Bird list & natural events, May 2014

May was mostly warm & dry, finishing a few degrees above normal and with only about 2/3 normal rainfall (most of which fell early in the month). Obscured in the warm average was the major cold snap mid-month, in which we suffered three nights of frost and much of the northern half of Missouri set record lows. Last May was quite different, logging an awful 12″ of rain and more moderate temperatures. Compared to that, we’ll take the overly dry conditions, but it’s still of great concern that we’ve had below-average rainfall every month since October (save April). There’s just no pleasing farmers in a Missouri May. Continue reading

2014 CSA distribution #4

We’re settling into the weekly routine that will govern the rest of the growing season, harvesting & distributing twice a week while managing everything else in between. It’s awfully dry up here, haven’t had the same rains as Columbia and points south, and that’s going to be a growing concern if it continues. But in the meantime, the hard work and stress of spring is paying off in a good-looking farm as we dive headlong into summer. Continue reading

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2014 CSA distribution #3

Finally, regular weekly distributions! This will be a pretty similar mix to last week. With warmer, sunnier weather this past week (though we still really need some rain), we’re seeing lots of crops growing quickly. As, of course, are the weeds. It’s been a marathon of transplanting & more this week, now that we’re finally free of frost, and most crops look great so far. High hopes for a productive summer.

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Anticipating early & late frosts

Learning to understand and predict local weather is a really important skill for properly managing our diversified farm. There are so many ways that weather conditions can hinder or help our work, and general forecasts don’t always cover what we need to know. Case in point,  predicting when we’re going to have a frost in our valley regardless of whether it’s regionally expected.This skill can mean the difference between significant crop loss and success at extending/completing our growing season. You’d never know it from the muggy, high-80s conditions this week, but we saw last week’s three nights of frost coming. Continue reading

Using share #2’s spring vegetables

We ended up packing a surplus full share on Monday, realizing after packing but before delivery that we had forgotten a household’s honeymoon absence. So we decided to have fun pretending to be CSA members and making a point of cooking with the share contents for a couple days, instead of using the seconds, extras, and preserves we normally eat this time of year. Here’s a detailed look at how we used our share, hopefully providing some insight and inspiration for members on using similar spring produce for the next few weeks. We tried to focus on vegetarian recipes that are quick/easy to make. We ate through the entire share in less than 2 days; bigger shares will be coming soon enough!  (Note this was a standard share without extras; those who asked this week got extra green onions, saute mix, and kale.) Continue reading

2014 CSA distribution #2

Finally, fresh spring produce! Regular, weekly shares start this coming week, after a two-week gap imposed by the cold spring. Perennial herbs will be a prominent feature of this share, plus it will include overwintered green alliums and the first spring-planted greens of the year; overall, the share will be reminiscent of 2013’s share #3 (also delivered in the 3rd week of May). Continue reading

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Bird list & natural events, April 2014

As one might expect, April threw a little bit of everything at us, from rain & hail to deep freeze to hot dry days to absurdly splendid ones. Lots of birds showing up, lots of animals becoming active, lots of plants and trees springing to life. It’s a good month for photography and outdoor distraction, so this will be a fun photo essay of things we’ve seen as part of our normal lives working the land. Continue reading

2014 CSA distribution #1

We intend to deliver the first CSA share of 2014 on Monday April 28 and Thursday May 1, featuring a combination of storage crops and overwintered crops, some of which will depend on conditions. After this share, there will be a multi-week gap while new crops continue to grow. We tentatively expect regular weekly deliveries to begin the week of May 19, but it could be a week sooner or later than that depending on vegetable growth (check our webcalendar if uncertain). Read on for useful information on upcoming farm events, our new Twitter feed, and more.

Members: Please be on the lookout for an email from us several days in advance of the distribution; the email will contain a link to your share customization survey. 

A few memberships are still available for 2014; sign up by Friday April 25 to get in on the first share. See the 2014 membership info for more details 

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Bird list & natural events, March 2014

March continued the cool, dry trend of this winter, useful for getting outdoor work done but of increasing concern for the coming growing season. It turned out to be a nice birding month, with reasonably stable weather making it easier to observe consistently. A month that began with lows below 0 ended with highs around 70, clearing demonstrating the seasonal changes underway as we appreciate the gentle warming of spring. Continue reading