Tuesday, May 1, 2012


We've moved to a new location!


Check it out for the most up-to-date information about the farm as well as lots of new pages and a new online store!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Some Pictures of Spring!

Tom Erickson modeling our new bee suit with accessories
our georgian fire garlic starting to sprout 
the ducks enjoying fresh green grass
the good news: our ducks have starting laying eggs
the bad news: they've been laying them in the pond

preparing beds to plant sugar snap and snow peas 
fencing in a woodland pasture in anticipation of our new breed sow coming home!
fixing up the garage
organizing the garage (very VERY exciting)! There's nothing like spring cleaning...
Eggplant and tomato seedlings enjoying the indoor light table

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring and our new CSA room!

Well, it seems as if Winter is over and it's officially...Summer? At least I got to see one snow storm before it became 80 degrees...

The sheep are definitely happier, they've started ignoring their hay in favor of the green shoots that are sprouting up throughout their pasture. I've been watching them closely to see if their bellies are rounding out with little lambs, and I believe that they are. They also seem to be lazing throughout the pasture more, but that might just be because they're happy for warmth and sun to lay in.

Lambs aren't the only babies that we're getting ready for. I just placed an order for 75 freedom ranger chicks, which were our favorite broiler chicks from last year, so those should be arriving mid-April. Also, arriving mid-April is our new sow who we're going to pick up from Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont. She will already have been bred, and should have piglets within a couple weeks of arriving. We also recently decided to start two beehives by the garden, which is very exciting. We've only learned a little bit about bees, but we can already tell that they're going to be fascinating to raise, not to mention how exciting it's going to be to have our own honey or how helpful they're going to be in the garden. They should arrive in early May, around the same time as the lambs.

And don't forget about these babies...

onions, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, beets and more!
After weeks of wading through spreadsheets we finally have a full planting schedule for the season, just in time to start planting! With temperatures in the 80s this week, keeping these little guys at the right temperature has been difficult. The greenhouse has been skyrocketing past 100 degrees daily so we've had to keep the flats outside. Although it's hard to complain about beautiful days and sun, this unseasonable weather makes us, as new farmers, pretty nervous. What's next? Snowstorms in June?

Meanwhile, we've been working on our new CSA pick-up room in the barn. One of the rooms on the back right-hand corner of the farm's beautiful 1800s barn was (extremely kindly and efficiently) cleaned out for us, and we got right down to work cutting a door to the garage (aka our tool storage and vegetable cleaning station) into our new farm store!


...and After

Then scraping and sanding

And finally painting!

Now that the painting is done, we can start organizing! Happy Spring everyone! It's time to get back to work!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22nd

Black Brook Farm Growers 2012 CSA has been filled! We're all getting really excited for this year, and we've all got a lot to do to get ready. Our seeds have all arrived and we're going to start planting this week. My mom has been bravely tackling a fresh set of spreadsheets (in order to set up our planting and harvesting schedules), Dave and I are working on a new website that we're hoping launching this year and we're talking about cleaning out a section of the barn for our new CSA pick up spot. 

The sheep are all doing well and are (hopefully) pregnant. We started trimming their feet this week, which requires catching them and flipping them, not the easiest feat, especially when they're as large as this one:

Laurel: the sweetest sheep in the world
Carlisle Grows Green the new Carlisle School gardening and composting program has been nice enough to give us their compost. Yesterday Dave and I shoveled it into the hoop house, where the warmth will hopefully speed up it's progress.  

That's all for now! Pictures of our first little seedlings coming soon

...and just for fun. Last February 22nd:

Saturday, January 14, 2012


We just sent out an email with information about our 2012 CSA. For those of you who are interested, but aren't on our email list, here's a link:

Happy New Year!

We had a great holiday season here at Black Brook Farm. By Thanksgiving the farm was pretty much shut down for the winter, and we were all able to take a break and spend time with our family and friends. We read, worked on projects that had been pushed to the side, watched the movies we'd been wanting to watch, ate a lot of amazing meals and even slept in! 

Black Brook Farm Growers holiday ham getting ready to be brined

The one thing we did not do was blog, as I'm sure all of you loyal fans have noticed, but now that it's the new year and all the Christmas candy is gone, we're gathering up seed catalogs and getting back to work.

Up until now, every month has been a new adventure, with new excitements, challenges and surprises. But we've finally come full circle and are back in the winter planning stage (just like when this blog was born a year ago). This year has taught us a lot, and we have a much clearer picture of what we want Black Brook Farm Growers to be. 

