Thursday, July 20, 2017

Really Quiet around here

Market list: Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Purslane, Wood Sorrel, Onions, Slow Food Non GMO eggs, Salsa, Refrigerator Dills and Pickled Eggs.
We are out of lamb for a bit.


So we bid a fond Hasta la vista to Ruth and Roxy on Saturday night. It was amazing how close we all felt to each other after such a short time. They are welcome back here anytime. In fact, there are tentative plans for when they make their way back home next year to make this their last stop. We'll see. They have much excitement ahead of them. In any case, they are in our hearts and we are better for having known them. It looks like Rayven will be flying the coop this weekend too, to be replaced by her sister Jade. So it will really seem low key again. She's been here for 7 weeks so it will be really weird not to see her around every corner.



 So we've crossed that line. Tentatively we are getting enough tomatoes for ourselves and salsa, with few to sell this week.  This is a hard line for us to cross, we eat so many tomatoes that it's really hard to get there but we made it. This on the left is our first Paul Robeson of the season. I was dancing around when we got it saying that it was the best tomato ever, my favorite and
Rayven was just "yeah, yeah", until she tasted it, and unprompted, she said, " that IS a good tomato". I know, right? It's not perfect but I was really glad it wasn't so I had an excuse to eat it.


           
    Paul Robeson 2017                                                Sara Black, Pantano Romanesco and Moscovich 2017  




 

The tomatillos are finally making and the cucumbers. 
Saturday will be a 103 without the heat index. We will have drinks at our usual low price. Beat the heat at our stand with St. Louis' best Lemonade and Green Tea with Jasmine. They are a a part of the Tower Grove Farmers Market tradition. We literally have watched children grow up drinking our lemonade every weekend for the last 12 years. 
So dress cool and we will see you Saturday. 





God's Blessings on you and yours, 

TTFN, 

Sam, Bill and Rayven(missing Rox and Ruth) 



Nigella upon ref







Thursday, July 13, 2017

SO Much R&R

Market List; Slow Food Cayuga Duck Eggs, Purslane, Green Beans, Salsa, Pickles and we have a bit of lamb.


It has been a full week! Our Fab Wwoofers are still here, I am slowly acquiring a British accent because they are so delightful and entertaining.

The farm tour was Sunday. It was amazing!
I seriously don't know what I would have done without all the people who volunteered. Besides Roxy and Ruth, Dana-Rayven's mom, and Jade and Ember her other daughters, Bill's sister Pam was here too. We literally had a full house for 5 days, but the farm looked awesome when we were done!

                                                                       


We painted porches, weeded, finished projects, trimmed dogs, cleaned and when it was all done, we guided interested persons, served lemonade and ran people back and forth from the lake. About 1/3 of the people who came swam, but you better believe it, when the last guest came through, WE all jumped in too.
I really don't know how I would've managed without these girls. It seems simple, you run a Farm, people show up and you take them around. The reality is that you're in the middle of projects, which must be finished and cleaned up from, you're planting, and you can't stop for a party or you won't have anything to sell. Things get neglected while you are trying to live life and farm the farm so yes, it is a big deal. We love it though.

SO back to the Wwoofers, Roxy and Ruth. we've been Instagram-ing it up with all the new things that they are learning. They just embrace everything from weeding to putting up shade cloth and Super Wal Mart. We had to go for some paint and they were just amazed. It was awesome. They love the lake and have no problems letting everyone know it. They are not too cool for School. While we are quizzing them on British slang, they are learning to say things like " are you freaking kidding me" and "dang it". It's so fun. We are all dreading them leaving but fully supportive of their adventure. We are hoping they will stop back by on their way back from the around the world.



R&R Lake
Roxy Tiller


So as you know, it's been unbearably hot so we threw up the shade cloth. The girls were great, they didn't tell me until later that when We told them what we were doing, they didn't think that it could be done. But they threw in their best efforts and we got it done. 







Finished Shade Cloth


The shade cloth filters the light so that the plants and we are protected but yet the bees and other pollinators can get underneath. It's such a relief after the incredible heat. We got it up on Tuesday and we were able to work under it until after 2 p.m. 

And this wraps up the week here at Sunflower Savannah. We'll see you Saturday. 

