Category Archives: CSA

Week Six CSA Newsletter: Stormy Summer Skies

It was a muggy and stormy week. with periods of sunshine-blasting heat making things intense for work in the open field, interspersed with deluges of rain, firework displays of atmospheric electricity, and a barrage of crazy wind. And throughout it all, the air remained thick with moisture, which the plants no doubt loved, but we could have really done fine without, ourselves.IMG_1707


The wind partied hardest on Sunday night, during a thunderstorm powerful enough to  warrant a warning from the National Weather Service.


In addition to terrifying our WWOOFers (who had to wonder if the rocking Albatross trailer was going to make like its namesake and take off), it knocked over sunflowers, laid most of the corn over at all angles, and KOed several bean plants and onions.


Most of the damage was minor, and we helped the corn stalks stand back up, propping them upright with handfuls of hay mulch, so most should regain verticality without “goose-necking.”


The worst storm damage was actually inflicted the next day – when an unexpected and incredibly prolific rain cloud descended upon us, dumping bucketloads of water per square foot in mere minutes … completely destroying the ten trays of kohlrabi, herbs, and head lettuce seeds that WWOOFer Ariel had just finished meticulously planting in soil blocks.

stick bug riding the storm out on a rainwater collection tank
stick bug riding the storm out on a rainwater collection tank

It was depressing to see all the hard work, time, and seeds destroyed, but all things considered, we got off pretty easy given how things could have gone down.

we use the mower to mulch up leaves we stored from last fall, where they get soaked when we get rainstorms and breakdown a bit before we collect them up to use as "browns" in the compost piles
we use the mower to mulch up leaves we stored from last fall, where they get soaked when we get rainstorms and breakdown a bit before we collect them up to use as “browns” in the compost piles


chickens working the compost pile
chickens working the compost pile

The week’s work was varied and satisfying.



I got the guest cabin on its own solar power system, and upgraded the main power system with another battery and 200 watts of additional panels, mounted up on the side of the semi trailer barn, using scavenged metal bed frames.


On Wednesday we thought we were being slightly irresponsible when we decided to head to the friendly local Wolf Creek Bar for dinner and a beer – but it turned out to be a highly productive and even synchronistic excursion, when we ran into Lee the Hay Man, who we had not seen for years – and he was willing to deliver 11 huge rounds of spoiled hay to the farm for a very reasonable price.

WWOOFer Ariel at the Wolf Creek Bar
WWOOFer Ariel at the Wolf Creek Bar

Just that morning we had been discussing how we badly needed more hay for mulch, but didn’t know where we would get it from – we couldn’t get in touch with the guy we’d most recently scored from, and were considering putting up a flyer or two … hey hay hey!

six of our serendipitous hay rounds
six of our 11 serendipitous hay rounds


We planted storage radishes, tied up the growing trellis crops, sought and destroyed cabbage worms and potato beetle larvae, weeded rows of lettuce, beans, and melons, hay-muched melons and peppers and beets, tilled in the pea tendril row, and gave up on the scheme to- grow ground cherries in hanging pots (they hated it), and transplanted them out into the field, where the tendrils had been.


when the field got too hot & sticky, we took a trip to the river for a swim. After a stop for some cold off-sale at the bar ...
when the field got too hot & sticky, we took a trip to the river for a swim. After a stop for some cold off-sale at the bar …


WWOOFer Ariel and Blogger Christi help prepare for the Farmer's Market
WWOOFer Ariel and Blogger Christi help prepare for the Farmer’s Market


The voles … shit. They have been off our radar for weeks now, and was starting to dare to think that maybe they just went away. But no. They had just been building their strength for a comeback apparently. Because this week, the walkways between the pea rows were riddled with tunnels that we’d sink into as we tried to walk, and entrance holes appeared in the potato and lettuce rows. Of course we tried to set traps, but of course this yielded only frustration. Voles are an overly-worthy adversary.  So far the damage they are doing seems minimal, but it seems the population is likely on the boom – and each vole must eat its own weight in vegetable matter every day. Or maybe every hour. Something terrifying like that. They breed faster than rabbits and we’re realizing that the pea plants that have already keeled over aren’t just dropping naturally from the heat, but from having their roots devoured …

I love the snap peas, but I’m eager for them to be done, so we can pull the trellises and irrigation, and I can run the rototiller through the area, destroying the tunnel network in there. This is an incredibly frustrating infestation, not just because they are nearly impossible to eradicate, but because they flourish under the very conditions we are creating for the health of the soil and plants, with the thick hay mulch (which not only suppresses weeds and conserves moisture, but also adds much-needed nutrients and organic matter to our sandy soil for future years).

