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High Tunnel – Heated Beds

The results are in :  Being new to the use of a high tunnel, last year we built a small proto-type.  It soon amazed us at its advantages.  However, being small in size and perhaps growing the wrong things prohibited us from starting a “winter garden” on schedule.  After harvest, cleaning up, tilling, and building some wooden raised beds (good idea from Metzger Farms- very impressive), its Thanksgiving time.  As an experiment we planted one bed with lettuce as a control site and in a second bed installed radiant soil warming and planted lettuce, spinach, radishes, and carrots.  As predicted, we had germinaation in the heated bed very quickly.  As winter settled in we maintained soil temperature at 65-70 degrees.  We watered as needed but soon realized that the heated bed required far more water.  We believed that the heat was drying the soil.  Observing the un-heated bed was doing just fine, we turned off the heat to the second bed.  The water requirement was still much higher than the un-heated bed.  The plants are now going backwards.  We concluded that the heated bed being installed to good ice melt guidelines, was actually a “container” with no contact with the earth.  We still think this idea has merit but when we look at the un-heated bed with lettuce soon to eat, we wonder why.  As one of our friends says, its ” the learning curve”.

Putting Food By

tomatoes for canningAs soon as harvest time begins, a portion of each week is set aside to preserve whatever produce is available by drying,canning, or freezing . We gatherd the food from our own garden or bought from one of  the growers at the Potter County Farmers’ Market. All garden produce is grown without chemicals or pesticides. Here is a picture of our tomatoes ready to be put into canning jars. Now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Winter in Potter County

DSCN0111This Christmas 4 of our 5 children came home for at least part of the holiday. We are blessed. Also a great dinner and reunion with our extended family at Denny’s parents. Then came the snow. 12 inches or more. Our daughter in Canada just left this noon.
Seed catologs are coming in an Denny and I are making plans for the up coming planting season.
Denny has remodeled our garage to house The Card Creek Trading Post. He is selling wood, gas and pellet stoves including Vermont Castings. I am baking and have helped Ed from the Port Freeze offer catered lunches at The Schoolhouse Antiques Shop in Eldred on weekends from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We have developed an egg route and baked items we deliver every week. I am trying lots of new artisan breads and baking recipes. The galley kitchen has lots of wonderful fragrances and I am having a great time.
Today I started threading a loom that Patricia Rushmore helped me get the warp on several weeks ago. I love January and February. It gives you the gift of doing some things that you may not have taken the time to do–like weaving.

Potter County Farmers’ Market

Garden fresh produceFresh picked organic squash

Beginning in May 2012, Denny and Netra participated as a vendor in the Potter County Farmers’ Market. There are six active grower vendors who partipate weekly. Last spring we had our galley kitchen registered with the Department of Agriculture for home baking and food processing. We offer a variety of artisan breads, homemade biscotti, scones, cookies, desserts, and salads made with local produce, and fresh brown eggs from our flock. Building friendships with the other growers was an added value to us, as participants in the farmers’ market experience.



On the Learning Curve

mother earth news logo September 21,22,and 23, 2012, we attended the East Coast “Mother Earth News convention complex. It was held at Seven Springs. What a huge convention center with lots of outdoor areas for lecture hall tents and displays, as well as multiple levels of classrooms and vendor sites. The common theme was growing healthy food and being good stewards of the planet. There lectures were throughout the 3 days with on-going demonstrations that you could select to attend. The presentation subjects were widely diversified to include, seed saving, chickens, bees, pigs, and beef, preserving foods, sustainable homesteading, extending growing seasons, composting and renewable energy to highlight a few. We learned a lot and met people from Texas, Michigan and along the east coast. We even saw some folks from Potter County and our friends from The Potter County Farmer’s Market, Miles Produce.

Making Boards

Started milling some white pine today.  This is part of a large branch from the tree that came down this spring (at the old farm house).  There are a lot more pieces that are larger but I wanted to ease into it.  The boards will be used to rebuild the pickit fence that goes around our garden.  This will make a nice project at the wood shop this winter.  We also have some cherry, hemlock, and red pine to mill.  Looks like there is plenty of bird house material

Wooleylot Farm

This week we visited Alvie and Monica at Wooleylot Farm.  Alvie took time out of his busy garlic harvest to show us their fields and planting techniques.  We appreciate what they are accomplishing and all their hard work.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH !  See them at

Garlic Day

Pulled the garlic today and was very pleased at the size and quality.  Last year we harvested in August.   It has been very hot & dry so we did not know how the harvest would be.  This is nice stuff.  We plan on planting additional onions, fall carrots, and spinach  in its place.  Stop by, the aroma will drive you nuts.ImageImage

Good Eating

Our collection of cast iron cookware has grown over the last several years.  We use it indoors for cooking & baking and of course over the fire.  We made beef stew & biscuits during the grandkids visit the week before the 4th of July.  The kids like to help prepare the vegetables for simmering.  All the heat from cooking was outside.  The result — Good Eating !


Netra has been a textile weaver for over 20 years.  Due to a busy family & work schedule she has not woven regulary.  She is now getting back into planning projects and weaving.  These rugs are for our new kitchen.  They are woven on a 18th century barn loom in traditional style with traditional materials of colored cotton warp and cotton weft.