Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700' elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. Our farm is an active part of a 12,000 acre ranch; however, we only manage 3 acres with intensive vegetable gardening.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

On Monday Jinelle and I (the return of the old blogger, Breigh) drove up to Grand Junction to drop off Alison at the train station. She will at last be reunited with her love, Jesse! We will miss her great blog entries and positive attitude.

Ode to the Blogger
By John

She came with books and a french degree
Excited to grow and write
Her quick sailors wit kept us laughing and baking kept us fed
She headed east, our gardening friend, to a love in cold Wisconsin
Stay warm out there
We will miss you dear
The blogger is gone, but we must go on...

Here is on more blog entry by Alison....
Last Wednesday the farm adopted three llamas from a neighbor down the road. Breigh, Jinelle, John, and I drove over in the kubota, then Jinelle, John and I each walked a llama down to our goat barn.

Walking the llamas back to our barn

Eventually these llamas will probably have a home up at the farm site, near the turkeys and chickens, but for now they are cohabiting with the goats. This is a bonus for us, because it ensures that our goats won't be harmed by coyotes.

From left to right, Dusty, Samson, and Scout

On Tuesday we said our goodbyes to our enormous turkey, Rocky. Darren and John took care of the harvest. Once cleaned, the bird weighed over 30 pounds, probably 35 pounds if not more. Breigh and I put him on our scale in the wash shed, which maxes out at 30 lbs, and could not get an accurate reading.

Our newest intern, John, getting ready to harvest Rocky

Thanksgiving, of course, was a day of cooking, feasting, and hanging out outside, where the sun was shining. Breigh did most of the turkey prep, Darren was in charge of stuffing, Jinelle was on mashed potatoes, John made biscuits and sweet potatoes, and I made the green bean casserole. Everyone helped with dessert making the night before, and we had four pies to split among five people. It was a Thanksgiving feast to be remembered for a long, long time. We hope you all had a marvelous holiday as well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Buckhorn Crew would like to extend a special thank you to all the families who came to the farm on November 7th to harvest their own veggies. Members got to experience the joy of picking lettuce, spinach, and braising greens leaf by leaf. Many families busted out shovels to harvest onions, leeks, and parsnips. We also had tomatoes, potatoes, and cabbages already picked for people to choose. Around noon we took a break for a potluck lunch, feasting on lasagna, butternut squash dip, and salad. Everyone had an excellent afternoon!

We would also like to say thank you for a great CSA season all around. If you'd like to sign up for next summer's CSA, renew your membership by January 15, 2010 by contacting Breigh via email or telephone. We look forward to hearing from you and growing your nutritious, flavorful organic produce next season!

All of the many children who came to the farm had a great day
Apologies for the extended absence! It's been a crazy month here at Buckhorn, but I'm going to try to update you with as much as I can. This post will be devoted to telling you about the afternoon we spent with our friend Ashley, who is an intern at Dancing Willow in Durango. She shared with us her knowledge of making tinctures, infused oils, and salves out of herbs from our garden.

We planned ahead and picked several herbs to dry the day before the session. Borage, comfrey, calendula, ashwagandha, and gotu kola were the herbs we picked ahead of time. We harvested rosemary the day of the session and made fresh rosemary oil.

We used the dried borage, comfrey, and calendula to make an infused oil using cold pressed olive oil and a blender. The ashwagandha was used to make a tincture by soaking its dried root in a large jar full of grain alcohol.

Our last and most ambitious project was the salve we made at the end of the day. We used 2 ounces of beeswax, 2 ounces of cocoa butter, 1/2 ounce of the comfrey/borage/calendula oil, 1/2 ounce of purchased essential rose oil, 4 ounces of pure oil (not infused or essential), and 2 ounces of shea butter. We heated all of it in a double boiler, poured it into small containers, and let it harden overnight. In the morning we had a fabulous hand salve!

Crushed borage and comfrey on the left, dried calendula flowers ready to crushed in the food processor

Breigh pouring infused rosemary oil out of a blender through a cheesecloth

I'm helping Breigh get every last drop of that rosemary oil

Pouring the hot salve into vessels to harden

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hello all, I hope you've enjoyed the 60°F weather we've been having after all that cold snow! The farm is doing just fine after all of the extreme temperatures. Our low was 10° on Thursday night, but all the vegetables pulled through just fine.

Breigh and Rajah outside the dome in new snow

Fresh snow caked on the dome, seen from the inside

Your friendly Buckhorn blogger, shoveling snow off of cabbage and cauliflower with the help of Rajah

The temperature in the dome stayed around 39°F and the temperature in the high tunnels were around 33°F. "The soil keeps the temperature in the high tunnels surprisingly high during the extremely cold weather," explains Breigh. The small leafy greens that we seeded and transplanted last week stayed fairly happy and productive thanks to the mini high tunnels we constructed over each row in both Mars and Polaris.

The mini high tunnels

We uncover the mini high tunnels every morning and recover them every night

The dome is now fully planted with head lettuce, spinach, radishes, scallions, and a few other miscellaneous greens. All the transplants look great, so be sure to check it out when you come for the pick-your-own extravaganza this Saturday! (Don't forget to RSVP by Thursday the 5th!)

Today we planted some of the many, many garlic cloves we will be planting in the next few days. This afternoon we got Spanish Rojo, K's Backyard, Khabar, Kettle River Giant, and Panesco Blue in the ground, so you can start looking forward to those and many other varieties around next July. We have a lot more varieties to plant. So many, in fact, that we are having a hard time coming up with beds to put them in!

We hope to see many of you this coming Saturday for the pick-your-own and the potluck at noon. If you are curious about the Farm Tour we took a month ago, find the blog entry from October 9th that I just posted a few minutes ago for a synopsis of the excursion and lots of pictures. Until Saturday, be well!

Pea greens sprouting up fast in Mars