Home Blog Page 3

The Secret to Turning a Raised Bed into a Cold Frame is a support system
that can stay up all year long.

20160907_172856

Olin started with a 4’x8′ raised bed and measured six old windows he had from a remodeling job that were all similar in size.  He then used scrap wood from 2×4’s and plywood to create the frame and placed two hinges to hold each window on the top wood piece.  He was careful not to place the windows too close together because they will shrink and expand depending on the humidity…causing them to stick together during a heavy rain. As you can see from the picture below, the windows create a green house effect that protects cool weather plants from frost damage.

20160329_112114

Last winter we were able to grow carrots, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, lettuce, radishes and kale.  I’m sure we could have grown a much bigger variety, but I ran out of space.  Also, we keep a thermometer in the cold frame, and when it get 80 degrees, we prop open a couple of windows, so the plants don’t wilt or dry out.  The cold frame almost serves as a terrarium, because you don’t have to water much at all after you germinate the seeds and everything starts growing.

#coldframe #stoneycreekfarm #dirtrich #wintergarden #sustainableliving

 

Fall Gardens are pretty short lived, so you have to choose seeds that have a quick growing cycle. Otherwise, you can buy plants at the garden center to have bounty before frost.

My favorite publication site is:

 https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Pages/default.aspx

Just enter “Fall Garden” in the search bar and all sorts of relevant information will pop up.  Great site with great resources!

Here are the seeds I plant for Fall:  turnip greens, kale, collard greens, lettuce, spinach, radishes, mustard greens and carrots.

I plant them in a raised bed that we convert to Cold Frame (made with recycled old windows to let the sun in) when the weather starts to get cold and frosty.  I will share more about Cold Frames another blog.

Leaf Cutter Bees – Super Hero Pollinators!

When Jay Williams from Williams Honey Farm approached us about a pollination test this Summer season for Solitary Bees (Mason & Leaf Cutter Bees), we didn’t really know what to expect, but he made it very easy. Jay basically did all the work and we reaped all the benefits. We only paid him for cost of the bees and materials. He placed two T-Post Hives on our farm. One T-post Hive was in the area of our U-Pick Community Garden and the other post hive was in our rental gardens. (We rent plots to local people who are either learning how to garden or do not have the space at their homes or apartment communities.) Jay placed approximately 1,000 Leaf Cutter cocoons and bees at each T-Post Hive for the test.

Leaf Cutter Bees 1

He placed the bees in early June and they began their pollination cycle. We have never seen anything like it before! We are only estimating, but feel that they at least tripled our pollination rate. We began to feel overwhelmed because we do not have a large enough staff (just the two of us and two volunteers) to keep up with the production of vegetables we were picking every day…much more than in the previous 5 years we have been open. We started out with 6 rows of green beans (4 rows less than last year) and we were not able to pick all of the green beans on two of the rows, before they got dry on the vine…there were just so many beans.  We are determined next year to be more prepared, because we lost a lot of veggies…we just couldn’t harvest it all!

We sold more squash, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and berries than any previous year we have been open and we feel it is due in a large part to the increased pollination of the leaf cutter bees.

We opened the garden in mid-June and closed in 6 weeks, 2 weeks earlier than usual. Increased pollination may have played a part, but the heat and excessive rain definitely accelerated plant deterioration.

Even though we closed two weeks earlier than usual…we still increased our sales 35% above 2015 (and 2015 was higher than any previous year). We had more produce than we could sell so, we also donated almost 1,000 pounds of produce (estimated worth of $1,000) to OneGenAway (www.onegenaway.com) which distributes food throughout our community to the needy and homeless. We felt very blessed this year!

If you have an interest in getting some Solitary Bees (Mason and/or Leaf Cutter) for your farm, garden or landscape, we definitely recommend Jay Williams and his little Super Hero Pollinators. Contact him at jay@williamshoneyfarm.com.