TTFN, 

God's Blessings on you and yours, 

Sam, Bill, Ruth and Roxy 


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Thursday, July 6, 2017

R & R


 

Market List: Grass Fed Lamb, Purslane, SuperFood Salad Mix, Rainbow Chard, Slow Food Duck Eggs,

So this week we were lucky enough to get this great set of Wwoofers; Roxanne and Ruth. These lively girls hail from the UK. This pic was snapped right after I picked them up late from the train station in a rainstorm. So far, they've been cheerful, resourceful, helpful and versatile. We've been very busy trying to get ready for the Slow Food Farm tour and they just jumped in and have been ready for anything.






Today, they planted onions, Picked purslane, moved ducklings,














Thursday, June 29, 2017

Full House


Market List- Grass Fed Lamb Cuts, Purslane, SuperFood Salad Mix and Slow Food Duck eggs and Nappa Cabbage 

This week has been a whirlwind. We have a Independence Day party on Sunday, and trying to finish up a bunch of projects before the Slow Food Tour on the 9th and we have 2 British Wwoofers coming on Wednesday and Bill's sister and her family are landing here tomorrow night. These things on top of everything else that is going on here; weeding, planting and reorganizing all the Greenhouse paraphernalia that comes along with growing your own seedlings to sell and grow on into tomatoes and peppers for example. There were trays and pots everywhere it seemed.
Why am I so crazy you ask? Probably the same reason that made me a farmer. I always say, 'there's a reason that farmers stand out in their field by themselves.
This is our first sunflower this year. It's not that we haven't planted them, but we have been fighting the birds and the mice for the seed. We had an entire field of sunflowers planned this year along with what normally comes up in the garden as well as what we plant ourselves but it has been such a dry Spring barring the couple of weeks that were so wet that the tractor couldn't get into the field. After that, it just dried up. We sow and I look out in the field and the Rusty Headed Blackbirds are out there having a party. I sow and go out to apply the minerals that our soil test recommended and I see sunflower seed shells everywhere. I mean I feed them pecans all Winter, why do I have to feed them in the summer? A couple of more opened today and more are due tomorrow so we should have a few bouquets.

SO the Slow Food Farm tour. Next Sunday there will be a Farm tour sponsored by Slow Food. First stop, Vicki Lander's Flower Hill Farm and Rosy Buck as most people know, farm an acre on Flower Hill farm land. After a lunch there, the tour will come here for a look around and some time viewing the flocks made possible by Slow Food, both Cayuga Ducks and St. Croix sheep. Then we will take a dip in our fabulous Quarry Lake. So clean and well just a Country- Good time. Every time I'm out there, I feel so blessed that it's part of our farm.
So get on the Slow Food STL website and come and join us to see what all the buzz is about. We will have our award winning Lemonade available too.

Well that's it for now, see ya Saturday. We're looking at rain here tomorrow -thankfully but Market should be clear. Stock up on Lamb, Salsa and Pickles for your Independence day BBQ.

God's Blessings on you and yours,

TTFN,

Bill, Sam and Rayven
Coming soon, Faye, Charlie, Autumn, Dana, Jade, Ember, Ruth and Roxanne. Full House beats a Flush?


Thursday, June 22, 2017

It's Child's Play

Market List:
Superfood Salad Mix, Purslane, Grass Fed Lamb ( ground and organ meat only until next weekend.) Slow Food non GMO Duck and Chicken eggs,
Salsa and Pickles.

Wow, we have been ultra busy this week. Finishing up the nightshade plantings, we finally got to the weeding part of gardening. We were pulling weeds as we went but mostly making spots to plant and leaving everything else.
Monday we hunkered down in the tomatoes and got busy.




My niece, Scout was here this week, so along with Rayven and my mom, we got quite a bit done. Unfortunately there was a lot of nut grass and it was hot. We persevered though and the tomatoes especially are breathing a sigh of relief.
No matter how long we work, it's always refreshing to walk down the hill and jump into the lake to cool and wash some of the dust off. That is what Rayven(jumping) and Scout are pictured here doing. They deserve to have some fun, we all worked hard.

