newsletter 2014 Week 42 mon shepards pie, kohlrabi apple bake newsletter 2014 Week 43 turnips n taters n thyme, broc kale n bacn, turnip n beef n bean soup newsletter 2014 Week 44, Mashed turnips and taters, greens and burger, kohlrabi ham bake

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Newsletter Week of October 13th

newsletter 2014 Week 41 Fall roasted veggies, Whole Beet Skillet

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HappyDay CSA Newsletter, Oct 6th

newsletter 2014 Week 40 bacon n eggs n greens, hash browns

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newsletter 2014 Week 38 sausage n turnip green soup, kale n turnip green soup

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Newsletter, July 28th :)

newsletter 2014 Week 30 mon baked zucchini halves, grated beet salad

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HappyDay CSA Newsletter – July 10th, 2013

Hey! It’s been awhile since our last update. This week brings you the new and improved HappyDay CSA Newsletter. Check out our new logo, how our summer is going, and get in on Casey’s Easy Recipe Action with Early Summer Stirfry. Plus now we’re offering MamaMade Gluten-Free breads and tasty treats.

HappyDay CSA Newsletter – July 10th, 2013

HappyDay CSA Newsletter - July 10th, 2013

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Musings of a Happy Farmer – May 27, 2013

It’s a rainy Memorial Day, and I sure woke up feeling stiff and sore from a combination of work fatigue and the dampness in the air.  It’s funny, when I was younger I used to hear the old-timers talk about the way dampness makes the bones ache and I didn’t really get it.  My bones don’t ache yet, but my shoulder muscles and hip flexors sure do.  We’ve been running new ag (pond) water lines for an expanded system with more storage capacity, and shoving the ends of the pipes together and holding them for the glue to set up always leaves me feeling sore the next day.  Sore or not, I’m grateful for the rain.  It has already been so dry here that the dust on the road had become a thick layer waiting to explode with traffic and settle slowly over the landscape, choking everything.  The rain will wash us clean to start anew, reminding us that it really is still spring, though it has felt like deep summer of late.  The brassicas are beaming today, having been desperate for some weather more in line with what they naturally prefer.  There certainly hasn’t been much of this cool, drizzly weather this spring and all the young kales, kohlrabis and Chinese greens are absolutely reveling in it.  I’m much more of a hot pepper than a kale; I’m all about the hottest, sunniest day possible.  Cloudy weather tends to cloud my mood, making it harder to find my motivation and irrepressibility.  I’ve been really trying to focus on appreciating rainy days and being happy for the rain, and I am grateful, but I’m never as chipper on cloudy days.

Not having to worry about water today makes this sorta like an actual day off!  We’ve already pumped more than 10,000 gallons of water for agricultural and household use this spring, and it isn’t even June.  Usually we’re able to push well into June before we even fire up the pump for the first time.  We’ve never pumped this much this early, and it has had me quite nervous about our usage.  We’ve expanded our crop space by some 3000 square feet since the end of last summer, and we were pretty well tapped out at that point.  To this end, we’ve planned not to replant the beds that our garlic and overwinter onions are coming out of until we reach the fall rains.  We’re also going to plant a run of buckwheat for a quick-growing cover crop that we can stop watering when the water crunch begins. There has been some conjecture that we’re moving into a new weather pattern that includes semi-regular rains during the summer months.  This would be pretty epic from a farm standpoint; every cool, cloudy/rainy day is a day that I don’t have to irrigate, and a day on which the farm chores are lessened because we don’t need to hand water beds.  We’ve been mulching heavily with rice straw so as to provide more protection for the soil and keep irrigation water from evaporating off the soil surface, and we’re running more irrigation now than we were at the height of last summer.  We’ve never had to fire up much irrigation this time of year, but right now we’re running irrigation on almost every bed that we have planted, and hand watering the greenhouses and the few beds that I haven’t yet gotten up on drip.  We run ½” mainline to ½” inline emitter tubing with ½” easy-loc fittings and Digg timers, all available from Dripworks.  Check them out at dripworks.com, they pretty much have everything that we use for our irrigation and from my perspective they’re the leaders in the industry.