Last Week of the Summer U-Pick Garden

2016 has been a blessed year for sure at Stoney Creek Farm!  We’ve been blessed with a new source of pollinators called “Leaf Cutter Bees” (http://www.williamshoneyfarm.com) which have tripled our pollination rates of our veggies and berries (we are guessing, but feel pretty confident about that ratio). So we have had more produce than ever before and been able to sell more to the community and donate more to needy families through an organization called One Gen Away ( http://www.onegenaway.com)…so it has been a very successful Summer Season.

All that to say…we are winding down and this will be our last week for the Summer U-Pick Garden.  We will be open two days this week:

Wednesday, July 20th, 7 am – 7 pm
Saturday, July 23th, 7 am – 7 pm

Pesticide Free Berries and Produce available this week:
Slicer Tomatoes
Green Tomatoes for frying (be glad to give you my superb recipe too!)
San Marzano Roma Tomatoes
Grape Tomatoes
Red Cabbage
Brussel Sprouts
Cucumbers
Squash
Zucchini
Okra
Blackberries
Peaches, dwarf limited
Sunflowers
Cosmos
Zinnias
Basil/Lemon Balm
Thyme/Oregano
Rosemary/Sage
Mint/Choc Mint
16 oz cup of flowers and herbs are only $5 cup stuffed full
Dirt Rich Book by the Funderburks
Cracked Pot Herb Book by Cindy Shapton
Thanks for supporting our Volunteer’s Annual Trip by buying a Farm Temporary Tattoo for $2

 

 

 

tomatoes in buckets 2016Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Every year we grow less tomato plants, but we produce more tomatoes…maybe we are figuring out how to grow healthy ones without pesticides finally?  It’s either that or just dumb luck…ha.  But one way or the other, we have tons of tomatoes and they are beautiful this year!

We always have mostly hybrid varieties, but always at least one heirloom and this year it’s “Beefsteak”.  The hybrid varieties are:  Amelia, Merit, San Marzano Roma, and Sweetheart Grape.  Regular price is $1.75 lb and if you buy 30 lbs or more for canning, you get a discount to $1.50 lb, if you buy even more, then the discount will be even higher.  We do have some tomatoes with blemishes, slight bruising, etc which we will sell for 1/2 price, so ask about those if interested.

A lot of farms do not sell green tomatoes, but we do…because we LOVE FRIED GREEN TOMATOES and so do our customers.  (We have a lot of customers who make green tomato pickles too.)  Here is my fried green tomato recipe and I hope you do too:

fried green tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe
-Use ½ bisquick and ½ stoneground cornmeal plus Tony’s Creole Seasoning (to taste – I use a lot) as the dry mix
-Use one beaten egg and ½ cup milk as the wet mix
-Heat at least 1”-1 ½” of oil in the skillet on medium heat – do not turn on high, just let it heat while you are battering the slices
-Core the green tomatoes and slice them into ½” slices
-Coat each tomato slice in the dry mix, then dip them into the wet mixture, then coat them again in the dry mixture, set on a plate
-Repeat with each slice
-When you get enough slices to fill up the skillet, make sure the oil is hot enough by putting a pinch of cornmeal mix in oil to make sure it will fry.
-Fill the skillet with slices and after the first side is medium brown, then flip and brown the second side.
-Repeat with the rest of the tomato slices.
-Enjoy!

tomato pie

 

If you have never tried Tomato Pie, you have really missed out…there is nothing like it!  My family never made it while I was growing up, but I had a friend who introduced me to it in my late 20’s and I’ve been making it ever since.  It’s incredibly yummy and a definite comfort food.

 

Tomato Pie Recipe:

Ingredients:
4 large tomatoes, ripe, peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
9 inch prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer the tomato slices, basil and onion in a pie shell, season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together.  Spread the mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cut and serve warm

This recipe was adapted from a Paula Dean recipe.

