In the world of Bare Hands Farm…

Hello again, everyone! Lots going on with Bare Hands Farm as we continue to make big strides through this summer of 2015! Plants and animals are flourishing, land is being cultivated and made fertile, infrastructure is being installed, new tools are being acquired, relationships are being made. We’re so excited with the progress and are loving each day and always looking forward to tomorrow. Let’s keep growing!
Grove News: We are finally getting official promotions out for the Easton Stagger Phillips House Concert on July 25, just a week and a half away. The last bit of info to share is that there will be a $20 suggested donation at the door. Come eat, drink, and play before the show starting at 5:30 and the music will start at 7:30. The grill will be on, so bring anything you’d like grill up, or any other picnic food. We’d also love to play some bocce and any other lawn games. Bring your favorites.

Farm News:

Micro Greens: We’re continually putting out an abundance of fresh micro greens twice a week. We had our best farmers’ market yet again last Friday, and still had some left over. Thank you so much for supporting us. I’m getting too good at growing and just the whole process and putting out a ton of greens! As a result, we’re currently looking for other venues to sell, and that work with our schedule and harvest days. Let us know if you have any suggestions.

Regular Commutes to Denali?: As I believe I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we’ve begun a great relationship with the incredible 229 Parks Restaurant up near Denali National Park. The owner and head chef, Laura Cole is willing to buy a substantial amount of greens from us. She comes through Sunshine on the Parks occasionally on trips to/from Anchorage where she will pick up greens from us, and we go up there occasionally where we can drop off. But we’d really love to get her greens at least once a week, and we’d like to limit the amount of trips up there.

That said, does anyone on the list, or anyone that you all know of go up that way on a regular (ideally weekly) basis? It’d be such a bonus for us to get a regular delivery of our greens up there, but of course, it’s a long way for us to go to just drop off greens. Don’t get me wrong, we love the drive, but gas and time add up week after week. Please let me know if you know anyone frequently heads up that way. There’s at least some free micro greens involved, and potentially just plain old gas money if that would be more appropriate.

Tuesday Market: Due to low attendance, Mindy and I have decided to cancel the Tuesday Market at The Grove this year. We knew it was a lot to expect folks to carve time out of their chaotic summer schedules to come get a bag or 2 of micro greens. Next year we’ll have lots more to sell and maybe we’ll have a full-fledged mid-week farmers’ market out here next year. Thanks so everyone who came and by all means, please still feel free to come by the farm anytime, or set up an farm tour with us beforehand.

The Upper Susitna Valley Farmers’ Market: As mentioned, we had our best farmers’ market yet again last Friday and are hoping to see even more folks tonight. And there were more vendors than ever as well. It’s really starting to look like a fabulous market out there with a pretty diverse array of produce and products. Come get out of the rain and by some delicious local produce. 5-8pm at the Fairview Inn Beer Garden!

Animals: The chickens and Samson are just loving their new forest paddock! It’s already so transformed compared to when we first got them out there. What a positive difference animals can make on your property. More pictures forthcoming!

Hansel and Gretel (the pigs) are looking so healthy, happy, and are flat out getting huge! Hansel has about another month to fatten up before we really need to start thinking about processing in time for the wedding. The lovely lady will be very big and healthy in time for winter, whereupon we will likely move her next to the winter chicken abode in the (former) carport, now turned barn.

The ducks are great as ever. They’re doing a wonderful job, with an initial boost from Samson, at keeping the dense jungle of plant growth on the leach field to a manageable height. But they can’t get to all areas of overgrowth on the farm. Which brings me to my next exciting addition to the farm.

The Scythe: Staying true to our name, our mission at Bare Hands Farm is to resist the conventional perspective of using heavy, fossil fuel-powered machinery and tools to do the things that we can do on our own (and our livestock’s) biological energy. We believe that we can do them better, with less harm to the soil, the land, the environment, the climate, and to our pocket books. For example, by choosing not bring an excavator/backhoe/whatever on the area that is now the forest paddock, we’ve not scraped off all the incredibly valuable top soil, we’ve not severely compacted the top soil, we’ve been able to mindfully harvest the timber from the area, we’re feeding our animals stuff they want to eat and in its natural form, the area is being fertilized, we’re not polluting the air and contributing to global weirding, and we’re not spending a ton of money to do any of this. And we get exercise and nature therapy by being in the woods and doing this work!

Not to get too off subject, we’ve just made a wonderful acquisition of, what I already know will be an indispensable farm/homestead tool, the scythe. Not to be confused with a shorter, hand-held sickle, the scythe has two handles on a long snath (stem) with a curved blade that is 20-30” long, on the end. The mechanics of using the scythe are to gently somewhat rock back and forth, twisting your hips and very slightly rotating your arms in an arc to give the blade its shearing action to cut grass, brush, small trees. The action is easy, graceful, rhythmic, silent, and without emitting any pollution or toxic fumes. Quite simply, it’s a joy that is not physically demanding, but a nice gentle work out.

We’ll be able to keep the property tidy this way, get grasses and other slash to the animals if it doesn’t make sense to pen them up there, and eventually, I’d like to produce hay on a small area on our property to feed our animals through the winter. We’re pretty ecstatic about our new toy, I mean tool

Thank you so much for your support and please contact us with any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions.

– Graham and Mindy

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