Blooming Crimson Clover

5 May

One of my favorite crops that we grow on our farm is crimson clover.  We grow this crop for seed and as a rotational crop between grass species.  One of the main reasons it’s my favorite is because of how beautiful it is.  As a side note, this crop is not usually grown because it makes us any money (hahaha)!  Maybe that’s not funny to people who aren’t farmers, but the point here is that we grow some crops because of the benefits they give us in the soil and in rotational weed control, not because of how cushioned they make our pocketbooks.

We will harvest this crop late June to early July. Until that point we get to watch it get more and more red as the bees do their work pollinating.  We bring about one hive of bees per acre to pollinate.  These bees along with native bees do all the work to get us a good seed crop.  Once the blooms are done, the bees are removed to other crops to feed them.  Then we wait while the crop matures, dries down and gets ready to be harvested.

The seed that we harvest will be cleaned to be free of any weeds or other seeds. And then sold and used for cover cropping, wildlife mixes and soil regeneration projects.  Until then while you drive around this time of year, look around and enjoy the beauty these fields bring to the Oregon landscape.

The Good, The Bad, and The Farmer

9 Apr

Covid-19.  Where do I even start? This virus has obviously taken over everyone’s life in ways that we could never have imagined and still don’t know the extent of yet. Whether you have it, are scared of it, are quarantining because of it, have lost your job, closed your business doors, or are still working in new ways and maybe harder than ever; we are all being effected in all the ways possible. For my family it’s no different. The other day I was talking to my mom and she said, “our family is like the good, the bad and the farmer!” I couldn’t agree more, told her that I was going to steal that, so here we go…

The Good

This is my brother Kyle.  I lovingly would refer to him as the nerdy one in our family.  As it turns out, he is The Good.  He is working with his 3D printers (has even bought more to help) and is making face masks for first responders and medical professionals who are lacking PPE to deal with Covid-19.  He’s been working on this for a few weeks and has made and delivered over 1000 to folks in his community!  He says that in these strange times he has seen no slow down for help with PPE supplies, so he has no intention of slowing down either!

Here’s the story that was on the front page of the Statesman Journal this week. Silverton-area man makes masks for healthcare workers with 3D printer

The Bad

As many of you who know me may have heard, my sister contracted Covid-19.  She is recovering at this point but this I would say is probably The Bad.  She also started a blog to discuss in real person terms her symptoms and her journey as it is all unfolding.  You can find her blog here:  Spreading Sunshine Blog

I have to say that experiencing this with her personal narration has been scary with all the unknowns, but also super interesting.  We are so lucky that she was healthy to start with.  We are lucky that she is in recovery, and now we just pray the rest of her family is spared.

The Farmer

While the first thing my mom actually said was, “…the good, the bad and…well I guess you would be The Ugly….but that doesn’t seem like it fits (thanks mom hahaha!) So maybe you should be The Farmer!”  As The Farmer I am still chugging along.  The crops don’t know about Covid-19, so they are growing and waking up as spring is moving right along.  We have been busy making sure that we are prepared, and that we can continue to work through this uncertainty.  I think the biggest factor for us is this new kind of unknown.  We face unknowns through farming all the time.  The weather, pricing, markets, these are all factors that in a normal year we face head on.  At this point in the year we have put a lot of money onto our crops, crop tools have been paid for, labor has been paid for, repairs, maintainence, supplies, all money going out the door to cultivate a healthy crop to harvest this summer.   Every year we do this while not knowing yields or prices for many of our crops, the uncertainty at this point in the year is a very real thing for us.

But this year it feels different, probably because it is different.  In my lifetime I have never had to add “worldwide pandemic” to the list of factors that may or may not effect our pricing, our shipping, our exporting, etc.  So in this uncharted territory we are controlling what we can, finding protections where we can, and we are taking care of our land and our crops the best we know how.  We are also social distancing when at work as much as possible and doing all the things that the rest of the world is doing to flatten the curve.

At home our family is safe and we are lucky to have enough amazing help that I can still farm, our kids can still be at home and we can still move along with our lives in somewhat normal fashion.  I don’t have quite as much time on the farm as I have picked up this whole teaching gig on the side (haha). Yes, the homeschooling situation is interesting, overwhelming and crazy all at once.  Luckily Matt takes up plenty of slack at the farm. I have offered a few times to let me head to the farm so he can log on to school with the kids but he strangely hasn’t taken me up on it yet. In short I truly have nothing to complain about in this department, we are (mostly) embracing our new schedules and still looking forward to summer break!!

I know that this time is hard for everyone.  I wish I had more answers.  I wish I understood more about this virus so I could find those answers.  But instead I’m going to continue on with what I do know.  I know how to grow crops and love on my family.  I know how to work hard and prioritize.  And all that I don’t know, like how to teach kinder, I will just keep going back to that hard work part and chipping away at it.

So there you have it, The Good, The Bad and The Farmer all wrapped up in one family in one wild time in history.

How are you all being affected? How has life changed or shifted? Please feel free to comment below.


Hazelnut Trees & Allergies

22 Mar

Those of you that have allergies in Oregon know that they can hit almost year round. And for many of you that means stuffy noses and itchy eyes in January or February! So what the heck is polleninating that time of year in Oregon….hazelnut trees!!

Hazelnut trees have catkins that hold all their pollen. As they start to mature the catkins begin to elongate and open up. When we get a little sunshine here during the winter they release pollen like crazy! I’m talking clouds and clouds if you drive by an orchard at the right time of day!

But we also help alleviate those pesky allergies, we collect the catkins and then extract the pollen for allergy tests and medicines. Pretty awesome!!

A little random farming information for today!!

Also happy birthday to this little farmer! Mildred Clara is 2 today!!

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