Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Farm is Growing and Changing

On the farm, we have four vegetable beds that have been planted. We have some purple, some yellow, and some white potatoes. In the same bed as the potatoes, there is Swiss chard and many different types of Tomatoes. In another bed, we have Garlic and Broccoli. The Garlic is doing very well. The broccoli is growing but we are afraid that it is too hot for it. It is April and it is already 80° in the afternoon. We are also trying out some peanuts to see if we can grow them in the North Georgia Mountains. They are doing fair. We aren't counting on Peanut Butter sandwiches just yet. In the last bed, we have Bell Peppers, Luffa Gourds, and Snow Peas. The Luffa Gourds and Snow peas are on arbors. The arbors are built out of Livestock Panels. There is also a square of Bell Peppers. 

We also have lots of plants that are on our seed rack waiting to be planted. In the Vegetable Department, we have Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes, Henderson's Pink Ponderosa Tomatoes, Brandywine Tomatoes, Better Boy Tomatoes, Corno Di Rosso Peppers, a lot of other peppers, and Sweet Annie (herb). More about Sweet Annie later. In the Flower Department, we have Mammoth Sunflowers, Echinacea Coneflowers, Thumbelina Mix Zinnias, and Cut and Come Again Mix Zinnias. 

     In the Fruit Department, We have 6 Blueberries, 6 Raspberries, 50 Strawberries,and 3 Brown Turkey Figs that are in the ground and coming along nicely. We have a Niagara Grape, a Catawba Grapes, and 20 small blueberry plants from a local blueberry farmer that need planting. Still more holes to dig.

Also, we have started an orchard, where we planted our orchard there used to be an old shed. Therefore, we call it Old Shed Orchard. In total, we have 14 trees in our orchard. We have 3 Belle of Georgia semi-Dwarf Peach trees, a Secal pear tree, a Bartlett pear tree, and a Keifer pear tree. We also have a whole heap of apple trees. We have a fuji, a Honeycrisp, a Baldwin, a Sheepsnose, a Ben-Davis, and a horse apple. On the other side of the house, we have three Elliott pecan trees because Grand really misses having pecan trees. 

Before (When we bought the farm)

After (About six months later)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Raising Bantam chicks

    My little brother Matie has always wanted bantam chicks. Now that we have a farm we have gotten him five bantam chicks. We have raised Orpington and Wyandotte chicks in the past and have had lots of success and really enjoyed it. So we already had our "chick set-up." If you want to raise chicks here are the supplies you need.

  • Heat Lamp
You need a heat lamp and a red colored bulb. We prefer the clamping heat lamp because you can take it on and off the tub.
  • Thermometer 
You must have a thermometer to make sure the chicks are the right temperature. Chicks start out at 95° to 100°. Then, lower their temp 5 degrees every week
  • Galvanized Tub
Make sure your galvanized tub is big enough for your chicks. They grow very fast, and might outgrow a small tub in a few weeks. Our tub is 35 gallons. Some people use plastic tubs, but if you use a heat lamp be careful, the heat will melt the plastic. We wish we had bought an oval tub instead of a circular one. You could put the lamp on one side and the chicks could move in and out of the heat easier than in a circular one.
  • Wood Shavings
Chicks need some type of bedding. We use a bag of wood shavings, just a small layer at the bottom, for our chicks. Then, when they need to be cleaned, the wood shavings are easy to clean. Wood shavings are also easily compostable and good for the garden.
  • Food and Water Dispenser
One of the most important things is their food and water. Make sure they have lots of it, and that it's clean. Chicks will scratch wood chips into their food and water dispensers, so check them often and empty and refill their food and water when necessary.
  • Chick Food
You need a special chick food for the chicks. We prefer organic feed.
  • Chick Grit
Chicks also need special chick grit. Normal chicken grit is too big for chicks.

     And that is what you will need to raise chicks. We hope you have fun starting your flock.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mother Earth News Fair: More Pictures

     Lots of vendors, lots of food trucks, Mama's credit card is smoking.

Davis Event Center
Lots of vendors!
Program Stage (left) and the Event Center (right)

Dancing at the fair.

