Saturday, April 30, 2011

Whole Foods Market in Cary, NC TODAY

Just a quick note to let everyone know I will be at Whole Foods in Cary, NC today, Saturday April 30. This is the LAST DAY FOR TOMATO PLANTS! There will be no more plants, so come out between 11-2 today to get yours! 4.00 each for these hardy, well rooted plants! I will also bring a limited number of FARM FLOWER BOUQUETS, English Roses, Herbs, Bachelor Buttons, and what ever else I find this morning blooming, beautiful Spring Aprons I made last week, and a Original Watercolor Painting of ANNABELLE! Check it out on Facebook, High Ground Farm.

More later on the farm...See you at Whole Foods!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy, and Eventful Times at High Ground Farm

Sorry for not posting over the past week.
Much has been going on here, so let me summarize:

I have lost my sweet companion, Susie, a Scottish Terrier to old age. She was a true terrier, who never gave up, and thought she was as big as anything wild in our woods. She hated snakes of any kind, but particularly copperheads, and would hunt for them, not only around the farm, but into the woods. Barking for hours, it seemed, to finally dispatch them. Seeing her gradually become less and less of herself was difficult. I recall the words of a poem: Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room. Henry Scott Holland 1847 -1918. I can see and hear Susie still....she has marked this beautiful place, and will always be a part of me.

The vegetable gardens are growing, but slowly due to the unusual weather, with cool nights, and slow to warm soils. I expect to start PRODUCE BOXES May 25 Wednesday, starting at Soil Toppers in Fuquay Varina Pick Up site. The rows, and rows of field peas, butterbeans, greenbeans, squashes, onions, potatoes, and AHHHhhh yes the Heirloom Tomatoes (over 500 plants in the ground) are looking great. The sweet spring rains are really helping them grow.

Flowers are perfuming the garden air, with Old English Roses (Cecille Bruner, Gertude Jeykll, to name a few) Iris, yellow, purple, and a funny brown/green are starting to bloom, and the blue batchelor buttons are popping out all over. I even saw a bunch in the pasture just this morning. (I just LOVE Volunteers) Speaking of volunteers, I see millions of Larkspur popping up in the back garden....waiting for warmer weather to bolt and then bloom.

I sprinkled in Zinnias, and Marygolds all over the perennial borders this morning. I literally have baskets and baskets of seeds, I saved from last years dead headings. I collect the dried blooms in baskets labeled with the color,and type of flower, and keep them dry in the barn for the next seasons planting. Cozillions of them!

The Hens are loving the Spring weather! They are foraging in the wooded shaded areas for bugs, and worms. They are eating organic leafy greens, fruits, and other vegetables everyday...they are so spoiled! They have a field of green, tender Rye Grass, they RUN to every morning.

I have a group of 40 eggs from "The Chosen Ones" , the best of the best Javas, in the incubator. I will candle them in a few days to see which ones are growing. Hopefully I will be reporting chicks by May 8th or so.

This week I will plant over 250 Heirloom Tomatoes in the tomato field, then the Hens paddock will be switched over by using gates to allow the Hens to graze the now month old Oats in the side pasture. The Tomatoes will be planted by hand in the rich soil of the tomato field, and mulched. I hope to have extra hands to make this go faster, with the wonderful folks at Whole Foods in Cary, volunteering! Yeahhhh !!

The Bees are doing well...but did I tell you one of the new hives LEFT! As I understand it, new hives sometimes do not like the queen! Oh my ! Is it her look, or her personality, or scent...well I do not know..but they just simply LEAVE. Well that is what happened with one of the hives. The other hive is doing great, and by the looks of all the activity thriving. I hope we can move another hive into the empty super, and try again.

