Monthly Archives: July 2012

Life cycle

We’ve been needing to deal with the original hugel, planted to kale, for a few weeks now, as all the plants have gone to seed, and we have kale and other greens to eat elsewhere, anyway.  Today I stopped by a local nursery and snapped up the remnants of their veggie start section for 50% off — the plants aren’t all super happy right now, but I think most of them will recover with some space and sun.  So, it was finally time to address ALL THAT KALE!


First, let’s take a moment to remember how far the hugel has come…  From the day we created it way back in early February, to the day the seedlings came up… to three straight months of glorious kale harvests… to the insane yellow bee haven it has become.


Kale at 2 months, 4 months, and 5 months

We began with the full hugel – instead of pulling out the plants by the roots, which might damage the hugel, we left the roots and the first inch of the stems, and used clippers to clip the rest of the plant (sometimes 4-5′ of kale!) away from the hugel.


Talina starting to demolish the huge



We hauled 5 wheelbarrows worth of kale to the compost pile!

The wheelbarrows filled up so fast!! We brought one barrow full over to the goats in the Neutral Zone… they loved it.


Goats chowing down on recycled kale plants


Some of those kale plants had gotten HUGE: check out this one that’s a good 2″ in diameter. We had to use the tree pruning clippers on these ones.


And now.. an empty hugel… the kale in the new hugel on the left is just starting to show, and tomorrow I’ll plant the squash and tomato plants I picked up, and a new cycle will begin (hopefully one that will result in acorn squash, pumpkins, and delicious tomatos).



We got a lot of little chores done around the farm this weekend: finally got a clothesline up, got the garden cleaned up and a new tomato support put up, stacked and restacked (and restacked) firewood.. but the big event for the weekend as replacing our mailbox! Now we’re REALLY the new neighbors on the block:



Garden 2012: Week Eleven



This week’s garden snapshot, from both the East and the West side of the garden.  The quinoa is beating the corn for sure, now.  The squashes are insane, we have to beat them back daily or they’d take over the broccoli completely.



Radish, cucumber, broccoli, carrot — everybody is ready to be eaten, and my stomach isn’t big enough!


And, finally, 1lb 4oz of blanched snap peas – I can’t wait for the winter stir fry these are going to go in…

Garden 2012: Week Ten

I failed this week to take a comparison shot from the east side of the garden, so, you’re stuck with the rest of the pictures I took, and you’ll have to just imagine how insanely huge the plants are!


Beautiful, delicious Golden Sunrise Chard. This one seems to be holding up better against the slugs, and has virutally NO leaf miner infestation, which is nice.  And can you believe how gorgeous that colour is?


Hello, pickles!!  The pickling cucumbers are prepping an enormous harvest.


The herb section of the garden: shiso, sorrel, borage, dill, and some turnips thrown in there just because.  The shiso is gorgous, such a beautiful color.


Nicole, Keera and Megan and the 20lbs of greens harvested:  That’s chard, kale, turnips greens, and chinese cabbage.  Thank heavens, Nicole and Keera agreed to take most of it home with them to share with their housemates!


Remember all those fence posts we knocked down a few months ago? Well, up until this morning, they’d been sitting in a 5×5 pile behind the woodshed.


(Pretend this is a photo of a pile of rotting fence boards; I forgot to take a “before” picture)


This morning we finished cutting all the good boards up for wood: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 foot long boards all stacked and loaded into the barn loft to stay warm and dry all winter. I can almost taste the greenhouse we’re going to build with this next spring…



Garden 2012: Week Nine



The quinoa is beating everything else in the garden, unless you count the rapid sideways growth of the squash plants!


The peas are days from being ready to eat, and the spinach has already bolted in the heat wave we’ve been having.


Squash blossom!! The squash have gotten HUGE in the last few days, they’ve loving all the warm sunny weather.


The first planting of green beams has blossoms.. Only a few more weeks til we are eating beans… And the pickling cucumbers are blooming, so thank goodness the dill plants are soon well, too.




We got around to picking cherries this weekend, using the pickup truck bed as a handy ladder. One of our trees produces super tiny cherries, but we found another stand, closer to the well in the Neutral Zone, that has larger and equally delicious fruit.





I made a truly terrible cherry pie (note to self: must improve pie crust skills), and a really good cherry cobbler for the wheat-free group.With a bit of pruning, we might actually be able to harvest decent cherries regularly!


No, Frank, not THAT kind of pruning…

Garden 2012: Week Eight


Things are really taking off in the garden now.  The corn and quinoa are battling daily to see who can get taller, and the final planting of green beans is showing it’s little heads.


Beets, lettuce, spinach, and kale are all ready to be harvested already.


One last quick shot of the cable spool rolling across the road… just another chore on the farm…

Family Visit

Talina’s father and sister, and our niece, came to visit with us this week. We had so much fun showing them around the farm… maybe almost as much fun as they had exploring it?


Khylia and her adorable daughter River met the turkeys the day they got home.


River was a HUGE fan of the chickens, and they were surprisingly cooperative for her, even letting her pet them!


Now that the goats spend most of their days across the road in the Neutral Zone, the family pitched in to help roll one of the fancy goat toys over to a flat spot so the goats have something to play on in that field, too.


John taught Talina’s father how to use a chainsaw and to split logs with a maul.  He’s an expert, now… he also got to use the weed eater, and we had to tear him away from it to make him eat dinner!


Talina and John supervising the log splitting.  We got a ton of wood split and stacked for next winter (okay maybe not a real TON, but, a lot.  A lot of wood.  Basically, we need a bigger wood shed).


Oh, hello, visitors!  We moved an old bathtub being used as a watering trough, and discovered a couple of garter snakes giving themselves a warm spot for the afternoon.  So fun to see the population is so healthy around here:  keep it up, guys, eat those bugs!

Happy Fourth!!

I insisted that we spend the Fourth of July up on our hill, to see if we can see fireworks from distant towns from up there. Answer: YES! We can HEAR the Forest Grove fireworks, but they are behind us, so we couldn’t see them with all the trees and hills in the way. But, we could see fireworks down in the valley. Here’s a very blurry and dark video — it was a little more impressive in person, but my iPhone wasn’t up to the challenge, I guess. 🙂

The moon gave the fireworks stiff competition, though!!