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The Greenhouse gets its skin

We finally received the skin for the greenhouse we have been building and are ready to put it up.  It comes as 2-  36′ x 100′ sheets and we lay them both over the house attach them at the sides and end walls and blow a bubble of air between them to improve insulation.

Here is a few pics of the covering I thought I would share, thanks for visiting www.morninggloryfarm.com

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Here is Dan and I (Simon) laying out the roll along the ridge, major arm burner up there.

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Dad (Jim) Securing the end wall, and praying for not a gust of wind to rip it off before its attached.

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Meeghan Athearn attaching the bottom rail clips.

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They always look so big empty then you fill it up and it feels so crowded.
This house is just less than 2000 square feet.

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Mom and Zeb come to inspect the progress, she will be wanting to plant seeds in here soon, too soon yikes!

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Always  place your decorative horseshoes with the back (open part) facing up to catch your good fortunes.

Moving the greenhouse

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Here is the greenhouse pre-move.  We have already moved this house once to this location 1984.  Onto what was then a herb garden, involved were Jim and Debbie Athearn and Cody Jephcote .  Now it gets to move again to help us expand our parking and ease the traffic flow both off Meshacket Road and inside the lot.  This is the greenhouse many of you are used to buying plants in the spring, it is also were we have done all of our seeding and transplanting for sixteen years.

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Jim and Daniel pounding the first pipes for the house in its new location behind the other greenhouses and near our composting area.  Using this site does eat away at one of our production fields, we sacrificed about 1000 square feet of outdoors to make it indoors!

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A perspective shot of the location of the new house and of the great job Daniel did grading and scraping it with the loader.

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After the pipes were in the ground we just moved it piece by piece, keeping the bows together and just carrying them over.   Here Chloe Nelson and Heather Jardin are steadying the south wall as Daniel gently moves it toward the site.

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Heather Jardin or “Heather J’ has spent 14 years working with us and knows the farm in and out, literally.  She personally has spent many early spring days in the greenhouse seeding the summers crops.

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Here is Chloe Nelson and Cheryl Harary moving the North wall with Dan in the CAT.

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Heather J refitting all the hundreds and hundreds of bolts we removed.  Cold fingers that day, yikes windy.

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Chloe, Dan, and Cheryl re-drilling and bolting on the baseboards.

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Cheryl slowly thawing and trenching a shallow trench for the baseboard to sit.

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The framework all in place and ready to accept the skin.  The skin is actually two layers, one with UV resistance and one without, a bubble of air blown between the two creates a warm light transmitting blanket over the house.   We just received the plastics and hope to cover the house this week, if we can find a sunny and calm enough day.   The sun relaxes the plastic and it is much easier to get a tight fit with the sun shinning.

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Here is the old greenhouse site that will become space for additional parking  to ease that summer crush in the lot.

A calf born in the storm by Meg Athearn

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On Monday and Tuesday evening as Dan and I were falling asleep we heard uncharacteristic mooing from the upper pasture. We were not too concerned, knowing the cows had water and hay, but both nights we fell asleep wondering… To Dan’s surprise on Wednesday morning our oldest cow Bobby Sue had calved in the night. Bobby Sue will be 17 this  spring,  and had not calved last summer. She has been a mild mannered faithful cow, and we were hoping that she would calve this spring. To our surprise, Bobby Sue had a calf in February right before a big snow storm! As Dan fed out the morning hay for our herd, the new calf bolted down into the lower part of the pasture. After feeding the herd, Dan went to search for the calf. It is common for a calf to go off on its own and then reunite with its mother when it becomes hungry. However the cold conditions and snow had Daniel worried.

During the day on Wednesday I was home with our children Clara and Zeb. In the blustery snow it was not possible for me to really look for the new babe. As the day wore on I became increasingly worried. Dan being the calm voice of reason that he is, assured me that he would be home soon to find the calf. We also called on our close friends Nick and Tracy (major animal lovers) to come and help search in the storm. After looking all around the pasture for about an hour Dan decided to look outside of the fence. Calves are so small that they often squeeze through the fence. In the summer we often have a little team of trouble maker calves that like to break out to eat our fresh lawn. Sure enough Dan found her laying down about 20 feet outside the fence. She was cold and wet, and not making a swift move as he approached. Tracy and Nick arrived just in time for Dan to lift the new girl over the fence into Nicks arms. They reunited Bobby Sue and her new baby Violet(Tracy named her) in the protection of the corral. They are spending a few days there separate from the herd to have shelter and bond. The tale ends well, accept for the fact that our dear friends Tracy and Nick crashed there truck as they rushed over to help us. No one was hurt except the old violet ford ranger, but emotions were certainly heightened and we owe our friends a lot of beer, babysitting, and gratitude. Violet and her mom are doing very well.

