Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birth of a Tomato

So here's the fun I've gotten to have lately - thought I'd share.  Watching the birth of anything is great fun and now with calving and lambing season and all sorts of new babies - well, I just thought you might want to see my new babies.  That's right, it's tomatoes.  And if you scroll real fast, it's like a movie!

Awww, Now aint they cute!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Value of a Man that Knows Dirt

Over the years I've always known that 'Tall, Dark, and Handsome' was a good catch.  There has never been a doubt, but this weekend TD&H (Tall, Dark, and Handsome) really proved his worth.

I've put the poor man through a lot over our 29 years.  I've asked him to do a lot of things in the name of 'making me happy'.  I've pushed his envelope and he has always done so without complaint.

He's built sheds and buildings and meeting rooms - when he had never built anything before in his life.
He's cut sod for labyrinths when he didn't even know what a labyrinth was or why in the heck we would want one.
He's built restrooms for guests when I told him that nice little old ladies do not prefer to use porta potties.
He has dug out, refurbished, reclaimed, recreated and re-installed century old fences just because I said "Honey wouldn't it be nice if...".
He's been a good sport and helped to make lefse at the local bar - even though his Welsh/Scottish heritage vocabulary does not include the words lefse or lutefisk.
He's serenaded me for my birthday - with a little help from Bob Brossart and the Karaoke machine.
He's even participated in a little kick back time with Boy to enjoy his niece's wedding after helping me arrange all the flowers for the wedding.
But this weekend, yes THIS past weekend, the one with the gorgeous weather minus the wind...

He truly proved his worth.  You see, TD&H let me move dirt.

First, let me explain that in 29 years, we have brought home 'dirt' from every trip or vacation we've ever been on.  Sometimes, the 'dirt' was in the pots of plants that we purchased at the greenhouses along the way.  Sometimes the 'dirt' was attached to the bottom of wildflowers dug from a relatives pasture or flower garden.  There have even been times that the dirt was actually in a bag!  I can't pass up a sale on potting soil.  We've even brought home dirt that was attached to the bottom of little trees and raspberry plants dug from the woods around his cousins house in Wisconsin.  So you see, TD&H is quite used to moving dirt around.

But this time is a little different.  We're trying really hard to move our business from Churchs Ferry to our  new Esmond location.  We're moving only what we really need as there will be soooo many things that I would LIKE to bring with.  Since it is too early to get some of the plants out of the ground and having no help lined up to move the greenhouse, we focused our attention on the therapy gardens which at our new place I had my heart set on becoming my kitchen garden.  Sounds good doesn't it, almost romantic - a kitchen garden.  Sounds like something a fine chef on the Food Network - or an herb gardener - would have....

hhhmmm, anyway - enough dreaming...

We set out to move the heavy 4 foot by 8 foot raised
planted made of very solid 4X4 posts and 2X12 walls.  Yes, it's heavy.  Built to last. 

This wasn't just DIRT we were talking about.  It wasn't the dirt we had become accustomed to in Churchs Ferry - which was mostly back fill from when houses were removed during the buy out.  The dirt that needed to be 'amended with truck load after truck load of bison manure....
Oh No!  This planter box was filled with the good stuff!

I didn't really have the heart and wasn't sure how to approach it, but somewhere in the planning stages the night before I happened to drop in that I sure would like to bring the compost that filled this behemoth along with.  "It's not just dirt you know.  It's black gold.  It's the best and richest compost that we ever made.  It took us three years to make that compost from rhubarb leaves, grass clippings and the end of season basil."  He shrugged, rolled his eyes and gave me no comment.

Lo and Behold!  The next day on the trailer, ready to go and retrieve my new 'kitchen garden' was the large tarp tote and the scoop shovel! 

Because the compost is mostly organic matter, it was very light and easier to move than even I had imagined.  We got it and the planters home and I now have my new kitchen garden in place, just waiting to be filled with beans on the obelisks, tomatoes in the big trough, peppers in the round pots and cucumbers in the big red planter (that is actually a threshing motor/belt stand tipped upside down).
So TD&H, go relax.  You've made me a very happy person, in so many ways, over so many years.  You've earned it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Why gardendwellers FARM?"

We had a great meeting in Minot last night!  Over 40 people interested in more information about purchasing a CSA share from our friends North Star Farm.  North Star Farm is an organic vegetable production place in Carpio - we're hoping to add our herbs to their CSA shares this summer.  What a great turn out - what good food, what wonderful people - and what good questions!

One of the questions was, "why is your company name gardendwellers FARM?"
So I thought I'd answer that for all of you folks that may be new to gardendwellers.

First off, a few definitions:
garden - a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated
dwell - 1. To live as a resident; reside. 2. To exist in a given place or state: dwell in joy.
farm - an area of land, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food

Now, gardendwellers FARM:
Over the years, you can say that we

And our friends

Have Worked



And Prayed
With A Whole Host of Friends

And the whole time, we've been producing fine quality food
I'd say that qualifies us as a plot of ground where herbs are cultivated, that exists in a given place and state of joy, where people, plants and animals reside and the land is managed to produce food. 

Besides, the URL for just gardendwellers was taken, we had to add farm to it!
Thanks for being our customers and friends for the last 10 years.  We can't wait to get our new location visitor ready so we can invite you all to the new farm to "Come Out and Play".

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's not often a gal from North Dakota makes the national news, and when she does it's a big thing for our state.  With the exception of Angie Dickinson and the latest contestant from ND on the Voice, I can't remember any gal who has made it big.  And admittedly, listing Angie kind of dates me.  Lately, we've been proud of one of our own as Marilyn Hagerty hits the headlines across our great country.  Who knew this sweet 'young' gal would make it big, go to the big city and have a ball at the ripe ol' age of 85?

gardendwellers FARM has been lucky enough to be in Marilyn's columns one or twice over the years.  The most recent was last summer when Marilyn was a visitor to the FARM as a part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute from UND.  A video about the day shows the great time we all had on that glorious outing.  Made me think of the signs you sometimes see in places like "George Washington Slept Here".  Maybe this summer we need to erect a few signs of our own saying "Marilyn Hagerty Ate Here" - should be a good marketing ploy!

I've got marketing on the brain this week as we look at ways to market our new location.  The move from Churchs Ferry to our new location near Esmond has been a great one for the business and will give us plenty of room to expand.  The new location has GREAT views and wonderful shelter.  However we're going to hit the market in Minot harder this year and that means educating a whole new set of customers on how to use fresh herbs.  We've been working with the creative Suzie Kenner on our new marketing pieces and she's working wonders.  We're also looking at ordering some cookbooks that feature easy to create dishes using fresh herbs. So watch for our changes - we're growing! 

Lastly, the geese are back, yesterday I heard a robin - didn't see him though, the dandelions are starting to emerge, the rosemary is here and transplanted happily into bigger pots, the oregano should make it home today and will need transplanting and I've seeded again - let's hope this time things work out better than the last batch.  I think spring is really here!  Enjoy!