Mabel and Mac

Mabel had her calf yesterday at noon. We came up from the field for lunch and found the calf just born! His name is Angus MacArthur, “Mac” for short. Mac is a strong little calf and is drinking milk and kicking up his heals.  He is a Jersey / Red Angus cross and Mabel’s first calf. We got Mabel when she was just two days old in May of 2010. Now the fun will begin with lots of Jersey milk to make into yogurt, butter, cheese and ice cream! Somehow it seems like having a family cow makes the farm complete.

Arranging Onions to Dry in Hoop House

We were busy this week harvesting onions and weeding the garden between the rain. We have a bumper tomato crop and have a Tomato Pie recipe to share from CSA member Pat Weiler. It has been tested the the Orchard Hill Farm kitchen with rave reviews.

Tomato Pie


1   9-inch  deep dish cooked pie shell

1/2 cup chopped green onion
10   fresh basil leaves, chopped
4   tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup grated cheddar

1 cup grated mozzarella

1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First, blanch the tomatoes and slice. Place the tomatoes in the colander to drain.

Using a medium sized bowl, mix mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread the mayonnaise and cheese mixture on top of the tomatoes  leaving a little space all around between the cheese topping and edge of the crust (just for appearance sake).  Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Ken in the Bale throwing event at the Farm Olympics

Above is a youtube video that was filmed at Orchard Hill Farm last weekend by our son, Grayden, and his friend Ivan.  Grayden and our apprentices were brain storming earlier in the season on promoting farming as a good way to get fit and dreamed up a competition day   with various events…somehow it actually managed to come to pass. T-shirts were designed for the occasion with the “Farm Fit”  logo.  It was a fun weekend, but I think more fun for the city slickers who came than for our tired farm team here!  Grayden says that next time he will try and schedule it in the off season so that more farmers will actually attend!

Bill with Mater and Buttons Cultivating before Planting the Cover Crop for Next Year's Hoop House

We have been busy planting cover crops for the 2013 garden areas. Our garlic has been drying for a month and today we took it down and bagged it for future use. We are also reorganizing the middle barn to make room for the lumber that Ken is finally having time to saw. The motor for the new saw mill is now fixed and the sawing has begun!  Yesterday, Michelle and I bent over the tops of our onions to get them ready for pulling and curing next week. The crop looks good. We were also very pleased to see that the squash and pumpkins are producing a good crop.  This year we tried a new method of preparation and planted directly into a rye cover crop that had been cut off just as the heads were coming out instead of ploughing in the rye…as a result I was watching them very closely and getting worried that they weren’t setting enough fruit…I decided that I should just leave them alone to grow and was pleasantly surprised to see that left on their own they did fine!

CSA member Bette Conners with her Bouquet

Our cut-your-own flowers have been a big hit and I wish I had pictures of all the lovely bouquets that CSA members have taken home with them. I’ve planted several succession plantings of zinnias, snap dragons and calendula to keep the flowers coming longer and an pleased with the results. Over the years I have tried to select flowers that grow well here and produce good cut flowers for our CSA members. Gradually I feel like I am succeeding in growing a better “cut flower garden.”

Michelle and Bill Reorganizing Lumber Storage
Stemming the Cured Garlic