News and blog

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Posted 4/17/2013 12:51pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

I love windy days. I do. I most certainly do. The kind of wind that blows your hair about, puts a flush to your cheeks and makes it seem that Mother Nature is blowing you a kiss. Northwest Ohio is blessed with windiness. If “windiness” is not a word it needs to added to the regional lexicon. In fact, Northwest Ohio has “windiness” in spades. 

 

The farm has been popping back into a familiar routine the past few weeks. I miss that over the winter - our comfortable farm routine. Every day brings something new, yet there is solace in the routine. Seems like in the winter we are on a holding pattern - planning, prepping and holding - just waiting for the farm season to unfold again. Not that we get to sit around all winter but there is a gap in our days that only the farm fills.

 

The trout are alive and beautiful. Schooner has been feeding them and my, they are a wonder to behold. I get goose pimples. Toss some pellets in and the water surface comes to life with tens of heads popping out of the water. It almost looks like the surface is boiling. 


Eric has been busy working in the blackberries. We are getting elderberries this year. Oh, and currents.. and rhubarb.. and more asparagus. Ooohh... gooseberries, too! What do you think? I am thrilled! I have been after Schooner to try elderberries for a while and now since it is “his” idea we are planting some. It’s ok, I have learned how men and marriage work. Back to the new plants - elderberries - yes! How exciting! Currents! Can you see the jam? I can! Now, if we could have fig trees in our region, my life would be complete. 

Posted 2/4/2013 2:42pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

Schooner Farms

2013 Winter News

 

It’s been a busy winter so far. No frolicking around for us. I once heard that there is no rest for the wicked - must mean us. Just kidding - we're pretty boring and normal. 

 What's Shaking at The Farm

The ponds were stocked last fall with Rainbow Trout - fishing opportunities shall avail this spring! 




Schooner has been busy burning away in the BioChar Kiln.

 

The arbor is just about finished. A nicely stained concrete floor is in it’s future.


 


 

2000 more Strawberry Plants are ordered and will be nestled in the berry beds once Spring arrives.


CSA News

The CSA is close to full - so if you are interested PLEASE let me know asap! If you mentioned to me you were going to be part of the garden for the 2013 season and have not sent in a form please do so soon! You do not have to pay in full - you are welcome to make payments - just send me a deposit to hold your spot. Please send me your form asap - just click here for 2013 CSA Membership Form If you already sent in your form - Thanks A Bunch! Seeds are here and we are all itching to get back out in the garden! We were just at the greenhouse- oh, I love the smell of a greenhouse. 

Schooner is getting ready to speak at the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association Conference in a few weeks - he will be talking about BioChar.

I will be doing a few presentations at The Summer Kitchen in Helena this spring. If you have not been to the Summer Kitchen - go. now. seriously. It is a lovely little gift shop for the ladies. Karla and Karrie are just fabulous gals and their store is a delight. 

Schooner and Company have been busy working on the new porch in betwixt warm spells. We will move the CSA pick up there along with having a nice spot for workshops and classes. 

I have been busy making wood butter, experimenting with soap recipes, researching new veggies, enjoying my friends, painting, drawing, reading, drinking way too much tea and coffee, trying new recipes for the CSA newsletters, and planning, prepping and plotting workshops and such at the farm this summer. ( I know I used the word "and" a whole lot - but I do do this and that and that and .. you get the idea)

Our spring/summer workshop schedule will be on the website soon. I am having a difficult time trying to get Schooner to commit to a calendar. He seems to think I am a willy nilly planner - far from the truth. I tend to be a bit anal retentive. I have my calendar planned and will share very soon! He is planning on doing several workshops/classes. Some of his ideas are - BioChar, Composting, Beekeeping, Organic Gardening and Pond Management. I will be having several workshops on Baking Bread and Pizza in the Wood Fire Oven, Jam, Soap. Cooking with Herbs and Honey just to name a few ideas.