Like the weather and the Quack Grass, the voles force us to face inescapably uncontrollable nature of this lifestyle, and to practice our mantra – “que sera, sera!” We will do all we can, but ultimately what will be, will be – and regardless of weeds and wind and wascally wodents, I think that what will be will be pretty awesome. Chinese curse or no, I prefer living in interesting times – and farming out in the Barrens is rarely boring ….





  • Bean Medley A half dozen varieties of green beans and wax beans, delicious raw or cooked – although the spotted and royal purple pods will lose their color when heated.  :(
  • Summer Squash Zucchini  (three varieties) – Young, small and tender this week – you’ll likely get some larger ones better for baking later in the season, so maybe use these in a sautée.


  • Salad mix – this week’s blend includes three kinds of lettuce, argula, plenty of pea tips, and some tat soi and spinach. It’s getting hot, we’ll see how the lettuce fares – this just might be the last salad mix til late summer. Or maybe not!


  • Sugar Snap Peas – Last week for these crunchy yumbombs! If you’ve had enough of the fresh or chopped in salads or stir-fried, try making fridge pickles with them – surprisingly, they actually are delicious pickled, with great texture. Use the dill and onions in the box and follow one of these recipes!
  • Broccoli
  • Onions – now that they’re getting larger, the neck between the greens and the bulb is getting tough, so skip that part – but the rest is still great! 
  • Dill – Chop up the frondy leaves and put ’em on eggs, or in a salad dressing, or juse them to make fridge pickles with your peas! The firework-ish flower tops are traditionally used for pickle making, but you can chop them up and use them just as the leaves.
  • Kohlrabi –  large shares only – on a hot day, slice it up and serve on ice with salt and pepper, maybe some lemon juice. Yum.


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Week 5 CSA Newsletter – Tadpoles are Cool

Hello shareholders!


Welcome to July – we’re definitely into the summer now. Some of the cool weather crops like the lettuce and peas are beginning to show signs of fatigue, and the radishes are pretty much dunzo. But this isn’t bad, it’s just the cycle of the seasons – and to make up for it, the hot weather crops are really becoming vigorous.


The eggplant, beans, zucchini, pepper, and tomato plants are growing up and out, and looking very promising. The tomatoes are the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever seen them at this time of year, and seem to really like the new mulch and trellising system we’re trying out.

Widget begging for fresh picked peas
Widget begging for fresh picked peas – she LOVES them


The week’s work involved more hay muching and more organic insecticide (manual pickin’ & squishin’) of potato beetle grubs and squash vine borer eggs.

love the predator bugs that help control the potato beetle larvae!
love the predator bugs that help control the potato beetle larvae!

We started preparing a bed for the fall crop of salad greens, using a technique known as a “stale seedbed” – in which we create moist, warm, happy conditions for the lurking weed seeds, using transparent plastic applied to a row after a good rain. This will encourage all the weeds to germinate under the ideal conditions – and when they come up all new & tender, we will gently remove the cover … and greet them with a propane flamethrower. And then it’ll be safe to plant the fall salad.


Last week, Kristin found a bunch of tadpole babies in some water buckets we were using as weights – she and WWOOFer Reynaldo thought we should create a tadpole hatching pool, so we alley-scavenged up a kid’s pool when we came to the cities last week, and this week we turned it into sweet digs for future farm frogs.

Vickie, Julia, and Smith adding the tadpoles
Vickie, Julia, and Smith adding the tadpoles


We woke up at 5:00 am on the 4th of July, to harvest for the Saint Croix Falls farmer’s market – for the first time this year, due to the casualties the cutworms and voles inflicted upon our early spring crops.


Then a bunch of friends came out from the cities to celebrate the holiday weekend together on the Farm, and the next day a new WWOOFer, Ariel from Maryland came out to help out for a couple of weeks. We had a long soaking rain the next day – at least 2 inches fell over the course of a day, giving all the crops a well-timed drink the day before the CSA harvest – today!

