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Greentree Naturals Newsletter - Holiday 2011 - Year at a Glance

Special Points of Interest on the Farm:

  • We sold 185 bouquets of  flowers at the farmers market along with flowers provided for two weddings that included the brides bouquet, corsages, & boutonnieres.
  • Diane was guest on a local radio show to talk about the importance of supporting local farmers and buying organic this spring.
  • 130 school children came and harvested pumpkins from our       U-pick pumpkin patch this fall. We turned away as many as we had come so will expand it next year.
  • Our garlic harvest was about the same as last year (385 LBs).
  • The research project with Washington State University finished this year with one more on-farm Natural Pest Management Field Day. Joyce graduated with her masters and will go on to work in her field as an entomologist.
  • We will begin a new research project with Montana State University next summer on “Wildlife Damage Control for Organic Farmers”.  For us, we will mostly look at ways to control those pesky gophers that eat our crops from under ground without turning it into a Caddie Shack scenario where Thom is using dynamite to blow them up.
  • Our chickens laid somewhere around 410 dozen eggs, which is down from last year.  We usually rotate our flock every two years and decided to wait this year.  Chickens will lay for many years, just not consistently.  We will get chicks in the spring and start a new laying flock.

You Are Never Too Old to Set Another Goal
Or to Dream a New Dream

There are always things that touch our lives & what better way to truly appreciate them than to take a moment out of our busy days to focus on all the things we have to be grateful for?  We make the choice to hold on to eternal optimism  as it is better than the alternative.  These past couple of growing seasons have been most challenging for us. There is no doubt in my mind that global warming is having an effect on our ability to grow  our gardens.  This spring was colder & wetter longer than it has been in the past, so we adapt and use more season extension methods.  We did not have any days over 100 degrees this year, which made it difficult for crops like peppers and tomatoes to mature.  It’s always something.  That’s what farming  and gardening is all about though.  Some years you get a bumper crop of something, other years, not so much.  Every year we assess what we are doing, adjust, adapt, and renovate our plans.

As we look towards the future, we will be growing more seed crops to sell, plant more cover crops and let portions of our gardens rest, and we will sell more organic vegetable and herb plants in the springtime. 

Our on-farm workshops and mentorship programs will continue to expand.  Diane taught her first on-line Sustainable Ag course last winter & is currently learning how to create webinars.  The “Planning the Garden” workshop on CD was completed last spring and has been selling across the region.  Having access to the technology (finally) will provide opportunities to expand our educational programs well beyond our local region.

Meanwhile, we continue to work with local restaurants, chefs, and caterers.   Our CSA program moves into it’s 17th year; 2012 marks 21 years selling at the local farmers market. We have many dedicated customers and look forward to expanding.

We had two apprentices this year, Jen & Nina.  They were  a great help in the gardens and will likely be a part of the Greentree family for many years to come.

We had a film crew from Public Television come and spend 6 hours recording for a program called Northwest Profiles.  I guess it will come out sometime in the springtime. Pretty interesting to have a film crew follow us around all day in the gardens.  Will be sure to send a link when it comes out so you can view it if you like.

We laid our old dog Buster to rest this fall, and one of our goats, Butch also passed.  It’s never easy to say goodbye to our faithful pets.  We will most likely get another dog.  We still have one goat and he seems pretty happy to be on his own. Life on the farm continues to keep us active, healthy and happy.

We have entered into the new millennium of high speed technology!

After 5 different companies told us “no way”, we finally made it happen (thanks to my brother Carl the IT guy).  You may take it for granted, but rural areas like ours have many challenges for internet service because of mountains, trees, snow, ice & moose meddling.

Our dish is atop a 7 foot pole set in cement 500 feet up the hill from our house. It is directed at a satellite atop another mountain receiver across the valley, which is just the right height for a moose to rub its head.   When the internet went out, we spent hours rebooting, unplugging, and re-setting the system until we finally checked the dish, only to find sign that a moose had a good head scratching on the side of the dish, redirecting our line-of-site and knocking out our internet service for several days. Thom put up a fence around it now, and all’s well!  Bad mooseys; who knew they would do that?

We wish you a healthy & prosperous 2012!

     ~ Diane & Thom


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