Visit Stoney Creek Farm and our Pick Your Own Summer Garden on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 am – 7 pm and Sundays 1-7 pm  to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of family fun picking veggies and berries.  We also offer a playground for the kids, a big Toy Box on the porch and free ice pops to help the kids keep cool.  Come back to the farm and remember what it was like to visit the grandparents….step back in time…

 

    Dirt Rich

    Here’s the story of a couple who jumped off their corporate ladders into a small farm…finding a more peaceful and joyful life.  They want to share their journey with you, the difference it made in their lives and how you can live sustainably too, whether that’s in your backyard or on a few acres.

    Dirt Rich Reviews

    “In Dirt Rich, Leigh and Olin Funderburk lay out a beautiful plan for a simple, sustainable life style. Not one that strips the joy and beauty from life, but one that enhances those very characteristics. They guide us through their model of enriching their lives and those of the people in their community, and how you can do the same.”

    Dan Miller

    Dan Miller, New York Times Bestselling Author of “48 Days to the Work You Love”

     

    “Before making the jump to homesteading, you should definitely get the inside “dirt” on how to turn your dream into a profitable reality.  In this charming and insightful book, Leigh and Olin Funderburk, owners of Stoney Creek Farm, share their journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.  Teachers at heart, you will learn (and laugh) as they share what worked for them, and what didn’t, and the (sometimes surprising) lessons they learned along the way.”

    pic of Cindy

    Cindy Shapton, Herbalist, Speaker, and Author of the “The Cracked Pot Herb Book”

    “If you are interested in a practical guide to sustainable farming, begin with this book.  Nothing beats hands-on experience, and in Dirt Rich, Leigh and Olin Funderburk, owners of Stoney Creek Farm, effectively and succinctly share theirs.  Dirt Rich is one of those rare books that simultaneously stakes out an engaging read filled with useful, real-world content, one which is sure to have you out searching for a farm of your own!  I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a jump-start on the journey to sustainable living.”

    Clark Gaither

    Clark Gaither, MD, Bestselling Author of “Powerful Words”

    To get your own copy of “Dirt Rich”, simply click on the link below:

    Buy “Dirt Rich” Now

    Melinda Hadaway is a good friend and sustainable-minded gal who makes many of her own cleaning and personal products out of all natural ingredients.  I asked her to share some info on herself and the reasons she is living a more sustainable life…

    Melinda Hadaway

    I am currently a homemaker. I enjoy sewing, cooking ,gardening, and creating watercolor art. I am also passionate about healthy living….including exercise, healthy eating, healthy relationship building. My goal is to live to the age of 100 ( and beyond ) and do that the healthiest way possible. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. I embrace simple , sustainable living. Above all I am passionate about living everyday to serve God, and put a smile on someone else’s face!  

    Maybe 5 years ago, I started being interested in sustainable, simple living. I guess mostly I was intrigued with the idea that I could make some of the everyday products that I use around the home using products that I had on hand or could purchase less expensively . I liked the idea that I could simplify my days and create a clean, chemical reduced environment . Honestly, I feel good about using more natural ingredients in and on my body as well as for cleaning. It began as more of a hobby and interest, and now I like the way we feel and hope it contributes to a long happy life. Hand sanitizer, hand soap, all purpose cleaner, shave cream, bathroom cleaner are some of the products I make. I have several more recipes I will try as time permits. They are easy enough for me to make. Once you get the basic ingredients it takes little time to put together.

    melinda hadaway toilet cleaner melinda hadaway shave cream

    It does save some money, but I think the best thing to do is weigh the cost: that means think about the amount of time you want to spend and the cost of purchasing the products.  If you can save time and money….homemade is good. 