Ariel packing up the boxes
Ariel packing up the boxes

We had a good crew helping out, making the harvest go smoothly even as we did our first dual-harvest of the year – everything for you all, plus some surplus veggies for the HealthPartners cafeteria. Much thanks to our WWOOFers, Kristin’s parents, and our friend Mark who helped make it come together today!

Week 5 Box:


  • Week 5 Salad Mix – Red Ruby, Buttercrunch bibb, and frizzy green lettuces, baby Red Russian & Dwarf curly blue kale, arugula, pea tips, tat soi, & mizuna
  • Sugar Snap Peas – the pea(k) season is passing now, alas … but the pea plants are still putting out a whole lot of sweet, tasty pods.
  • Kohlrabi – This is the alien lookin’ fellow in your box. These are the survivors of the vole assault this spring – the ones we took back in from the field after transplanting to nurse back to health. They are usually peeled – we usually just use a sharp knife to cut off the tough outer skin. The leaves are also edible, best if cooked. We think the root is tasty served cold, sliced and saltedbut here’s a good post with other good ideas for eating yours.
  • Fresh Herbs – Basil, Spearmint, & Lemon Balm – (the lemon balm has the twine around it to help you know which is which). Here’re some ideas for how you can use your basil. Lemon balm is great for tea (Fill a jar with fresh leaves. Pour simmering hot water into the jar then cover the top with a saucer so that none of the vapors escape. Let steep until cool enough to drink & sweeten to taste.) Spearmint is most excellent served outdoors in a strong mojito on a sunny afternoon while playing hooky from your job.
    mmmm post-harvest drink time!!
    mmmm post-harvest drink time!!


  • Broccoli – Every part is edible – some people think the best part is the middle of the stalks, and call it broccoli candy. Fact. This week we enjoyed some in a stew, as we dried off and warmed up from working in the soaking rain.
  • Radishes & Salad Turnips


  • Kale (Red Russian, Dino, and Dwarf Curly Blue varieties) – Have you tried kale chips yet? They are so darn good … although I usually eat the entire batch in one sitting, so they don’t last all that long …


  • Cauliflower (large shares only) – cauliflower doesn’t much like our sandy soil, and we have a hard time getting much of it. We had just enough for the big boxes this week. We were given some from a new friend at the market this week, which we grilled up on the rocket stove – it was delicious,and the leftovers went into the rainy day stew.

That’s it for this week – let us know if you have any feedback, questions, photos, or recipes to share.

Thanks again for joining us this year – we’re grateful every day that we have the opportunity to live this life, and grateful for all the people that have helped make it a possibility – including you.

Have a wonderful week!

– the Sehrs


4th of July kid attack
4th of July kid attack


the farmers' market moon unit
the farmers’ market moon unit


climbing hop vines
climbing hop vines


fennel coming up
She who pants between the rows
She who pants between the rows



moon over the Albatross
moon over the Albatross

Week 4 CSA Newsletter- Squash Vine Borers & Trellises

The weather this week was muggy – although temperatures weren’t all that high, we got steamed by the humidity when out in the field under the open sun. It was necessary to find work in the shade (or go river swimming) during the peak farmer-baking hours of noon to two or so, but the lost time was easy to make up for since the sun has been staying up til approximately midnight lately.


Early in the week we fired up the rototiller and chewed up the thick weeds starting to overtake some of the walkways between rows, and hand weeded several rows of crops that had weeds threatening to shade out our veggies. We picked up a free screen porch off Craigslist, which will someday soon give us some nice bug-free, shady, outdoor hangout space.


While weeding, I noticed a wasp-like form darting about in the squash plants, and realized it might mean trouble so I followed it … as it buzzed from squash plant to squash plant, before selling onto one and quickly moving down to the base of the stem. A squash vine borer! Probably my least favorite insect, although this is the first year I’d caught the flying adults in their foul acts …

SVBs are not actually wasps, but day-flying moths, which specialize in breaking the hearts of gardeners and farmers. They lay tiny eggs on the plants , one at a time – up to 200 eggs per bug, scattered throughout the garden. Eggs are usually on the base of plants, just below the soil line, but can be anywhere. When they hatch, the tiny grub burrows into the host plant’s stem, and starts to feed on its innards. And it grows, and eats, and grows, and poops the plant’s heart out onto the ground. This doesn’t kill quickly – it takes time, as the grub gets bigger and bigger and does more and more damage. The plant struggles on, stunted a bit but apparently OK at first … until just before the bounty of beautiful young squash finally start to ripen – and then the entire plant collapses and dies, its fruits inedible.


