Posts Tagged ‘Add new tag’

Crop Progress/Update, Time to start Harvesting!!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Sweeeaaat Onion

Sweeeaaat Onion

Green Maters,

Green Maters,

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash

Green Bell Peppers

Green Bell Peppers

A Trio of Cabbage

A Trio of Cabbage

Baby Watermellon on a bed of leaves

Baby Watermellon on a bed of leaves

Broccoli lookin' fine

Broccoli lookin' fine

Well it feels like it has been a long time coming but we are finally starting to pull some measurable product out of the fields. Sweet Corn started July 20th and about a dozen other crops are starting to fill in the gaps too. This is a long post, why because it rained today!!! It was a MONEY rain for us as it has been dry and we needed it. So I will cram a bunch into one day. Lots of words, lots of pics, lots of video. Hope you enjoy what’s comin’ up down on the farm.

The growing season has been strange this year. It has been much cooler and cloudy than usual especially for July. Great to be a human but not so much to be a corn plant. We have been using some new crop fertility products that go along the lines of natural I suppose you might say.

Basically they reduce the amounts of chemical based fertilizers and crop protection products we would use and stimulate the bacteria in the soil to breakdown the nutrients already present making them avaliable for plant uptake. We will see how it works, so far things seem to be working well as we have very good growth especially in our curcurbites with not so great weather. Our watermellons are about two weeks ahead of past years, just sort of strange, maybe this “snake oil” actually works??!! Go figure!

You see people always talk about “organic” and I just have to laugh knowing what I know about soil chemistry and plant fertility. You see EVERYTHING is a chemical or made up of elements in different combinations. Organic chemistry is powerful stuff and just to think you can simplify things and that will make all things all better is naive at best. Good crops come from healthy soil and that takes a balanced approach to how you treat them. You can just as easily mess things up going the “organic route” as you can mess things up by getting soils out of balance by going the “commercial” route.

All in all most of us eat pretty well in this country. It is mostly a matter of choices what we put in our mouths. It is mostly a matter of balance. It is still better to eat a piece of food that our bodies evolved on that has a part per billion of something that if hunderds of tons of it were eaten in a given period of time may be harmful, than not to eat it at all.

We have a marvolus food system despite some of its faults. It’s development and use has allowed we as a people to do things today we take for granted like only work 5-6 days a week, only 40-60 hours a week, take vacations, days off, run and exercise for fun or “health”, eat out, the list goes on and on.

All I am saying is thank you very much for supporting us at farmers’ markets and the like, thank you very much for appreciating the simple things in life that give a family farmer an edge but also remember you can hardly think of the last time you went hungry in this country.

BB

A Farmer’s Family Work, and a ride in a 51′ Ford Truck.

Saturday, July 4th, 2009
My Daughter's first ride, a responsibility from Mom and Dad

My Daughter's first ride, a responsibility from Mom and Dad

Getting Ready to put the newly rebuilt Carburator on.

Getting Ready to put the newly rebuilt Carburator on.

I guess I intended to get out and take some crop progress, field and vineyard updates and all that fact type stuff to let everybody know who was interested about what was going on at this North East Ohio Family Farm how things were doing and what they looked like.

Well all week it has been cloudy and cool, especially for July. Today was no exception. So I was catching up on odd jobs yesterday and today because it just wasn’t too good to get out and take some video and pics.

All this Social Media stuff does not come easy to this purpose driven person. You see I seldom engage in an activity unless I can see the purpose of my actions, an outcome, progress. Yes it can be fun, but fun and productive is better. Fun, productive AND profitable BEST!! My Dad always said, “Take small steps and keep moving keep plugging away”, “Make every lick count”.

Here is some insight I guess to this purpose driven blogger, for my daughter and with my son. You can even take a ride with Brett and me! Yea, I was driving and holding the camera…You are right, it is sooooo much easier than when I am on my motorcycle!

Round Bales and Haunted Corn Mazes go together??

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
Baler kicking out Round Bale

Baler kicking out Round Bale

New Holland Tractor and Baler

New Holland Tractor and Baler

Round Bale just after being made

Round Bale just after being made

Getting ready for our fall Agri-Tourism and overwintering the animals starts now. My father-in-law Kay made over 48,000 small square bales last year and we do a few big round bales for the kritters in the winter and also for our fall harvest festival activities.

We have a small piece of land in the back of the property I have been stuggleing to make use of over the years. Last fall we planted winter rye to just sort of get something growing instead of weeds. Next will be sorghum, then we will carve a haunted maze into the crop.

