beef ready.

Bill has been spreading manure and I'm not sure what else!  He just heard a neighbor has cancer so he took a load of compost down for their garden.

Sorted cows today
Ripening mothers in clean barn
New calves sleep in the sun


Am I at risk of
Becoming the Jack Handy
Of farmer Haiku?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great Spring Day!

Parsnips are about 1/4 dug and bagged for Sweetwater Market on Saturday.  Here's a picture of about a third of them, along with some lovely irises and crocuses.

Bill planted oats.  They will be combined for feed and seed, or plowed down for green manure. He's afraid some of the rye planted last fall may have winter-killed.  It was such a harsh winter! That's very rare with rye.  He has 5 fields of rye, some planted for plow-down, and some for harvest.  We depend on the straw as well as the grain.  The barley looks as though some areas may have winter-killed depending on soil type.  We'll know more after a warm Spring rain.

Planted oats today
Passing shower left the dirt
Mellowed by the sun

We also planted 2 rows of spinach and 2 rows of cutting lettuce in the garden.  The rows are each about 75 ft long.  These will be covered with row cover to keep them a little warmer so they will sprout ok.

I set out a lot of lettuce plants in the hoophouse the past few days.  We should be able to start eating lettuces and other greens by next week.  Ah, I can't wait.  Some lettuces with flavor!

I planted more seeds: lettuces, broccoli, curly kale in the greenhouse.  There are about 60 flats growing in there now!  It's crowded.


Nothing in haiku
Can make finishing drywall
Sound like poetry

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the Greenhouse

Today I'm seeding flats of  pak choi, more celery, and more head lettuce.  It's 51 ℉ today!  Feels warm enough to plant outside, but cold and snowy weather is forecast for later this week.

Earthscape Farm's CSA for Summer 2009

Thanks for your interest in Earthscape Farm's CSA!

This will be our 6th year providing families with healthy, home grown food!

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in purchasing a share for summer 2009. We are limiting ourselves to 50 shares.

$425 for a single share
$750 for a double (2x most items).
Payment is due by June 1st (talk to us if you need to make other payment plans).

We will continue to have no work requirements, but volunteering in the gardens is certainly appreciated! We also will sign on a few people for work-shares: 4-5 hours per week for a share and 8 hours per week for a double share.

We aim to start filling shares in late May and go into October, 18 weeks of farm-fresh seasonal vegetables! CSA pickup will be Mondays and Thursdays 4-7pm. We encourage you to share pickups with other nearby families in order to save gas. We had groups in Ludington, Shelby, Fremont, and White Lake sharing pickup last year.

We are also going to do a delivery to Earthly Kneads Bakery in downtown Muskegon for an extra 1-time fee of $50 if we get a minimum of 10 people to sign on for this. This delivery will be on Tuesday mornings, with pickup at Earthly Kneads between 9am-5pm.

A study was done the past year on lowering the carbon footprint of CSAs, and having the CSA deliver to a central location used less energy than having families share pickup.

We hope you all will still make time to visit the Farm to see your food growing! We will continue to be a bit flexible when you have special needs, and we hope you will have the same patience with us. We want to take a week off around July 4th, and maybe another week off somewhere else in the season, depending on veggie production.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in purchasing a share for summer 2009. We are limiting ourselves to just 50 shares.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


March wind, the ground thaws
Plow stirs autumn's old cornstalks
Earth smells like freedom

Monday, March 23, 2009


Keeping with the 5 - 7 - 5 syllable structure and seasonal reference, here's today's haiku with Patrice's help:

Winter arrived early
Brassica stems in garden
Not too slimy, Yay!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bill's Haiku

Spring, ice leaves the pond
Two painted turtles sunning
Dead fish surround edge