Sunday, March 27, 2011

Organic Panic!

We measured the area for the dog run today.  Crockett will end up with less space than we intended, but he'll be in a good spot with plenty of shade from the summer sun.  We have a solid doghouse for him.  We just need to move it to his new spot.

The weather is supposed to warm up this week and it's finally going to stay warm!

That means we'll be able to work on more clean-up around our place.  We'll be prepping the garden beds for the seeds we received last week.  I hope to find a local source for seed potatoes.

We also need to determine the size of the enclosed area for our chicks while they transition between the brooder and being free-range.  They won't arrive until May, so we have time to work that out.

On top of all of that, we're trying to sort through the ridiculous regulations hampering Farmer's Markets in our state.  Our local Tractor Supply store is offering free space for vendors.  Yay!  We can't wait to set up there.

In the midst of all of this, we figured out how to link this blog to our Facebook page so our friends and family members can easily stay up-to-date on what we're up to.

All of this planning has put us, as seven year old Noah said, into an Organic Panic!

 Welcome, Homestead Barn Hop friends!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seeds, Freebies and Nerds ...

Our seed order arrived from Baker Creek!  We received it in just six days, including the weekend.  They even included a free packet of Red Romaine!  I'm blessed by that because we were bemoaning the fact that we hadn't ordered as many greens as we ought to have.

In other news, Homestead Revival is hosting a give-away from the folks at Homestead Drying Racks.  I've been eyeing their drying racks for a while now.  They have an excellent design and look to be well-constructed.

Such a drying rack would be ideal in front of our woodstove for drying clothing in the winter.  It dwarfs our wobbly little drying rack purchased at a big box store.  I finally gave up using that one because it was so precarious and held so little.

Last night I watched a video on about misrepresentations in the organic poultry/egg industry.  (Click the image to view the video.)

I wanted to revisit one of the statistics in the short bit, so I replayed it today and all the children gathered around.  I joked that my children are nerds.  While other children are talking about video games and cartoons, they are watching organic poultry videos.

I don't mind at all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

M - U - D

The Spring Thaw has gifted us with a deeply rutted, slippery road.  Our Suburban is able to handle it if in 4-wheel-drive, but we always forewarn the children to "Hang on!"

Our cell phone service is spotty today for some odd reason.  Dad tried to reach all three of our cell phones, and some of them more than once, but we never heard them ring.  In somewhat of a panic he attempted to drive his Durango back here to check on us.

Despite having 4-wheel-drive, he couldn't make it.  His truck is too light and he went right off into the ditch.

He called Kenny to bring the Suburban to pull him out.  When that failed, they called me.  I was in the Durango, hooked hitch-to-hitch to the Suburban, which Kenny was driving.  Dad hooked his tractor to the front of the Surburban and we choo-choo-trained our way out of the mess.  Yay!

I'm sorry that I have no pictures of the Durango in all it's muddy glory, but Dad power washed it before I thought to take any.  Our Suburban is perpetually muddy as it's absolutely useless to wash it until the road dries out.

Since the power washer was already in use, I took the time to clear Dad and Mom's 2-car concrete parking pad of the winter's dirt and debris.  Forty-five minutes and one aching back later, it looked pretty good.

I also power washed Dad's muck boots and then mine.  I exclaimed "Look!  They're PINK!"  I havne't seen much of the color over the last few weeks of trekking between our two homes.

Of course, the walk home undid the job for me.


This is my first time participating in the Homestead Revival Barn Hop.  Welcome, new readers!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kitty update ...

Some of our friends and family members will remember that we started out with five kittens last Fall.  One came from a farm where our friend Joe works and the other four were part of the same litter at a farm near our home.  The four in that litter died within a five-day time frame and we never learned the cause.

Grey C. is the kitten that survived.  She (At least we think she is a she.) is healthy and happy and permanently outdoors now that the frigidly cold winter is behind us.  She likes to lurk on the deck and slip into the inner porch where she scratches and mews at the door to be let in.