This summer I do have a few fun days planned. As many of you know, I am very involved at the Wood County Historical Museum and have been helping with the tea program for more years than I am willing to admit in writing. I will be hosting three teas this summer. Here’s the schedule - 

 

An Afternoon with Emily Dickinson

June 8th at 2:00

 

Victorian Manners

July 13 at 2:00

 

Berries and Blooms

September 21 at 2:00

 

I had to share - this is a photo of our new Mason Jar Chandelier that Schooner and Justin made. I approached him a few years back with the idea and this winter Schooner became pretty darn handy! It looks awesome!



 

If you are on Facebook - like us at Schooner Farms - Schooner is on a mission to have 500 likes. I think it is a guy thing. 

Stay Warm and Think Spring!


Your Friends at Schooner Farms



Posted 1/29/2013 10:22am by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

wow! It is extremely warm for Janurary! Like, 53 degrees... Admittedly, I am thrilled to throw the window open and freshen up the house this morning. The breeze coming in is so refreshing and welcome. 

 

Today we finish up ordering seeds for the garden and start pinning down dates for workshops. My cuppa tea is full, the pug snoring and we are off to sit on the porch and enjoy the weather! 

Posted 1/25/2013 12:51pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

I am not complaining about the cold. No way, no how, no, no, no. My feet, however, disagree. Soon enough it will hot and we will all be grumbling about being too hot. I must admit, I am enjoying the cold. Good for the ground, less bugs and less voles. Ugh, we don't like voles. 

We have been busy this winter planning and prepping for the 2013 season. We have the new arbor up and almost completed - just need to add the concrete flooring and some lights. This summer we will be hosting several wood fired baking workshops along with some other great events and classes. 

 

ARBOR IN PROGRESS

The new CSA pick up/porch area will be complete by late spring. We will move pick up to the north end of the building. I am quite pleased about this as we finally have a large area for workshops. 

Our winter newsletter will be out soon!

Posted 11/5/2012 10:46am by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

 

SCHOONER FARMS 

2013 COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE PROGRAM
 

The 2012 CSA season is over. Fall is quickly passing us by and I wanted to pause a moment, say a proper goodbye to fall. I'm in need of a little eulogy. No, better, a commemoration. Maybe both. 

We loved your warm weather, the rain showers, the leaves, the oh so autumnal scent in the air. To autumn, then. It's been swell.


The 2013 CSA Season will be one of change! Only 30 memberships. I know - Yea Gads! You read it correctly 30, no less - no more. Why only 30? Well, it is a bit complicated yet not really. While other CSA's are growing and becoming more like subscription farms. We prefer the original CSA model - it is called Community Supported Agriculture after all. Staying small means we can concentrate on the simple things that are meaningful and part of who we are and what we do. We have done 60-80 shares the past few years and this last year sat down and decided that we were losing what makes this thing we do the thing that inspires us. We want to stay small - we get such satisfaction on making a difference, no matter how small. 

We've got some excting things we are doing at the farm in 2013. Fee fishing for Rainbow Trout, Tilapia and Perch. The Brick Oven will get a workout with Pizza and Bread Workshops. More classes on Organic Gardening, Composting, Cooking with Herbs, and so on. The strawberries will be expanded on - so our members will enjoy not only red raspberries and blackberries but more strawberries. Grapes are going in next spring along with new hazelnut trees. 

If you are so inclined to be part of the 2013 CSA and we hope you are - here is a link to our 2013 CSA Contract. Please print off and send in. You are welcome to make payments - no problem, just email me and we will get you set up. 



Posted 9/17/2012 4:41pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

What is in store for 2013? 

I have had several members ask to sign up for 2013 already... 

 

I have to be very honest with you, we weren’t sure we wanted to do the CSA again. This year really kicked our butts. So much time and effort was put into the garden only to lose most of it to heat and drought, despite our best efforts. It is very deflating at times. Weeds were out of control, the ponds are almost empty, nothing was producing very well and we had volunteers dropping off like flies. The notion of just having a little garden at home was a very welcome one indeed. Being a Farmer - no matter how large or small you are, is a risk. We know that and we are very upfront with our members about that risk. I honestly feel that you get that and the support and kindness you have shown this season has reinforced our determination and spirit. The season has been rough but the fall garden is doing amazing! There is always good with the bad!

