Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
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New Wood Stove in Greenhouse

 We installed a wood stove in our seedling house today. Holding 70 degrees at this point. More testing to come. I will keep you posted on how it works. This is something new for us. The house measures 22X24.

 
 

Extension Office Visit

The weather here at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce has been cold and blustery. After experiencing some eighty degree days a couple of weeks ago, it is difficult to get used to this colder weather. Yesterday, I seeded most of the balance of tomatoes and also planted some peppers. The seedlings in the seed room at this point are doing real well. The plants in the hot house are growing like weeds and the cole crops in the hoop house are also doing well. 

On Thursday, Ellen Phillips, Extension Educator - Local Food Systems and Small Farms, from the University of Illinois Extension Office stopped by the farm to observe our operation. It was a pleasure meeting her and showing her a little bit of what we are doing. She was able to give me several ideas for the future. It is great to know there is helpful information available from her office. I am thankful she stopped in. Today, I am going to work the ground in the high tunnel to prepare for planting our tomatoes next week. Dad has equipment to work on today, so I am sure he will be busy with his projects. Well, its time to get moving. Hope you have a blessed day!

 
 

Family Fun

Today was another beautiful day. It started out with a little rain and very cool. I seeded several varieties of tomatoes, cabbage and cauliflower. About nine this morning we headed to my son's home in Crown Point, Indiana with my dad to meet the rest of my family. It was a very nice day with the family celebrating my youngest grandson's birthday. He turned two on the thirtieth. He greeted us with silly knock knock jokes. He is growing up fast. Kristin, our daughter in law, prepared a nice lunch and we watched the NASCAR race on TV. It was a nice day visiting with other family members from both sides of the family. 

Tomorrow, if the weather is good and the ground is dry enough, we will continue to plant onions and garlic in the field. I have some transplanting to complete and I think my dad will be working on some of our maintenance items. We are going to build a potato and asparagus planter. He is looking for the metal he needs to fabricate a surrey to pull behind the middle buster. There will be a rack for the roots or tubers and a seat for a person to ride on behind the tractor. I am sure it will work out. Now its time for supper and a little relaxation as this week is going to be busy. God bless you and have a great week!

 
 

Very Busy Yet Enjoyable Day

Today was a little different than most days around the farm. I was up early as normal, but only to check on things and then it was off with my sister and family to move all the stuff from my parent's summer home in central Illinois. The property was sold and all of our belongings needed to be moved out. Dad and mom rented a U-Haul Truck to haul everything back to the farm. It was fun working together with most of the family loading the truck and cleaning the house. There was a little tension in the air, but no really big problems. I drove the truck back to Hinckley this evening and my mom rode back with me. 

Dad arrived back to the farm tonight from his winter vacation and he thought everything looked pretty good. Andy and I surprised him with the new wagon we built this winter. I think he really liked it. I think it looks pretty good and it will work great for hauling our produce out of the field. It was a long day and tomorrow we have to get the truck unloaded and back to the rental place. I have more to seed and a bit of transplanting to complete. Sunday is my grandson's birthday party in Indiana, however if the weather is real hot, I may not be able to attend. Someone has to be here to maintain the plants in the greenhouses. I really hope I can go and enjoy the day with the rest of the family, but sometimes a farmer has to tend to his crop. May God richly bless each of you! Good night!

 
 

Sunday Adventures

Yesterday was another very productive day. I revamped the seed room and erected the small temporary greenhouse outside. We use the temporary greenhouse for plants once they are transplanted. So now with the expanded seeding room, we will have enough room for our seedlings as we continue to sow. I also went back out to the field to disk the last little patch left before it rained. I changed the fuel filters once again and head out to the field only to have the tractor stall out on me in the middle of the road. I was able to get it running again and get it up into the farm yard. I pulled the filters again and realized they were only half full with fuel. This made me realize that there must be dirt in the bottom of the tank or in the line. So today I am going to investigate further by take in the fuel line off of the tank to see if there is any flow out of the tank. I am guessing this is the problem. The engine is being starved of fuel. 

Once I get the tractor running, I will most likely work on the doors for the greenhouse. It rained a little bit, so I am sure it is too wet to disk. Oh well, there isn't much I can do about it. We moved all of our onion sets and seed potatoes to the cooler as it was starting to get too warm in the garage. It is also dark in the cooler with will slow things down. This warm weather is making every want to sprout. In fact many of the trees are starting to leaf out. I am not so sure that is good, but it is what it is. I am also going to try to get the rest of the orchard pruned tomorrow. I only have a few more trees to go and it will be done. Then I can spray the trees with dormant oil. This smothers any insects that may have laid eggs under the bark before winter. This will also help to prevent worms. Well, it is time to get busy! Have a great day!

 
 

A Late February Blizzard

Well I knew it was coming, but somehow I had hoped the weatherman was wrong. I woke up this morning to about 5 inches of snow and strong, gusty winds. It even took sometime to get out the front door due to a drift. Then when I got to the farm office, the door was also blocked by a large drift. Now don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, but just sharing with you how my morning is going so far. I realized that I had very little wood for the office stove, so I had to cut a little wood to get me through the day. Fortunately, I put some inside last night so it would be dry. I was also surprised at how warm the office was this morning; it was 56 degrees. This is great; the insulation we put in this past fall has really helped the temperature in this old shop and now farm office.

As I stated in yesterday's blog, I went to the FSA office yesterday and registered the farm. I had to fill out about 5 or six pages of information only to find out that vegetable crops do not qualify for the program. Nonetheless, the farm is registered and the paperwork is complete. I can mark another item off of my "to do list".

I will be seeding in the seed room today; some tomatoes and cauliflower. It is so exciting getting back into what I really love, working in the soil. I have always loved growing things; whether it be ornamentals or vegetables. The seed room is about 75 degrees and moist. It is a perfect environment for starting seeds. The only thing I am not looking forward to, is going back out in the blizzard to get to the seed room! Wish me luck - here I go!

 
 

Growing Rack

Another warm day in Illinois. This winter has been so mild! It is amazing! However, I expect when winter comes in like a lamb it will go out like a lion. Yesterday I applied for our sales permit for the spring. I anticipate a great year at our stands with tasty vegetables all season long. Today I am getting the materials I need to build a growing rack for my seedlings. I will be starting seeds on a heat bed with grow lights. Once they sprout they will be moved to this rack until they are ready to be transplanted into packs. My dad designed a rack build from PVC pipe. It will have six shelves, each of them with grow lights. The rack will be placed in a warm grow room. I can monitor the growth of the plants and maintain them very easily.

Yesterday, I loaded the manure I mentioned in the earlier blog. The manure turned out o be composted, so there is a very low chance of it burning the plants. If anyone has used chicken manure before, please let me know how it all worked out. I certainly do not want to cause any damage to the new plants. Again, it is such a pleasure working in the soil getting ready to see the Bountiful Blessings God has in store for this season!

 
 
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