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Farm member Don Whitehead sent a guide to freezing kale that made me smile:

KaleStep02

Step 2

KaleStep01

Step 1

KaleStep03

Step 3

3 Easy Steps
1.  Collect Kale for 3 weeks
2.  Prepare 56 Cups of uncooked Kale
3.  Freeze 16 cups of blanched Kale
Repeat.”

It’s nice to know that all the kale I’ve been setting out hasn’t gone to waste!

My dad wanted me to take photos of the farm fields when everything was looking green & vibrant … I still haven’t gotten around to it, and now the grass is browning up due to the recent heat and dry weather. Sorry, Dad! I do have a few little pics I took with my sub-par camera phone. Thanks to drip irrigation, all the hot crops have been loving the weather. We picked 170 pounds of snap peas last Monday, because they practically all ripened at once. I’m looking forward to cooler weather this coming week.

Thanks to Eddy Gilmore for visiting Stone’s Throw Farm last Sunday and writing about our little farming community in Wrenshall. On his blog, Ed’s Big Adventure, Eddy explains his services as a profiler of interesting people thusly:

What I bring to you is an innate ability to become intensely impassioned for your subject through the lens of a third party with keen observational skills. I am a great conversationalist, will travel out to your location, and will spend hours chatting with or about your subject. The point of this isn’t to merely glean facts, but to find footholds of interest for myself so I may write an engaging story.”

I found his statement to be true — I am not a good conversationalist but I enjoyed talking to Eddy, who seemed genuinely interested. Without taking notes, he got (almost!) all of the details I shared correct and wrote about his experience skillfully. Eddy was generous enough to share a copy of his memoir, The Emancipation of a Buried Man, which I very much look forward to reading — get your own copy here.

June-Y

As everyone says around here, “Summer is short in Duluth.” It’s not officially summer yet, so it’s especially nice that it’s been feeling like summer around here! Almost all the veggies love it, I love it . . . the only ones who really wish for cooler temps are the piggies. They like it about 50-60 degrees, so we try to keep them cool with water- and mud-baths when necessary. Check out a couple new videos of the pigs at the bottom of this post. As you can see, they’re very social and didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting in the pen with them to give them back scratches!

Besides its future use as a potting shed/winter greenhouse, the shipping container also makes a good place to take overview photos of the farm. Everything is cooking along pretty well; the only big thing left to get into the ground is the peppers, which we should be able to accomplish in the next few days.

We’ve had some excitement at Stone’s Throw Farm lately — farm member Jennifer Gutowski brought her boys and their Cub Scout troop out for a little tour one evening. They especially enjoyed wheeling our row marker around and taking turns with the wheel hoe. We also got a shipping container delivered for use as a potting shed; Elden plans to insulate it and attach a hoop greenhouse on the south side. This will allow me to start seeds at the farm instead of using the basement at my parents’ house 3 miles away! Our neighbor John Laveau set the container into place for us with his excavator (thanks, John). The piggies are doing great and getting hooked on back scratches. They’re still a little shy when big groups of Cub Scouts stop by, though!

Pigging Out

PigClusterEvery year since 2010, we’ve raised a few pigs at Stone’s Throw Farm. This year we’re going back to our original number:  four. These pigs came from my grandpa, Tom Conover, of Holstein, IA. We just happened to get all gilts (females) this year, so they are “the girls.” They came to us about 25-30 pounds, so they’re pretty cute. Farm members who would like to meet the piggies in person are more than welcome to visit.

PigsFromWest

It’s fun for me to see how happy these piggies are to be out on sod, rooting around, running over to see if I’ve got treats for them, and enjoying each other’s company. Of course, they’re not quite as happy when it’s 37 degrees and windy, but my dad takes very good care of them and has their little hut stuffed with straw, so they just pile up in there and snore the chilly days away.

I caught most of a “Fresh Air” show on NPR recently (by accident!) about pigs, and you should really check it out if you’re curious about pigs at all. Barry Estabrook, author of Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat, was the guest and says,

Pigs and humans, culturally, we’ve evolved together. Pigs have helped us, we’ve helped pigs, it’s what Temple Grandin calls ‘the ancient contract,’ and our part of that contract is to do our bit well and pigs’ part of that contract is to provide us with food.”

I have to say that despite that contract, butchering day is really difficult for me. That’s part of the reason we’re down to 4 pigs!

Check out a couple videos of our piggies below:  the first two were taken when they first arrived on the trailer, and the other one after they landed in their outdoor pen. They were pretty skittish at first but have already warmed up to people considerably.

Update 4/25/15:  We’re now completely sold out of CSA shares for 2015. To be notified when shares go on sale for 2016, please send an email to stonesthrowmn at gmail.com. Thanks.

Due to some upgrades from half to full shares by our Stone’s Throw Farm members, we now have one half share left, but we’re sold out of full shares. If interested, you can go ahead and sign up for that half share online . . . the sign-ups are time-stamped so there’ll be no confusion about who got the last share. In the event that multiple people try to sign up for the same spot, I’ll let you know as soon as possible. Thanks.

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