There's lots to do even after this, feeding the animals is done at dark, the water for 40 ducks, 38 Sheep, Chickens, 4 dogs and 5 cats and us is a lot to keep up with on these hot days. We had some soil tests done and are trying to get minerals spread and sprayed on the fields. Every week, we are planting another field with the seed for the sheep pasture.
Even working a few hours a day in the garden isn't enough and it isn't all that's involved in a farm like ours. Many things are set on the schedule for the next day that didn't get done today as the animals take first priority. Before you know it, it's time to do the blog again and get ready for Market. We take some implied criticism for stopping our work every day to swim but I really don't see the point in not enjoying what you have along with what you have to do. But that's just me.
Speaking of, it's that time now for me to mosey out and call the sheep in, away from the bobcat. Put everybody under shelter for the night and crawl in to bed myself. Thankfully I have help this week. Bill is home for vacation(ha) and while Scout has left, she was still a bunch of help. Rayven is still here and will be through the Slow Food Tour on July 9th. In fact, her mom and 2 of her sisters are coming to help us get ready, along with 2 new Wwoofers from Britain. It will be a full month. Don't forget to sign up for the tour with Slow Food St. Louis.

We'll see you at the market this Saturday.

God's blessings on you and yours

TTFN,

Sam, Bill and Rayven



Friday, June 16, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

New Slow Food Pasture

Market List 
Ground Lamb, SuperFood Salad Mix, Purslane, SALSA, Radishes and Slow Food Eggs, Cayuga Duck and Chicken, both raised on NON GMO food and entirely free range. 

How fast we went into the full heat of Summer. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were wishing it would stop raining so we could plant without boots and this week I found myself both praying and leaving the van windows open so as to induce the fates to laugh at me with a little rain on my seats. I was rewarded with wet cushions when I woke up yesterday. It's the 16th of June and we have 5 more days until the Summer Solstice is upon us and the days begin to shorten once again. The seed companies are already sending us advertisements guaranteed to bring us a great fall harvest. Really?
We have been planting fools here and are beginning weeding as the rows are almost full. Rayven, Mom and I are out every morning very early, earlier every day as we try and get more done before the heat sets in, when it does, we move to different projects in the shade or cool of the house, run errands, jump in the lake and hit it again. I still think this will be a banner year for tomatoes. For those of us growing our own, they are just coming on. Biver Farm posted on Instagram that they will be bringing tomatoes this week, Buila Family Farm started a couple of weeks ago as did Three Rivers with their Sun Golds. We have Salsa this week but probably not next as these tomatoes were donated to the salsa cause. Our plants are beautiful and loaded. We have gotten a few but not enough to speak of yet. 
Oh yes, before I forget, BumbleBee and Huey our Great Pyrenees are expecting a litter in about 8 weeks. 


Don't forget about the Slow Food Tour on July 9th. First Flower Hill and Rosy Buck Farm which are on the same property, then us. Here you will be up close and personal with our St. Croix Sheep and Cayuga ducks. Finishing off with a swim in our beautiful Lake Havenly Cove.

SO the forecast is 93 tomorrow in Tower Grove Heights so come comfortably dressed and ready for lemonade and entertainment. 

God's Blessings on you and yours. 

TTFN

Bill, Sam and Rayven

Follow us on Instagram @sunflowersavannahfarm






Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Rayven in the Garden

Market List; Grass Fed Lamb; Cuts and Ground,  Purslane, SuperFood Salad Mix, Green Onions, Radishes and last week for Tomato Plants. We will have Slow Food Cayuga Duck eggs and Chicken eggs also, both free range but fed
Non GMO feed.
The farmer that grows the Non GMO feed that our Feed Mill gets for us must use Organic methods even if they are not certified because the Feed Mill complains that the bags get full of beetles while none of the other feed does. Indeed I had a creepy crawly Sci Fi experience with a bag we had set to the side for the new baby ducks. I went to get a scoop of feed and was met with the sound of continuous scrabbling in the bag. I looked in it and the sounds were caused by dozens of beetles running between the paper layers of the bag. Good thing the birds enjoy bugs, because they got those for dinner too. Still it made my skin crawl.