I hate Squash Vine Borers more than even Cut Worms. Last year, we never saw the adults – we laid traps that were supposed to alert us to their presence (yellow pails of water they are said to drown in), but never caught a one. So we didn’t know they were in the garden until we started seeing their piles of poop at the base of the squash plants – forcing us to carefully slice open the stems of infested plants and use bits of curved wire to hook the culprits out. Then we reburied the wound in compost so the squash might reroot and recover.

It was a huge pain the ass, and stressful. So this year, we decided to try getting a step ahead of them …  it was still a pain in the ass, but it beat surgery.

WWOOFer Reynaldo and I spend a couple of afternoons roasting ourselves, prostrate on the sunbaked sandy soil, carefully clearing the top inch of soil away from every single squash plant – 600 of them (since we have been waiting to thin them out til we see which are faring best) – and checking for SVB eggs.


They are tiny – a bit larger than this period. They can be found anywhere on the plant. We used little pieces of duct tape to remove them wherever we found them – mostly on the winter squashes, a lot of the summer squash, and some on the pumpkins and spaghetti squash. The only vines they avoided were the butternut squash.


It was a hassle, it seemed absurd, but it was immensely satisfying to removed dozens and dozens of the little murderers from the field before they could even be born. I took sick satisfaction in imagining the little grubs emerging and finding themselves stuck to a piece of dirty tape in the garbage, instead of on our tender plants.

It was also a week of intensive potato beetle larvae squishing – their populations spiked, and had to be hand-squished by the hundreds. This is why organic vegetables cost more than pesticide sprayed conventional crops …


Although we also weeded and mulched, the hard labor this week was mainly trellising. First, the three grape vines our friend Paula donated to us last year – I buried two  8″ thick cedar posts a few feet in the ground, 20 some feet apart, angled outward, and then stretched heavy high tensile wire between them, strong enough to one day hold the weight of the mature woody vines.


I used similar wire between t-posts through the ~500 feet of tomato vines, and Kristin gently and individually tied up each of the few hundred tomato plants to it.


And then the 200 feet of cucumber vines were set up with angled cattle panels, which we will train up onto as they grow.


(Thanks to Neighbors Dave and Marcie, who lent us the 40 steel t-posts we were short, having forgotten we would need more of them after doubling the number of trellised plants since last year!)

(Oh! And since we’re on the trellis theme, should mention that I added a gnarly oak branch to the hop trellis on the side of the semi trailer, since one of the vines had scaled past the top of its 16′ trellis.)

The quack grass, treacherous bastard that it is, broke the truce we had, and started busting up through the thick walkway mulch everywhere, so that war is back on. Grrrr.

The bear from the last couple weeks has been seen around the area repeatedly, but hasn’tcome back around too closely – I think my stern talking to was taken to heart. Or maybe they’re just afraid of our guard hens. We avoided the punishing hail that was widespread in the region, destroying entire fields of crops mere miles from us. It’s been too hot for the lettuce – apparently we’ll have to plant it when the ground is still frozen or something if we want it to form heads next year. The beans are flowering and look happy – we should start harvesting them in a few weeks now. We’ll be going to the farmer’s market in Saint Croix Falls for the first time this year on the 4th of July (we haven’t gone yet as a result of the cutworm-devastation of our early crops).

Today’s harvest weather was perfect – after a nice heavy rain last night got everything happily hydrated, it was a cool and foggy morning, without any direct sunshine on the delicate salad green. Once we had all the sensitive stuff into the shade, the sun came out, but the storm had cleared away the humidity, leaving perfect cozy summer weather for cleaning, drying, mixing, portioning, bagging, and boxing up your shares.

We're a family farm! Kristin's parents Jim & Deb Sehr helping out with harvest
We’re a family farm! Kristin’s parents Jim & Deb Sehr helping out with harvest

 Week 4 Box:

  • Week Four Salad Mix: Ruby Red, Buttercrunch Bib, and Frizzy Fuckin’ Green Lettuces (might not be remembering the names quite right), Arugula, Baby Kale, Tat Soi, Spinach, and a bit of Mizuna, Pea Tendrils, and Lambs Quarter.
  • Cilantro – great garnish for tacos, stir-fries (stirs-fry?) -Mexican and Asian foods. Fresh, not cooked! We have a hard time growing it up here, but we love it so we always try and get a little bit here and there.

