Your asking, I know. What in the world do chicken's have to do with tea? Isn't this a tea company? Don't you blend tea? Drink tea? Have tea time? With tea treats? That whole pinkies up thing, you know?
The answer is, yes, well except for the pinkies up thing. We only do that for fun, mostly! You see, chickens hold an important role here down on the farm. While they might seem worlds away from having anything to do with tea, they are actually one of the first steps in making our tea.
Our teas feature locally grown ingredients. Such as our Cherry City Chai, with it's heirloom Royal Ann cherries, grown here in the capital of Salem. Or the beautiful lavender in our Rose City Repose tea, grown in Eagle Creek, Oregon by Eagle Creek Lavender. Some of the local ingredients in our teas come right from our farm. Herbs, flowers and berry leaves, are just a few of the things we grow.
While our farm is not certified Organic we make an effort to keep all chemicals out of our farming. Growing in this way can really get time consuming unless some other tactics are applied. One of those tactics we use is putting our chickens to work for us.
You see there are 24 of them and only 6 of us. They are also some mighty bug eating machine's, with claws that till (while looking for worms) and a LARGE appetite for all the things in the greenhouse that we needed to weed. They also fertilize the soil in the process. The agricultural method that takes the problem of say a hungry chicken to solve the problem of a garden that needs weeded is called Permaculture. Where multiple cultures (chickens and gardens) work together to solve a problem.
Normally I would have these cute little people help me pull the weeds and get the greenhouse ready. They were glad to find out that the chickens were going to do that work for them, we just had a few things to get ready before we let the feathered crew in to take care of the mess.
Check out our latest YouTube video to see how it went. The before and after of the greenhouse is amazing.
If you enjoyed watching that video and all the work those feathery friends can do for you, you might be interested in our free download on 8 Tips for Keeping Chickens. As a BOUNUS there are two printables for keeping track of chicken expenses and how many eggs are laid daily. Thanks for joining us on the farm and we will see you next time!
Rain..... lots of it, is in Oregon's near future. These dog daze of summer don't last that long compared to the rest of the year. While we are still harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans and other yummy things from the garden we are still planning ahead.
Along with planting our winter seeds we decided to mulch our 42 foot long green house in preparation for winter and all that rain that is going to be headed our way.
I know, I know.... I hear you saying that the greenhouse is covered and there won't be that much rain in there! BUT we accidentally built our greenhouse over a winter spring and we didn't know it and so we get quite the amount of water in here when it rains. Join us for video one of two this week as we re purpose hazelnut shells as mulch. Video #2 will be up on Thursday explaining how we dehydrate our tomatoes for a years worth of tomato sauce :)
The gate to the greenhouse barely opens and behind me are the hurried sounds of little tiny feet, determined not to miss an entry into the green house. Prepared with her own little tools for helping out and anxious to plant seed and pick what is ripe.... and may not what is ripe she is always by my side.
Many are headed back to school in the coming months and I'm reminded of our Kindergarten/1st grade science books. They are full of how to plant seeds, types of seeds, harvesting the plants, the plant parts. What really counts though is THIS. Getting out there in the soil, putting the seed in and watching it grow, taking care of it, harvesting it and preserving it. Learning how it nourishes our bodies and the wonders of God's creations. Can you garden with a toddler? YES! It does require some patience but the lessons are totally worth it.
Hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by the farm!
It's harvest time on the farm! This is really the busy time of year for gardeners, farmers and homesteaders. There is so much to do between harvesting the first fruits of our labors yet continuing to plant for fall and winter crops.
There is not just the harvesting but the preserving of the harvest along with all the other things that life throughs our way. Oh June and July where did you go? As we rush on in to August we are sharing a few of the photos that we took around the farm in July. With our Youtube channel it seems like we have less photos and more video these days so there are a few gaps this month. If you would like to see more of what we have been up to on the farm make sure you check out our video section if you haven't already.
Harvest on the farm
A few of our volunteer onions decided to bloom, we decided they would make better decor than onions!