So Rayven is here again for awhile, most of the month of June and probably a bit longer after a break. So much help planting, fetching and carrying and of course someone to swim and hang out with. Between her and mom we are getting a lot of stuff planted. These are the varieties that we have planted:
Pork Chop, Sweet Carneros, Early Girl, Pantano Romanesco, Japanese Black, Pink Girl, Blue Beauty, Chocolate Chestnut, Tie Dye Berkley, Lemon Boy, Mortgage Lifter, Amish Paste, Plum Lemon, Black Plum, Cherokee Green, Arkansas Traveler, Green Zebra, Paul Robeson, Caspian Pink, Black from Tula, Purple Carbon, Violet Jasper, new ones called Hungarian Heart, Gold Metal, Vintage Wine and Sara Black. Cherry Tomatoes like Yellow Pear, SunSugar, Chocolate Cherry, Yellow Topaz, Barry's Crazy Cherry and Abracazebra.
SO excited about Vintage Wine and Abracazebra! For the last couple of years we have been trying a method made popular by a Farmer in Quebec using Raised and Shaped beds covered in plastic for weed prevention. While I like the shaped beds, raising them above the level of the garden, allowing for better drainage, I never have been happy with the planting in plastic thing. It just seemed like we couldn't get the plants in deep enough and piling the dirt on top of the plastic while digging the holes for the plants, just caused weeds to grow on top of the plastic. We still spent the summer weeding and the plants were just spindly- not our usual sturdy 'maters. So last year mid season, I vowed that I was going to improve this process. I decided to do the plastic in between the rows and plant directly into the soil putting the plastic up to the plants. The difference is amazing. The plant stems are sturdy and as thick as my thumb while most of them are only around 2 ft. tall. I figure that if we are going to weed around the plants, they might as well be stocky healthy plants. I feel it in my gut, it's going to be a good tomato year!
Interesting side note, we just came in from locking up the animals and a good thing too. Rayven came running when I was in the barn to tell me there was something screaming ...I couldn't hear because the sheep make so much noise. The dogs were barking. I just shrugged and said it was probably coyotes. When I walked out, I discovered that I was wrong because it was a bobcat cry! It repeatedly called over and over and then we saw it run past- not well because it was almost dark but still...

Last week I posted about the Festival at the park in June, next weekend to be exact. I found out on Saturday morning that it had to be moved because of the water and electrical issues ongoing since last September at our Market location. Just when we thought that it was bad enough with just the tennis court bathrooms, they tore those out too. Silly park people!

It's going to be another hot one this weekend, good thing too since we need heat for tomatoes. We'll see you there.

God's Blessings on you and yours,

TTFN,

Sam, Bill and Rayven


Friday, June 2, 2017

Full Speed

Sorry everyone, I totally forgot the blog this week. I've been off-track with the holiday and as usual this time of year, sorely missing Bill not being home to help with the additional work of trying to get the nightshades(tomatoes, peppers and eggplant) in the ground.

Market List; Ground and Lamb cuts, SuperFood Salad Mix, Egyptian Walking Onions, Coriander, Spearmint, Slow Food Cayuga Duck Eggs-Free Range and non GMO fed, We are bringing 35 varieties of Heirloom tomato plants perhaps for the last time, Tomatillo and Pepper Plants too.

A couple of items to mention on the horizon- On June 17th, Tower Grove Market will be holding our annual Festival but with a twist. The will be a couple of local breweries there, extra crafters, and we will be open for 2 and a half hours extra. This year there will be an admission charge. The reason for the charge is to raise money for the market. Instead of constantly asking for donations, management is hoping this will bring enough in not to have to do that this year. There will also be 3 bands and of course all of your favorite vendors.
Secondly, I mentioned in an earlier post that we would be a part of a Slow Food tour spotlighting this years grant recipients. We had originally thought that it would be on July 2nd but now it looks like it will be the 9th of July instead. The tour will wrap up here for a swim in our famous "Heavenly Cove" lake.
SO we will see you tomorrow at the Market. Forecasting 89 degrees so dress cool.

Don't forget to Follow us on Instagram- @sunflowersavannahfarm
and Twitter- @sunflowersavannah

God's Blessings on you and yours,

TTFN,

Sam and Bill and my Mom who helps more than you all know.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A New Market as well as Tower Grove

We will be at the Eureka Farmers Market today from 3:30 -7 P.M. 
As well as at our normal spot at Tower Grove on Saturday. 

Market List- Super Food Salad Mix, Scallions, Egyptian Walking Onions, Radishes, Slow Food Cayuga Duck Eggs and Tomato Plants  
We DO have Lamb this week. Ground, Chops, Steaks and Misc. cuts

Tomatoes for the 2017 Growing Season

Mortgage Lifter, Paul Robeson. Moscovitch, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Striped German, Yellow Topaz. Black Brandywine, Pink Girl, Hungarian Heart, Arkansas Traveler, Purple Carbon, Pork Chop, Sara Black, Sugar Plum, Chocolate Cherry, Pantano Romanesco, Violet Jasper, Amish Paste, Black From Tula, Cherokee Purple, Golden Jubilee, Gold Metal, Sweet Carneros, Barry's Crazy Cherry, Green Zebra, SunSugar, Caspian, Black Trifele, Vintage Wine, Plum Lemon and Yellow Pear.