    Sustainable Farm Conference at Stoney Creek Farm

    I went to the Stoney Creek Farm Sustainable Conference on April 14-15 this year.  I loved the fact that it was on an actual farm right here I the city I live in, and hosted by two amazing people my husband and I have come to love and appreciate .?  I learned a lot from the conference and here are a couple of “take aways” I got from the : herbs – so many more uses than I had known about before, the book is a great tool for reference.  (The Cracked Pot Herb Book by Cindy Shapton  www.cindyshapton.com).  Because I really like honey, the lecture on bee keeping from Jay Williams, Williams Honey Farm https://williamshoneyfarm.com/ was informative and interesting as well. 

    bee 3

    The most important reason I want to live and share my ideas with others about sustainable living (repurposing, recycling, taking care of the earth) is…for me it makes sense and it’s all connected: simple, more minimal living, creates space, I like to call it margin. You see, even though life is full for me and my husband right now we are not “busy” this life we live is full, full of happy times, simple living, and beautiful relationships because we have created that “space” we call margin.  And here are a few more…

    1. I want to share this with others because I want them to experience the same contentment we have found.
    2. I believe I have found a healthy balance in using natural products, repurposing items around the house. I don’t like to think that I will ever plan to go overboard in any one area just learn the balance and keep it simple. I have recently began reading Joshua Becker’s new book “The More of Less”. He is known for his becoming minimalist initiative . I would highly recommend this book as he explains how to find the life you want under everything you own. Less stuff to manage means more time to learn and share what God has blessed me with.
    3. Also, I find in the kitchen as far as cooking, using foods that are not processed, cooking more at home vs eating out, planning meals ahead( which I have been doing for 39 years), preserving herbs and other things I grow are among the things I do to keep us healthy and hopefully live longer .

    Melinda and I are kindred spirits about sustainable living.  If you would like more information about Melinda and how to contact her…see her card below:

    melinda hadaway business card

    Learn how to grow your own Healthy Food on a local farm in Franklin, TN.  Stoney Creek Farm rents gardens and teaches you (and your family) how to grow your own Healthy Food without the use of pesticides.

    Rent a Garden to Grow Healthy Vegetables for your entire family.  We teach you how.
    Garden Rental Plots sizes and prices (for the entire season May – October):
    10’x10′  $75
    10’x20′  $100
    10’x20′  $125 (best value)

    Stoney Creek Farm is located at 4700 Coe Lane in Franklin Tennessee, near I-65 and Hwy 96.

    To sign up for your own Garden Rental click the link below:
    Garden Rentals

    Call/text 615-591-0015, e-mail stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com, or visit our website http://www.stoneycreekfarmtennessee.com

    Speaker List for the Sustainable Living Farm Conference

    portrait of Olin and Leigh

    Leigh and Olin Funderburk
    Owners of Stoney Creek Farm
    and

    Authors of “Dirt Rich – How to Experience More Joy and Less Stress Through Sustainable Farm Living”

    Leigh Funderburk was born in Humboldt, Tennessee, and grew up most of her life on a small family farm.  She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982 and had an extensive 30-year corporate career, most recently with Xerox, before “going back to the farm.” She retired from corporate life in 2013, to better devote her energy to sustainable farming.

    Olin Funderburk was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, and, as a “preacher’s kid,” lived all over the Southeast. Olin has a BS in Construction, Engineering, and Technology, and currently owns a construction company with three other partners, where he still works.

    Olin and Leigh have been teaching people how to live a more simple and sustainable life since they opened Stoney Creek Farm to the public in 2010. Their dream is to help everyone become “Dirt Rich,” whether they live in the country or the city.

    pic of Cindy

    Cindy Shapton
    The Cracked Pot Gardener

    Cindy Shapton speaks, writes, designs and coaches when she is not working in her own garden.  She has been a regular on local television with ‘Talk of the Town’ and has appeared on Volunteer Gardener.

    Known as The Cracked Pot Gardener; the title of a column Cindy wrote for the Williamson Herald. Cindy writes articles for many magazines and is a regular contributor for State-by-State Gardening and The Tennessee Gardener as well as a contributing garden expert to Tractor Supply Company’s ‘Know How Central’.

    She is the former owner of Hyssop Hill Herb Farm and Coyote Herb Ranch both in Franklin, TN. Cindy is past president of the Williamson County Master Gardeners.

