Thursday, October 23, 2008

lessons from farmers

I have been a in a bit of a funk despite my cheery blog entries..

harvest get's pretty long and it's hard doing it "all" sometimes... so this evening I was struck by two friends and their advise.. the first was from my friend who is a fellow small farmer - I'm not sure what I asked her when I asked for advise I think I was babbling about trying to be happy find balance and feeling overwhelmed you know those things we ALL struggle with... her advise was in short sit down with your partner and figure out how to do LESS I loved that advise and although I haven't had 2 min to sit down with Brian as he's totally under water with harvest I've put it in front of my nose as my carrot!! how can I do less today! great advise!

The second piece of advise was from my friend Duane he was stopping by this evening to pick up a piece of equipment. I drove hummer before he came as it was a beautiful day and he questioned why I was even in side when he called : ) I've driven hummer a couple times now with the tire duane made for me and it has gone ok.. but this time we worked a little bit harder and hummer was getting fed up and he acted out a bit - I got a little scared and thrown off as he seemed to really be acting funny ... so I checked his tack and thought maybe the collar was to tight.. sure enough Duane confirmed that... I told Duane I had unhooked hummer and left the tire out in the field when he acted up... he said you know you gotta finish what you started or he'll learn if he pitches a fit you'll stop... sigh - he was right I knew it and I had to just get out there and finish and trust it was the ill fitting tack and hummer and I could do this... so dammitt I went out there after daune left and finished the job... Hummer did great and I overcame a little monster in my head.

so the long and the short of it... do less but do a good job and finish the things you do start - that's today's lesson and this weeks montra!

thank goodness for smart farmers...


Mr. Thomas Jefferson said it best!

1787 Dec. 20.
"I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural." (Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, B.12.442)


and sign the petition!

1821 July 30. "With respect to the boys I never till lately doubted but that I should be able to give them a competence as comfortable farmers, and no station is more honorable or happy than that." (Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph, DLC)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Michael Polland's letter to our next president -

Michael Polland just was interviewed on Fresh air! it was a great interview!


It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food. Food policy is not something American presidents have had to give much thought to, at least since the Nixon administration — the last time high food prices presented a serious political peril. Since then, federal policies to promote maximum production of the commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and rice) from which most of our supermarket foods are derived have succeeded impressively in keeping prices low and food more or less off the national political agenda. But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention.


I LOVE his idea of the white house lawn being re-planted into a victory garden and to have the president pulling weeds occasionally! sure a white house farmer too!! I LOVE THIS - this is the BEST idea I've heard ALL year...

I'm voicing our farms support of a presidential garden!


I don’t need to tell you that ripping out even a section of the White House lawn will be controversial: Americans love their lawns, and the South Lawn is one of the most beautiful in the country. But imagine all the energy, water and petrochemicals it takes to make it that way. (Even for the purposes of this memo, the White House would not disclose its lawn-care regimen.) Yet as deeply as Americans feel about their lawns, the agrarian ideal runs deeper still, and making this particular plot of American land productive, especially if the First Family gets out there and pulls weeds now and again, will provide an image even more stirring than that of a pretty lawn: the image of stewardship of the land, of self-reliance and of making the most of local sunlight to feed one’s family and community. The fact that surplus produce from the South Lawn Victory Garden (and there will be literally tons of it) will be offered to regional food banks will make its own eloquent statement.

for the full article -

a sun-food agenda promises to win support across the aisle. It builds on America’s agrarian past, but turns it toward a more sustainable, sophisticated future. It honors the work of American farmers and enlists them in three of the 21st century’s most urgent errands: to move into the post-oil era, to improve the health of the American people and to mitigate climate change. Indeed, it enlists all of us in this great cause by turning food consumers into part-time producers, reconnecting the American people with the American land and demonstrating that we need not choose between the welfare of our families and the health of the environment — that eating less oil and more sunlight will redound to the benefit of both.


This is all really important to our nations 'health' enjoy this read and eat local!

Big Love from Big Table farm!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's harvest and Brian's well let's just say swamped!

There are two times of year when you can do discing this is one of them - although we will not be doing this anually we need to do some initial prepping to flatten our fields so we can start to develop them as no till pasture for rotational grazing. As they are they have deep ruts, trash trees, brush and are unusable. So I said ok honey now's the time he signed off and I wasted no time! : ) with in two days I had Greg on our place with some REALLY big equipment!! whooo hooo!! watch out!!

