Bonafide Farm

Happy Halloween from Bonafide Farm!

October 31st, 2011 § 3


Tucker has no idea how close he came to being dressed as a spotted cow for Halloween. But his still-unbroken dignity stopped me from inflicting that humiliation upon him, even though I was sorely tempted.

There’s always next year.

That’s all, folks

October 30th, 2011 § 0

My summer 2011 garden is officially over.


The first freeze of this winter arrived last night, capping off a day that started with snow (!) This morning the garden is black and wilted and the only thing left to do is rip out the plants, dump compost and straw on the beds to enrich the soil during winter, and retire to the house. For a long, long time.

This summer passed the fastest of any in my life, and in many ways I feel I missed my favorite season this year. Although a part of me is ready for a break from the work of the garden, I am sad to see it go. Summer is my best time because I feel healthiest when I am outside a lot, working in the dirt and sun, sweating and nurturing young plants and taking my food right from my land to my kitchen.

I view the approaching winter with trepidation. I hate waking up in the dark. I hate driving home from work in the dark. I work in a windowless office so in the winter I only see the sun for a few minutes each day. Which, for someone who needs light, is a form of torture.

I am trying to get excited about a winter of resting and reading by the wood stove—bribing myself with new books and lofty self-enriching goal setting—but I know the next several months will be a challenge that’s even greater than the physical one I put myself through during the growing season.

Summer 2011, I barely knew ye.

Last night’s sunset from the new forest

October 25th, 2011 § 4

New ForestWeb

It was a preview for the aurora spectacle, which I am so distressed to have missed! If I were still taking Tuck out for his late walk like before I got his invisible fence installed, I would have seen it!

If you’re into aurora photos, check this out. Did any of you see the light show?

Winter greens: They’re what’s for dinner

October 20th, 2011 § 1

My dinners this week have all looked like this:


How lucky to be able to eat a painting for dinner in late October!


These greens are the product of my experiment with row covers, fall planting and benign neglect. As you know, I scratched these seeds into the soil after ripping out summer plants. I watered them maybe once and then left them alone other than to occasionally snip in half a renegade caterpillar.

The salad greens, bok choy, and Red Russian kale (which wins my esteem for its beautiful color and shape) are doing the best. There’s also a very bitter green that’s satisfying my fall craving for bitterness…and probably more healthfully than the imperials I.P.As I have been drinking to scratch the same itch.



I have to report mixed success with the Agribon 15 row cover. I am sure it is better than the wedding netting at keeping out bugs, except that in even the short time that it’s been up it’s started disintegrating.


And the wedding netting is still looking like the day I put it up. Something to keep in mind when I use the Agribon for next year’s garden–I will more than likely have to replace each cover a few times during the growing season.

Persimmon trio

October 17th, 2011 § 0

My little Fuyu persimmon has put all its summer’s effort into these three beauties.


There was more fruit on the tree, but as the season progressed it fell. These three hung on and I’ve been watching them get oranger. Each morning I expect them to be gone, but if my luck holds I’ll get to enjoy this “fruit of the gods” very soon.

Toad lily

October 16th, 2011 § 0

All summer I tortured this shade-loving perennial by forcing it to live in clay soil on a south slope with full-sun exposure. It’s foliage was bedraggled and weed-like, and I often considered ripping it right out of the ground. And then this happened.


The thing is covered in blooms! It’s particularly gorgeous when the light shines through the small hairs that cover each flower. The entire plant shimmers and it has a mythological, magical feel about it.


As soon as it’s finished blooming, I am digging it up and relocating it to the shady side of the house. If it bloomed this well under duress, who knows what it will do when it gets into a happier spot?


New forest!

October 11th, 2011 § 5

The first weekend of October was devoted to installing the new forest. The purpose of this mass planting is to create screening between my neighbor’s house and mine and to also block the view of the back of my house from people coming down the road. To give you a sense of scale, the installation is about 200 feet long and 30 feet deep.


I had bought 44 trees and shrubs, and it took two long weekend days of nonstop work to install 27 of them. I am grateful for my tree planting partner father, as well as his backhoe and tractor and skid steer that made it possible to pick these trees up. Some were quite large and must have weighed several hundred pounds. And even with the heavy equipment we both did a lot of shoveling. And we’re still not done…


My vision for this part of the landscape is of a multilayered hedge with mixed tall evergreens forming an all-seasons background screen and shorter deciduous trees in front to provide seasonal interest with their flowers and fall color. It looks a little sparse now as I positioned the trees with a mind to their mature sizes but already it’s having the effect of drawing attention away from undesirable views and toward the trees. It is a major change for what used to be perfectly pretty pasture, and I hope it works out! Below is the view from my neighbor’s fence line back toward my compound.


I spent all last Sunday watering the trees and staking them. I am torn about staking: all the recent research suggests that it can do more harm than good to young trees. Stress and movement of the tree in the wind actually encourage the tree to develop a stronger root system and stockier trunk. However, I also know that this field is incredibly windy in the winter, and I fear that without some support these top-heavy evergreens will be lifted right out of the ground. So each tree got one stake, to be removed as soon as the roots show signs of having knit themselves to the earth. I found this publication by the University of Minnesota to be incredibly helpful.


I also loosely wrapped the trunks of the deciduous trees in balled up deer netting and tied it on. The theory is that deer don’t like the feeling of the netting and refrain from scratching their antlers against the trunks—a rather rude act that can kill a young tree.

Now I just need to order a couple of truckloads of mulch from my mulch guy and tuck these babies in for the winter!

Bonfire beers

October 10th, 2011 § 0

Dug these out of the ashes of Saturday night’s bonfire.



October 9th, 2011 § 0


Philosophical question

October 1st, 2011 § 4

Is he truly a farm dog if I scrub the tractor grease off him?

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