Richert/Phillips Farms

  (North Liberty, Indiana)
ventures of a small fresh pick farm
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oxen, animal power and memories

This winter has had some sad times in it. Both Rock and Scat our oxen were lost, died in January. There was a lot of ice on the ground and they both at different times slipped--breaking their hips. We used them often and looked forward to working them on the sapping line. Not having 'em this year will put a damper on many chores around here. Work animals are greatly appreciated, but when their gone it is like a friend has been lost.

   We had them for six years. The first few years was training and the last years was working them. They were purchased in late fall a few weeks old and we bedded them down with mounds of straw, but the two of them refused to go in. Dan and I tried nearly everything to make 'em go in. While trying to figure out what the problem was we heard a bark and alot of growling-- Old Bones, a very old beagle, had buried himself in the straw to the point his nose was the only part sticking out, he had to be picked up and carried out so the boys could go in to rest. Old Bones was a fine dog that lived with us for nearly ten years, never a problem. By the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ will we some day be rewarded with some more fine work animals...perhaps a mule.

Jesus loves



our first run for the season

   Well, I took the first run of sap over to Leon's so to cook it down. He showed me the new pan(new to us) he bought--yipe,  it is something, that's for shur. Last year we used a huge flat pan this year we're cooking with an older syrup pan with bevels. It will evaporate the water much faster, give a better looking syrup, and allow for more trees to be tapped. But that pan is ugly, that is before he put a lot of work in fixing it up--filling the holes, sanding it down, and resoldering. The sap was running great until the snows came and ended the short run--it will start up again.

   The hens really been giving up the eggs this past week. They also have become more active. Their is two that are brooder hens and always have an attitude toward us when we go to get the eggs. I think for fun we'll give them fertile eggs after moving them to a pen of their own and let those two hatch a handful of little ones.

   The markets are starting to applications out. Palatine, IL app. just came in the mail. Carmel, IN sent us an invitation for their market--haven't heard from Geist, but it should be coming. Have been sending a lot of CSA apps out as well. It appears that this year is shaping up to be quit a busy one. Last year we had a drought, the year before that there was to much cold weather, and the year before that was very wet------can't wait to see what come around this time, not knowing is part of the fun of farming.


Jesus loves you


On the farm

Most of the winter was spent running around to seminars, trade shows, and auctions. But now that the snows are melting we are really hitting the work hard. Maple sap will start running soon and we got a woods were the sap has to be pumped out every day...this will be are first time of pumping such a long distance (1000+ feet)...we'll see. Last year was our first time back in a multitude of years sapping and it proven to be an asset on the farm with the customers. We sold out of maple juice(syrup) by June.

   The layers made it trough the hard winter, only lost one, and they managed to keep giving up them eggs. This year we plan to have the hens huts on wagons so to move them easier from one pasture to the next. These hens sure do make a lot of noise...cackling constantly and foraging as if at play. Our meat chickens done very well also--but it takes longer to cook them then other hens. Chicken dinners take longer to prepare then normal and the first few times of cooking these birds really gave us late meals until we got use to preparing them. 

   CSAs are doing well, most of our customers have been a joy to deal with. Some we never even met they had us drop and go--never seen them...that's fine a bit strange. Other customers grabbed and ran, while others stayed and talked. Every one was happy that we know off. But the two that complained called and signed up again...I just don't get people. We had fun

   Jesus loves


its been awhile

We are happy winter is nearly over and the growing season is near. The extra snow has slowed our work down quite a bit, but we still managed to get by. Staying in touch with other farmers that have become our friends has proven to be an enjoyment--talking with them about our industry and their ideas really helps each of us to become united as one. The customers are also nice to talk with but those conversations is usually explaining how things are and how they are done.

   Conventional farms and organizations are getting ready discredit organic farmers in order to promote their products. If you are for organic be-prepared for a big battle between the different types of farming out there. I find that people do not want the whole truth--only to keep what knowledge they have on a topic narrow and tight. Perhaps, consumers need to go though all legitimate research and then make a buyers opinion in how they purchase farm goods.

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