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Musings of a Happy Farmer – May 26, 2013

The exhilarating, devastating, uplifting, disastrous thing about farming is that it’s all a gamble.  You can hedge your bets with irrigation, row covers, fertilizers and care, but in the end it’s a roll of the dice with Mama.   Most of the time, it’s awesome; I follow my established routine to prep, plant and maintain a given crop, magic happens, and I have vegetables to sell.  Inevitably though, there are times when I gamble on the wrong bet, or bet too heavily when I shouldn’t have.  This can be discouraging enough to sit down and make me want to cry.  Farming can be hard to separate oneself from; it’s often really tough to take a step back and not get overwhelmed.  The ol’ one foot in front of the other is crucial during tough times, otherwise the mountain of work will weigh me down.  I love the challenge, but it’s more enjoyable when things are going my way.  This spring was unusually (or perhaps more usually nowadays…) warm, setting me up for the classic hot-crop-frost-date gamble.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been taught that our last frost date is the end of May, and that we don’t plant out our hot crops until the first of June.  My natural tendency is to challenge the accepted wisdom to see how well it holds water (or keeps the cold off), so we’ve experimented with a variety of season extension devices in order to allow us to push the envelope.  This year has been so warm that the tomatoes were stretching in their one gallon pots and demanding final placement with unruly vines trying to intertwine by the end of April.  We planted out all of them in the first week of May, everything growing like full summer swing.  We took the hoops off of the summer squash by the middle of May because they were so big that they were straining at the covers.  We planted out basil and cukes under row covers the same week and packed in the vast majority of the row covers, prepared to call it summer.  Then the forecast started showing a cooling trend, which I more or less ignored at first.  By the 17th of May they were predicting near freezing temperatures for the 21st-23rd.  As it got closer and closer, the predicted lows dropped, with first frost, then freeze warnings issued.  We began to scramble, pulling out the tubs of Remay and Agribon (floating row covers) and the PVC hoops, metal wickets and wire hoops that we use to support the covers.  We had tremendous help, and we used every scrap of cover we had.  We managed to cover 200 squash, 300 tomatoes, the row of cukes, and double cover the row of basil.  We got the predicted cold, with sleet showers on Tuesday night freezing a hard ice layer over everything Wednesday morning.  Our gamble paid off; we lost three tomato plants which couldn’t quite fit under the cover but everything else is thriving.

It looks to be a cool and rainy Memorial Day so we’ve elected to leave the covers on until high pressure returns and it warms up.  This will likely keep us under cover until June 1st, right in line with tradition.  With the strange weather we see these days, we hope that tradition still holds and we’ve seen the last of the real cold for the season.

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Musings of a Happy Farmer – May 16, 2013

We are caretakers of the land, stewards, and temporary inhabitants in the grand scheme.  What lasting impression will we leave?  I wonder what this parcel will look like 50 years from now.  We’ve been here for just over 30, and so many tremendous changes have occurred that some places are hardly recognizable.  We’ve invested our lives in the infrastructure needed to survive off-grid in a highly arid environment.  I wonder how my terraces will look in the future?  Will they be as fertile and productive as they are today, or will they slip into the stream of the past, becoming vague shapes worked into the hillside in an earlier time?

Life is one long realization of decisions made, and it is incredible to see the cumulative effect of human will and desire.  Farming here is a battle, and there are many forces arrayed against the farmer.  Every species of critter in the vicinity is highly interested in the tender crops.  Deer, quail, various rodents, caterpillars, bugs; all are voracious consumers of vegetables.  The extreme heat in the summer, coupled with the windy chill in the winter on our exposed ridge-line makes this quite inhospitable country for farming.  It is through sheer force of will, ingenuity, and use of newer technologies that we are able to do what we do.  I’ve always loved a challenge, and this is the first thing in my life that I’ve genuinely been able to throw myself into as hard as I can.  It can be totally frustrating and overwhelming at times, but it can also be the most incredibly exhilarating feeling.  Walking around the terraces at the end of the day, the vibrant growth is a beacon, lighting the path forward.  Farming is the route to happiness for me.

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HappyDay CSA Newsletter – May 15th, 2013

Hey! Check it out! It’s our HappyDay CSA weekly newsletter. Learn about our animal raising, the first carrots of 2013, and get in on Casey’s Easy Recipe Action with tasty Stir-Fry and Roosted Vegetables.

HappyDay CSA Newsletter – May 15th, 2013

HappyDay CSA Newsletter - May 15th, 2013

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