Heather and Beth inside the greenhouse

Farm Update

Farms are all about place, right? 

We are located in the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio. We’re lucky to live in a very beautiful area with a lot of natural richness. Check out the Arc of Appalachia to learn more.  They do amazing work and several of their preserves are within a few miles of us.

Our focus is on the American elderberry, a native plant in this region. We have about 450 elderberry plants in the ground right now and make Elderberry syrup and Elderflower syrup from what we…

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elderflowers drying

The Flower of our Labors

This year we’ve been going through the liquor at an astonishing rate.

Really, it’s mostly been me. Beth being a lightweight, and having declared her first taste of gin “nasty,” has not contributed evenly. But to each their strengths. 😂

Honestly, though, I’ve not been drinking much of the alcohol we’ve run through. I mix a drink, take a sip, dump the rest. Then I alter the proportions, mix another drink, sip, dump. It’s not gone down the drain because I’m nervous about what all that alcohol, a …

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Ironweed blooms

Ironweed

In late August the elderberry bushes are nearly finished fruiting, and as the dark purple berries fade a new palette emerges across the fields: purple ironweed and goldenrod, now fully in bloom. Ironweed intrigues me perhaps because, unlike goldenrod, it is a flower I didn’t grow up with, but one I first met as an adult in southern Ohio.  It’s also a plant that starts as a humble florette of spear-shaped leaves at your feet in May. Then you turn around in August to find the flower head nodding d…

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spotted wing drosophila on flower

SWD

No, it’s not Single, White Divorcee. It’s Spotted Wing Drosophila (aka Drosophila suzukii), and it’s the enemy of berry lovers everywhere.

SWD is a fruit fly from Asia, first detected in California in 2008.  2008 doesn’t seem that long ago to me, but this little fly is no laggard.

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elderflowers close up - white with yellow stamens

Elderflower Eruption

The elderberry bushes are now flowering outrageously. What a month ago resembled small florets of broccoli have developed into 6” wide umbels of creamy white bloom. These blooms will roll out in waves over the next month or so, transforming our humble field of bushes into an ever changing floral ocean. 

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spring garlic in hand, with roots and dirt

Spring Garlic

Spring brings some fleeting culinary pleasures such as rhubarb, asparagus, and violets. Among them we count spring garlic, which we have been enjoying these past few weeks. Their mild garlic flavor is a great accompaniment to meat or rich vegetarian entrees, or a nice addition to your morning omelet.

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Rare Catbird Sighting

I’ve never been much of a bird watcher. Birds are great and all, but I never put the effort into learning them beyond the common robin or chickadee.

It’s difficult; they’re small, far away, and move quickly. So it was with some excitement that I heard an unusual birdcall the other day.

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Rural Action

I recently completed Rural Action’s Whole Farm Planning and Mentoring program. What a fantastic experience! For eight weeks I got to hear first hand from experienced farmers and entrepreneurs.

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Chainsaw Chatter

They say that people who express gratitude are, statistically, happier than those who don’t. So let me invest in my own joy by telling you just how profoundly grateful I am for the electric start power tool

It may seem an odd thing to be grateful for, but it came to me this past Saturday as we ably felled 9 pine trees within a span of 3 hours.

As you may recall, this clearing is being done on advice of a forester, to open up space for oak, persimmon and other trees that have wildlife benefit…

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