2011: Year of Inspiration, Motivation, and, most importantly, FUN!

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011! 

Well, howdy do! We’re caught up in the spirit of the new year around these parts. Saturday we’ll begin having more than 10 hours of daylight (10 hours and one minute, to be exact) and that means things will begin growing again. Most of our produce has been slumbering beautifully and cozily under our low tunnels and row covers. 
Yesterday we were rewarded for all of our care and attention and love for our hens and roosters with our first little brown egg. Th e chickadees are 5 months old and it’s about the right time for them to slowly begin laying eggs, although the lack of daylight also slows down their production. We got our second little brown egg this morning. Ben and I are planning on making a little ornament out of our very first egg by hollowing it out with two holes on each end. We’re so proud of them, you’d think we layed them ourselves!! 


Since all of the plants in the ground are currently hibernating, we’ve been spending most of our working time planning. Ben is planning Spring and Summer crops so we can order seeds. We went through the seed catalogs over the holidays and we’re pretty pumped about all the awesome veggies we’re growing. We’re going to have a few trial-run half rows this time around too. Ben has also been looking around and talking to folks for and about tractors. At the moment, we have the walk behind. We’d like to expand our production a bit more this year and we’d also like to have the efficiency the tractor affords. We’re hoping to get implements that are potentially capable for use for horse or mule farming someday in the future – maybe when we “retire” :). By the way, if you’re interested in that type of thing, definitely check out the Small Farmer’s Journal. It’s hard to make a decision one way or the other, because the system you choose is often difficult to get out of…In addition to the farm planning, I’ve been doing some academic planning as well. This semester I’m studying for the preliminary exam for my main area, globalization and social change. At the end of the semester, I’m taking a 24 hour written exam, answering three comprehensive questions in 10-12 pages each. That means I’ll be prepping for that feat for the next 16 weeks. Today, with a friend and colleague, we wrote up a plan of action and a study schedule. It feels pretty awesome to know what we’re doing in the next few weeks – all around. In addition to all of this planning, Ben and I have also decided to designate Sundays aa FUNdays, and we’re vowing to keep working throughout the rest of the days of the week so that we can reward ourselves with a full day of leisure one day of the week. As farmers and students (and also as a distance education instructor), it’s particularly difficult to separate work and home and to ensure work isn’t being done all of the time. We need our FUN time! We’ve also taken to taking walks on the acreage (350 acres). There are plenty of woods, a creek, and a beaver pond. It’s vast and gorgeous out here – even in the dead of winter. This Monday, Ben, Charlie (the dog), and I went for a stroll and pine cone collection walk. I brewed us some tea and put it in our nifty new large size and portable tea/coffee mugs, we bundled up, and we went to gather. On our walk, it began to snow. It was quite nice indeed. The snow did get a bit harsh at the end and we were a ways from home, so we decided eventually to cut through the woods and make our way through the bramble. It was quite the adventure! 

We also went on a Boxing Day Blizzard adventure when we went to visit Ben’s family for the holidays. We spent time all around the state and I even got to go ice skating on a frozen pond! Apparently that’s old news for New Englanders, but for a girl who has spent most of her time in the South, that was quite the scary and exciting fun day…actually night.It was a combo skate party, ice skating, Christmas Eve eve celebration. 

Here’s Ben with his parents at the dairy farm in Middleboro.

And here are a couple of Ben and I in the snow on the farm. 

The farm house. 

Charlie having fun with all the snow. 

Ben’s mom with her grandson (and Ben’s nephew). Isn’t he adorable?!

When we came back from Massachusetts, Ben and I were happy to attend market. We hadn’t been to market for almost three weeks!!! Here are some pictures from last weekend’s market and some from the farm. 
 Everything is grown with love!

Here’s a close of the said “magical” mesclun mix:
baby arugula, mizuna, baby tat soi, flat leaf parsley and curly parsley – YUM!

The winter spread 🙂

With Ben.

With me.

Assorted lettuces up close and personal.

Purple top turnips, real baby carrots and Hakurei turnips.

Kohlrabi and watermelon radishes.

We sold out by 10:30! 
We would love to bring more, but since things are slowly moving along here, given the hibernation of winter, it’s going to be a little while before we’ll have two tables full again – but it’ll be here before we know it!

Well, this is the sunset. 
Thanks for stopping by. 
Good bye for now and good night.

Happy New Year to you!
From: Patricia Parker and Ben Shields


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