Not much to report this week, busy but no major projects. The Wwoofers Colette and James left on Saturday after market. 
This is the last pic of her helping to unload the van after working in the asparagus bed again. 

We'll see you Saturday 

God's Blessings on you and yours, 

TTFN, 

Bill and Sam


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gearing Up


Market List- Super Food Salad Mix, Scallions, Egyptian Walking Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Slow Food Cayuga Duck Eggs and Tomato Plants  
We WILL have lamb next week.

Tomatoes for the 2017 Growing Season

Mortgage Lifter, Paul Robeson. Moscovitch, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Striped German, Yellow Topaz. Black Brandywine, Pink Girl, Hungarian Heart, Arkansas Traveler, Purple Carbon, Pork Chop, Sara Black, Sugar Plum, Chocolate Cherry,

Amish Paste, Black From Tula, Cherokee Purple, Golden Jubilee, Gold Metal, Sweet Carneros, Barry's Crazy Cherry, Green Zebra, SunSugar, Caspian, Black Trifele, Vintage Wine, Plum Lemon and Yellow Pear.



This week was packed full of projects. Colette and James are still here until Sunday. We finished the asparagus bed, put up fences, planted almost 3 hundred tomatoes, put down plastic for weed protection, Rusty seeded the fields again for the Slow Food Grant project, reorganized and weeded the Greenhouse, planted Strawberries, potatoes and chased the sheep.
I've fallen into bed early everyday this week exhausted but exhilarated.

Here in the picture below are James and Colette planting Strawberries in between the raspberries. A permaculture experiment on weed control.

Planting Strawberries

On July 2nd, Slow Food is planning a farm tour between Vicki Lander's Flower Hill, Randy and Holly's Rosy Buck Farm and here. Details are still being hammered out but mark your calendar.

So, it's supposed to rain tomorrow and Saturday but it looks like we will have a clearing window between 9 and noon so don't forget us.

God's Blessings on you and yours,

TTFN,

Sam, Bill, James and Colette

Remember that we Instagram !




Friday, May 12, 2017

Wwoof Wwoof

Colette and James
Market List- Super Food Salad Mix, Scallions, Kale, Egyptian Walking Onions, Lettuce, Radishes and Tomato Plants   Sorry, still no lamb

Tomatoes for the 2017 Growing Season

Mortgage Lifter, Paul Robeson. Moscovitch, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Striped German, Yellow Topaz. Black Brandywine, Pink Girl, Hungarian Heart, Arkansas Traveler, Purple Carbon, Pork Chop, Sara Black, Sugar Plum, Chocolate Cherry,

Amish Paste, Black From Tula, Cherokee Purple, Golden Jubilee, Gold Metal, Sweet Carneros, Barry's Crazy Cherry, Green Zebra, SunSugar, Caspian, Black Trifele, Vintage Wine, Plum Lemon and Yellow Pear.





Many of you know that we participate in a program called Wwoof- World Wide Organization of Organic Farms. It's a pretty cool operation. In exchange for room, board and education, you receive and extra pair of hands, a maybe not so tired back and possibly a new (or in this case 2) friend. You might remember some of our other Wwoofers, Colleen, William, Robin and Max. This week, Colette and James. Bill was on vacation (HA) this week and we have been tearing the place up. They are standing in front of a fence that we moved back to allow more room and to take out the old Asparagus bed and put in a new. We've had asparagus for awhile but the bed was inefficient, too shaded, overran with weeds and we just couldn't keep the soil in, it kept washing out of the bed. Asparagus needs deep weed free soil.
After taking down the fence and posts, the asparagus had to be lifted.
Old bed

Then a new spot prepared.

While this was being done, Bill was doing this.

Yesterday, we planted raspberries and Bill and James worked on cleaning out the barn to fill the new asparagus bed. It has been a full week. We will see you all tomorrow. No rain in the forecast.