Our lavender harvest, very small this year but pretty and smells wonderful! We love lavender and we are anxious to get some more planted this fall!
A rainbow came out of our dehydrator! There is nothing we love more than seeing, and smelling the beauty of the plants we use in our tea.
A salad all from the farm: kale, chard, onion flowers, bachelor buttons, and radishes.
Tea harvest for the day, always such a pretty site! Rose petals, calendula, chamomile and bachelor buttons.
Calendula flowers, the flower that started our farm and herbal journey, they are so beautiful!
Chamomile is doing fantastic, can't wait to try local fresh chamomile tea.
Dehydrating calendula flowers, they do best when placed face down and it makes for an interesting photo!
The Tea Studio
We are making some great progress on our tea studio this month. The trusts were delivered and placed on top of the studio.
With some help the sheeting was placed on the trusses... one more step closer to finishing the roof.
Almost done, filling in the whole with the ridge vent. A little preview of the interior of the tea studio.
Front vide of the tea studio addition, so nice to see the roof on!
Roofing getting delivered and placed on top of the building.
ARound the farm
3/4 of the garden got planted and mulching commenced.
The tomatoes look so small compared to a month later! So fun to see how they grow. Check out our videos for updates on the tomatoes!
Kitten #1 of 3, this sweet girl will need a home if any one is interested. She is very calm and gentle!
The oregano plants are blooming! Always such a pretty site!
A calendula getting ready to bloom, the bees love these flowers!
Our first cucumber harvest for fermenting pickles! So exciting to see the fruits of our labor coming out of the garden!
The grapes are doing fantastic this year, so many of them and they are so big!
The basil is looking great and is plentiful. Its time to bring it in to the dehydrator to fill up our spice rack.
The purple basil is also doing great, what is your favorite basil recipe?
In the greenhouse
The bachelor buttons are coming on strong and filling up our herbal tea cupboard, we use these in our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea.
The chamomile is loving the greenhouse as well, its so sweet and fragrant!
In the Farm STore...
This month we packed and delivered tea to the High Desert Museum and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company,
Market time has hit the peak of the season and the veggies and fruits in abundance! We have broke out the iced tea for these hot summer days.
Were excited to have our tea be a part of Sea Star Gelato from Seaside, Oregon. A picture here their London Fog with our Cascade Earl Grey and they also have a fabulous Peach Hibiscus with our High Desert Hibiscus blend.
Tea tasting and tea by the cup at the Salem Saturday Market, a great healthy way to cool off on a hot day and to check out all the other great local market vendors.
A visit to the Blue Heron French Cheese Co. to deliver tea and check out what Tillamook Oregon has to offer. A little fun trip off the farm for the farm children.
Thanks for stopping by the farm to see what was happening in July! We are looking forward to an equally productive August. What do you have growing in your garden?
Did you know that we grow in a 4o ft long green house year around? We grow mostly food for our selves but this year we started adding some herbal crops for our tea. Our green house saves us tons of money on greens throughout the year especially in the off season when greens get more expensive. Its so much cheaper to plant a $3 bag of organic seed than to spend $3 on one head of lettuce.
But that can be hard in some cold places.
It can be near impossible!
With the help of a greenhouse, polytunnel or hoop house you can grow in colder climates, even in Maine, and have greens year around! This is a great affordable way to extend your gardening season and your household food budget.
The Farmer took a few days to help his brother put up their new hoop house. Its very similar to ours wit ha few adjustments. Check it out in this weeks video!
Seed Panting season.... check. Packet of seeds.... check. Water.... check... soil to plant them in check....
How come it is that I plant ALL these seeds and only half of them come up. Now I have to replant. How come it is that I have to thin all these seeds that do come up and just toss them to the animals? What a waste.