  • Sugar Snap Peas – Great fresh snacking, but also great in a dish, lightly sauteed, so they maintain their crunch – and their color brightens up.  Before cooking, pop off the tops and pull the “string” from the pod – like this: Kristin tosses them with onions, soy sauce, and garlic, then adds a little fresh herbs at the end.

  • Broccoli – Lately we’ve been enjoying ours cooked, tossed in a spicy ginger garlic sauce. Reynaldo sauteed some up with rice and it was tasty …
  • Pea Tendrils (aka Pea Tips) – Add to your salad mix, put into a sandwich, or stuff them in your face fistful at a time and pretend you’re one of the predators that would love to sneak past our electric fence and gorge. People also make pea pesto that these would work out well in, although we haven’t tried that ourse;ves yet.

  • Spring Onions – not quite full-grown onions, but plumper than green onions … edible from top to bottom. Eat the green parts first, as the white bottoms keep longer.

  • Radishes & Salad Turnips – slice them up and add to your salad mix!
  • Radish & Turnip Greens – If you already made delicious pesto and a Southern-style recipe from the previous weeks’ suggestions, then perhaps this week it’s time to try a furikake recipe for these under-appreciated but deliciously-nutritious greens!


Norman Rockwell action at the Barron Farmer's Market with CSA Member Paul

Norman Rockwell action at the Barron Farmer’s Market with CSA Member Paul


Lacewing larvae - insect predator, eating the remains of a squished potato beetle larvae
Lacewing larvae – insect predator, eating the remains of a squished potato beetle larvae
a predatory shield beetle devours a potato beetle larvae in the foreground, while Kristin sprays juiced potato beetles on the leaves to repel adults

a predatory shield beetle devours a potato beetle larvae in the foreground, while Kristin sprays juiced potato beetles on the leaves to repel adults
Kristin pounding posts, tomato plants being happy

Kristin pounding posts, tomato plants being happy

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this butterfly hung out with us for a long drive through the woods
this butterfly hung out with us for a long drive through the woods


cilantro getting a bath
cilantro getting a bath


CSA Week Three – Last Week’s ‘Black Bear’ Title was Premature

I loved this week. No tangible reason. It has lots of good light, in my memory’ eye.  Storms and sunshine went back and forth, it was warm in the days and cool in the nights. Lots of work got done without stress and urgency, the plants seem happy, and we’re feeling it too. Things are interesting and beautiful and challenging and satisfying. Yep.


Jim, Neighbor Dave, and a laser level surveying tool helped get the foundation posts sunken square and straight for the high tunnel greenhouse. We finished rigging up a separate irrigation system for delivering batches of compost tea throughout the field.


Reynaldo helped us with the weeding, which was a priority for much of the week – we got the garlic, half the corn, cucumbers, melons, bok choi. We hay mulched the potatoes and trellised the three grape vines our friend Paula gave us. Transplanted out some rhubarb and Anise Hyssop and Basil and Parsley. Got stung by honey bees (especially Jim, who is the primary bee-mancer (they were really pissy and he hadn’t fully secured the ankles of the bee suit). Got some ticks and some poison ivy (secondhand from Widget, mostly – she hunts through the undergrowth for hours and then gets under the covers to sleep).


The Bug Juice Method worked pretty well, although of course it wasn’t an insect cure-all; potato beetle eggs previously laid on the plants still hatched and released hungry swarms of nasty orange squirmers, and after a couple good rainfalls, the adult beetles started coming back … so we collected some for the next round of bug blendering.

Remember when I mentioned in the last newsletter that a bear was ” ambling among us all week, trying to stay out of sight but not always succeeding”?  Well, that situation came to a head the very next day. On Wednesday I heard a commotion right outside – the hens, which had been foraging through the woods behind the well, were squawking up a storm, and the sound of … claws on tree bark? Three baby bear cubs were scampering up a big old oak tree – higher than I thought bears had any sane business climbing, up in the thin and swaying upper branches. And at the base of the tree, stood Momma Bear, looking at me. She gave a snort, bear-hugged the thick trunk, and quickly scaled to the first easy resting point, a dozen feet up.


There, she rested, alternately looking up at her three little bears, and down at me. When we made eye contact, she would smack her mouth and show me that she was drooling.