    Cindy is the author of “The Cracked Pot Herb Book” – Simple Ways to Incorporate Herbs into Everyday Life. Visit her website www.cindyshapton.com  

     

    David Cook

    David Cook
    TN Agricultural and Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent

    David Cook works for the UT Agriculture Extension Office in both the Agricultural and Commercial areas in Davidson County.  He is a tremendous resource in many aspects of Agriculture and especially in organic methods to control insect populations and reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides.  He is a “bug fanatic” and teaches the identification of beneficial insects and how to use them to eliminate pesticides.  Always a favorite speaker, David will WOW you with his knowledge of beneficial insects and using Nature’s resources.

    Jay Williams

    Jay Williams
    Williams Honey Farm

    Jay Williams has been in the family bee business since he was very small.  His dedication to preserving and protecting our pollinators has been nonstop and deserves recognition.  He describes his Honey Farm in the following way…

    “Williams Honey Farm is just like a bee hive. We have many moving parts that all work together for 1 common goal: Survival of the honeybee.

     We accomplish this goal through 4 main avenues:
    Educate the public through visits to schools, churches, garden clubs, and beekeeping events.
    Feed the bees in new and interesting ways and at the same time create bee conservationists we affectionately call “Polleneers”.
    Produce 100% natural products of the hive through sustainable beekeeping practices.
    Give back to the bees through annual projects including free Seed Bombs to Nashville Area school children.

    1 in every 3 bites you take is thanks to a honeybee.  If you feed the bees then you’ll feed the world.  We are ready to do this one flower at a time.”

    paul deepan

    Paul Deepan
    Reiki Master

    Paul became a Reiki Master to further his passion for peace and healing in a fallen world.  Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing that originated as a desire to heal as Jesus healed. Paul will cover a description of Reiki and how modern science is starting affirm some of the insights that we have had from ancient days.

    Paul Deepan was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and in addition to the United States, has lived in Trinidad, England and Canada. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, and Master’s degrees in Biology and Business from the Universities of Waterloo, and Western Ontario, respectively. Paul is the author of the award-winning fantasy novel, The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree, and has written and taught in a variety of niches.  Paul ghost writes book-length projects for people who may be too busy or too overwhelmed to tackle this daunting task on their own.

    marc-smith

    Marc Smith, DVM
    Natchez Trace Veterinary Services – Nashville  Veterinarian · Alternative & Holistic Health
    Even if I didn’t use alternative veterinary medicine techniques in my practice, I am definitely a better practitioner and veterinarian because I know the options and techniques. People ask questions, and they want credible answers. Non-traditional veterinary techniques have forced me to become a better communicator, a more critical thinker, and better diagnostician.”
    -Marc Smith, DVM

    Since 2005, Marc Smith DVM has been a pioneer in the field of integrative veterinary medicine.  His mission is to help pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives and strengthen the human/animal bond.  Dr. Smith accomplishes this goal by empowering pet owners by educating them in pet healthcare choices and the vast array of options available in veterinary medicine.

    After graduating from University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998, Dr. Smith founded an equine practice in his hometown of Nashville, TN. Since then his focus has expanded to include small animals, alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and animal chiropractic.

    Dr. Smith’s services include:

    • Acupuncture
    • Alternative Cancer Treatments
    • Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
    • Herbal Medicine
    • Chiropractic
    • Prolotherapy
    • Specialty Surgeries including TTA and TPLO for Cruciate Disease
    • Stem Cell and Platelet Rich Plasma

    question mark

    Surprise Guest Vegan Chef

    The Friday night Conference Dinner will be a Total Healthy Learning Experience as we taste and learn about healthy juicing and easy to prepare vegan food.

    Nutritious Food (to live a long and healthy life) that you can prepare even on a week night.

