West Mountain Farm

Pastured Pigs, Free-Range Chickens, Biodynamic Gardening, Homesteading

Archive for the category “Life”

Putting Your Garden to Bed and Preparing the Homestead for Winter

Now is the time to start the process of putting your garden to bed. Things are in their last push and other warm weather loving plants are dying, consecutive cold days and nights are coming, so pick everything you can ASAP, dry herbs, make green tomato relish, freeze bell peppers, dehydrate, freeze, etc. Remove disease and bug harbors like dead tomato vines, other nightshades, and curcubits (squash and cucumbers). Okra, corns stalks, and dead herb branches can be incorporated into the soil or composted. Adding mulch and organic matter is the most important, which can protect perennials, bulbs, and the soil structure itself. Now is also a great time to add soil amendments that will be bioavailable for your garden next spring. Lime all the beds that are going to rest for winter. Taking care of your investment of garden tools is important if you want to get all the life out of them that they are worth. Collect them from the yard, give them a quick clean, let them dry in the sun, oil movable parts, and sharpen blades. If nothing else, get them out of the weather in a barn or shed to protect them from the elements. If you are feeling really spunky you can organize them in buckets and crates and maybe even make a wall and peg board to hang them to save space and have them handy.  Don’t forget about your plant cages and support systems.  Clean up space in the barn to store hay and feed. Now is a good time to get a good deal on hay if you help farmers collect directly out of the field, saving them work and storage. Protect your investment from mice with a good barn cat and/or pet safe rodent poison/traps. Sealed barrels for your feed is a good idea year round. Do some coop and stall mucking and apply directly to resting beds (don’t apply on beds intended for winter crops) give your animals fresh bedding that can be hay, straw, and saw dust. Get your floating row covers, hoop houses, and cold frames out to ready them for fall crop protection. Add gentle soil refreshers to fall crop beds such as sweet, finished compost, worm castings, sea kelp, soft rock phosphate, mushroom compost, etc. Avoid anything that will burn tender seedlings or might carry pathogens. Its a good time for green cover crops like vetch. Seeding and planting transplant fall crops as soon as their beds are ready. Get your seasoned fire wood stacked, covered loosely, and convenient to bring into the house on cold, blustery days ahead. Start thinking about how you are going to keep your animals water thawed. Pull up irrigation and winterize outdoor spigots. Get your root crops, apples, pears, potatoes, fall squash cured and ready for storage. If you have a root cellar or basement you’re one lucky dog. If not find a cool, dark, dry spot in the house, wrap fruits in newspaper and store loosely in cardboard boxes, bags, or crates.  They will be nice and sweet in a few months as the carbs transform into more sugar. Store your root crops loosely, but its not as essential to wrap them up individually as they don’t put off ethylene gas. Check on them periodically for winter and eat things that are going downhill and throw the bad stuff to the hogs or chickens (unless its absolutely horrible moldy). Feed, feed, feed your animals to store fat for the cold days. Chickens are probably molting so give them non-medicated gamebird feed, calf manna, and flock blocks. If you are hunter they enjoy to pick the carcass clean, just no gut piles. They need the extra protein to renew their feathers and get back to making eggs. If you are a hunter get in the woods and stock your freezer! Your green house is another things to consider collecting, organizing, starting greens and other fodder crops.  Use your space efficiently and you will reap bountifully year round.

Don’t get too wrapped up in work though, take a stroll through the woods and enjoy the colors of autumn, the leaves will fall before you know it. Do some yoga in the woods to rest your body from all the work taking care of a homestead entails, the earthy smells of the forest will sweeten your practice. Watch for fall goodies like mushrooms, apples, pears, and persimmons. Make bouquets and take them to friends, the drive will give you more scenic pleasure and the visits you made with friends will be comforting when cabin fever sets in. Happy Homesteading!

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Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front


By Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.


There’s nothing like practicing resurrection with potatoes…..



Staying in the Loop

If you would like to stay up to date with post, product availability, and things happening around the farm the easiest way to do so would be to ‘follow’ this blog.  On the right hand side of the screen on  the home page is a +follow tab, click, enter your email address and you will be alerted via email new post. I will not sell or share your email, nor will your inbox be flooded. As a matter of fact, I post way too little, but hope to improve on that! My Facebook page will help keep you in the loop as well. Please feel free to comment on post, ask questions about how to do something, or a product you would be interested in purchasing. Have a Happy 2013!


Hello gardeners and slow food enthusiast!

I live in the magical Ozark mountains, they are deciduous hardwood forest, and filled with all kinds of outdoor adventures. I teach yoga and garden in these hill, which can be very, err….rocky, to say the least. This obviously gives the gardener quite a challenge considering very few cultivated plants like rock and clay for their garden medium. Some (especially river bottom dwellers) are blessed with good soil in these parts. I live on the top of West Mountain we have one inch of pitiful topsoil and then flagstone. Therefore we have relied on composting, buying dirt, and our farm animals to have a rich organic garden. Once established, heavily mulched raised beds with rich soil are very easy to maintain and give you plentiful, nutrient dense, flavorful produce in a small area.

The area I live in is a cool zone 7, so all post will obviously be geared toward gardening in zone 6-8, unless otherwise noted. I also don’t use a tiller, a tractor, or anything mechanical. I sprinkle or use a shovel and  hand cultivator to work amendments in, then I let the worms and microbes do the rest.

When harvest time arrives (which is almost continuous) many are baffled as to preservation methods and sometimes how to cook the plethora of produce (much of which you can’t buy in the store i.e kohlrabi), so I will be posted how-tos on processing, cooking and preserving.

This is a brief introduction on information that what I will be blogging about. More to come soon!

Strawberry plant

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