Apparently, she’d been drawn in by the 2 garbage cans of thawing fruit, veggie, and miscellaneous kitchen scraps that we’d just dumped into the chicken composter – we hadn’t buried it in yet, so the chickens could enjoy picking through the fresh new goodness. But, when they’d come through the woods, they’d run across the chickens – and slapstick ensued. The bears scared the crap out of the hens, who crashed through the underbrush at full volume, frightening the bear cubs right up the tree … bringing me out the door to scare mom up, too.


Now what? I didn’t want to let the dogs out while the family was treed just outside, so I tried to make them moderately uncomfortable hanging around – enough so that they’d scat once they came down, but not so much that they’d be afraid to leave before dark. So I drove the van right nearby, took some photos, sternly but kindly told mom to get her kids and go on into the woods ( I even pointed, helpfully.) I rattled past with the empty trailer. And to make sure they didn’t feel comfortable heading down to the compost after they descended, I went down there and banged on a 55 gallon drum a bit, before burying the fresh compost beneath a layer of old stuff. I checked on the tree – mom had come down, and was lurking in the underbrush at the base; the cubs remained almost out of sight far above. I went down to the raspberry patch to weed whip the tall grass army – when I got done and went back “upstairs,” the bears were all gone. So far, they haven’t been back, but we know they’re still around – Neighbor Marcie saw them digging through her manure compost for June bug grubs, a couple of days later.

What a short growing season we have up here! Before you even get to eat your spring broccoli, you’re planting your fall broccoli … which we also did, during the course of this wonderful week.


Week 3 Box



Plus, today’s harvest went really smoothly, with help from Kristin’s parents, our friend Mark, and our WWOOFer Reynaldo – we worked quickly and had time for a relaxed lunch prepared by Reynaldo – he made a quiche with eggs from our bear-chasing hens, plus lambs quarters from the Hugelkultur mound and green onions and oregano from the garden.

Deb and Reynaldo packing up share boxes
Deb and Reynaldo packing up share boxes


  • Strawberries – We picked these last night at the “Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm” – the place just across the Saint Croix River from us where Kristin interned and learned to farm. It was great to see Robin, the place and the dogs again – and to fill our faces with sweetness between every few berries we put into containers. here are some pointers on how to store your berries to keep them fresh – but really, I recommend just opening them up and eating them, right this minute.
strawberry pickin' selfie
strawberryin’ selfie


  • Week 3 Salad Mix – every single leaf individually selected and hand picked in the first hour of morning, before the sun can take away any flavor or tenderness – then washed in cold well water, spun dry, and tucked into an ice-cooled, unpowered, vintage chest freezer for a few hours … until everything’s ready and it’s time for mixing and bagging. It’s a labor of love!
    This week’s salad contains three kinds of of lettuce, 2 types of baby kale, arugula, spinach, lambs quarter,  mizuna, tat soi, and sunflower greens. Plus a tiny bit of red mustard greens.


  • Kale(s) – Three kinds – Dinosaur, Red Russian, and Dwarf Curly Blue. All three types look slightly different, but can be used together however you enjoy kale – it’s a very versatile green, good raw on sandwiches, in a “massaged” kale salad. Kristin likes to put oil in a pan (maybe sesame oil) and toss the kale in there with salt or soy sauce, maybe onions and or garlic, some sesame seeds or toasted almonds … it’s delicious.
  • Radishes & Salad Turnips
  • Radish & Turnip Greens – These are huge down south – try one of these southern recipes, if you’ve already made delicious pesto with previous week’s greens!
  • Peas & Pea Tendrils – the tender first pea pickings of the year! These are ‘sugar snap peas’ – not for shelling, meant to be eaten whole. Another one that I love best fresh and raw (especially at this time of year), but which can be used in all kinds of salad and stir fry.
Olive started laying eggs again! (the yellow one in the middle)
Olive started laying eggs again! (the yellow one in the middle)
Diane doing the Albatross living room's trim - replacing the nasty salmonish pink with glossy black
Diane doing the Albatross living room’s trim – replacing the nasty salmonish pink with glossy black


an assassin bug (?) sucking on a maggot in the compost pile
an assassin bug (?) sucking on a maggot in the compost pile



Black Bears & Fireflies – Week 2 CSA Newsletter

We had friends visit on and off through the week, but it was a productive time. Reynaldo, our first WWOOFer of the season arrived (“World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms” is a program that connects farms with folks who’d like to work on farms in exchange for the experience, a place to stay, and food, basically – this is how we travel south in the winters when the farm inhospitable to non-Yeti life).

