Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Every day about 11:00
a grey, mud-splattered Jeep
stops outside my front door.......
bringing news,
junk mail,
grocery adds,
the occasional package 
and sometimes a letter or card.
A note, hand written,
from someone who took just a minute out of their
busy day
let you know that you are loved
and appreciated
is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.....
no, it is even better than that,
a note from a friend or loved one

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Favorites

I have inadvertently misplaced my camera.  So for this post I decided to link you back to some of my earlier posts that a few of you may not have read.  I appreciate all of you stopping by to read about my little farm, the day to day life of a gal just trying to what she loves best and the mishaps and mayhem that follows .  Hope you enjoy these.  If you have a favorite from the past, leave me a comment and I'll post a link to it.

seems fitting for this time of year

or how about this one.......

or what about my true confessions......

I had just sold some laying hens to folks who asked me about
the molting process.  I sat down to write a post about it and........well,

do you have a favorite I can add to this post?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dreary and Dusty ......but only for a little while

It's the time of year when everything is brown.  Dust and dirt is blowing in the strong spring winds.  The tumbleweeds are stacking up high along the fence.  It won't be long however before the rhubarb begins to break ground from it's long winter nap.  The gardens will be covered in weeds soon.  I will till them in along with hundreds of wheelbarrow loads of composted goat manure, preparing the ground for planting.


TREES need to be dug from areas in the gardens
 they shouldn't be growing and transplanted
to a better location.  We have fifty or more to move this spring.
Good thing I know how to dig holes........lots of holes.
One to get the tree out of the ground, and one to put it into.
I get exhausted just thinking about it, but someday
after I am long gone, planted in the ground myself,
someone will be grateful for all the beautiful trees
growing in just the right place.

 create a large berm around the trees and water them in well
this eliminates any air pockets
give them a good soaking at least once a week for the first few months
until new roots are established

Early spring is the best time to transplant trees.  I have tried several different times of year, spring, late summer, fall, and have found they do the best when transplanted in the early, EARLY spring before the sap begins to run, or before they begin to bud out.  Fall planted trees do fairly well, with trees transplanted after the end of April least favorable.

I'll begin tilling soon.
Sometimes I have help tilling, (thanks HUN) 
when he doesn't have to work late on a Friday night
and can drive the 400 miles (one way)  to help on Saturday,
but generally I just plug along day after day......
Several acres takes quite a while with a hand tiller,
and by the time to plant seeds in mid June (yes, it is still freezing at night then) 
the gardens will all be composted, manured, tilled and ready to go.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I got a call from the neighbor.  Shari said that they had just taken new aerials of the valley.
So I pulled up the farm on the Internet and after looking at my ground from high above, I decided I wasn't and organic vegetable farmHer after all.
I have an 80 acre ANT FARM!
I have always known I had a lot of ants, but there are about a kazillion ant hills spread out through the pasture.  Took these photos last summer.(the ants don't come out until the ground is sufficiently warm, about Junish.)


You don't want to find one of these little guys a crawlin' on ya.  Their bite is like fire.  I keep a jar of
pine gum salve 

handy at all times to take away the pain and swelling of their fiery bite.

They strip the vegetation for a good 6 or 7 feet around their hill

The hills are about 4 feet in diameter

Ant Hills as far as the eyes can see

I find them fascinating.  They can carry 100's of times their weight.  They have a unique way of working as a deadly team, if an insect gets to close to their hill.  I will often feed them greens picked from the green house just trying to keep them out of the gardens.  Someone told me to get rid of them, pour a 2 liter soda drink down the mound, I am going to give that a try .  I have also read somewhere that they bring a high price as feed for zoo animals or some such thing.  HUMM.........maybe I will be an ant farmHer after all.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Onion Pie

My stash of winter onions are getting a little soft so I need to use them up quick.  I love onions and use them as a main dish more often than as a complement to a meal.  Give the following recipes a try.


