Dragonfly Farms

  (Dolores, Colorado)
Greens still growing in winter
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Summer Time


Ahhh, Summer time and the living is easy...Well, not quite. When you live on a farm life takes on a whole new meaning, time seems to fly right past you and you don't even know it- I can't believe it was March when I last posted! I just finished a farm tour of about 12; 7 children and 6 adults. It was nice watching the kids chase our chickens around the pen, they all laughed when the chickens tried to fly. They met our baby goat, Jerimiah, and fawned over how friendly and adorable he is. We also had a cheese making class last weekend of around 20 adults, including my Mom, Aunt, and some of my Aunt's friends. My daughter Brianna's new lab pup is settling in nicely, and today they swam in the back pond together. His name is Sawyer.
Our milking cow Gracie is giving 5-6 gallons a day, and at the moment we have no clue WHAT to do with it all. Lately I've been making Chevre, Baguettes, Mozzarella, Butter, Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese and Ice Cream! Our chickens are doing well in laying production and our goats are as happy as ever, you could say things are going wonderfully.
-Besides this ridiculously warm weather of course.

An Unconventional Farmer in the 21st Century

It's day break and the sun is coming up over the ridge, it's a clear and crisp 22 this morning. I don't think it even made it to 42 yesterday. Yesterday the whole day was cold and windy not a great day to be outside digging beds. So instead I spent the morning feeding the animals and getting ready to go to the ag show.

As I spent time meandering through the booths and visiting with the local residents who just happen to be my neighbors at the ag show, I had to stop a moment and think. It started as I attended a panel discussion on farming in the 21st century. There happened to be a young woman there who had written a book, her name is Lisa Hamilton and her book is called "Deeply Rooted", unconventional farmers in the age of agribusiness. She herself does not farm, she realized some time ago just how hard and exactly what it took to farm. So instead she writes about it and tells farmers stories.

I didn't get a chance to attend her earlier talk but showed up for the panel discussion with other farmers. As the discussion proceeded one of the older farmers, a gentleman who farms beans, stated "I come from a line of farmers, my father, my fathers father, have all worked the land." As I listened to his story and mulled over what he had to say, I couldn't help but think, I don't come from a line of farmers, and I am not a man, my father was not a farmer. When my daughter grows up, she'll say, "My Mother was a farmer" my grandchildren will say, "Nana was a farmer".

It appears I have achieved the status of the Ultimate Unconventional Farmer in the 21st Century. In 1998 a study was taken by the FDA and 9% of farms were run by women, the organic movement had a somewhat higher percentage of 21%. For a women of Hispanic descent the stats get a lot smaller and are almost non-existent. It appears women in farming and agriculture are very few and far between yet nestled here in the Four Corners area of Colorado I look around and see a few. You have Holly who runs Napier Farms, Judy and her daughter, Heidi, who have Rowher Farm, and then myself and my daughter Brianna own Dragonfly Farm. We all run our own Farm and handle most everything on it. Small operations trying to make our living and living off our land. We are all different with different ideas and farming experience but are all working towards the same goal.

It takes a lot to farm and it is not something for the weak of heart. It is never ending the things that need to be fixed or have to be built and it seems to grow by the minute. There is no time off especially when you own animals because you can't just leave them for a trip or vacation. It takes a dedication, a huge commitment to a certain lifestyle but I think it is well worth it. I have no regrets and I would not change it for anything. It's cold sometimes, hot sometimes, rainy, windy, snowing but when I go outside and look to what I have accomplished myself it is all worth it. I come from a good line of hard working women.

So as I go about my day feeding chickens, moving baby chicks to a new area, feeding and watering the milking goats, watering the greenhouse, I can stop and thank the Lord for my simple success. I am a small farmer in the 21st century who just happens to come from a line of beautifully rich, dark, women of Hispanic origins. They taught me the meaning of hard work, the meaning of family, and showed me how to think outside the box. They gave me a sense of who I am by just letting them be who they were. These are the women I come from, the women who showed me how to make tortillas, tamales, and who I share a common bond with; FAMILY .

Sunny Sunny Sunny

What a glorious morning! It has been two days now that we have been blessed with wonderfully sunny weather. It's nice and crisp this morning coming in at about 20 degrees with the blanket of snow still covering my planting beds. There appears to be some areas up by the greenhouse that can more than likely be dug today and covered before the next storm sets in.