Enter soil boxes and soil blocking. No more wasted seed, no more wondering if they are going to come up or not. Join us on our YouTube channel this week to learn how to mix soil blocking mix to use in your soil blocking trays we made last week. Elliot Coleman style. Who is he you ask? He is THE Organic gardener who has this growing thing down pat. He grows year around in Maine and has been for years, he makes a great living growing things in the snow. And his secret? Getting those seeds a good start. Lets get planting!
After a long long wet spring we finally have some sunshine down on the farm and we are loving every minute of it. Flowers have started to bloom, the greenhouse veggies are taking off and the berries have started forming. May surely brought the sunshine down to the farm!
In the BarnYard....
Its always fun having babies on the farm and equally as fun to see the farm children enjoy them so much. They get to experience so much daily on the farm, run all over on different surfaces and see so many different things. They don't miss out on real life down on the farm.
The chicken's finished their till job in this years garden and are temporarily moved into the pasture area to clean up after the sheep and the goat. Were battling with some parasite issues so between rotation, the chicken clean up crew and an herbal dewormer we are hoping we are good to go!
This is our summer/fall garden area, the chickens have rotated 2-3 times cleaning up all the grass and weeds, fertilizing the ground and scratching it up. Its time to get it tilled, tarped and then planted!
Dodge Ram is growing well but he still has a bum leg in the front. We aren't sure he is going to make it but that doesn't stop him from enjoying the lush green grass. He is such a sweet little guy!
Hey Ewe is getting her share of the green pasture for sure! Look at those sides stick out!
We have kittens on the farm again! They are always so much fun, and quite the distraction. Two of the farm children have the cats named after airplane models and pieces of building construction. They get crazy like that sometimes ;) I call this cat Moo, doesn't he look like a cow?
It was almost impossible to get all five kittens looking at a camera, the sweet fluffy bunch of kittens was too much. And all so different looking!
Sorry for the blurry photo, my photographer was a little excited and couldn't hold still! A handful of fluff!
In the Greenhouse ...
Spring crops are in the ground almost ready to harvest which means its time to plant summer starts! Tomatoes, peppers, summer and winter squash, basil, you name it! If you haven't seen our soil blocking tray video check it out here!
The grass is mowed and the greenhouse is looking good! Life is good down on the farm :)
Inside the poly tunnel, greenhouse, hoop house indoor plant growing thing a ma jig :)
Pea flowers are so beautiful!
The peas are reaching higher and getting close to the top of the greenhouse!
Radish crop number 3 coming up and looking ready to thin out.
Baby peas are growing up fast!
Tomatoes are coming up and so are a lot of other seeds, not long now until we are in full gardening mode.
Oh basil how I love thee, I could eat pesto three time a day! I might get to with the three kinds of basil we planted and our new garden space. Hopefully I'm able to dry some for #ProjectFillTheSpiceCupboard
More seed starting trays! Were going big this year adding lots of herbs for tea and getting ready to store our new larder under the tea studio.
It isn't broccoli..... its kale going to seed and flowering. So pretty and it seeds so well!
The Lemon Balm is slow but its coming up and will be great to have for our High Desert Hibiscus tea, we are so excited to be adding more herbs to the farm so we can keep it fresh and local!
ARound the Farm...
The Lady's love the Oregano plants! Is it true that you can tell their age by how many spots they have? If so this one looks to be 6 years old or so.
He is faking! Our new morning habit is to rush out after prayers and cut blackberry leaf for the dehydrator! It is growing faster than we can cut and our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea that it goes in is selling almost faster than we can dry it!
With the sun out that means its time to make SUN TEA!!!! I love this summer time tradition, its one I grew up with and plan to keep though we have shaped the Lipton out for some High Desert Hibiscus.
The lavender plants are starting to bloom, this is my favorite time of year, so many beautiful flowers and I love harvesting these. The smell is so peaceful and relaxing! We feature this in our Rose City Repose and Cascade Earl Grey teas.
Purple belled flowers hanging from our wild comfrey plants! We weed around this letting it grow big and strong. It makes great chicken and lamb food, its roots go deep into the soil helping to bring nutrients up and its a great medicinal plant to have around.