 

When thinking about whether or not to be a crazy farmer again next year, I think back to our first season and an event that made me rethink it all. Our first year was terrible. We had a ton of rain, flooding, then a drought: Murphy’s Law. I had a member give me the what for at the Farmer’s Market - loudly, really loudly. I was helping a friend run her booth, this member came unglued and went bonkers about the stuff for sale on the table. I tried to explain it was not our stuff, it was bought in and not even grown around here, but all she could do was yell and scream. I tried to reason with her and discuss it but she was on a rampage. (I really didn’t know this lady very well and found out later no one really likes her - go figure.) Then, another member came up to the table and asked me if we were going to do the CSA the next year. After getting my butt chewed out only moments before I was quick to say, “No”. She looked at me and said, “ You can’t make everyone happy & I thought you did a great job in spite of it being your first year.” It was that conversation alone with Sandy that helped me decide that we would give it another go. I still think back to that conversation and the support of Sandy and other members like her and realize that some things are just really worth it and somethings aren’t. I think our members are pretty savvy and get the CSA concept. Don’t get me wrong, there were a bunch of sleepless nights fraught with worry over how much we would have and if our members would understand we were doing our best. This year it came down to the amount of time and effort. I can’t tell you the level of concern the staff & volunteers had trying to keep up with the garden for the members. It is awe inspiring. I felt incredibly proud to be involved with these people, seriously, it gives me goose bumps. They don’t get paid - they volunteer... 

 

So when I was asked about next year, I said we were undecided about a 2013 garden. I saw how disappointed they were that we might not do the CSA next season. I have to tell you, it almost broke my Grinch sized heart. There are so many aspects of the CSA that we would never be able to replace - raising the first solid food little Cameron ate, teaching people how to grow their food, meeting incredible members and volunteers, being part of the family routine every week, making wonderful friends, eating good food, sharing, learning, laughing, sweating and trying to solve the woes of the world while weeding is heady. Truly, no words can express the experience we have had just being a part of it all. I have met so many incredible people that have become good friends through the CSA. The thought of not having that exchange saddens me a great deal. I would greatly miss my peeps! 

A recent sunset on the farm 


So we talked about it, argued, disagreed, agreed, thought about it some more, slept on it and after a few weeks decided we will do the CSA next year - but only for 30 shares. Already, I have 12 shares spoken for by current members wanting to trudge through another year with us. I usually don’t even mention next season till our last few weeks but since we are only going to have 30 shares I thought I best be letting you know about it now. I am not asking you to sign up or commit to next season by any means - I just wanted to let you know we will continue the CSA albeit to a limited membership. 

Posted 9/10/2012 4:04pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

As autumn creeps in so do the greens. We will have lots of wonderful greens coming you way, weather permitting. Bok choi, arugula, broccoli raab, mesculn mixes, several types of kale, salad greens, chard, Chinese cabbage, standard cabbage, amaranth, purslane and a few more I may have overlooked. Don’t panic, I will get you LOTS of recipes on how to use these leafy devils. Many are afraid of greens and think only of salads. Those thoughts will be quickly dashed away with an array of tasty green goodness from the garden. 

 

 

Week 14 is here already! Officially we have 18 weeks but we are doing our best to try and fit one more week in. If that works out our last week of distribution will be October 15. That week of October is also the end of the Downtown BG Farmer’s Market. Penny Parker, my bestie and market manager, will be bringing her goats to visit the farm this Saturday and she will be back in October for our Tuesday kids (pardon the pun) to enjoy the baby goats! As many of you know, I want goats: badly. Problem is, Schooner does not. I see it as weed control... sweet, lovely, friendly, fuzzy little friends, er, uh huh, I mean, weed control. Yes, definitely weed control! (Wink, Wink)  I only want 2! Not like it’s an entire herd. I think his fear is that it will be like the chickens. I wanted eggs - we got 8 chickens. Next thing you know the man is like a chicken crack addict. Now I want goats & milk - maybe he is afraid he’ll be in goat rehab or something. I am not certain what his problem is but say a few good words for Miss B and the goats when you see Schooner.