1 1/2 c. course cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp. curry powder
6 Tbs. butter, melted
2 large onions thinly sliced
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. grated cheese
6 eggs
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix cracker crumbs, curry powder, salt and 6 Tbs. butter together.  Line a greased 9 inch pie pan with the mixture.  Hold back 1/4 cup for the topping.  Saute onions in olive oil until transparent.  Put into pie pan.  Heat the milk in a double boiler, add grated cheese and stir until melted.  Slowly stir in beaten eggs.  Pour over onions.  Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes


Make your favorite bread dough recipe.  Line a large round baking sheet with a thin layer of dough over-lapping the edges with a couple of inches all around.  Cut 3-4 large onions into slices and spread over dough.  Drizzle with olive oil and add seasonings of choice.  I like to add sun/oven dried tomatoes that I have prepared from the summer harvest and kept in the freezer.  Add sauteed garlic and freshly ground sea salt.  Fold edges over and brush with egg whites for a crusty edge.  Bake 350-375 degrees until dough is cooked.

 Oven Dried Tomatoes  
use this link for an earlier post about how to make your own sun/oven dried tomatoes

I will planting onions in a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Sunroom Evolution

our first try at building an attached sun room in 1996
it is attached to the eves of the flat porch roof

We purchased the  "LITTLE RED HOUSE" about 1996.  It was located just north of our vegetable farm and when it came up for sale, we decided to buy it.  It was previously owned by people from Vegas who would come up during the summer to get out of the heat.  It sat empty for 5 years before they decided to sell it.  After purchasing the house, our first project  was to start construction on a south facing sunroom.  Using all secondhand materials,  large double-paned  glass windows, sliding glass doors, and large cedar post collected from the mountains behind us, we constructed a wonderful sun room that would conduct heat into the house all winter through a opened sliding glass door.  I would save the rinse water from doing dishes to water the plants growing inside for most of the year.  The earthy smell that permeated the house on those cold, snowy, blowy, winter days was a comfort and promise that spring would be along soon.
One foot off the ground, the large windows were placed on a 45 degree slant for the best solar retention.  The floor measured 12 across and 20 feet long, a small brick patio placed just  outside the door leading into the house and a center walkway were installed.
Plants were grown on both sides of the walkway.  The small patio was just large enough for a comfy chair to sit in during the day and daydream.

I found that the slant of the windows caused overhead problems not allowing for enough room to work the vegetable beds, and did not allow for the growth in height of the plants.  The  next sunroom we built,  we attached it to a friends house.  Realizing we needed more space (height) along the bottom edge, we used 3x3 foot windows along the bottom and then large windows at a 45 degree sloping up to the roof.  For the roof we used plastic sheeting that was built on about a 33 degree incline.  This sun room worked out wonderful.  Enough over head space to work in and plenty of height along the edge for plants to grow.  When we revamped the sunroom on the little red house about 7 years ago, we tried something different.  Because the house is small we wanted to turn the porch area into a couple of rooms and so we (meaning my son) re-roofed the house placing a slanted roof over the flat roof of the porch.  The old flat roof was not waterproof and it rained inside every time it rained outside.  He added a gable, because mom decided she wanted one half way through the project.  We put up the sun room walls (windows) vertical instead of slanted to allow for more room.   The roof is 8 feet long and hooks into the 4 foot roof eve overhang which makes the width of the sunroom about 12 feet. This gave  us a nice space to garden in.

thank-you Shelly for the tall, narrow, 1 foot  windows
the larger windows were purchased from a thrift store.......
recycled brick and cement sidewalks make a nice pathway and patio

The support beams are sitting on cement pads that go 4 feet into the ground

plenty of room for the plants to grow
the bed on the left is close to the house,
 covered with plastic during the day and a blanket added for the night,
 it provided chard, spinach and lettuce
through the winter months

In the south west corner of the sunroom, I had a spot for my farm office
read an earlier post about my......

Here is what I have learned in the process of building several sun rooms.

If I am looking to pull heat into the house as a supplement heat source, the windows draw more heat on a 45 degree pitch. I also think the plants do better.   Allow for height, at least 3 feet, along the bottom edge for growing plants. It also heats up better for night heat retention.

 I spend a lot of time in the sun room as a living space so I prefer the vertical windows all around.  For the roof use the plastic sheeting you can purchase at a lumber store, it is very expensive but will last a long time.  Do not use fiberglass for the roof, it does not hold up in the wind.

Use a brick or rock pathway as a heat collector.

Have windows that open on each end for cross ventilation.

I know there are a lot of good books out there about building sun rooms and green houses.  Please tell us  about your experiences building a sunroom.