Easter was celebrated in fine style at High Ground Farm! A sumptuous meal: Roasted and BBQ chicken, Field Peas,Fried Okra, Butterbeans, Pepper Relish, Fresh Berrys/Mango, Baked Cornbread with cheese/bacon, Risotto with rich broth/english peas. Then to top it off a decedent Black and White Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream to Celebrate a Birthday! Add to all the people, the food, a mix of dogs, BIG DOGS 3 in all...and .....well you have JOYOUS CHAOS ! In the middle of all this a friend dropping in to bring gifts of ferns, and geraniums, AND one of the dogs getting a bite from something requiring benadryl, and nursing care (good thing I have some experience in that department!). I am so grateful for it all!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tomato Plants for Sale at Whole Foods in Cary, NC

High Ground Farm will be at Whole Foods in Cary, tomorrow, Sunday 4-17-11 from about 11-2 with gorgeous heirloom tomato plants. They are a good 12-18 inches tall...and ready to be planted.

I spent the morning at a Animal Welfare Approved fundraiser at The Pit BBQ in downtown Raleigh. Lots of people came out to hear the great live music, and talk to us about AWA and farms that are approved. Animal Welfare Approved is a certification process in which a farm is audited yearly, to assure that livestock is allowed to live a natural life outdoors, and that the farm follows all AWA high standards.

What a storm we had! Heavy rain, and wind, but fortunately nothing more serious in our neck of the woods. Our neighbors to the west had severe tornado damage.

Tomorrow will be a bright day, full of sunshine, so come out to Whole Foods and pick up a few plants for your garden! See you there!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Bees are here ...and other Surprises

Today as I worked in the Kitchen Garden, I savored the quiet, and birdsong, as I soaked up the bright, bright sunshine, and swam in the warmth of the spring air. It was a brilliant day.

The climbing rose on the little chicken house is blooming..this was surprise, as I thought it would not be until next week. The scent of a English Rose was unmistakable as it drifted to my nose early this morning. Like a detective, I searched the farm for the source of this delicious rose perfume. There was a tiny pink rose bud inside the chicken lot which was bursting with scent. There are hundreds to go. I will welcome the fragrance, like a old friend.

Midday, I received a unexpected call that the Bees had arrived. Don with the Harnett County Beekeepers, drove up with everything in perfect order to install, and quite expertly set up 2 hives. This group of Italian Bees behaved quite nicely as he transferred them to their new hive. The queens were placed inside to eat there way through sugar candy to join the hive. By that time they will all accept her and hopefully make a happy group.

They were certainly a buzz all afternoon. I am sure they were trying to get their bearings after all the travels of the day, and now a new home. I expect to find them settled in the morning, and sending out scouts to find nector. Bees communicate in a amazingly sophisticated way.

The ferns are unfurling, and the Jack in the Pulpits are sending up their shoots. It is a time of renewal, birth, and growth...always leaves me humbled and grateful.

Beautiful Chicken Feed

Last night as I was filling up the feeders (3, that together hold about 100lbs) I noticed again what beautiful grain these chickens eat! The fragrance is one of roasted nuttiness. Made of whole grains, including green peas.

Honestly, it looks like something to make sweet muffins out of! So here is a photo of it!

Made at Reedy Fork Farm in Elon, NC, a 5th generation Certified Organic dairy farm owned by the Teagues, which in addition to producing milk for Organic Valley, makes feed for diary cows, and chickens. The hens are VERY happy with it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All that is Going On....Thomas is Always in the Shadows

Today Thomas was lurking, along the edge of the Hen House....looking for mice! The hens do not even acknowledge his presence. They act as if he is invisible. I think they are so accustom to him, they see him as part of the flock. Not sure about that, but seems that way to me. Calum has discovered that Thomas somehow finds mice, and loves to go along for the chase. What a SIGHT it is to see big, old Calum crouched down, just like Thomas watching for mice, or any movement under the chicken house. But, Calum weighing around 95 pounds, is not as graceful as Thomas in the chase. A funny, funny sight.

Today we potted up about 250 heirloom tomato plants for the back field. This field now has chickens in it, scratching, and pecking...getting the dirt ready! I will turn the hens into the opposite field sowed with oats, when we plant. The oat field is beautiful, and the hens will love eating all the green tender shoots. I have volunteers coming to help with tomato planting. What a job it is, with digging the holes, putting in compose, lime, and then staking each one. But with extra hands it will be a pleasure, and a time to visit. So plan to come out to help if you want "practice" planting tomatoes!