Booby Sue and Violet

Bobby Sue and Violet

nursing calf

nursing calf

Violet

Violet

The Foundation is Laid

Cold weather, snow and delayed concrete aside the masons poured the foundation this week and it looks great!

concrete forms all laid out

There are two general areas, the square closest to the camera is the area for root cellar in the basement and a walk in cooler on the floor level with two small offices on the second floor.  The area shaped like a rectangle further from the camera is the new store area on the first floor and wonderful dry storage in the basement.   This wall is an astonishing 12 feet high; although after adding a concrete floor and setting the floor joists there will be less than 10 foot head room.

pumping the concrete

We hired a concrete pump from the mainland to come over and pump the nearly 80 yards of material into the forms. It was a bright clear day, and only about 28 degrees.  Jim said concrete rules are the same as fishing for scallops 28 degrees and rising at dawn and they will make concrete.  Seven truckloads from Goodale’s came and unloaded into the pump truck and on into our new basement.

fair and square concrete forms

What it looks like after taking the forms off and painting the exterior walls with waterproofing.

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Backfilling around the foundation.

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DECA at work on morning glory farm store

DECA got right to work preparing for the post and beam company.  They have to build a floor (deck) across the foundation and here John is welding the first piece of steel beam into place.

Masons working feverishly

Over the weekend and early this week the masons have been working feverishly to complete the concrete forms so they can pour the concrete before the cold spell hits on Friday, let hope they can.  Anthony Bartok  and his team from Fair and Square Concrete have really been earning their meals down in the hole.  I was pleased to see such an all Island boy crew working the forms; Anthony Bartok, Dylan Estrella, Greg Belcher,  and Damien  Childs were all pounding away on the forms.  It is a 12 foot high foundation wall that should leave us with an ample 10 feet of head room in the finished area.

Complications to the foundation are many but being over come, the ‘sugarly’ sand that makes up our subsoil crumbles easy and with the freeze thaw and that heavy rain the pit is collapsing a bit.   The new floor will be about 4 feet lower than the floor it abuts so a retaining and support wall must be built.   The walk-in cooler area needs floor insulation and additional supports.  The large fir posts that will hold the new store up need a concrete footing created underneath the existing basement floor.   The biggest threat to the foundation is that the only concrete company on the island is unable to pour on Thursday when we are ready; and on Friday we expect it to be too cold and stay that way for a while.  Fair and Square are trying hard to get a pour in on Wednesday to beat the anticipated cold, wish us luck!

before the dig

This is the morning before DECA began to dig the foundation, you can see the existing ‘middle room basement’  and the corn/salad bar room.

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Daniel Athearn cutting up the wood from the trees that were removed.

Pitch pine used as flooring

Here Daniel felled a rather large Pitch Pine in the area the #3 greenhouse will be moved to (to make more parking up front).
We sent the largest parts of the trunk out to Katama and Tom Turner’s sawmill (yes the fisherman Tom is also a sawyer) where it will be cut into flooring for the new store.
Tom has been cutting pitch pine for us to lay on the floor but he also has been cutting white pine out of the State Forest to use as our roof, ceiling, and walls.
Tom works with the state on selective cutting, and we very much like his finished products and have been building with them for years.

tomato geenhouse firewood

The wood that was too small for the sawmill gets seasoned and will be used in 2011 as fuel to heat our tomato greenhouse in the early spring.
We find it easy enough to find oddball cuttings from around the farm, clearing field edges etc to get plenty of wood to keep a fire going in each of the two tomato greenhouses.  This will add to that supply, and by the way a off season greenhouse is a great way to dry and season firewood!

morning glory farm new store

Just finishing the excavation and the masons are digging footings for the foundation walls.

fair and square laying footings

Here the masons are pouring the footings, pretty sandy soil eh?

Forms going into place

These guys work fast!  The footings are in and the re-rod is being lattice worked together and form being erected around it, soon we will fill up the forms with concrete.

Addition update, store on the move

design by DECA and Laurie Miller

We hope to get to here in the next 4 months, the greenhouse will be next winter

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Day 2

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Preparing the greenhouse for moving

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This is the greenhouse that set on the south side of the farmstand and was used for plant sales and this year acted as a stopgap register checkout area.

I am the lucky recipient of this old greenhouse, I am moving it to my house (simon talking) where I will grow veggies for my self and do some experiments of new crops, such as figs and tioba this season.

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The store crossing the herb garden headed up toward the blueberry field.

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almost to it’s new home

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This is where our store will sit until we lightly renovate it for affordable housing of farm employees.

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A strange view of the back half of the store about to be moved.

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We had to roll the building off its foundation and onto solid ground using rollers (pipes) where we could get the trailer under it to carry it away.