James and Colette planting Anne Yellow Raspberries
Sorry about the formatting. Blogger is having serious issues.
God's Blessings on you and yours,

Sam and Bill, Colette and James







Thursday, May 4, 2017

We Shall See

We will do our best to see you at the market on Saturday. That being said, the road is still closed for 23 miles between us and the Market and the van is in the shop. And THAT being said, here is the list of what we plan to bring.
                                                                        Market List

    Celery, Scallions, Egyptian Walking Onions, Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes and Tomato Plants   Sorry, still no lamb

Tomatoes for the 2017 Growing Season

Mortgage Lifter, Paul Robeson. Moscovitch, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Striped German, Yellow Topaz. Black Brandywine, Pink Girl, Hungarian Heart, Arkansas Traveler, Purple Carbon, Pork Chop, Sara Black, Sugar Plum, Chocolate Cherry,

Amish Paste, Black From Tula, Cherokee Purple, Golden Jubilee, Gold Metal, Sweet Carneros, Barry's Crazy Cherry, Green Zebra, SunSugar, Caspian, Black Trifele, Vintage Wine, Plum Lemon and Yellow Pear.

Here's hoping to see you there.

God's blessing on you and yours,

TTFN

Sam and Bill

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rain or Shine

Russian Quince in bloom
                                 Market List;

    Celery, Scallions, Egyptian Walking Onions, SuperFood Salad Mix, Spinach, Pak Choy for stir fry, Radishes and TomatoPlants      Sorry, still no lamb

Tomatoes for the 2017 Growing Season

Mortgage Lifter, Paul Robeson. Moscovitch, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Striped German, Yellow Topaz. Black Brandywine, Pink Girl, Hungarian Heart, Arkansas Traveler, Purple Carbon, Pork Chop, Sara Black, Sugar Plum, Chocolate Cherry,

Amish Paste, Black From Tula, Cherokee Purple, Golden Jubilee, Gold Metal, Sweet Carneros, Barry's Crazy Cherry, Green Zebra, SunSugar, Caspian, Black Trifele, Vintage Wine, Plum Lemon and Yellow Pear.


Thanks to everyone who reached out last week in response to the family issue that we were having. Also thanks to everyone who showed up at market even though the forecast was terrible. Many of the vendors said it was a decent market even though it rained. Which is not much of a surprise considering how loyal the customer base at Tower Grove.

We'll see you Saturday at the park. Hopefully there will be a small 5 hour window of relief.

God's blessings on you and yours,

TTFN

Sam and Bill



Thursday, April 13, 2017

And So We Begin




 Market List;
Celery, Scallions, Egyptian Walking Onions, SuperFood Salad Mix and Tomato Plants
Maybe some Garlic Ramps. Not sure yet if we have enough to bring.
Sorry, we are still low on Lamb. We will have a bit of organ meat but no real cuts for a couple of weeks yet.
Tomatoes for the 2017 Growing Season
Mortgage Lifter, Paul Robeson. Moscovitch, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Striped German, Yellow Topaz. Black Brandywine, Pink Girl, Hungarian Heart, Arkansas Traveler, Purple Carbon, Pork Chop, Sara Black, Sugar Plum, Chocolate Cherry,
Amish Paste, Black From Tula, Cherokee Purple, Golden Jubilee, Gold Metal, Sweet Carneros, Barry's Crazy Cherry, Green Zebra, SunSugar, Caspian, Black Trifele, Vintage Wine, Plum Lemon and Yellow Pear.


There are a few more varieties that we are keeping just for fruit offerings at Market like Chestnut Chocolate, Thai Turtle Egg, Abracazebra just to name a few.  
Some varieties will not be available until next week.
Hard to believe that we are beginning our 12th season at Tower Grove market much less that the season is beginning again.

Slow Food gave us a very nice grant this year for growing Food Plots for the St.Croix sheep. The idea is to improve our pastures by way of planting cover crops, field grains that are NOT corn and soy, for instance, Rye, Barley, Oats, Milo and  Peas, Turnips and Peas for protein and bulk. In order to plant all on a rotational basis, Slow Food St. Louis gave us the funds for a 10 row crop seeder. As usual, Rusty helped me pick it up. I really don't know what I'd do without Rusty. We really lucked out moving in next to he and his wife. Maybe some of you know that Cortney who has worked for us for the last 3 seasons is his granddaughter and the above girls are of course her little sisters.
So we went and picked up the seeder and our order of approximately 380 LBS. of  seed. Fifty each of Organic Barley, Winter Rye, Oats, Crimson Clover, Cow Peas and Buckwheat, another 50 of a mix of Annual Rye, Groundhog Radish, and Crimson Clover and some smaller bags of other mixes of some the above things mixed with Field Peas.