More lavender beauty!
The rhododendrons are blooming, they are one... maybe the only plant we have that isn't edible or medicinal.
Our tiny blueberry plants are loaded with berries this year! If the birds don't take them all we may get our first small harvest!
The haskaps are starting to ripen up! They are determined to make their normal May fruiting season. They just squeaked by this year though with the cold wet spring we have had!
Not only are the haskaps turning color but they are huge this year, all the extra rain we had made the plants grow like crazy!
A "weed" but beautiful non the less!
Pardon the deck mess as we are under construction but our grapes and hops are doing wonderful this year. It should be an excellent year for both!
Its time to harvest spearmint for our High Desert Hibiscus! There is quite the abundance of it this year!
The Tea Studio...
The tea studio has walls! What is a tea studio you say? Its a spin off of an art studio.. where one creates art. This will be where we create our artisan loose leaf teas! Currently all of our teas are hand blended in the farm kitchen between nap time, at night time ect. This space will allow us to blend any time and help keep us organized as well as able to produce more tea.
The interior walls being jacked up, quite a scary process to watch but better than carrying board up ladder to build the walls.
The last wall is going up!
The front view looks kind of silly at the moment without the windows cut out or roof on but that will be taken care of shortly!
In the Farm Kitchen...
My farm kitchen pictures seem to be limited this month. With the sun out we spend more and more of our day outside and less in the kitchen. This lovely meal is a weekly favorite, moroccan chicken with baked carrots and onions!
A salad from our yard! Beet greens, kale, spinach, chard, french radish, peas, hard boiled eggs, chives with beautiful flowers and cilantro. Its always a celebration when the first salad comes entirely from the garden!
In the Farm Store...
Sporting my orange as we join the Salem Etsy team at a local craft event!
All of those blackberries above? They were for this! A shipment going to Tea Box Express for their June tea box!
We are in full market swing and enjoying every bit. We do a taste testing of three different teas every week so if you are in or around Salem, OR on a Saturday stop by between 9 am and 3 pm! Check out our market specials including discounts on full size bags and tea by the cup!
We were so excited to barter tea with a tea farm in Maine that grows local wild maine blueberries and chaga. These teas are fantastic and we are enjoying them very much! Thanks for stopping by the farm this month and we will see you next time!
Bachelor Buttons. Chamomile. Green Beans. Squash. Basil. Lots of Basil.
There is so much going on in our green house that I ran out of seed trays to start our garden seeds. Our garden space has been tilled and weeded by the chickens and is waiting the machine till to straighten it out before we start planting, amending and mulching. Gardening season is truly here and even more so this year down on our farm! We have started expanding the herbs that we grow so that we can bring you even fresher tea and more local tea than we have been the last three years.
You too can grow your own food and tea! We would love to help! This weeks video is on how to make your own seed planting trays. These guys save you on money for so many reason!
#1 They are reusable
#2 They old up better than the black plastic ones
#3 You use less seed because you don't have to thin out plants when you use this method.
Check out the video and we will have an additional one on how to do the soil blocking early next week. Have a fantastic weekend and keep on growing!
Do you know that person who lives in a tiny duplex in town and grows their own food in their tiny back yard? No? Don't have one of those huh? Well we use to be that family until we were blessed with almost 2 acres of our own. Now not only do we hand blend tea on our farm using the best that Oregon has to offer but we make an effort to grow as much of our own food as possible.
From eggs, to lamb to produce and beyond. This week we are taking you around our farm to show you what has been 'springing' up! Thanks for stopping by and checking out our virtual tour. Maybe some day you will be growing your own food too! We would love to have you join our journey!
Do you already garden or raise animals for food? Share with us in the comments, we would love to chat about it!
It's spring time down on the farm and that means the spring garden is in full swing. Learn how to trellis peas (or green beans) in a poly tunnel in this weeks video. What is tea time without a good spring salad that includes peas?!
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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