We’d actually met Reynaldo on our travels last winter, in Mississippi, at Yokna Bottoms Farm – and he came to us straight from Habitable Spaces, the Texas farm we overwintered at. It was great to reconnect, and was wonderful having another set of hands helping to keep things growing.


We weeded rows, freeing tiny new plants from the tyranny of crowding weeds and their sun and moisture-stealing ways. The last of the eggplants and peppers moved out of the greenhouse and into the field,. and the weather mostly cooperated, giving us cloudy, gently grey days while the plants recovered from their shock.


Our friend Eugene spent a few days, and was the first person to sleep in the Rust Shack. He performed carburetor wizardry; reviving a lawn mower and a pump that we will be using to irrigate the crops with compost tea (just what it sounds like).

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Today’s harvest was fully 20 degrees cooler than last week’s – it was much more pleasant working weather, and easier to keep things fresh and cool after picking. However, the few days of intense heat had an impact on the crops – the cool weather crops took it as a sign that summer was upon them, and reacted accordingly. The Napa cabbage decided to skip forming heads entirely, and go straight to flowering. Bok Choi, mustard greens, and most of the arugula bolted as well.


We keep finding new vole tunnels, but not much sign of damage being inflicted above ground. We find cut worms incidentally while digging, but I can’t say I’ve noticed their damages much. We frapeed some crop eating beetles, to make organic species-specific bug repellent spray – which seemed to actually work!

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The harmless June bugs have passed their peak blundering buzzing period, and now their fat grubs are showing up in the compost piles.  Mosquitoes, delayed by the dry early spring, finally busted out after the soakings of early June … but the dragonflies and other devourers were waiting for them, and the surge faded after a couple of days.

there's a bear in this pic, but you can't tell.
there’s a bear in this pic, but you can’t tell.

A black bear has been ambling among us all week, trying to stay out of sight but not always succeeding. The hens are happy and exploring further and further from their coop. The farmers are happy, too, and are settling into the groove.


Eugene brought us a bag of clothes he found - and the clothes in there fit us both perfectly! I did some work in my new suit ...
Eugene brought us a bag of clothes he found – and the clothes in there fit us both perfectly! I did some work in my new suit …


this is a Whip Poor WIll. We didn't take the picture - they are nocturnal and we hear them throughout the nights - but never see them.
this is a Whip Poor WIll. We didn’t take the picture – they are nocturnal and we hear them throughout the nights – but never see them.
This giant spider seemed weirdly still while I worked nearby, until I wondered why and went to see if it was alive - turns out she was standing guard over her eggs, which she darted to, picked up, and ran off with when disturbed
This giant spider seemed weirdly still while I worked nearby, until I wondered why and went to see if it was alive – turns out she was standing guard over her eggs, which she darted to, picked up, and ran off with when disturbed


in the Box this week:


  • Napa Cabbage – as mentioned, the Napa opted to go straight to flower and skip all the head-forming business entirely – so it’s cabbage leaves!  Stir-fry, sauerkraut, kimchi, sliced thinly, yum.
  • Spring Salad Mix – Pea tips, sunflower greens, Argula, Red Ruby lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, wild spinach, regular spinach, tat soi, a little bit of sheep sorrel, mizuna, & mustard greens.
  • Green Onions duh duh. duh dah dah dah duh duh.
  • Radishes – Thanks to the early spring cutworms, our crop of radishes and turnips was decimated, so these little globes are now fine and precious as pearls.
  • Salad Turnips – Smooth and mild, great on salads, delicious raw or cooked.
  • Turnip & Radish Greens – Interchangeable and also, ridiculously nutritious.  Not good at all if eaten raw, but very good in soup, sautees,  etc – check out some recipe ideas online.
    Amy made radish green pesto with last week's share
    Melissa made radish green pesto with last week’s share


  • Broccoli (large shares only) – a few rogue early broccoli plants formed heads early – not enough to give to everyone, but enough to share a bit.


 Shareholder Pics of last week’s veggies

Celeste’s Pepper Jelly cracker topping
Amy’s Week 1 salad
Laura’s Week 1 Taco Salad



PS – “Okra Exists”