Black Dog Farms

  (Twin Falls, Idaho)
Eatin' Good, Livin' Good

Quickly Approaching

I realize that none of us are quite ready to hear this. To many of us it seems like we just got done finishing up all of the summer and fall chores around the farm. Most of us are trying to get a little rested up in anticipation of what is coming.

Here we go. 2013 should be a big one for most of us. Food prices are high. Gas prices are high. More and more people are realizing that local farmers can indeed provide them with most of what they need. 


Get ready. Its going to be BIG!


Merry Christmas!

All of us here at Black Dog Farms would like to wish everyone on Local Harvest a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year2013!!!

Still Picking

Yikes! Because of the weird weather that we have been having here in Idaho, and probably in your area as well, I am still going out and digging up goodies every week.

In most years, by now, I am solidly indoors, watching it snow, and longing for the first warmth of spring when i can start turning the soil. But yesterday was just like the week before. Out I went into what is left of our garden, and started digging. Loads of potatoes, beets, onions, rutabagas, and even some swiss chard that is still viable.

We are certainly still eating good fresh veggies around here, but I am starting to wonder when the hard freeze will arrive.


Trading Services

For the last few years, we have traded services here on our little farm. We offer a place to live for a week or so accompanied by some really delicious meals (my wife used to be a pro chef). In return we expect our boarder to work 5 hours per day, M-F, doing such tasks as watering, weeding, feeding the animals, pruning, light construction, and the like.

I have found a few sites online that seem to be well suited for finding good workers. One of the things that we continually find is that both of these sites are full of earnest folks who are willing to work hard in exchange for a place to live and some good food. Most of the workers we have used were on some type of travel plan...e.g. visiting our local area on the way to somewhere else.

I can personally attest to the fact that having a worker, with whom I can trade services, is an excellent way to get some of the small things done around here that normally would fall either to me in my spare time, or just not get done properly at all. Letting someone live in our bunkhouse and feeding them 3 meals a day is a small price to pay. Just for the record we usually drive them around a few and give them a tour of the area.

For the first time, I have posted a bit here on LH's forum in order to see if we can utilize this site. I'll keep everyone up to date on what I find, but in the meantime, if you are interested in those other sites, please email me. I do not want to advertise for other sites here on LH.


Sleigh Rides

Christmas is coming and more than likely, on some farms, the goose is getting fat. Good eating is right around the corner.Here in southern Idaho, the one thing that was missing up until last week was snow. Not to worry.

Within the last few days we have gone from wearing shorts to watching the white fluffy stuff fly. Most of our area ski resorts are reporting loads of light airy snow, the better to ski on, and my own backyard is covered in about an inch of it.

Just south of me, about a half hours drive, is a ranch that provides sleigh rides during the weekend right before Christmas every year. Hopefully this year will be no different and we can take our families out for a nice evening of stargazing , bonfires, and hot chocolate on the back side of the ranch.


I Love My Job

A few days ago I received an email from Local Harvest asking me to take a survey. I am not usually much into surveys, but I really appreciate what LH does for me and all of us. They run a very nice operation and have helped me not only to get my little business running better, but also to help educate me in many ways. I will donate to them again this year.

Back to the survey. I decided to take the survey, which is from a group of researchers at Lehigh University. It asks some general type questions along with some fairly pointed questions. After taking it, I could see where they were going with the thing. Hopefully their research will help all of us run a tighter ship and provide more good food to more folks.

One of the questions really stuck out with me. Just for the record, I am not a farmer by trade. Building is what I do. Houses, barns, additions, garages, etc. A good trade my Dad would say. But when the market for residential building fell a few years ago, I needed some extra income. Not a lot, just a bit extra. I decided to sell what was in my garden. My first year I struggled. Everyone loved my food but marketing was a problem. I discovered the CSA concept. Things took off.

I only have a few acres and will never make a huge go of this thing, but I do pretty well. Back to the survey again. The question was "do you like your job?". Wow! This one hit home. I had never thought about it but I love growing food. My wife will attest to this. There are times when I could be out swinging a hammer, and making great money, that I prefer to stay in my garden, and pull weeds, or nurture my plants, or just stand around in awe. I simply love growing food.

No I do not like my job. I love it!


Secret Supper Clubs

My wife and I have been working on some ideas to present our CSA as more of a social type organization than simply a farm.  Instead of just buying a weekly box of vegetables, what if our shareholders could break bread together?

From everything that I have read, both the southern and midwest states have a growing number of so called Secret Supper Clubs. The basic premise is that members buy a weekly or monthly ticket to an unknown dinner house. It could be a restaurant, or it could be the back of someones farm. The cool part of the thing is that the members have no idea, until the night of the festivities, where the dinner will be held or what will be served. At some clubs, entertainment is also provided.

While I am not sure about the secret location part, this idea could work very well with a CSA. Members could buy weekly or monthly tickets to a dinner that would be served at my farm. We would utilize mainly foods grown right here. Besides showcasing our excellent foods, it would be a wonderful way for our little group of shareholders to socialize.

 What do you think?


Beer Making 102

I have finally graduated to the intermediate level...maybe. After years of trudging along at the Beer 101 level, this week I may have moved onto the 102 class.

Back in college it always seemed like the lab part of the class was fun while the lecture end of things was fairly boring. At least for me. This beer making stuff is no different. I have read book after book, watched online tutorials, researched the heck out of every beer blog I can find; and found all of them rather dry and unexciting. But put the ingredients in my hand, equip me with the equipment needed to make good beer, and I am revved up. Now that is fun.

This week I made an Imperial Stout. In most of my beer books it is listed as requiring intermediate brewing skills. Only time will tell, as this one needs to ferment for quite a long time before bottling commences. At that time, I will check the final numbers and hopefully, look forward to taking a drink a bit later.

My final grade is still to be determined. Just like in college.


Where is Winter?

Just to set the record straight, I do not think that I have ever worn shorts on December 5th. Here in southern Idaho it seems to be around 20 degrees too warm. Add to that the fact that we are supposed to get around 9 inches of rain per year, and when I look outside right now, it will not stop raining. Snow, what snow?

My lawn is still green and my artichokes are too. Usually by now I have taken some dormant cutting off of my vines and trees in order to get a new crop for next year. This year I am truly not sure if my plants are dormant or not. It is hard to tell.

If we do not get winter soon, I may have to learn to say Kowabunga, and take surfing lessons.


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