Monday, February 15, 2016

Do you remember that door stop from a couple years ago?

Does anyone remember these from a couple years ago?  They were in our share towards the end of the year.  No one knew what to do with them and I couldn't remember where the seed came from.  I remember one shareholder posted a picture on their facebook page of it being used as a door stop.

 Anyway,  this picture comes from the Farmers Market in Hilo, Hawaii.  It wasn't just this one stand but close to a dozen of the vendors were selling them.  When I asked what they were I was mostly given a quizzical look but finally I found a name.  The local name seemed to be long squash  however a better, more formal name was Filipino Squash.  When I gave it a google search there it was.  Filipino Squash.  A type of winter squash with  pictures of many tasty dishes.  So remember its name incase I find the seeds again.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

2016 share prices

 Run Mountain Farm CSA share sizes and prices for 2016

We are lengthening our season to 20 weeks this year plus a month of vegetables for shareholders that come out to the farm and the chance to glean our fields after our season ends.

'The Peck'  This is what most CSA's call the half share.
 For the full 20 week season $525
for the first 10 weeks  $260
for the last 10 weeks $280

'The Bunch'  The same as what most CSA's  call the full share
got the full 20 week season  $700
for the first 10 weeks  $350
for the first 10 weeks  $380

'The Bushel'  The vegetarian share.  With this share even our families that live on vegetables will usually find they have enough to cover their eating needs every week all season long.  $1395

Fruit share  --  (mostly peaches and apples) which begins when the local peaches begin to ripen in mid July and runs to the end of our share delivery season in mid October.
Full fruit share   10-12 pieces of fruit per week  $120. 
Half fruit share.   5-6 pieces of fruit per week $65

Egg share -  $95 for half a dozen eggs per week during the vegetable delivery season,  During the winter, if you come to the farm you can take home several dozen a week/ supply willing.

to sign up for a share send an email to

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The storm of January 2016

I don't  know why the two small houses survived.  While one had a steeper roof the other was low with a relatively flat roof.

Monday, January 25, 2016

blizzard damage

 Inside the 96x35" greenhouse on the hill.  That's a mobile chicken house inside.
 The front door to the greenhouse.
 I don't have a better photo of the outside but on the hill where there's an empty area, that's a side view of the two collapsed greenhouses.  Below is a picture looking down through a collapsed greenhouse
Well the blizzard of 2016,  or is this just the first blizzard of 2016?  We'll see what next winter brings..

Anyway,  needless to say we got socked with this one.  All of our large greenhouses collapsed under the weight of the snow. And as far as I can see at least one of the narrower houses is on the ground.  the truth is I haven't been everywhere on the farm, it has been a lot of work just beating paths out to the places I need to go.  To feed the chicks, the geese and grown chickens,  the fire and of course the faithful dog, JC, who I see is waiting out front  presumably waiting for  for me to come out so he can play and show how much he appreciates me.  (How does that saying go about unconditional love being a canine attribute?)

 Its hard to measure how much snow we did get because of the way this light snow blew around but on average I think the snowfall is around 30 inches.  I didn't measure very many places less than that.  And in many places the snow piled up to around four feet. It's starting to melt now,  the temperature today at noon on Monday is 39.

Hopefully the snow will melt sooner than later and we can start to pick up the pieces,  right now I'm estimating over $100,000 in damage,  and get ready for the 2016 season.  As long as I can get the main greenhouse up and running this isn't going to hurt or growing season,  and who knows, with all this moisture it might help  and it definitely could have been worse if, as I thought when they were predicting  winds  steadily at 45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph.  That would have taken out our electricity, caused more damage to our greenhouses and probably caused our 100 chicks to die from exposure.

To look on the bright (er) side.  I have two weeks to dig out and repair our heated greenhouse so I can start planting seedlings.  If the temperature gets up into the 50's next week that's doable.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Here comes one of Monday's thunderstorms

After it passed and the sun came out I began to walk up toward the greenhouse when suddenly there was a flash of light and almost instantly a loud crack as lightning struck a tree not very far to my left.  I turned around and went back to the house.

Out here on the farm I've learned to take thunderstorms seriously.  I remember the time, it must be thirty years ago now, when I was out in  the field across from the barn working on a fence. A storm came over the mountain top  but I was tightening a strand of barbed wire.  I kept on pulling on the wire.  A little rain wasn't going  to turn me to flame like the wicked witch in Oz.

At least I thought that was the case right up to the moment, only seconds later,  when the locust tree not more than twenty feet from me burst into flames, split in half,  and crashed across my new fence.   

When  a thunder storm comes this way I take notice.                                                                  

 Mostly around here, since weather largely comes from the west and we sit on the East slop of Highpoint Mountain, we don't get much notice that a storm is on its way, sometimes only a matter of a few dozen seconds before the wind  is screaming down the mountain side followed by lightning and then a torrent of rain.

Of course we do have an early warning system: JC, our Great Pyrenees.

When there's a storm coming,  sometimes hours before there's a sign of it he knows there's something up and he's following around at my foot steps.

The close the storm gets the closer he is behind me.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rabbit Quandary

Even I will admit its cute!

However, they do reproduce  like, well, like rabbits. 

Coupled with our efforts to keep out the deer and chicken  eating predators (the ten foot high fence around our crops along with our deer and predator harassing Great Pyrenees) has the effect of making our farm a 'rabbit safe zone.'

Then there are our crops, especially this time of year  where everywhere you look we're growing lettuce and kale and sweet and spicy mustards. Along with radishes and carrots  (at least we're trying to do our best with the carrots).