    _________________________

    In addition to two full days of learning how to have MORE JOY and LESS STRESS through sustainable farm living, attendees will receive:

    Dirt Rich
    by Leigh and Olin Funderburk

    The Cracked Pot Herb Book
    by Cindy Shapton

    48 Days to the Work You Love
    by Dan Miller

    barn house plans for your homestead

    greenhouse construction plans

    Sustainable Living Farm Conference Notebook

     

    How to Find the Right Breed of Chicken

    When considering purchasing chickens for your farms, there are some very professional, reputable online hatcheries that will send you chicks, and we recommend you consider going through breeding programs such as these. We order our chicks from McMurray Hatchery based in Iowa, and their website is https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com

    Most breeders will provide certain guarantees with them (e.g. certain number of males, females etc.) but this is not 100% reliable, as sexing eggs is ridiculously difficult. You will always get a couple of roosters (which you won’t want as, surprise, these don’t lay eggs). Our most recent breed is a sex link chicken called Red Star. They are brown-egg layers and consistently produce an egg a day from each hen. The Hatchery guaranteed all hens, since the sex link showed the females as reddish brown chicks and the males as yellow chicks…easy to separate.

    chickens - poultry of the world

    Three Main Breeding Birds:

    Leghorns: This is the breed that was popularized in cartoon form on The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show@. They lay moderate-sized white eggs, and are well suited for uninterrupted laying (280-300 eggs per year). They have two laying cycles and will start out slowly, and then a good layer will lay once to twice a day. Then, after 50-60 weeks, they will stop producing for a month or two, during their “molt” cycle (when they will regenerate their lost pin feathers). After the molt, they will then proceed to their second laying cycle, which is less productive. After the second molt, laying becomes sporadic.

    According to the McMurray Hatchery website: “Over 45 years of scientific breeding research have gone into the development of this layer through a blending of special strains of White Leghorns. These pullets weigh about 4 lbs. at maturity, start laying at 4 1/2 to 5 months, and will continue laying 10 to 12 weeks longer than most good layers. Livability and resistance to disease are very high, and the feed to egg conversion ratio is excellent, holding down the cost of egg production. When our local farmers ask us to recommend the pullet that will lay the most eggs of top grade and size, of uniform shape, good shell, and highest interior quality, and do it on the least feed and in smallest amount of space, we suggest the Pearl.”

    Plymouth Rock: This bird comes in many different colors, have red earlobes, with a deep full breast and abdomen, which are great attributes for laying eggs. They live longer than other breeds, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they will produce eggs longer. These birds are great in cold temperatures. (Note: chickens are not as temperature robust as other animals, such as goats. Many breeds don’t like the cold, and in cold temperatures you will likely need a heater in the coop, while when it is hot, you should probably open all the doors, and perhaps even put in a fan, as we do).

    Plymouths are pretty docile, and lay large brown eggs. Egg production varies among the various subtypes of this breed, but mimics the output of the Leghorn. The McMurray website states: “Prolific layers of brown eggs, the hens are not discouraged by cold weather. Their solid plumpness and yellow skin make a beautiful heavy roasting fowl. Their bodies are long, broad, and deep with bred-in strength and vitality.”

    Rhode Island Reds:  This is one of the most, all-time popular breeds of truly American chickens. Developed in the early part of this century in the state of the same name, they have maintained their reputation as a dual-purpose fowl through the years. Outstanding for their egg-production qualities, this breed has led the contests for brown egg layers time after time. No other heavy breed lays more or better eggs than the Rhode Island Reds. Baby chicks are a rusty red color and the mature birds are a variety of mahogany red.

    This is definitely the most popular breed for backyard layers, which may be the type of small flock most single-family farms will have. They are very cost-effective, but our experience has shown that they are not one of the most docile, so although you will have the usual “pecking order” you may want to consider another breed for a backyard flock. If you are raising them strictly to sell the eggs… then they are one of the best, usually laying over 300 large brown eggs per year per hen.

    Fun fact: About 90% of the time, you can predict the color of the eggs a chicken will aly by the color of the earlobes.  Chickens have a little tuft of feathers right over their ear sockets, and if white like the Leghorns, they will lay white eggs, and if brown or red the eggs will be brown.

    Next week…”Fancy Chicken Breeds”

    If you want to learn more about Farm Animals and how to have your own homestead, click on this link: Sustainable Living Farm Conference April 14-15 2016