Food trucks of all shapes and sizes

More food trucks.

Picnic tables to share
Long lines at all food trucks.

John Deere tractors, Big to Small

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mother Earth News Fair is Fabulous Again

     We're back and we had a
wonderful time! Last time we went we didn't have a farm, but this year we do. That made us look at things differently. This year the fair was cold and windy. The first day the wind was brutally cold with wind chills in the low twenties and teens. The second day the wind wasn't so bad and it warmed up during the day. The fair has many outdoor tents with no sides, so that meant a miserable first day, so we bundled up, not to be deterred.

     First, we went to "Making a living on 1.5 acres." It was a program by Jean-Martin Fortier. We have his book "The Market Gardener." While he lives in a very different climate than us, some of his systems still apply. His farm is located in Saint-Armand, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Our farm is in the North Georgia Mountains. He gave us very good hints about planning the farm. He didn't use large and expensive tractors. and since we don't
 have the funds to buy a large and expensive tractor that was wonderful news.

     The family split up Grand, Summer, and I went to one thing and Mama, Daddy, and Matie went to another thing. I don't have pictures of what Mama, Daddy, and Matie went to but I do have pictures of what we went to. Once the other group left. Grand, Summer, and I decided the Summer and I would go to one program and Grand would go to another. Grand went to "Extending the Season at Both Ends" by Eliot Coleman. Summer and I went to "You're Kidding Me: The kid-run farm and homestead" by John Moody. Since us kids are secretly planning to take over the farm, we thought this would be beneficial to the cause. John talked about how you need "kid-sized" infrastructure and how you shouldn't reward your kids with more work. We kids think we should be rewarded with cash, but our parents disagree.

On Sunday, We went to "Soil Sisters: A toolkit for women farmers" by Lisa Kivirist. She talked about how more women are going into farming and how they could make a living farming. How important connections are among women farmers. We also liked her "PowerPoint." Instead of making it on the computer, she cut out old-fashioned paper dolls and hung them on a clothesline. It was very interesting hearing her because, our farm is run by my grandmother, my mother, and my sometimes bossy sister. We guys are just the farm-hands.


The last program we went to was "Just Add Water: Tips for adding ducks to your backyard chicken flock" by Lisa Steele. Since we now have 8 Indian runner ducks, we thought we should attend this program. This was the only program the whole family attends. We are all very excited about raising ducks. I found the program very interesting and informative. I found out that duck eggs help cakes and other baked goods rise better. I also learned that that unlike chickens, ducks really enjoy a new member of their flock. They also make a big mess with their pool. They also lay longer than chickens. We really enjoyed meeting Lisa Steele. My Mother also got one of her books , Duck Eggs Daily. Miss Lisa was nice enough to sign my mother's book. She also was nice enough to try to identify my little brother's mystery chick. we are really looking forward to new experiences with our ducks. Thank You, Miss Lisa.

Check out these blogs

The Market Gardener

Inn Serendipity

Fresh Eggs Daily®

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sweet Summer Farm at the Mother Earth News Fair

We're here at the Mother Earth News Fair. Can't wait to tell you all about our weekend. We're having a great time and are excited to share it with you. We'll keep you posted.

Here we go!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sausage and Cheese Biscuit


4 cups of self-rising flour
½ stick of butter
2 cups of grated cheese
1 pound of sausage
2 cups of buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425° 
  2. Place sausage in a frying pan with about half a cup of water. Mash sausage with a fork as it cooks because you want to have crumbled sausage.  Cook until well done, and set aside.
  3. Measure your flour into a large bowl, Mix in butter. You can use a pastry blender or Grand's trick, you can grate the butter into the flour 
  4. Stir in the cheese then stir in the buttermilk. Start with the first cup of buttermilk and then add milk until the mixture becomes a soft dough. You may not need the whole second cup 
  5. Then, stir in the sausage. 
  6. Roll out the dough and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown

Hints from Grand

You can make "Drop Biscuits" by dropping heaping tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet if you don't want to roll them out.

You can also make the biscuits in a muffin tin by scooping up a ¼ cup of dough and dropping it into a greased muffin tin