Friday, July 29, 2011

National Farmers Market Week is scheduled for August 7-13

     How does a blog about the Soap Making turn into a blog about small farmers....because we are small farmers making a living on our small farm!  Small farmers are the most important step towards returning this Nation back to what it used to be...a profitable Nation with strong hands and hearts turned to God for sustanance!
    Since next week in August is National Farmers Market Week
     I wanted to encourgage all my blog readers to visit your local farmers markets.  Go by and encourage your local farmers with your support.  I find that our best and faithful customers are those that know us, and know our family.  They begin to share with us in our joys and our trials.  We bond with them and their families as well. 
    I was reading a very wonderful article in the Small Farmers Journal and it was describing the destruction of the American food supply,  how each of the changes that have been made to ruin or alter food has become a poison, not only to our food but to our Nation.  I really appreciated one comment that Lynn Miller made as he is describing us small farmers with a wonderful WORTHINESS...the fact that our food is worthy of the price.  That we have a corner on the food because ours is heathly, grown with cleanliness, grown with purity..if you will, not contaminated with poisons that are in the process of killing our Country.  That our lives are built on caring for our land and for our soils.  That we haven't been extracting money from the government.  That we are small farmers with a dream and putting that dream into reality, making our farms vital and active with a "real return".
    I appreciate his very important involvement in our "movement", though I don't look at our lives as a movement at all.  Just a simple family farm, gathering their sustanance from the Lord and all His incredible provisions.  We seek His guidance in our lives through our farm.  He is the One that produces and we are a servant to Him.  Using land for what He intended it to be used for.
     If this economy has been hard on anyone, I would have to say the American Small Family Farm has had the most difficult time of making a living over anyone.  We work long hard hours with little income in return and meanwhile food prices are kept low for a very long time by Large Corporate Mega Farming.
    These Large Corporate "farms" have all but put the small farms out of business with their farming practices of using chemicals and migrant workers to produce vast amounts of poor quality food. 
    Now with the knowledge that we are learning on GMO foods, and their harmful results, on the negative side effects of chemical fertilizer including  hormonal problems caused from the synthetic estrogens used in most commercially grown food...we Need to be buying organic to protect ourselves and our families.  And just because a farmer is at a Farmers Market, does NOT mean that they are growing Organically...please ASK!
    And best of all we can grow our own food from organically grown non-gmo seeds.  I encourage everyone Nationwide to grow your own :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Busy Time for Our Family

     Whew, between getting to three markets per week, and running a Goat's Milk Soap business, our family has been busy! 
     Farmer's Markets are a lot of work and time,  but are a lot of fun and offer us an exciting time of harvesting and marketing our produce.  If you don't know where your local farmer's markets are you can find out here
    Cucumbers are a major market item for us.  We grow long English type of cucumbers that are mild and sweet without bitterness.  Young helpers are perfect for helping to harvest more than a hundred per market!  We grow a variety from Japan.  These are trellised up to save space and to make the cucumbers straight and long.  We use diatomaceous earth- (Diatomaceous Earth is a non-toxic, safe substance made up from fossils of freshwater organisms and crushed to a fine powder) on the young plants to keep the sow bugs at bay.  The d.e. has to be reapplied each time they are watered.  This is only necessary while the plants are small.  After they reach maturity then we only have to fight the mold or virus that infects the plants through cucumber beetles. 
     We are also at markets with Basil, Spinach, Chard, Beets, lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, herbs; rosemary, sage, mint and chives.  And of course our handmade goat's milk soaps.
     Tomatoes are a major crop as well.  We trellis them up as well and keep the suckers trimmed off to encourage growth in the plant and to keep them healthy.  Air flow is what discourages mold growth.  We also keep the clusters of tomatoes that are set down to three per cluster.  This gives us big tomatoes and also allows the energy of the plant to continue to grow into more tomatoes. 
     Weeds, are also a major source of work on our farm.  Weeding is something that always has to be done, but we try to get ahead of weeds by doing several different things we have learned to do to keep them manageable.  We use transplanting for most all crops.  We use a tiller to prepare the soil, and then place the plants that are several inches tall into the loosened soil.  The transplant cells we use, are from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply we buy these in many different sizes.  But our most common size is the 200 cells.  We also like the 115 size for starting basil.  And use the 64 cell for many types of large plants including broccoli, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes.
     These cells, are perfect to begin seeds in and to keep the roots air pruned and then when we are ready to transplant, we use a pencil to push up the plant from the bottoms.  The plants dislodge easily and are then planted in the cool of the evening.  We premark the rows to be planted and can do many in an evening.  If you are growing for your own family, use them in intervals, planting in small amounts every two weeks or so, depending on family size. 
    We also weed early with tools that make the job easier.  We use a large wheel hoe that is more difficult but gets a lot done at one time.
    Hand tools from the Red Pig really are very helpful.  These tools may cost more but make up for it with the quality of the work that you can accomplish
Using hand tools allows you to have more control and to have little helpers see an accomplishment as well.
    I am very convinced with our food supply being corrupted by greed and corporate take over, we all need to be growing our own food.  I have felt a need to help others to have knowledge in what makes it work easier.  Besides it being healthier to grow your own food, it is also very fulfilling and you are able to see God's hand in your life and His provision for your family :) 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Pacific Coast!

     I thought all of you might like seeing a little glimpse of life here in Oregon on the Coast.  The beautiful Coast is usually cool and cloudy in Summer, but sometimes we can have a gorgeous day!

    Our little boys love the Ocean and the waves :)

     The evenings are also beautiful and cool, but the lovely sunsets are worth the chill!

