We went to view the Jacob Lawrence paintings of the Bush party traveling by covered wagons from Missouri to Tumwater. Jacob Lawrence was a well known painter who was commissioned by Washington State in 1972 to do these paintings. He is one of the first black artists to focus his work on African American history. Mr. Lawrence was a professor at the University of Washington. Due to preservation constraints, these paintings are only shown every 8-10 years. They are showing at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma until March 3, 2019.
We planted red, yellow, and white dry onion seeds last week during our big snow. The seeds have sprouted and are on heat mats in the growing room. That same growing room also serves as storage for our last onion crop. The 2019 farm season has begun! And, thanks to our first five subscribers who have signed up for this year's CSA.
You know what the best thing about weeds are? They keep coming back! And, the worst thing--they keep coming back. Weeding our onion, garlic, and carrot boxes is one of my favorite things to do on the farm. Why? Because I get to focus on ONE thing for hours on end which is completely opposite my day job where I multi-task to the max. Weeding is so rewarding--I can make a bed of carrots look like a well-groomed garden out of Sunset magazine. I know where I've been and I know where I need to go--not many knowledge management day jobs that have that advantage. But, I do reach a point in weeding with the thought--REALLY?---I'm weeding and weeding and weeding and starting over again to do the same thing. That's when I take a break and this weekend with the heat, I took Daisy to the river. She started swimming for the first time and loves chasing splashed water. But the point of this blog is for you who might want to boost your ego almost instantly--come on over and weed with us.
A lot has happened since the last post. We added 24 baby chicks to the farm on May 2--they are growing and doing well. At 4 weeks, we added a roost to their plywood palace--they continue under the heat lamp until they are 8 weeks old. One week ago, our 'borrow'-a-steer arrived--3 beautiful yearling beef cows from Colvin Ranch. They are chewing down the very high and green grass in the pasture. Daisy is not so afraid of them this year and in fact, decided they were her very own herding 'toys'. Needless to say, Mark and I spent a hysterical and harrowing 5 minutes trying to capture a border collie who thought it was her job to herd the steer from one end of the pasture and back again and again. She is now permanently on a long leash lead until the cattle leave.
As for planting, this was tomato weekend--all of the cherry, main, and paste tomatoes are planted among our three tunnels. Probably over 400 tomatoes--thanks to Mom and Dad who watered, planted, and did just about anything we asked them to do this weekend. Rachel helped us plant corn and weeded and weeded and weeded. We welcomed the cloudy weather for planting, but the weeds will surely overtake us if the blackberries and morning glory don't.
Last weekend, we blew it out of the park (a baseball term). We had help from Karen, my sister and her partner Sydney and Nate and Kyle and if course, Mom and Dad. We planted over 1800 dry onions---walla walla sweets, alyssa craig, early yellow, and some reds. Perfect planting weather--a little cloudy. And, then we planted hundreds of potatoes--thanks to Mom and Karen for cutting the potatoes up between their 'eyes'. The help was incredible and Mark is happy--we are only a week behind. (We are usually WAY behind). Best part--visiting with all of these family members and friends. Thankfully, my family prefers to work and talk rather than sit and talk.
The picture gives some idea of the process for planting onions. We poke holes in the soil about 6 inches apart, sprinkle with organic fertilizer (blood meal), then lay t-tape down--this is drip irrigation--the black tape in the picture. Then we plant the onion and bury and water.
We have a new intern!!! Kyle Dobbs joined us this past week and has made a sizable dent in clearing fields for planting. He comes to us from The Evergreen State College and is working with us for class credit--it doesn't get any better than that. Oh yeah and he doesn't mind the Mariners' games blasting full volume:)
The second cool thing that happened this week is the bee swarm hanging out in the old Butternut Tree. There were two bees nests in the tree--the one at the base of the tree shows no signs of activity so maybe this swarm is them. They hung out (literally) for 2 days then were gone.
We owe gratitude to Maxwell Cohen who saved the day when we needed muscle to haul our soil order from Eastside Urban Farm & Garden who graciously agreed to let the order be dropped at their store. Thank you to both Maxwell and Brighida deVargas (owner of Eastside Urban Farm & Garden).
And finally, here's to the new Urban Futures Farm with proud owners, Stephanie and TJ Johnson. Sweetest farm site ever on the Eastside! Thanks for happy hour on Friday night with your delicious home brewed beer.
The BEST part of spring is the green--green grass, green pasture, and baby green vegetable starts. We have filled are grow room with seedlings and put a few of the more mature dry onions out in the 'red' greenhouse. Outside, the sugar peas are up (green of course!) and spinach and carrots.A great start!
Tonight we planted our first seeds--the dry onions. 300 seeds in each flat using 3/4 inch soil blocks. Woohoo!! We are off and running.
This blog reflects the journey of Kathleen and Mark who have left suburbia to steward this historical property and transform the land back into a working farm.