It's like we're going out of our way to protect and then feed the burgeoning rabbit population.

Ten years ago, with a much smaller rabbit population and a fence that didn't perform as well as the double fence we have today I didn't mind feeding a few rabbits.  Today, though, everywhere I look there's a rabbit eating.  If its not lettuce, its kale, or mustard, pac choi, baby broccoli and cauliflower. Rab, chard, beets, radishes and the tops out of our struggling carrot crop.

What should we do?

Reduce the rabbit population?

We could unleash the hunters?  (It's hard to believe the number of people who ask me if they  can come out and shoot rabbits).

Or put out traps  (not like the ones in the movies or cartoons.  Those things with the snapping jaw - the sort of trap we use is a cage where  the rabbit walks in and steps on a pedal that closes the door behind it, locking it inside).

And then, of course, there's a tax. A rabbit tax, if you will.  (this isn't a tax on rabbits but a tax on  vegetables.  A percentage of the vegetables grown goes to feed rabbits.

Unfortunately, like most taxes this isn't as simple as it seems on the surface. How are we going to go about getting the extra vegetables needed to feed that fat little rabbit in the picture and all of his relatives and neighbors?   But enough of that for now. Maybe later we could develop a course on taxing for rabbits - but not now.

So I think where we've gone with this is to show that nothing,  including acting like cute little bunny rabbits, is when you go into the details, that simple.

But, if you have a magic solution.  One that solves the problem without putting us into an ethical, moral or economic quandray, let's hurry up and put it into action.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shooting bear and other critters

Last week the local paper ran a front page article about someone shooting a 650 pound bear.  My first reaction was 'jerk'.  Later a related article appeared in the Washington Post  to which a friend from Charlottesville wrote a letter that more or less captured part of my feelings.

Specifically, why I felt the guy was a jerk is I felt by killing that old bear he was potentially diminishing my  enjoyment of life.  And if not deminishing my life he was doing it to someone else that had the potential to see that bear.

When you live out near and spend a lot of time walking in the woods one of the pleasures is getting a glimpse of a large bear. The same is true with other animals.  The other day one of my neighbors, a retired marine,  called to report, with pleasure, that he had just seen one of the few bald eagles that occasionally populate our area. On his living room wall he has a picture of a large bear, maybe not 650 pounds but close, that had walked into his yard a few years back.

Look at our farm facebook page.  I post a picture most everyday of something that happened out on the farm.  Vegetables, tractors,  people visiting  Generally we get about 100 hits a day.  When we post pictures of owls, bears, wild  turkeys and the occasional coyote the numbers go up into the 300-600 range.  The most interest comes when we post pictures of critters that people seldom see outside of a zoo. It gets the most hits when there's a picture of one of the critters that people rarely get a chance of seeing outside a zoo.

To write this I've just gone back through my files looking for pictures of bears.  Its funny some of the most vivid images I carry around in my mind don't have photos to go with them - a huge bear coming up the valley while four of us are looking at the old civil war battlefield a couple miles from our home.  Another when Wenonah and I were first dating and we were hiking in the park around Charlottesville when we spotted a mother and her cub fishing in a stream below us.  We stopped and watched for several minutes before the bears realized we were there and then ran straight up the opposite hill. 

Why do I carry those images around in my mind so clearly and why is there such pleasure attached to those memories?

Like my neighbor I have a picture of a bald eagle in my mind.  Its over on the other side of the mountain,  I had been bushwacking through the woods and came out on an unused field.  Way over on the other side was a bald eagle perched on a dead limb.  I stood there for several minutes watching it until suddenly it must have seen me, or there was some prey.  Something.

The eagle jumped from its perch and as it did the large dead limb it was sitting on broke and went crashing the hundred and fifty feet to the ground.

Outside of whether nature needs that eagle or whether the large old bear serves some purpose for nature the fact that they carry such intrinsic value to all that come across then, to the people that buy calendars of pictures of wildlife or to see the pictures on our facebook page it shows that they have a value far outside an individuals ability to kill it.

 Yes, I know, I've heard the arguments, (regularly since we have a hundred acre wood lot full of wild life that people want to get permission to hunt on).  'By shooting large animals I'm performing a service'. 'Venison is wonderful to eat'.  'I want to control the animal population'. ' There wouldn't be a hunting season unless the animal population needed to be controlled'.

A few years back there was an albino deer that could be seen often (because she was white she really stuck out).  One time I saw her in the woods down from our house.  When I took out my binoculars I saw she was sitting in the midst of a couple dozen other does.  She just stuck out because of her white coat.

A couple years later I no longer saw her around.  One of my neighbors brought up the subject.  'you know that white deer that you occasionally saw around her.  A guy down Waterfall shot her, he said because she was different.'

Unfortunately that captures to a t why some people shoot animals.
The 650 pound bear was shot because, well, how many 650 pound bears do you see out there?

The albino doe, like the buck with the large rack of antlers, was shot, not because the hunter liked venison, egven though he might, It was shot for the same reason that my neighbor called to tell me he'd seen a bald eagle, 

The difference with the person shooting it over the person who observes it, Maybe takes a pictures, Maybe calls up a neighbor and tells then about it.  Or maybe just remembers the event.

There is something pleasureable about seeing large, unusual wildlife.  However, the person that kills it either doesn't care that others might see it.  He's just thinking about himself.


The person that  goes out into the forest and kills wildlife because its large, or different or rare, doesn't think about anyone else but himself.