Another unexpected plus that came along with the seeder was the rack that it came in. You can see it in the background and it just screamed "potting bench".

Am I right?

                 As it figures, we got a test plot planted and then it rained for 2 weeks.


Finally on Wednesday, we loaded the seeder up and started planting. We used a cooler and mixed large feed scoops of everything that we had ordered and then poured it in and mixed it again. The only thing that we aren't planting is the cow peas because the weather is a bit iffy yet and they like it hot. The plan is to plant all 6 of the pastures...and then rotate the sheep between pastures one week on each planting behind them so that when they get back to the first pasture it has been growing for 6 weeks. Turnips and radishes planted at the beginning and end of the growing seasons. That's the plan anyway.

So Rayven's sister Jade came out this week to help me out. It's really cool to see these kids begging their mom to come to the farm and work and they do work. Rayven last summer and Jade now. No whining or crying about stuff. They may not be pros but when they do mess up, they just go back and do it again without an attitude. They really want to know how to grow things.







Jade has planted onions this week, kept the beds watered, labeled plants, helped keep the animals watered too.      Oh, and we went swimming too in the lake today and YES it was cold.



Future Food Growers above!

So that's a lot but not all of the news. One more thing, April 1st we have been on the farm 17 years. We snapped this pic


And so we will see you Saturday at Tower Grove. We just got word that the bathrooms are still not operable so be prepared.

God's blessings on you and yours,

TTFN

Sam, Bill, Jade and Rusty's crew

Oh yes, and the Russian Quince is blooming!




Thursday, March 9, 2017

Weird and Wonderful Winter

Market List
Winter Salad Mix featuring, Mache', Red Mustard, Kale, Chickweed, Pak Choi leaves & flowers, spinach, lettuce, beet and Pea Shoots.
Free Range Duck and Chicken eggs 
Lamb in a limited amount
Celery Stalks

It has been an usual Winter. Unseasonably warm, only doing one market but still lots going on here at Sunflower Savannah.
For instance, this is Huey our new dog with Cortney's sisters (and our future employees at the Market). We totally love Jubilee but in finding her, it was brought to our attention how difficult it is becoming to find Livestock Guardian dogs which have not been ruined by being played with to the point that they don't want to be with the animals. Also Jubilee is only a year old and still very playful. The sheep do not appreciate this and so she was pretty lonely. She would try and try to get them to romp with

her, but they just weren't having it. She is great with all the animals, sheep are one thing but finding a young dog that is good with ducks, chickens and geese is a whole other ball of wax. from the time that she got here at 6 months old, she never once looked at the fowl. That being said, she was moping around here wanting someone to pal with. So we were inspired to get a male companion for her to both keep her company and hopefully bring us some pups that she can teach to do the same things she does so well.



So Shelley from Whetstone Farm and I did some talking and then we did some trading. That's how Huey came to live with us and keep Jubilee company. He is a big lover, hopefully on all fronts. Good with the sheep, protective at night and letting everybody do their thing...including happy Jubilee.

Now, the newest news is our newest Slow Food grant. This year Slow Food St. Louis picked out a handful of farmers that had been successful in their previous grant projects and asked them how they could make one of their projects more efficient. After much deliberation, we thought that maybe getting our St. Croix Ark of Taste lamb to you more quickly would be the a vast improvement. As you know, our sheep are almost entirely on grass and hay and after a dry fall as we had this year and 2 years ago, there is very little forage for a decent size flock. The project this year involves planting food plots that both improve our soil as well as providing more nutrients for hungry sheep. Our food plots will consist of Rye, barley, oats, Crimson clover, field peas, sunflowers, turnips and vetch. we plan on rotating the flock between pastures that will be fed by the clover, peas and vetch which will in turn help to grow the Rye, barley and turnips. In order to make this happen Slow Food St. Louis has provided us with a 10 row crop seeding drill. We're very excited about this. We'll keep you posted on how this goes.
And speaking of lambs, we have a lot on the ground already. Here is a picture of some of our St. Croix lambs including our first set of St. Croix twins.

We will be at the Montessori School at 1618 Tower Grove Avenue on Saturday for the Tower Grove Farmers Market. Lots of Duck eggs this time.

TTFN,

God's blessings on you and yours,

Bill and Sam
the sheep, lambs, Jubilee and Huey


https://www.gofundme.com/sunflowersavannah-year-around
Citrus project
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