Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Time to Transplant the Tomatoe Seedlings

The tomatoes are up and it's time to transplant.  If you have started your own seeds here are a few words of advice. 

Generally seedlings are pretty tough, however they still can be bent or broken and if that happens they will not produce. 

Gently remove seedlings from container and shake them apart.  You do not need to keep any soil on the roots. 

Carefully bury the start  up to the leaves, this allows roots to grow along the stem.

  One word of caution. 
Do not use organic potting soil alone for this step.  I have found that it doesn"t have enough nutrients to support the rapid growth of the plant.  I use a 3 to 1 ration of farm dirt to organic potting soil.

There are alot of containers you can transplant into just be sure you have good drainage .  I use styrofaom cups. I write the tomato variety on the cup with permanent marker.  I re-use these cups year after year.  Keep under lights until you can transplant them out into your garden.

Monday, February 27, 2012

One Tough Gal!

We visited the Dinosaur National Momument this past weekend.  It is located in the small town of Jensen Utah, just before the Colorado border. As you travel through the park and to the furtherest end you will come to the homestead of Josephine Bassett Morris.  This spunky little lady lived here until she was 90 years old.  She died in 1964 from complications  after falling on the frozen ice while feeding her horses.

Jossie as she was called by all the locals was a self-sufficient, strong- willed,  independent woman.  She lived alone for 50 years providing for her needs by raising cattle, hogs, and butchering and canning enough vegetables to get her through the long winters. 

She drank from a spring that ran year round.  The water allowed her to raise a large garden and provide for the animals she raised.

water cress in the natural fed spring

remains of the old chicken coop

corner posts of the cabin wall

Door leading out of the main room

Jossie's only modern convience, a metal fireplace insert and bricks

Front windows that overlooked her beautiful pastures and surrounding mountains

       There  are several book written about this extraordinary woman  I can't wait to read them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You say potato, I say tater

Yesterday I had to go buy potatoes at the grocery store.  The last time we were at the farm we didn't have room in the car to bring a sack of potatoes back to Roosevelt with us.  As I emptied the brown plastic sack of small, under-nurished, over  processed, chemical ridden, etc,etc,  potatoes into the  "tater cupboard", it set my mind to thinking about potatoes. I am a potato snob.  Only the best for me.

Glen digging potato rows

As a kid my younger  sister and I had the job of watering the potatoes at the farm.  Back in the "olden" days before sprinklers the water was pumped out of the well into a very large ditch.  We then siphioned the water over the ditch bank with a curved  5 foot long, 1 inch around  pipe, directing the water into each individual potato row.  Between 50 to 100 pipes were used to carry the water load.  They had to be changed every couple of hours as the 1/2 mile rows finished watering.  Day after day we lived at the farm changing the potato rows.  At night we would set the wind-up alarm clock, crawl out of our sleeping bags and walk in the dark to where the water was.  We would change the water using exact timing so the water would not flow over the ditch bank and cause a distarous break out of the 5 ft. high bank.  We would stumble around in the dark completing our task , watching and waiting for a half hour to make certain things were done correctly, then  we would head back to the camp trailer.  We would get about an hours sleep before the alarm rang again and we started the process all over again...all night....all day.....all summer. 
   We drank out of the ditch to cool our thirst.  It was the coldest water,  sometimes we would just jump  in.  We would get ravenous hungry working in the hot sun all day.
Walking down the potato rows we'd dig under the potato plants and find the new potatoes.  Wiping them off on our pants, we'd pull a little salt shaker from our pocket and eat the potatoes to tide us over until mom came with our lunch.  I still enjoy eating raw potatoes!!! We raised Russets then, they are a good baking potato ( I don't bake my potatoes in foil I love the hard, crunchy skins eaten with a hunk of real butter), but I prefer the delicate taste  differences the other varieties provide.
Last year I didn't have as good as a variety of potatoes that I usually have.   I have smart gophers at the farm. They have discovered if  they tunnel in a straight line they can find a stash of potatoes about every 12 inches.  They harvest the potatoes, taking them to their large under-ground cavern and store them for winter eating.  Carver once discovered a burrow containing over 100 potatoes. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

PURPLE VIKING; large,  thin -skinned purple and pink.  I enjoy this potato as hashbrowns  or made into potato chips.  It is also good baked or mashed.

MOUNTAIN ROSE; a medium sized potato.  Dark red on the outside, rose collored inside.  It tastes as good as it's name.  I use it for potato salad or oven fries.  It can also be baked.

BLUE;   blue all the way through.  Use for  oven fries with olive oil and herbed itialian seasoning.  I think blue mashed potatoes are the greatest.
  I had a lady at market (nobody I knew) cuss me  out about the $ 3.00 a pound price on my speciality potatoes.  I thought to myself with a smirk, well you can just go to the big grocery store down the street and pay 5.99 a pound plus tax.
  You don't have to buy my beautiful, yummy blue potatoes. I"ll just take them home and eat them myself!

YUKON GOLD;  another one of my favorites.  Use for creamy mashed potatoes, baby potatoes roasted with olive oil and seasoning.  I also use this potato in bread and spud-nuts.

YELLOW FINN; a potato I use mostly for hashbrowns.

FINGERLINGS;  all color.  Boil  or roasted.


Why do fresh, just dug potatoes taste so good?  The potate has natural sugars in them and when they are eaten just after being harvested those sugars are still intact.  As the potatoes are stored the sugars turn to starch and affects the taste, I also recomend never peeling a potato..