All that starts now with getting the ground ready by killing the weeds and getting ready to plant the sorghum. So instead of just mowing the rye and grasses that grew up, I decided to bale them and get some use out of the light crop. Keep in touch as we show how we follow up with this piece of land to turn it from a weed patch into our haunted attraction.

We are bringing back our haunted maze by popular request. When we opened the winery there was just too much work to do and something had to give. Thousands of folks visit us in the fall from Mom and Dad families to corporate groups to church gatherings. So many of them asked us to BRING BACK YOUR HAUNTED MAZE we have found a way in 2009.

We do a truly scary and fun haunt, not a gross and gorey event. The Haunted maze is a seperate maze from the larger Trivia based adventure. People come out laughing and crying we never know which one starts first? I have sweated my butt off in so many hay lofts over they years I finally figured out a way to make baleing Fun!

At Maize Valley We Build Memories to last…….A Lifetime!! At Maize Valley We Make Great Wine…FUN!!

Here is how we get started. First I show Ben Sherman using his mower to mow our ditch banks, it is the same machine we used to mow the field be baled.

Traminette Vineyard, Training the vines and people

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Traminette Vines

Traminette Vines

Thad putting in the bamboo poles

Thad putting in the bamboo poles

Well sorry it has been a few days since I put some news up via this here ole’ Blog I know. It has just been hoppin’ here at Maize Valley. I am trying my best to get er’ done, but some days it just is not so easy. Mostly because pretty much all the content that I post we actually do first.

It is not just like I go out and taste some wine and tell somebody about what I think about it. We actually grow a lot of the vines along with a lot of other things then harvest them then make them into something cool, then market them so others can enjoy them. Along the way life happens and God willing and the creek don’t rise we make a living too. At the end of the day I’d rather have a good Dark Beer, Oatmeal Stout or something like that anyhow, now that’s what I can BODY!

I help coach my daughter’s softball team which we thought was just going to be terrible this year and who would have known it but we are 6 and 3 now and on a roll (won the last four games). Two blow outs and two dog fights, one with extra innings even! The girls are smiling and touching gloves and learning how to work through the tough spots in life. And isn’t that what coaching is all about I guess? I hope the girls someday look back and say “hey coach Bakan helped me get through a tough spot and I can do it again”, been there done that. The season has a long way to go but we have already done more than anybodies wildest dreams.

I suppose wine is sort of like that in some respects, no I don’t mean drink to make your troubles go away but rather wine brings people together and the net effect is more than just drinking or tasting the wine or deciding how “correct” or “unflawed” it is. But rather it sets the stage for people to interact in such a way that things get accomplished, relationships are built and things are learned that help you down the road if you get in a tough spot some day.

I feel so sorry for those that look at wine as a “thing” to only be evaluated and studied for its comparative value related to others like it. No, it can not be garbage either but there is so little to be gained by tearing some down just to elevate another. Life is just too short. Judge it to help you dial in your preference but don’t dig on someone else’s.

Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch 8 Days after planting @ Maize Valley

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
Let's dig a little deeper

Let's dig a little deeper

Pumpkin sprout 8 Days after planting

Pumpkin sprout 8 Days after planting

Agri-Tourism is a big part of what we do at Maize Valley. The new word on the street, er maybe for us the path, is “Imersion Tourism”. We just know it feels right to help people work toward “Hakuna Matata” or no worries and a relaxing fun day in the country can be just the ticket for that.

But we ARE farmers, really we do grow a ton of stuff yet from Watermelons to Wine we do a lot. But we have to sell it too, otherwise we will not be around to do it again as my wife’s family has done for the last 150 odd years here. So a great deal of my blog deals with what a modern direct market producers deals with and what it takes to both grow the food you need to eat to live, but also provide a quality of life aspect that makes life worth living.

Here are some video updates of where our corn maze and U-pick pumpkin patch is 8 days after planting, hope you enjoy.

No-Till planting, Conservation Tillage, Sustainable Agriculture.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Winter Rye "Burn Down"

Did I mention we are basically lazy?? Yea we try and do as little work as possible! Well maybe that is not entirely the case but we do try and get as much done with as little output as possible. You might say that is a strategy we use in some of our tillage practices. Get the job done using as few and the most economical inputs as possible.

The more pale or yellow part of the field has been sprayed, the dark green has not. Glyphosate acts as an amino acid inhibitor, or it prevents the plant from completing the photosynthesis process. The plant starves to death. This way of working or what is know as “Mode of Action”, is very specific to plants and very safe for just about everything else. However just as with anything else if not used responsibly resistance can begin to occur.

It’s cool we still get a crop but don’t have to work as hard. There are trade offs but where we can we try and conserve the soil as much as possible and still sustain our family farm. That is what I call Sustainable Agriculture!

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