Grow along with us

May was an exciting month at Rising Vitality Farm, or as I have nicknamed it “Newbie Farm”. Boy oh boy are we rank amateurs! I have been gardening all my life since my grandfather taught me to stake and water tomatoes at age 11, my gardens have been growing in size and abundance as the years passed but nothing like what I am attempting now. We cleared 3 acres this spring and put up a hoophouse last fall. Over 400 feet of brassicas have been planted, 100 feet of spinach, 100 feet of lettuce heads, 50 feet of cucumbers, beets, carrots, peas and 200 feet of potatoes. The hoop is full of spinach, kale, chard, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, radishes, Lettuce Salad Mix and sorrel. The perennial herbs are ready for transplanting into the hoop as soon as we can create their permanent beds. We have one wholesale account and have been delivering spinach, kle, chard and dandelion to them weekly since April. So if you want to try our fresh organic vegetables stop by JHouse Juice on Fischer in Grosse Pointe Farms. We started at two farmers’ markets this year; Fowlerville on Fridays and Green Oaks Township on Sunday. Stop in and mention this blog and you will receive a free sample of fresh produce or maybe a duck egg?
The pigs this year are being rotated through a recently cleared quarter acre and secured with pig panels and electric fencing. They are Manglista crosses from Bakers Green Acres and they are growing fast and will be ready by October. They will sell as fast as they grow so reserve yours early by calling the farm. There will be four rotations of broiler chickens this year and the first processing date will be Tuesday June 2 and available for pick up fresh on Wednesday and Thursday. I will be putting them in the freezers 36 hours after processing. so if you want the most delicious healthiest chicken available call the farm at (517) 518-6115. We will be delivering to Stone Coop Farm CSA members within 12 hours of processing. Our delivery van is equipped with a refrigerator and freezer so you can be assured that everything is kept at the safest temperature. All our birds are fed organic feed, will be processed organically and are raised outdoors where they can scratch, peck for bugs and generally lead a wholesome chicken life. if you care about how Sunday dinner is raised, processed and treated then you will want to buy our chicken. We do it right.
Now for the rank amateur part. About a month ago Zack suggested that Mocha our beautiful brown and cream Nigerian Dwarf goat looked a little fat and suggested she might be pregos. I put her on the stand and listened for heartbeats with the stethoscope. Finding none and seeing no utter development I assumed she was bloated and put some baking soda out. Well I was wrong, Wednesday Rick went out to feed the goats and found two new babies cuddled up to Mocha. A buck and a doe, we named the boy Expresso and the girl Cappuccino. On the same day Marshmallow the not pregnant rabbit gave birth to a couple of bunnies. I haven’t seen them yet they are born hairless and blind and the momma buries them under her fur. I will have to wait to see them. I really have to get better at this farming with livestock thing.
The best part of the month happened just yesterday! Friday at market a beautiful decorated food truck pulled into the Fowlerville market and I met Tom the owner of “Comfort Cuisine”. I invited him for a farm tour and he came for a surprise visit the very next day. This man is a superb chef and the rice ball he served was the best thing I have eaten in a long time. If you have a grad party or family reunion coming up this summer give Tom a call, have him pull up to your curb and feed your crowd. Your guests will be served gourmet food and you can relax and enjoy your party.
The winner of the name this rooster contest is Cheryl and the winning entry is “Rocky” which matches our soil. If I was growing rocks I would be a millionaire! We are looking forward to meeting her on Wednesday to reward her prizes and take pictures. We will post them on Facebook so stay tuned! The next contest will be announced on Sunday June 7, 2015 but here is a hint>think grapes! Stay tuned, visit us often and like us on Facebook. Good luck out there good people.

