Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
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The "To-Do" List

How many of you have a "To-Do" list? I am really not much of a list person, but in the effort to become more organized, I have created a "To-Do" list for the immediate time. These are some things I will be concentrating in the upcoming days and weeks:

  • Move more soil to transplanting area 
  • Bend hoops for low tunnels and row covers
  • Erect seedling house
  • Prepare transplanting flats
  • Back-fill around High Tunnel #2
  • Fix tire on hay rack
  • Put all produce boxes upstairs in building #3
  • Finish bean harvest
  • Package more popcorn
  • Put up small greenhouse for transplants
  • Change oil in my van
  • Take down old hoop houses
  • Cut wood for office wood burner
  • Organize tool room and storage area
  • Haul greenhouse tables
  • Prepare soil in high tunnels
  • Assemble drip tubes for High Tunnels
  • Measure plastic for low tunnels and row cover
This is just an abbreviated list. The work of a farmer never ends. When it is not fit to be out in the field or even outside, there is plenty of bookwork, planning and construction to do inside. So, you know I will be busy!!! Have a great day! Blessings!
 
 

The Biz

It you ever want to hear a million opinions on how to do something, start a farm produce business. It seems now matter where I go or whom I speak with, everyone has an opinion about how to grow vegetables. When I tell someone what I do, it seems like they either have a better way of doing it, or they want to let me know how they have done it for years. It is all well and good, and I listen, and many times I learn something new, but until a person gets into growing vegetables on a fairly large scale, they will never really understand the dynamics of this business. I am sure that sounds somewhat arrogant, but having a garden of almost twenty acres is a whole bunch different than a backyard ten by ten patch. I can actually say that growing is something I have been involved with for quite a few years, however, I feel I am a green-horn when it comes to knowing the produce business. I can grow almost anything, but there is a lot more to this. I have to have product for the entire season and that is no easy task. Just the shear dimensions of growing this many vegetables is at times overwhelming. It takes me over an hour each day day to scout the field for problems. Then I have to monitor the greenhouses and make sure everything is watered. With the weather being so dry, that takes a lot of time and effort. Beleive me, I am not complaining, but just letting you know, it is not a walk in the park. Anyone in the business can tell you, growing vegetables for market is very labor intensive. Nonetheless, I love it and would not have it any other way. My suggestion to anyone interested in knowing where their food comes from is to visit your local vegetable farmer. It could make for an interesting day. May God bless you in this upcoming week. 
 
 

The Greatest Job in the World!

Peter Criss the famous drummer for Kiss once stated, “As busy as I claim to be, I've still got the greatest job in the world.”  Even though I am not a drummer, I feel I have the best job in the world. Growing vegetables is a very rewarding and interesting job; and I really do not consider it a job; it’s and opportunity. More than an opportunity, it is a blessing. Everyday I get to witness a little of God’s wonderful creation and see His hand in the little miracles of each individual plant. Then in the end, I get to provide wonderful, tasty vegetables to my customers. What a fantastic blessing!

In the last few days, we have received almost two inches of rain. It was dry and we needed the rain, however, I hope it stops soon. I’d like to get back into the field to plant. The tomatoes are jumping out of their pots and the cole crops are busting out of their containers. I am moving peppers and tomatoes up so they will continue to grow. It is not really a problem, but it would be much easier to go straight into the field; and cheaper! Dad has been working in the produce building this week. We are taking out a wall and revamping our washing area. Last year things were very primitive. This year I purchased a stainless steel sink and preparation counter which will be well suited to our operation. Dad took the wall out today and it looks great. He also cleaned an area where we can store equipment and other items we use over the season. Things are moving along real well. It is busy, but I have the greatest job in the world. Have a great week! God bless!

 
 

New Digger

I was able to pick up the new (old) potato digger today. It is a Champion Potato Digger made in Hammond, Indiana. I am guessing it was mafe sometime between 1908 and 1922. It looks pretty much complete except for part of the hitch. I think with a little work we can make this work. I am really excited about it! In between picking up the digger and helping dad with his projects, I managed to transplant over six hundred broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. I think that made it a very productive day. I am extremely tired and will eat supper and then its off to bed. Tomorrow we have to pick up some lumber from a friend's place for our hay racks. I hope you are enjoying a great week! God's blessings!

 

This is what the digger looks like. (This is not the one we got, but it is similar.)


 
 

Potatoes!

Working on a farm never is the same from day to day. It never ceases to amaze me how people can think that farming is easy. However, I must admit that until last year, I thought farmers had it made; that they live a life of ease and contentment. Once the crops are planted., I figured most farmers took off for Florida or Arizona. Boy, was I wrong. Everyday on the farm is a challenge! Once you think you have it all figured out, the weather will change or something will happen to make things difficult. I am not complaining, I am just saying that farm life is not a walk in the park. Here at Bountiful Blessings Farm, we are still diligently working daily, to get our crops in and ready for the upcoming market season. Today I spent most of the day transplanting. I drove to a neighboring town to look at a potato digger. I was able to get it, however, I will have to go back and pick it up with a trailer. It is very old and needs a lot of work, but I think with some elbow grease we can make it work for digging our potatoes. It was a pleasure to find it and even more a pleasure to know that we will not have to dig all those potatoes by hand like last year. I am excited! Kim just let me know that supper is ready, so I will say goodbye for now. I hope you are enjoying a great week!
 
 

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!

 
 

I See the Light

Walking outside this evening was so beautiful. It is a wonderful night with clear skies. The stars are incredible and the moon, the moon is amazing! Everything is lit up by the luminous glow of the bright yellow moon. Awesome! After a long day of seeding, cleaning and repairing things, I took my wife out for dinner with my uncle and aunt. We had a lovely dinner in Lee, IL. The food was great and we enjoyed Raven and Samuel, my little cousins as well. Tomorrow my nephew, Andy will be helping me with a few projects. My sister called and told me he has baseball practice in the morning, but later in the day he will be coming out to help me. As I have mentioned several times before, He is great help. I have more seeding to do tomorrow and I want to work on another cold frame. That should keep me fairly busy until Andy gets here to help. On Sunday, after church, Kim, my daughter and I are attending a play. My niece and nephew, Grant and Taylor are in "The Wizard of Oz". Taylor is a munchkin and Grant is the mayor of Munchkin land. I am excited to see the play.

The seedlings are looking great in the seed room and I still have some room for more. I am working on another seed rack to accommodate more flats. The temperature in the seed room has been remaining steady, which is good. The humidity level is good and there is good air circulation. The only thing I would like to improve is the lighting. I think it could be better, but I think it will be alright for this year. I might want to improve on that next year. Well, its about time for me to hit the hay. You know what they say, "Early to bed..."

 
 
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