Here are some of my new years resolutions for Black Brook Farm Growers:
  • Get organized: I've said it before and I'll say it again, farming requires A LOT of organization. That means tons of spreadsheets, lists and records so that you can remember EXACTLY what worked and what didn't. Every farm is different, so as helpful as books and other farmers can be, at the end of the day it's important to learn from your own land. Organization is not always my strong point, but this year that's going to change. There's some great online software out there for small organic farms, this year I'm going to try using AgSquared, which I learned about in a workshop at last years summer NOFA conference. 
  • Take risks: We want to keep stretching ourselves and learning new things. That means experimenting and being creative, and not being afraid to try something that we think might work. There's a lot of room for creativity in farming, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.
  • Make money: I know it's not classy to talk about money, but BBFg is a business, and it's important for Dave and I to prove that we can make a profit doing this work. Being able to create a financially viable business not only means that we can continue farming, it also means that we can show other would-be farmers that this is a dream worth pursuing. This last year we saw, and were inspired by, a lot of awesome small farms that were financially stable. We're confident that it can be done, but that doesn't mean that it's easy.
  • Efficiency: We need to use our time and resources as effectively as possible to minimize waste on the farm. (This is Dave's resolution and it ties in nicely with getting organized and making money). 
  • Create a community around the farm: This year, as you may or may not know, we've decided to focus entirely on CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. That means that instead of going to farmer's markets, or having a farm stand, we are going to have a limited amount of members that buy into the farm at the beginning of the season, and receive a weekly stipend of vegetables as a result. Not only is CSA a great way for to help meet all of the resolutions I've already listed above,  it also means that we'll have a community of people who are interested in local food coming to the farm every week. We're excited to share the farm with our members, and to use the farm as a space for community events. We'd also like to have workshops at the farm to teach our members, and the larger community, about cooking, butchering, preserving and more. 
These are just a few of my resolutions. I'm sure over the next couple of weeks, as we begin planning, there will be many more. 

Before I say good-bye (and get back to all that work I've been talking about), I'd like to mention one exciting December development, our ewes have been bred! Eli, a Finn ram, came and stayed at Black Brook and spent some quality time with our sheep. He just went back to Belmont and we miss him already. He's a great looking ram, and was very sweet with the girls. We are crossing our fingers that the ewes are all pregnant. They should lamb sometime in late April or early May. 

Eli. We're hoping some of our lambs will have his coloring.

We're looking forward to a great 2012 season!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Month of October (in brief) So Far

Well the leaves are finally turning colors, even though the temperature is staying warm. Meanwhile, the garden continues to produce a impressive amount. Our tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers may have long since been composted, but eggplants and peppers are still going strong and we have more than enough beets, carrots and turnips to go around. The last Carlisle Summer Farmer's Market is tomorrow, and Mom and I have been harvesting all day.

Brussel sprouts, leeks, carrots and beets

We also have tons of greens that are enjoying to cooler weather: lettuce, pak choy, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, collard greens, arugula, the list goes on. In order to extend our greens season, we bought a Quick Hoop High Tunnel Bender from Johnny's Selected Seeds website and erected a very rudimentary hoop house. 

Dave bolting two bent pipes together

The first hoop

Basically, the hoop house is just fence rails bent to the same curve and then bolted together to form a half circle. They are then inserted into shorter, wider sections of pipe that are hammered into the ground. One last rail along the top of the hoops provides stability.

Next week we are planning on installing the plastic over the top, which will then be lashed to the frame with parachute cord. With this added cover, we are hoping to keep growing greens well into the winter. 

All the winter squash has been harvested from the second field and put them into the greenhouse to dry and cure. Now that the second field has been completely harvested, we're getting ready to till it next week. We're planning on expanding it out towards the pig a bit to give ourselves a bit more room for next year. 

We went up to the Common Ground Fair  in Unity, Maine a couple weeks ago (a really good time for anyone interested in local food, rural living and/or homesteading). The fair, aside from having craft and food tents as far as the eye can see, also includes a lot of workshops. We took the opportunity to learn a little bit more about sheep care and lambing, and I bought a drop spindle so I could start practicing spinning wool. It's not easy.  

Our five ewes are settling in nicely. In preparation for the ram that's coming in the end of November, we have plans to fence in the front pasture - and are in the midst of trying to find the cheapest, easiest and most effective way to accomplish this goal. We were cautioned not to try to keep a ram behind flimsy, temporary electric fence, and anyway we need to create a permanent pasture for our pregnant ewes to live in all winter (since the portable electric fence is also too flimsy to stand up to snow). 

The front pasture
Look forward to the thrilling conclusion to this fencing story in a couple of weeks...

As well as an update on our pigs... 

And my thoughts on how wonderful CSAs are...

All coming soon. 

But until then...

Happy Fall!