The handiwork of God!
this is actually the sky :)

     I hope you have enjoyed a little look of the Oregon Coast and are planning a trip here to see what we are being blessed with :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


     I love flowers!  I have flowers filling our greenhouses, to the point that it has become hard to walk past them.  We grow many kinds of flowers; Fuchsia's and Hydrangeas are the most common. 

We have literally hundreds of flowering plants in our greenhouses! 

     I stroll gardens gazing at flowers. 

     Flowers grace my desk...roses; pink, peach and deep red!  Flowers fill my tables, a large Gardenia (my wedding flower) sits on our dining room table.  My front planter is filled with Primroses, Hydrangeas, and Fuchsias!  Beside them are the huge Rhododendrons just finished blooming. 

    In our backyard, we have more planters.  Just beside the house sits a garden of Hollyhocks, Dahlia's, Peonies, and Snap Dragons.  Flowers offer me rest.  I fill my senses with their scents when things are difficult.  I love to work in the greenhouses planting and repotting my flowers.   

                          Our weather is very wonderful for flowering plants.
I start almost all my flowers by seed, then I transplant into the ground or keep them in pots until next year by storing them in our greenhouses.  Many of my flowers I reproduce by cuttings.  These do well indoors in a cloning machine or also in a heated cabinet with a light bulb for bottom heat.  
I hope you have enjoyed flowers as much as I have and that you have many flowering plants to keep you smiling :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011


     Besides all the Animals and Produce we also raise a LOT of trees and plants.  In our greenhouses we raise many flowering plants such as Hydrangeas, Fuschias, Begonias, Miniature Roses and Banana plants; hardy for our area.

    Out of doors we grow many rare and unusual plants and trees including Goji, Sea Buckthorn, Macqui, Aronia Berry, Chilean Guava, Blueberries, Raspberries, and many others.  All of these plants are very rich in antioxidants.  We also sell these plants at our local farmer's markets.


Josta Berry
       (Currant/Gooseberry cross)

Sugarsweet Apple

     On our farm we are blessed to have a one hundred year old Apple trees, called the Smokehouse Apple.  We have renewed these trees with careful and selected pruning as well as repopulated it by grafting.  It is a wonderful heirloom apple and worth keeping and using.  The fruit is perfect for apple pies and is considered by our family as the BEST APPLE PIE! Apple :) 

Our Orchard when younger 2008
  Coos River Beauty Apple (in front)
     We also raise many other Apples, including more than fifty trees, many varieties that are lenghtening to the Apples season to increase our yields of apples without an excess, we also sell apples at our local farmer's markets.
Sweetheart Cherry

     We also have trees of Cherries, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Elderberries, Currants, Gooseberries, Chestnuts, Paw-Paws, Butternuts, Walnuts, Figs, Pineapple Guavas, and then many more that are exotic species, and also experimental for our area. 

Sugarsweet Apple

Moonglow Pear

     We believe in growing as much food as possible for our family and for our customers at the farmer's markets.  We grow all our food organically and with the best varieties available for our area and for our knowledge.  Organically Grown food isn't just the absence of pesticides and chemicals, it is the exceptional plant that is healthy and strong, able to withstand stresses and therefore doesn't need chemicals.
     Many of the fruit trees that we grow are specially adapted for our wet weather and rainy cool climate.  We live in the world's largest temperate rain forest and growing food isn't very easy but worth the study and diligence to provide for our family.  We encourage everyone to grow food by planting fruiting trees and gardening.  In many areas of the Country it is much easier to grow food, but can be done almost anywhere even if in a pot on a porch :)


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Independence Day Special!!


 In honor of our Country's Birthday we are celebrating by offering a special of free shipping with orders of $15. dollars or more.  Just enter "Independence Day" in the coupon voucher.  This offer is good for today July 2- July 4, 2011.  Thank you and May God Bless the United States of America!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A shearing experience!

     "She seeketh wool and flax and works with willing hands" Proverbs 31:13

      Alpaca Wool is the most luxurious fiber there is!  It is a very soft wool that has a lovely drape to it.  It is very warm and comfortable to wear.  Alpaca wool is our favorite to spin, weave and knit.   Keeping babies warm is another way to use Alpaca wool.  Our little ones have been kept warm and dry inside an alpaca sweater, hand knit, extra thick, sheds the rain of the Pacific Northwest wonderfully!
    Alpaca wool comes in many beautiful Natural colors, which eliminates the need to dye, but sometimes you want a little brighter color! 
    Here is a picture of my spinning is an Ashford Elizabeth.  My Elizabeth is a lovely wheel and has had many hours of Alpaca wool spun on it.   I started handspinning fiber nearly twenty years ago.  Our children have been able to learn spinning, weaving and knitting as well.  Fiberwork is a fun and exciting way to spend an evening.  Spinning is very relaxing, and hearing a story being read aloud at the same time is fun and profitable :)
     Besides raising alpacas, we have also raised sheep including Merinos and Shetlands, Angora goats, and Angora rabbits.
     Angora goats produce a fiber that is called Mohair. It is long curly locks of fiber. It is very shiny and makes a nice blanket.
     Angora rabbits produce a fur, that is handplucked or hand sheared to be used. It is very labor intensive and is very expensive. Angora Hair is very warm. Adding small amounts to other fibers while spinning will increase the warming ability of the item and make it softer. Angora Hair is very soft!
     If anyone would like to learn more about wool, handspinning, weaving and/or knitting, please leave me a comment and I would gladly send you information.