Glen still digging potato rows

 Thanks honey, 1 patch down, now only 6 more to go.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Farm Fresh Eggs

There have been many studies preformed on the value of farm eggs verses "factory" eggs.  There is an interesting article written in Mother Earth News about the proven  extra  nutritional benifets of farm eggs.  Yes I'm all about eating the most nutritious eggs you can, but my criteria is TASTE.  As many of you have stopped by my booth at market and questioned why my eggs cost more than the other guys (or sister's) , the answer is,  they simply TASTE better. 
(Shelly, I know you are my sister and all and I do love you dearly, but my eggs ARE better than yours:) 

I know you are wondering how my farm eggs can taste better than other farm eggs well the answer is simple. 
Sprouted organic wheat berries, raw goats milk, greens from the green-house and protein in the form of slugs and bugs-yum!   

I raised my kids on farm-fresh eggs.  Sometimes in January the egg production would not quite feed our family so I would buy eggs from the store. 
I called them "fake eggs" .  One day my oldest daughter who was twelve was making a cake.  She  at the time thought they really were fake because they weren't at all like the ones we gathered from our hens.  Picking an egg up she examined it very closly and asked "Where do the make these, in a factory or something.?"  

This year I am raising more hens and should have plenty of eggs available at market.  Get there early because they sell fast.  Egg shares are available at a reduced price with a CSA vegetable share.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Green Drink

early planting
 of  broccoli and greens in the greenhouse

I began drinking the "green drink" about 35 years ago as a college student.  My roomates thought me a bit strange.  Not only did I eat and drink odd vege concoptions but I would rather stay home and read my John James Audabon books than go to the movies.


I am glad to see the green drink gaining in popularity. 
  It is an extreamly healthy drink filled with vitamins and minerals.
Those of you who frequent my market booth in Ansestor Square will notice I have a green drink bouquet every week.  Each week the variety of ingredients vary depending upon the availablity of greens.  Generally the bouquet will include cabbage leaf, broccoli leaf  , chard, kale, aragula, spinach, herbs to give it a little zing, and maybe even the wild greens (dandilion, lambs quarter etc.)  Any combination works, just experiment until you find something you like.  I always use a juice base but some people prefer a water base. 


In a blender pour in 1 to 2  cups  liquid of choice-(I prefer pineapple juice)

add greens of choice and blend until smooth.  If you are adding  herbs add them last and taste as you go.

Someone needs to write a sonnet about cabbage.
Isn't this beautiful!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Planting Tomato Seeds

Using organic potting soil I fill containers with moistened soil.  If planting a large volume of seeds I have found it easier to pour water into the bag of soil and add water until it is throughly moistened.

 Collect containers of choice. I have used empty yogurt cups, milk cartons and even cups made from newspapers. 

                           Tear seeds from paper towel and place in container, cover lightly with soil.

Label containers with variety of plant, and the date planted.

Cover to retain moisture.  You can cover with plastic wrap or I have placed my containers in an airtight clear plastic container.  This simulates a greenhouse effect allowing the seeds to remain moist  for better germination.  Try placing your seeds on top of the fridge.  I have found the extra bottom heat a great help in the germination process.

In 10 to 14 days your seeds should sprout.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Awesome Delivery Truck

My Roosevelt customers get their vegetables delivered in style!  This is my 1953 FORD flatbed pick-up truck.

I listen to  Patsy Cline, Etta James, Willie Nelson while making my deliveries.  My favorite tunes however are  BRAD and the Sun Dogs and Stilhouse Road!  They play live for the Farmer's market several times during the summer.

                 Over-head speakers are great until you hit a bump in the road and whack your head!

Just hoping nothing goes wrong with the electrical system.  I don't think my husband (who can fix anything) could even figure out this mess.

They just don't make-em like this anymore!

Not only does this truck have flames, it is also a 50th Anniversary Edition.

I am actually posting this sitting in my truck parked at the town library.  My husband and I are out on the town.  We crused in style to the thrift store, grabbed an ice cream sundae, and I am  now posting this post outside the library, Glen is  sound asleep  I couldn't ask for a more perfect date.

Saving Heirloom Seeds

I have saved my tomatoes this way  for years and then read an article a few years back that went into a-lot of detail about harvesting the seeds, soaking them in water for days, fermenting them and then pouring off the smelly, moldy water and finally drying them thoroughly before storing them.  I'm glad I didn't know the correct process all these years  I may have decided it was just to much trouble  and never saved my seeds!

Below are tomato seeds  saved from an heirloom variety.  Harvest the first fruit to mature as long as it is of superior quality so you will be progressively bettering the variety.  I like to write the date on the paper towel so I know when it matured.

This is the way I save my Heirloom tomato seeds.

Woops I didn't write the date or kind on these.
I will just have to wait and see what kind they are!

  Get a paper towel , smoosh the seeds in a thin layer over the towel.  Now this is the most important part.  Grab a pen and write what kind of seed and the variety on the towel before you forget!  When the seeds are completely dry I store them in baggies according to vegetable variety and keep in the fridge.  Seeds from eggplant and peppers can be harvested this way also.

To plant, tear of a section of the paper towel, plant the towel and seeds under 1/4 inch of soil.  The paper towel will dissolve.  Transplant tomato seedlings into individual containers or pots when they are about 1-2 inches tall.

I harvest winter squash in the same manner.

When I harvest seeds from lettuce, spinach, arugula, or other greens I allow the plants that are the slowest to bolt to go to seed and harvest them.  This helps establish plants that will preform for longer periods of time.

Arugula Seeds

gather seeds from lettuce when the tops of the blossoms are dry and fluffy