You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Farm Business’ category.

Welsummer Rooster

My Welsummer rooster Cray. He’s just recently finished his molt. Isn’t he gorgeous?

I’ve been raising chickens since about 2002. I grew up with chickens when I was really little, and it took me about 30 years to be able to get back to it. But with the exception of the year we moved from Colorado to Washington, I’ve kept chickens for the last 14 years. This was BEFORE the proliferation of back yard chicken raising blogs, websites and books. I bought a copy of Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, my husband built a coup (which was also a dog house/pen – they shared a dividing wall – which helped keep the chickens safe from predators but also safe from the dogs at night). I talked a bit about all of this here.

It’s really only been in the last few years that I’ve raised chickens with more of an eye to getting them to pay for themselves by selling the eggs. Here is a brain dump of factoids I’ve learned about raising chickens over the last 14 years, all in one place. Read the rest of this entry »


Soaps and toiletries side. First market of the year in May.

Well, June is turning out to be a busy month. I started with the Downtown Walla Walla Farmers market on Saturdays in May. Then on the 4th of June I added the Milton-Freewater afternoon market on Wednesdays and the twilight market on 2nd Street in Walla Walla on Thursdays. Sales have been great. But doing three markets a week is a lot harder than doing two. Especially when my booth at the Walla Walla Thursday market was on the sunny side of the street, on heated black asphalt until the sun dips behind the buildings at about 6:00 pm. Read the rest of this entry »


Hard to believe this baby is only a month old. “Am I big enough yet”?

I just returned from the Washington State Farmers Market Association conference in Vancouver Washington. It was a great opportunity to talk to other farmers and market managers, find out what the latest Department of Ag rule changes are (take home message: don’t put anything in a clam shell or a sealed bag, including twist ties – unless you have a food processor license, because doing so makes it “ready to eat”), and most importantly, get away from the farm for a few days. Bless my husband for feeding everyone (including the Bean), collecting eggs, and generally holding down the fort. Read the rest of this entry »


A new Japanese maple, planted this summer. The little light dots all over? I call them the blue fuzzy butt gnats. There are about a million of them around right now.

Well, we had the final killing frost on Tuesday the 15th. Tomatoes (which were already cracked from the rain), done. Peppers, done. Summer and winter squash plants, done. Cucumbers, done. Melons, done. Farmer, done.

So here’s the warm season crops I planted this year and how they did (minus the squash and gourds, which I cover in this post, in more detail than you could ever want). Read the rest of this entry »


Pie pumpkins, Spaghetti squash, and a few Sunshine kabocha.

Alternative title – More about Squash than you EVER wanted to know.

Well, we got our first kiss of frost the other night. Just enough to take out the squash vines and make the tops of the pepper plants a little upset. The season really IS almost over. The frost prompted us to pick all of the remaining winter squash, (planted May 13th – hello 4 1/2 month growing season). Frost on the pumpkin might be the romantic image of fall’s arrival, but in reality, more than a light frost can damage the crop you’ve spent the last 4+ months growing. Better safe than sorry.

Read the rest of this entry »

After living in a climate where I was lucky if I got 100 frost free days, it’s such a strange thing to have an entire extra MONTH of growing season here in Walla Walla. And that’s just frost free days. Of course, there’s at least an additional month of growing cool season crops like lettuce and spinach that can take a light frost. Which means that when we do finally get a frost sometime in early October, rather than running around covering everything and trying to eek out a few more days, I just let it come, say “phew” and breathe a sign of relief. Let’s face it, after starting onions from seed indoors around March 1st, I pretty much just keep gardening and after 8 months, I’m bloody tired. Read the rest of this entry »

Wait, there was a Soap Making 101 post?

ChristmasForestSoapNo, there wasn’t. (Actually, now there is. I wrote it AFTER I wrote this post).  There are LOTS of great resources on the web to learn how to make soap. I learned primarily from the Miller’s Homemade Soap pages. It’s a clunky website, compared to how sites are put together now, and is not regularly updated anymore, but it’s still a great resource. I also highly recommend the info on soap making, and tons of great resources on SoapQueenTV  put together by Brambleberry, a soapmaking supplier that I’ve been ordering from for years. Read the rest of this entry »

fallleavesrockYears ago, I helped train volunteers to guide kids on outdoor educational nature walks. It was an intense 17 hour, three day training. Accompanying this hands-on information overload was a large three ringed binder. Volunteers were expected to understand and be able to replicate the information it contained. To lessen the pressure, interspersed throughout were funny or inspiring quotes and sayings. Things like “first you pee, then you see” to remind volunteers that if their charges hadn’t had their basic needs met, they were not going to pay much attention on the trail. Read the rest of this entry »

Well, summer is in full swing. I’m doing two farmers markets a week. The garden is coming on strong. The weeds and grass are high. It’s getting hard to tell the chickens born this spring apart from the older hens. The ducks are starting to molt into their final adult plumage. And the turkey…well, he’s just funny looking.

CharliePortrait Read the rest of this entry »


You really CAN have too much summer squash. Because when you have it, EVERYONE has it. I go easy on this one, and try to harvest young and grow unusual varieties.

Now that I have one year of market gardening under my belt, I am determined to do a better job of record keeping this year. Last year, I used one of those free wall calendars that came in the mail and wrote down whatever I was doing in the garden (planting, first harvest, last harvest, gopher issues etc.) in the little squares (this is not a bad method, but makes future planning a pain because you need to flip through the months to figure out when you planted, sprayed or harvested a particular crop). In some cases (green beans, peas, potatoes, cucumbers, an estimate on carrots) I kept track of the number of pounds I was able to harvest.

But a lot went unrecorded. How much lettuce did I actually plant? How many pounds did I harvest as small greens and how much as full heads? You get the idea. What I did have a good grasp of was what I wish I had planted more of (carrots, green onions) and what I planted too much of (kale, lettuce). This year, I’ve discovered a lot more resources for use when planning. (See a list of resources at the end of this post). Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

Follow the Farm On Instagram


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 789 other followers