In Colorado during the spring it can be a constant battle or rhythm with nature to get your planting in. I would like to look at it as a balanced rhythm she gives a little I get a little. A constant reminder of how I am not in control of every aspect of life. I guess this could be somewhat unsettling for some but for me I am reminded that I don't need to be in control of everything. Let go sometimes and just let God.

Patience is the virtue that is always needed when you become a cultivator of the land. You can sometimes feel the pressure of wanting to get everything in so you can get to the market just a tad early. It's the patience that should win out in the long run because it is just that you need when those early beds you coddled freeze in June.

So, as I look towards the day today I am thankful that I have been blessed with much. I am going to plan my day keeping in mind the few days I have before the next series of storms hit. I am going to say a little prayer that I can get what I need to get done in between those breaks and enjoy my life as a farmer.

Pea Planting I think not!

So I wake up this morning ready to face the day and look at digging my next deep dug bed to find it snowing. Not just a little drizzle of snow a full fledge storm, so I turn on the news to find out what it states and sure enough. WINTER STORM hitting the 4 Corners area. Just when I thought it was safe to go in the water and dig my beds I have been snookered.

Needless to say it does not appear that much pea planting will be done this week. Truly farming in Colorado is it's own unique experience. I guess I will make some soap and cheese this week. Those are always good things to do during our winter snow events.

As soon as spring starts to hit the air it feels time is a wasting. It is interesting I spend winter in somewhat of a languid relaxed state and then as soon as it gets somewhat warm I start to panic. Happens every year like clock work, I keep thinking I have to do this, I have to do that.

So this evening I have Brianna making brownies for us as we discuss the meaning of from scratch or homemade. She is really determined to make things from scratch and not from that lousy box of brownies. Actually it was pretty entertaining to listen to her expound on the homemade versus from scratch methods of cooking.

Spring is here in Colorado

Spring in Colorado is a great time and a very busy time for us here on the farm.  We have already planted carrots and peas and the greenhouse is growing strong. 

This week was spent prepping our rows and setting up the drip lines in the upper beds.  We are using several different methods of planting and growning this year.

We are using a biointensive method, hydroponic method, square foot method and raised beds. 

This year will be our first year of inviting people to the farm so we would like to be able to show different types of farming methods used by small farmers that can be adapted to a home garden.

Our CSA starts in just 4 weeks and we hope to have a good early selection ready to go.  Most of the early crops will be coming from the greenhouse.

We picked up our Turkey's and they are already 6 weeks old we still have them in the small pen and not ready for the larger area yet.  They are so funny and different from chickens. 


Freezing in Colorado

December 14th 2008

Ok last night we were 1 degree!   Did not expect this and did not heat the greenhouse suffiently.   Tonight I turned on the propane to take that chill off a bit.  It was predicted to go to 20 not 1 degree.  It looks like some of my greens had a hard time.   We shall see what happens.   I was going to take the baby chicks out but being it might be one degree again I opted to wait. 

Tomorrow I will proberly pick up another warmer so they we be sure to be warm.   Would not want to lose any.

Well here we are freezing in Colorado! 





Greens in the Winter

Wow, I can't believe it!  It's December 4th and we still have wonderful looking Brocoli Raab, lettuce, and winter mesclan growing beautifully.   Two hearty little tomato plants are hanging on by the skin of there teeth with row covers and plastic.   This will be our first attempt at trying to grow in the winter months.   The greenhouse does not seem to stay any warmer then outside.  Temps outside and inside are roughly the same.   I have tried solar water barrels to know avail and right now everything is row covered.   It's suppose to be really cold tonight so we shall see what happens.   Lettuce should be fine even at freezing, we are just testing to see how long we can grow.

Chickens have slowed down in there egg laying and the babies we have inside.  I wanted to place them in a pen in the greenhouse but it does not seem to be getting that warm.   I am thinking a heat lamp in the chicken coop might work better.   They have already got there feathers coming in so a couple more weeks and I might show them outside.

Today I got up some of the grow lights and they are on a timer just to see if I can keep growing lettuce towards late December.   I will try and finish the rest of the lighting tomorrow.

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