Farm Store is Back! 9/23/22

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Farm store is back!   Tis the season yet again, where the farm store is open and waiting to scratch that itch you’ve been developing for Flowers, Handmade Vases, Wood Turnings, Botanical soaps + Essential oils, Candles, Gardening tools, Seeds and more!    We have many unique gift and self-care items made by other women-owned, small businesses that we're really excited about!   Mandy spends so many evenings out there, curating a beautiful space for your visual pleasure.  She’s out there in the heat right now as I type this. Whether you are coming just to browse and enjoy the space, or looking for that one of a kind item that you just gotta have, she wants to make your visit memorable.  I...

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3PF Potter: Linda Rovolis 9/16/22

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       Mandy and her mom have a special bond. Multiple times a week I hear them full belly laughing to the point of tears over something silly.  Usually they are laughing at themselves.     Mandy credits her mom with so much of the way she views the world.     Linda’s natural eye for beauty and visual harmony has long been an inspiration for Mandy and has informed her own aesthetic.       They both can hustle at incredible speed, while thoughtfully creating very detailed beauty.  I’ve never been anything but impressed while watching them work together on projects, even if it's just making a table look nice for a family dinner.     Linda spent countless hours processing strawberries and bunching flowers in the early days...

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Mr. Tony 9/9/22

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It’s not hard to describe Tony.  He’s awesome.  The man that does all that beautiful woodwork you find in the farm store is also the funniest, kindest, and most generous man you’ll meet.  He’s Mandy’s dad.   In our second year of starting the farm, Mandy’s folks moved nearby so they could be near Mandy who left the nest at 18.    In-laws moving down the road is many a spouse’s nightmare, but I loved it.  I couldn’t have been blessed with 2 better in-laws.  Words can’t express how great they are and how fortunate Mandy and I are for their help, guidance, and good cheer over the last decade.   Tony can do anything.  I’ve built and fixed a million things on...

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Monarchs 9/2/22

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Back in the 90’s I found myself living in a slum of an apartment on a cliff overlooking the beach just north of Santa Barbara.  The weather was always about 76 degrees and a billion fit blond people were jogging, surfing, or partying on 3 streets every day of the week.  It was the most densely populated area west of the Mississippi and it was virtually all 20 year olds.  Nobody ever left those 3 streets.  You’d have a hard time convincing a friend to walk more than a block to the next street.  With a party at every house, why walk 3 blocks away?   I joined a woodland fire crew for a summer and the physical demands were significant,...

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Beneficial Insects Part two 8/26/22

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  Last week we discussed big picture organics and the idea of trying to incorporate natural systems into the process of farming in order to reap the benefits of nature’s services while minimizing harm by reducing or eliminating human made inputs (You can read here!). In that vein, I promised to talk about how we did just that with our dahlia production and took a crop that used to be our most heavily sprayed and eliminated organic pesticides completely.    Dahlias are amazing.  Dahlias are gorgeous.  Dahlias are delicious.  Every insect in Georgia wants to eat a dahlia .  Or better yet, all the dahlias.  For years we would plant in early Spring like all the textbooks advise.  We’d watch in fascination...

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Beneficial Insects Part one 8/19/22

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  So, there’s organic and then there’s organic.  We’re somewhere in the middle.  Let me try to explain.     If you think of ag as a subset of nature it might help.  Let’s use a rainforest as our example of nature.  In the rainforest, you have a form of balance, but truly it’s more of a dynamic equilibrium.  It’s more about oscillations around a sweet spot as opposed to a perfect and unchanging balance.  Plants eat all the nutrients in the soil and air (think orchids and bromeliads), then grow and produce habitat, flowers and fruits, which provide homes and food for insects, birds and bats, which provide food for larger animals, which excrete what they ate and again provide food for...

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Cover Crops 8/12/22

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Georgia red clay.  It’s notorious.  It’s chunky.  It's lifeless.    The red is a result from the affect of a warm, humid climate weathering acid crystalline rocks on rolling hills over a long period of time, but the intensely imbalanced ratio of clay to silt, sand, and organic matter is a remnant from a past marked by terribly inconsiderate agricultural practices, where all the nutrients were stripped from the soil and none were replenished.   It’s like any relationship.  If you do nothing but extract value, without putting in value, the relationship will fail.  Drive your car for years without an oil change.  Take your spouse for granted for years without investing in their well being.  Withdraw from your bank account, without...

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Unexpected Visitors 8/5/22

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Watch your step in the garden.  We’ve unfortunately run into 2 copperheads this week.  One in the woods at the cabin construction site and one outside Rachel’s office. It’s never a pleasant encounter.  We are fond of most snakes and are happy to share the farm with them, but copperheads are venomous and aren’t as welcome.  They tend to like woodpiles and mulch covered areas according to the literature and that is where we usually see them.  We’ve also found them in our barn and in a greenhouse we were weeding (Mandy almost grabbed one with a handful of weeds!!). So, you can never be too sure, but it’s safe to say that flip-flops are not farm friendly attire in...

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Dinosaurs 7/29/22

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 Lots of folks ask us about our strange flock of earth bound birds.  What are they? Do they ruin garden beds, peck food crops, need a coop, eat pests?   When we first started farming this land, we were covered in ticks constantly.  Most rural southerners seem to accept it as part of the landscape and pay it no mind, but there’s a growing awareness of the damage they can cause.  Ticks carry not only Lyme disease, but Babesia, Alpha-gal, Bartonella, Ehrlichiosis, and more.  The widely spread misinformation that Georgia ticks don’t carry Lyme disease, seems to now be losing its foothold on much of the populace.  There’s still some doctors who don’t seem to have gotten the message, but the...

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Reset, Repair, Rebuild 7/22/22

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Well, we’re finally moving forward with the cabin that was destroyed at the beginning of the year (You can revisit here).  An old friend who got his start in construction under the tutelage of Mandy’s dad years ago, went on to become a contractor and is going to come in with his crew and carefully take it down and set the salvageable lumber aside for me to re-use.   We’re both super excited to have some motion on this project.  We’re not 100% certain about the design of the rebuild (or even when I’ll get the time to do it), but we’re thinking either a full replica of the original, or possibly a 3 walled structure with the 4th wall just...

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