This week a new kitty showed up at our place.  She (At least we think she is a she.) turned up under our deck, which is enclosed so we had to wonder how she had gotten under there.  She found her way out and by afternoon responded to calls of "Baby Kitty" but not really to "Kitty" alone.  And so she named herself "Baby".  She approaches us now, however timidly, and loves to be cuddled.  She hisses at Grey C., though.

I suppose at some point we should determine their respective genders or we may well have more baby kitties calling Cedar Cottage Farm their home.

Photographs compliments of Mara using

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Give-Away: Making Herbs Simple DVD

The folks over at the Forgotten Way blog are giving away a copy of the DVD Making Herbs Simple.  Pop on over and check it out!  Your comment on their blog post is your automatic entry, plus they list several other ways that you may enter.

If you win because of this blog post, please comment and let me know.  That would be sort of like winning it myself.  ;-)

We finally ordered our garden seeds!

Yesterday Kenny and I found the time to sit together and make the final decision on what seeds to order for this year's garden.

We knew from the start that we would order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at  It's important to us to raise heirloom varieties.  We have several reasons for this, including propagating rare varieties as well as being able to save the seeds from our produce for future gardens.

We are planning a large garden to provide fresh food as well as extra for preserving.  My parents will benefit from the bounty, as well.

Our local Tractor Supply store has announced that they'll host a Farmer's Market this season at no cost.  How exciting!  We ordered ample seeds for our own use as well as to sell at the market.  Here's the list!

Amish Paste ~ Chosen for canning and sauces.  We liked this variety because it hails from Wisconsin.
Ferris Wheel ~ This variety was released in 1907 out of LaCrosse, WI, so should do well for us.
Mortgage Lifter ~ It would be wonderful if the name held true for us, would it not?
Dr. Wyche's Yellow ~ Kenny likes yellow tomatoes and this one is supposed to be popular at markets.
Nature's Riddle ~ This is a marvelously ugly tomato!

Pride of Wisconsin ~ Chosen because we had confidence it would do well in our climate and it is very rare.
Minnesota Midget ~ The reviews were great on this, it comes from a similar climate and I just thought they'd be cute to grow.

Red Wing Lettuce Mix ~ This mix has beautiful color.
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach ~ I love spinach fresh or cooked and this one is supposed to be somewhat mild.

Purple Beauty ~ These look marvelous!
Chinese 5 Color ~ Purple, Cream, Yellow, Orange, Red and Screaming Hot.
Jupiter ~ We wanted a disease-resistant bell that would do well at market.
Lipstick ~ The name of this one was so odd that we had to read about it.  The information seems promising, so we'll give it a try.

Cherokee Trail of Tears ~ So named because the seeds were carried on the Trail by the Cherokee.
Blue Lake Bush ~ Long heralded in my family as a great grower!
Henderson's Black Valentine ~ Ready in 53 days and great for snap beans or soup beans.
Old Homestead ~ This is a Kentucky Wonder, which is another with a strong tradition in my family.
Purple Podded Pole ~ The pods look beautiful and grow to be 6" long.

Cosmic Purple ~ The words "excitement at farmers' markets" drew us in to read the excellent reviews.
Little Finger ~ This baby carrot is supposed to grow well and it's sweet.
Jaune Obtuse du Doubs ~ A true yellow carrot that is ready early.  I can't wait to try this one myself!

Tall Telephone ~ Introduced in 1881 and fascinating reviews!

Country Gentleman ~ We wanted to grow a traditional shoepeg corn and this one is sweet, to boot.
Rainbow Sweet Inca ~ The beautiful colors earned the "Rainbow" part of it's name.  I'm looking forward to home-ground corn meal.
Wade's Giant Indian Flint ~ The photo below (from the Baker Creek web site) explains why this one was chosen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken order placed!

Things have been hectic at our place for the last few weeks, preventing me from blogging regularly.  I've really missed it!

Today we placed our first order for chicks.  We're very excited to raise heritage breeds from Sand Hill Preservation Center in Iowa.

We ordered just 50 birds to start and they will be surprises.  We requested 25 Assorted Heavy Chickens as well as 25 of the Super Assorted Chicks.

Hopefully this will give us an idea of what breeds we like and which birds will do well here.

Do you raise chickens?  If so, do you have any tips for us?  Please leave a comment!