This is what our pasture looks like now!! I've learned a ton this week about grass and field prep!! So greg will come back in the spring harrow and seed, and by mid summer green grass and happy cows!! - another thing I learned in addition to things about soil and grass is abot pigs! --

you will notice the pigs looking on as greg fixes a tire.. the pigs are out as I had to take down there fenced area to let greg till and thought "hey they won't go far" WRONG!!! a pig can go really far and quickly and are REALLY hard to get back where you want them ... plus the fact that I had no where to put them till he was done and I could put back there pasture... humm can you say "freshman farmer" again!! well they quickly learned clementine would give 'em hell unless they stuck with me so with out too much stress I managed to keep 'em wrangled for a few hours till I could get the e-fence put back up... all are safly contained : ) whew I won't do THAT again : )

there was an exciting moment on greg's second day here he got his BIG rig stuck - so I drove our crawler (I think for only the 3rd time ever : ) and we hooked up a chain and tried to give 'er a tug that it was laughable! these trractors are HUGE so he called his brother who brought over an even bigger tractor! wowzers :) I think they where having fun!

As of this week our meat birds are all done for the year we now have 20 in the freezor and now I'm done with meat birds till spring when I get another round of little chirpers : ) in the mean time good eats in the freezer!

those are the layer in the background - and the meat birds in there mobil chicken hut

we got all those beautiful tomatoes made into souce - first through this thing Brian bought at a garage sale like 6 years ago that I thought he'd NEVER use.. well slap me that thing worked great and then I cooked it down for a few days on the wood stove and into more jars... I'm sooo done with canning now!!! extra credit for any of brian's old biking posy who can id his shirt! : )

and last but not least the elk came for another visit! sadly the big old buck is gone I'm sure someone's trophy he was amazing!! but there's a young one in his place...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

White Hawk Vinyard Syrah is rollin' in

We got the first half of our White Hawk Fruit from Santa Barbara CA. and oh boy does it look beautiful we will get the second lot of 1.5 tons Friday we feel very lucky to work with this beautiful fruit.

Here's a little vineyard info for those who want to really geek out : ) -

White Hawk Vineyards is planted on ancient sand dunes on a the south facing slope of Cat Canyon, in Santa Barbara County. White Hawk traditionally has low yields and cool growing conditions. It's 21 miles west of the Pacific and planted at 900 feet elevation. This Fruit is sourced by several other well regarded Syrah producers including Lillian, Herman Story, Sine Qua Non and Vie. White Hawk farms using sustainable and primarily organic practices. The Syrah is clone 1 on 5c rootstock or Syrah clone 6 on 140R rootstock.

Many of you have gotten our wine release letter this week this is the same syrah we have just released. (if you didn't get a letter and you'd like one just e-mail me your address and I'll pop one in the mail to you)

oh and to really geek out here's the google map of White Hawk : )

(thanks Maggie for taking these super cute photos yesterday )

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


the sun flowers finally submit to fall full and ready to be harvested...

Harvest has started - grapes started coming in last week for Brian our fruit for our syrah should be in maybe the end of this week or next week and our pinot (for pinot and rose) should be in in maybe another week after the syrah - hard to say we got some perfect t weather this past weekend which was great for the ripening out there : ) cross your fingers for an Indian summer! Brian is doing well no long days yet...


after --- whew - I'm tired ...

I'm swimming in pears and apples I wish I had a second me that could sit and can for 4 days straight ... the pears and apples are just insanely good this year... the tomatoes are also overflowing.. I have been able to "put up apple sauce" actually and get some tomatoes in the freezer for winter sauce : ) the garden this year is so much better than last year it's been a real pleasure to work in ... each year I hope to add more organic matter and build better soil ...

Lois this one's for you - you should recognize this rose it's one of the many roses I brought up from cuttings I took from my favorites at your house : )

I love how the cabbages look in the garden

we ate our first big table farm raised goat last night it was really good!! it's kind of like lamb but not as "flowery" more earthy we where thinking when we brown it a little it will make a wonderful winter sauce with those warm flavors : ) ....

this photo feels more like summer that fall

In addition to piles of produce I have piles of envelopes containing our wine release letter on my big table you should see yours in your box soon if you think I don't have your address please send it on and I'll happily send you a letter too!

big table + big piles of letters