Posted 9/3/2012 3:34pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

I noticed the other night that is was dark at 8:37 pm. What? Oh no, the long evenings are leaving us all too soon. I guess it is time to say “adios” to the summer of 2012 - you were hot and dry, we didn’t like you one bit, no way no how. We however, miss sitting on the porch enjoying the sunflowers and sunsets. 

Our Fall CSA Garden is looking tremendous and we are so excited to share the harvest! The winter squash are doing beautifully along with the many tyoes of lettuce. The brassica crops are all doing extremely well and it won't be long before we are all enjoying the bounty.

Our berries are still going strong! Red Raspberries are prolific and our new beds of Strawberries are producing well. The strawberries will be wrapping up soon but the raspberries should be with us for a while longer.

Posted 7/2/2012 10:51am by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

We’re in search of “it”. “It” being more rain and cooler days but hey, this is Northwest Ohio and the weather changes within nanoseconds. We all learn to live with it. You would think with working in super heat and pulling nasty weeds we would all be a mess of grumble bellies - far from the truth! Laughter and hard work seem to join forces when faced with challenges. Call it a coping mechanism. Your Gardeners have been hard at work doing their best to keep everything going in the field. Watering, weeding, foliar feeding, planting, harvesting and trying to stay hydrated while doing it, all in between laughing and sharing.

We’ll be pulling the main garlic beds and will set them aside for curing. The tomatoes are doing well - there are a few varieties that have succumbed to the heat. Peppers are looking peppy and I am happy to report that there are several types of lettuce that are coming along. In fact, the tall weeds have protected them from the intense sun. Who knew we’d be grateful for weeds? The fall garden will be planted over the next several weeks.

We have vole problem. Voles are kind of like mice. Rotten little buggers are eating seeds and eating the irrigation tape. Since we didn't have much of a winter and the ground never froze there is a population explosion of voles. Bluck!

The big blue tank out by the pond blew away and rolled out near the garden during that storm yesterday. The blue tank is used to brew Compost Tea. Schooner & Justin had to roll it back into place this morning. We were very lucky in our area not to have been affected by the intense storms our neighbors to the south encountered over the past several days. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

 

Posted 6/25/2012 4:58pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

Amy is quite happy with the condition of the garden, despite the lack of rain and harsh heat most crops are fairing pretty well. We’ve lost some things to the heat and the flea beetles are reeking havoc. We will be brewing up some compost tea this week and filtering that through the irrigation system. I believe a foliar spray is also on the to do list and we may do some spot treatments for insects.

Schooner and Amy were poking around in the garlic - we’ve got a nice crop coming on! That will be harvested in a few weeks. The Garden Crew will be seeding some more of the succession crops and seeding a few of the fall crops this week. We have some beautiful head lettuce, cabbage and chard coming on that we should be harvesting in a week or so.

Soon we’ll be out of the turnip and radish faze - this spring, er, what there was of it was pretty brutal on cool/spring season crops. Last year, we couldn’t grow turnips at all this year - they are going bonkers. The volunteers have been weeding and weeding. The weeds are creating jungle like conditions that only the most fearless can tackle. The chickens are suffering a bit from all the heat and I think their little internal clocks are telling them it is much later in the summer than it is by the calendar. Egg production is down a little bit, but hopefully will balance back out soon. My best friend, Penny Parker, will be bringing out some goats in a few weeks! She has some gorgeous babies the little CSA folk will love and maybe we will be able to even give milking a try! As many of you know, I want goats… badly, not just a little but a lot!  Schooner says, “No.”  Goats are cute and friendly - those dang chickens are beady eyed and freaky.  It is weird—why am I afraid of chickens? Goats I can do - chickens are just fowl…

 

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