July 2014- ACRES and picking your battles

It’s finally arrived!

The August issue of ACRES USA has arrived. Here’s my first of three articles in the series! SO EXCITING!

And, if you are curious, here’s the link to the WCCO radio show, I’m on 7/19/14 episode, I join Dara about half way in. Hearing yourself speak is really one of the oddest sensations ever. Seriously.



Things are exhausting but rolling along on the farm. I’ve been hitting the weeding again in the mulched beds, showing that quack grass who’s boss. The incredible thistles rise like spiky snakes from the thick mulch, undeterred. My fingers are riddled with tiny thistle splinters from trying to get them out at the base with my bare hands like a moron.

Our field garden, which I was so hopeful for, has become such a mess. And we have a doe with twin fawns who ate all the tops off our sugar snap peas. I spent SO MUCH TIME weeding the onions as they established themselves in May, but now it’s a sea of ragweed. Pick your battles I say. I give up on that garden. Hopefully we’ll find some onions there in a month or 2. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Andrew’s been focusing on starting the cabin build (we are not going to have to live in a frigidly cold home this winter if all goes as planned!), which leaves just lil’ ole me to do all the gardens, and as far as the field garden goes- I just failed. I didn’t even want to be a vegetable farmer, you guys! I am good at animals, not so much at large scale vegetable production.

In the main garden though, I am winning. The mulch is helping tremendously with the weeds. And I timed my planting MUCH better for seeding too. I have big healthy brussel sprout plants for the first time ever. All the fall transplants are in the ground too- napa cabbage, fennel bulbs, cauliflower, broccoli, and seeded lots more carrots, turnips, beets, parsley, scallions, chives, arugula, spinach, daikon and winter radishes. Picked the first round of green beans, but sadly the squash bugs are just wrecking my hopes and dreams of crazy amounts of cucumbers. I started more plants in the hoophouse, which seem to be doing much better. Stupid squash bugs.

The calves are growing and starting to get a little rowdy as their testosterone kicks in at about 2 1/2 months of age. Bucco regularily is out of the fence in the morning, he’s pretty smart and has learned he can sneak under the electric fence wire, which is no biggie, he just wanders around where his 2 buddies are. Nevertheless we’re thinking of harvesting them soon. I read that dairy bull calves after around 150 pounds live weight will primarily focus on building up their frames/bones, not adding muscle. This was intentionally an experiment experience, just to see how we like raising pastured veal calves, and then ultimately how they taste, which I am eager to try. I really love having the calves, they are so different than any other animal. Very mellow.


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