The Great Pig Debacle of 2015

The simple farming life I have been striving for has been put on hold for the last two weeks as we build a more secure enclosure for this year’s feeder pigs. A few weeks ago our simple idealic life was shattered when Greg suggested we get pigs. Now this seemed a reasonable request at the time as we have been raising feeder pigs on the odd numbered years for ten years and this is 2015, an odd year. Rich, The Amazo Husband Man, was resistant to the idea pointing out the obvious issue that breaking new ground for fresh fields, putting up protective electric fence around them, constructing a wash/pack area servicing new wholesale accounts and two new markets was going to be hard enough work for our first year. No need to add pigs to the mix. Greg’s argument that our freezers runneth empty of pork held sway with the farm manager and so the pigs were ordered, the pig yard designed and the parts purchased. Everything was in place on the day the pigs arrived, a beautiful warm sunny spring day with no hint of what was to come. One little piggy went into the enclosure, two little piggys no problem, the third little piggy took off like he was shot out of a cannon. He ran right through the dual stranded, solar charged, battery operated, environmentally sustainable, electric fence without even slowing down. (Note to self: review that mission statement.) Pig number two followed him while pig one stayed behind eating the grain treat that had been lovingly placed in the feeder. It took nearly the whole afternoon to chorale the first two escapees and while we were all engaged in the hunt, the first pig took off when the feed ran out. How could three little pigs cause such big problems. These piglets were not cheap $50 feeder pigs, no we went whole hog (pun intended) with the heritage breed pigs at $250 a pop. (Note to self: review that mission statement.) After chasing the first two pigs through the bramble bushes and pinning them up against the swamp we were able to return them to the pens they arrived in bloody and bruised. We were bloody and bruised, the pigs were fine. Its not easy catching a pig! the third pig took 5 days to catch. For five days that castrated male hog hung around the farm managing to evade every trap set for him until Zack found him in the outer goat paddock and quickly closed the gate. He was returned to his brothers while we continued to reinforce the pig pen. Which cost another $760 for a larger AC charger, steel in lieu of aluminum wire and hog panels for security. The renegade pig has been named Guinea and he is currently residing in the new electrified enclosure. My grandson Connor named the big black one Batman and the other one is named after our POTUS. He has dark skin and light hair, the obvious leader of the group and he is a castrated male, hence the name Obama. No offense meant to anyone. I like our president. I like his wife more, she’s a gardener!
The last of the kids were born the night before Easter about 10 pm. By the time we got them cleaned up, made sure she had nursed and mucked out the pen it was after midnight. They were both bucks out of GsaGsa Binks and Allspice. The first born and very dark colored one is Aniken and the light colored one was named Hans Solo. Every morning while mom is on the milk stand I pick up these boys and kiss and pet them. They wrap their long goat necks around mine and hug me back. they are both sweet and playful Hans is the one always getting into trouble. He got his right front runner stuck in the fence, panicked and sprung his leg. It swelled up and he limped for a few days. We moved him back into the barn while we fixed the fence. There he found a short piece of chain hanging from the stall board, started licking it, swallowed it and got the open hook stuck in the side of his mouth. thankfully I happened to be in the barn and was able to hold him up so he wasn’t just hanging there. Rich cut the chain and was able to remove the cut link from his mouth. Do you know anyone who wants a buck? He will be weaned and ready to go in two weeks. He is a purebred Nubian, very smart, very sweet, very cute and should throw does.
The first cutting of Corvair Spinach was delivered to JHouse Juice in April. We began shipping 20+ pounds of spinach every week and will have Kale, Chard and Dandelion by June. The broccoli has been planted in the freshly plowed fields and some kale. Transplants are growing in the greenhouse, hoop and atrium. I will be seeding another rotation of cukes, squash, basil, flowers and melons this week. Carrots, beets, radishes, turnips and greens will be direct seeded in the fields this week. So much to do, I can never die.
And now the news you have all been waiting for the winner of the Name This Rooster Contest is …….(drumroll please)……….. Cheryl Clifton. Cheryl suggested the rooster be named “Rocky”. Fits the farm and the bird! Good Job, Cheryl and thank you for your submission. Enjoy May until we meet again in June for all the happenings on Rising Vitality Farm. Good Luck out there good people.