The beets, radishes, Sugar Snaps, corn, and a few potatoes are up. With the warmer weather they should "take off" in the next week. The Batchelor Buttons are almost waist high, and loaded with blue buds. The English Roses (cecille bruner) are covering the chicken house, and the back garden walkway arbor is heavy with pink buds. It will be a sight to see when they all bloom. The scent of roses drifts, like perfume. I plan to sow the Zinnias in rows this week, and put in the Basil. Ahhhh yes, the bee's will love it here......

The Harnett County Beekeepers came out this past weekend to install 2 hives! I am so excited about having honey! I will have Harnett County honey for sale this year, but next year it will be High Ground Farm honey! Love it!

It is a beautiful time deep in these Harnett County woods. Plan to come for a tour...I have been told it is like stepping back in time. Another friend said, "I felt like I had been in another country!" So plan to come out to see for yourself!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tomato Plants, Tomato Plants, Tomato Plants

The Heirloom Tomato Plants are GROWING! Now around 7 inches tall, and have extensive root systems....are READY to go in the ground, or the pot. We are putting ours in the Tomato Field next week, SO get yours Saturday at Whole Foods Market in Cary, NC. I will be there tomorrow, Saturday April 9, 11-2.

I will be outside the store with the plants at the High Ground Farm Table. 4.00 each in 3 inch peat pots. Put them in NOW for yummy tomatoes in June! To pick from the greenhouse call John at 919-422-0308 near Duncan, NC.

There will also be Heirloom Tomato Plants for sale at
Soil Toppers in Fuquay-Varina Saturday April 9. Go there for your compose,mulch needs, and pick wonderful Heirloom Tomato Plants for your garden!

I will also have individual cards for sale printed from Original Watercolor paintings, inspired by High Ground Farm. Blue Bird Houses, and Bat Houses (bats eat thousands of mosquito's every night!) too. See you there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Java Hens Eating Their Breakfast

Black, White, and Mottled Java hens enjoy fresh, organic apples, and lettuces for breakfast most mornings. They absolutely love fruit and come running when they hear me with the bucket. The hens scratch and eat bugs, worms and grass all day. They have organic vegetables and fruit once a day with grain. Because of this good food, the fresh air in the Harnett County woods, the bright sunshine, and the fresh cool well water, these light brown eggs have a bright orange yolk and are unusually delicious. They make a FINE fresh lemon pound cake, but are delicious as a poached egg, or in plain old scrambled eggs. Nothing like a fresh (as in, being hand gathered from the nest same day) egg!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thomas Sitting in the Morning Sun

This morning the air was clear and crisp. The sun like a bright crystal light. Thomas was basking in the rays...then he was off to stalk butterflies in the turnip field. It was a glorious morning, and the beauty was breath taking.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tomato Season has Started

Well, it's official, the tomato season has started! We loaded up the truck with plants tonight for a day at Whole Foods in Cary tomorrow from 11-2. Plan to come out to say hello, and pick up the great Heirloom Tomato plants you need for your garden! It is going to be a great summer for gardening...I can just feel it in my bones!

Tomato season for us, started about 6 weeks ago, putting each seed in a bit of soil in the greenhouse. But tonight was the first order going to market, and to Whole Foods. Exciting! After all the labeling, and sorting, and counting, and packing, I could not find my truck keys. I looked everywhere: in my pockets and in my purse twice, and could not find them. Then my farm partners, brought in the lights (it was dark down at the greenhouse), and we pulled everything out to the bags, a box of 15 ct egg cartons, several days of mail, hats, gloves, old drink cups, Goodness,does your truck ever get this much stuff in it? Well, after bringing out MORE lights, and re-searching the truck, the purse, the pockets, AGAIN. No keys. Did they walk off? By this time we were all cold and tired with the whole thing, so I was kindly driven home to get my spare key, and driven back. FINALLY, after getting home, doing all the chicken night work (closing up the chicken houses, and letting my guard dog out), feeding the dogs, the cat, and eating supper. I moved my coat, which was now empty of the phones, and noticed it felt a little heavy...checking the pockets, they were empty, BUT there was something in the hem of the KEYS! The pocket had a very small hole..and they must have somehow gotten through the hole! Exasperating!