Monday, February 22, 2010

Bee stings and seed flings

It was a productive weekend in the garden. We finished the cold frame, and started a variety of seeds in it (darn, it's already full!, we need more space!): chiogga and early wonder tall beets, shin kuroda? carrots, rocket arugala, mizuna greens, radicchio, gourmet lettuce mix, bloomdale spinach, mache, parsnips, kohlrabi, endive--wonder how THAT will do? and rutabagas. 
Almost all of the seeds under the grow lights in the basement are popping up (aside from the straw flowers). What did we start? vitamin greens, wormwood (flower), sweet ciciley (experiment), stevia, savory, cornflower, various greens, rainbow chard, asian greens mix, pak choi, and agretti (an Italian green).
On Saturday, I also fed the bees, but it came at a price! One head on collision with a worker bee has left me with a swollen puffy eye for the last few days! I've never had a major reaction to a sting, but this time was a bruiser. I should have considered my approach before making my move towards the hive. Sudden warm days like what we had this weekend make the hive particularly active and a bit more aggressive. Now is the time they start needing food to feed and generate the worker bees so they were eager to go out and start hunting. Today, I led a workshop at the Carolina Friends School on Urban Farming and I think my looks made a great impression, or at least stirred a few laughs. Live and learn...and laugh along the way!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken News: Gruesome and beautiful all in one

We had an attack intruder in the coop at UF2200 on Monday. It was not pretty by normal standards, but by natural standards, there were/are lovely aspects I think worth sharing (some images may be hard for some to see). Not long before the attack, we had, we thought, successfully moved the chickens to a new location on "the farm" -- behind the big downed oak tree, a location rich with insect and larvae infested logs and a lush mat of weeds, brush and shrubs. We meticulously stitched together various leftover sections of mesh of varying styles to enclose--top, bottom and sides--a rather large area, a system we are determined to improve upon next move! We were happy to see the chickens happily scratching and exploring their new coop and returned to our respctive jobs of starting seeds and building the coldframe. Not long after, however, we heard lots of ruckus in the "lower field." When I went down to check, it was too late. One of the chickens lay dead at the entry. In the corner of the coop there was still lots of commotion. Frantic in the corner I saw the culprit. Scared and desparatly trying to escape after his (or her) snack, was a hawk. Justin handled the hawk while I gathered the chicken. Before letting the hawk go, I snapped lots of pix. My what fine eyes you have! My what a fine, bloody mouth you have, my what lovely wings you have! My what a marvelous creature you are....But you can't have the chicken. The legs, yes, the feathers, the innards yes, but our dear layer will be with us. That's right, we decided to de-feather, and prepare her for the next stage. Adam and Justin lead the process for this. Adam having had lots experience at both Coon Rock and in Hawaii. Justin experienced with a rooster and a rabbit. Me? I'd stuffed sparrows and other song birds back in my birding days. Adam's recipe for defeathering: dunk chicken in NOT boiling water, but rather 60 degree C for no more than 1 and a half minutes. Remove chicken and begin plucking. This part was easier than expected. After chicken is free of feathers, then the gory part begins. Slice the backend, cut through the fat very carefully as not to get the bile bag, and open wide enough to get hand in. Gently and carefully (still trying to avoid the bile bag) remove intestines, gizzard, heart, lungs, liver, the bile bag, and WOW, are those eggs?
We saved some and gave the rest to the hawk.
We'll let you know how the chicken soup turns out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring 2010 Plans

UF2200 is starting up its second season. There are a few changes:

1) Farmer Adam is, well, not leaving us in spirit most certainly, but is starting up a farm and running a CSA in Rougemont called Simple Rhythm Farm It's a very exciting endeavor for Adam and the community!

2) UF2200 is going to concentrate its efforts on creating varied, artful, colorful, plentiful flower arrangements and hopefully extend the flower share to include a couple of businesses and restaurants. We will also offer flowers for special events, all at a reasonable price, with what I hope will be a growing variety of species with a variety of colors, forms and textures. If you know of any businesses that might be interested in getting weekly flowers to brighten up the office/store/restaurant, please let me know!

3) As for the edibles: UF2200 is going to start specializing in more varieties of "greens", peas, beans, herbs, and edible flowers with an emphasis on fall and spring plantings. We will still have some summer produce - squashes, tomatoes, beans, peppers and cukes, okra, but the majority of the harvest will be for spring and fall (April - June and September - November). A lot more details will follow.

4) Justin Waller, who was a huge behind the scenes volunteer for UF2200 last year, is going to continue having an active hand with the farm: tending to the bees, helping with flower cultivation, and developing a fun, new consumable product we're both really excited about! Stay tuned. He also just built a beautiful cold frame! Seeds started: asian green mix, pok choi, vitamin c greens, various flowers, lots of radishes, and more...a list of the season offerings coming soon!

That's the briefing. We still owe everyone tote bags from last year and many more thanks for supporting us through the first year! We look forward to a new season and hope you will continue to support us while enjoying a few goods grown locally right here downtown Durham!

Warm, but oh so chilly out there greetings and Happy New Year wishes,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall, Fall Fall and Talk of the The Much Awaited UF2200 Dinner (now Brunch)!

Happy Autumn to the UF2200 fan club, if you are out there.
The greens are in. All sorts of them and I can't wait to see whether cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts come to fruition. The foliage looks deliciously robust and I often hallucinate looking out my door that I see white heads breaking through the tops of the greens. Next week for real?
The rain and cooler weather of last spring and this fall make me think that it's most rewarding to concentrate on the 3/4 of the year that does not include June .5, July, August, and .5 Sept! These months over I have renewed hope of a bountiful harvest for the UF2200 dinner. Good thing, as the season is coming to an end. The time, like the weeds, have tried to take over, but let it be said, a fall harvest brunch is in the works and all you who got really excited about this project and sent us your verbal and monetary support last March, are invited! We aim for this late morning through early afternoon affair to be a delicious, relaxing and fun time for us all to hang-out, tour the garden, maybe play some games and potentially be serenaded by some wayward musicians.
Please stay-tuned for details. We'll send out an official invite soon!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wowzers! What a Summer!

It's 6 weeks until Autumn, which means it's about time to start planting Fall crops. But, before we do, allow us to catch y'all up on how things went this Summer.
With Pictures!!!
(Soon to be updated with worded descriptions!)


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Month of CSA Goes Smooth

Hey there,
Well, our first 4 drop-off/pick-ups are behind us and we've harvested loads of lettuce and radishes, with the addition of collards, kale, mustard, and arugula this week. I even picked our first sugar snap of the season!
We'll be sure to put up new pictures asap, but stop by any time and see what we're up to (you can find us using our handy google map addition on the right hand side of the page).
Until next time,
AP (&KG)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The first delivery/pick-up

It's almost dark and Adam is outside planting cucumbers. We planted tomatoes earlier and yesterday I got the last two apple trees (an Aunt Rachel and Bevens' Favorite) in the ground, plus a number of raspberries and blackberries. 
Adam and I are excited about the first pick-up/delivery tomorrow -- what will be a small but rewarding first harvest of lettuces and radishes. The first few weeks will be limited amounts but soon a more diverse harvest of rutabagas, sugar snap and snow peas, arugala and mesclun, chards and kales, more radishes and lettuces will fill the bag! There are plenty of more flower seeds to sow, too,  and we still have tons of veggie seeds and seedlings poke into the ground.
Work on "the farm" is such a delight after some long, hard days of other work and these breezy evenings are a joy.