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These parts of the building will remain and be connected to the new area.  What a strange view, it has been bittersweet for us watching this unfold.   We are fully behind the idea and the need but sad to see the old building go.  Built by us 31 years ago and cared for, loved and well used all that time.  It softens the impact of the move that we get to make the old farmstand into new housing for our farmers.

Keep checking back for more updated photo’s or just drop by, we will all be there nearly every day and are quite willing to share our ideas and plans and accept suggestions.

P.S.  Still looking for some one (preference to island farmers) to take our 12 x 16 walk in cooler, good shape, comes with or with out the cooler shed for outdoor use.  Can load or possibly deliver.

Farm addition, were going for it!

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Our store as it has been for the last 31 years, this front part is the oldest piece.

The 2/3 of the current store will be carried off for use as employee housing up by our blueberry field.

The other 1/3 the “corn room” will remain as will all the buildings behind it.

morning glory farm inside store

It feels so large when totally empty, allot of feet have scampered across those floorboards.

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morning glory farm store from south january 10

deca construction at morning glory farm

Jim Glavin and the team at DECA Construction from Tisbury will be doing much of the work.  Dad, Mom, Dan, Meg,  Simon and a couple farmers and cooks that stayed on will all be involved in the building.

work begins at morning glory farm

The crew has begun!  Wish us good luck and good weather.  Check back for updates on the progress.

Winter Work 2010

dan athearn mulching strawberries

January 5th and Daniel and Simon are spreading a layer of straw over the strawberry plants.   We using the mulching implement attached to the Kubota L245H.  We purchased this multcher from Thimble Farm several years back, it shreds the sections of straw that are tossed into its hopper and deposits them in the straight line the tractor drives.  It takes two people to operate one to drive and operate the equipment, the other to work feverishly  to fill the ever emptying hopper with fresh straw from the wagon.  It took us about three days to cover our 1 1/4 acres of strawberries with 4 inches of straw.  The straw was locally harvested winter rye that we had baled in May and I wrote a blog about; about straw.

Straw berries right?  Well many discussions and researchers have worked on where the name came from.   No definitive answer comes but the contenders are… The fruits were packed in straw to prevent bruising,  the plants are covered with straw all winter, the  fruits rest (free of soil/dirt) on the straw in harvest, or the way street vendors used to string the fruits onto a stem of straw to sell at market, or (from the USDA) because of the way the fruit ‘strew’ around the mother plant.  Who knows but I can’t wait till mid June for the strawberries to be ripe!  Come in on Saturday June 19th for our Strawberry festival for fun and games, and fresh strawberry shortcake!!!

harvesting hog corn in the snow

Dan and I the next day went out to pick dry corn (cow corn) from the Corn Maze at the farm institute.  This excess of corn was generously offered to us as the by product from their very popular summer corn maze.   Our machine broke on three separate attempts at harvesting but this time all the belts, gears, fans, and chains seemed to work!   The machine is a New Idea 1 row corn picker we picked up at a Massachusetts farm auction in 2000, towing a John Deere model 15 manure spreader converted to a dump wagon, and of course the pride of the fleet towing it all the John Deere 5225 tractor.    This corn in a staple in the diet (we always grow our own as well) of our hogs, who we try to feed as many local ingredient as we can.  From a corn maze to pork chops!  A big thanks to the FARM Institute!

wagon full of hog corn in katama

WMVY Radio Ad

Here is our radio spot for December.

It may be getting cold, but at Morning Glory Farm we are still harvesting delicious vegetables from our fields and greenhouses, plus a ton of winter squash in storage.  We have our own eggs and our own beef, pork and chicken at our farmstand in Edgartown, on the West Tisbury Road, and we buy the best of the Boston Markets to give our customers a full selection of Good Food.

This time of year our kitchens are preparing delicious pies, zucchini breads, and big muffins and will be happy to take your holiday orders.  Our salad bar is the freshest on the island and our home-made soups are legendary.  We even cook up our meat, potatoes, and veggies for you to take home ready to eat.

For gifts, how about our book, Morning Glory Farm and the Family That Feeds an Island, or a gift box of our jellies or pickles? Gift certificates can be used next summer and are sure to be appreciated.

We have freshly cut New England Christmas Trees, wreathes, evergreen garlands and our own holly from Chilmark.

At Morning Glory Farm you can warm yourself by the woodstove, drink a free cup of hot cider and have tasty snack.  It’s a good place to be and we will be happy to see you.

December crops, bounty of the season.

It may surprise some people to learn that we still have so much growing here at Morning Glory.  Our maritime climate offers a long fall growing season that allows some crops to thrive; all the cole crops, the broccoli cabbage and kales’; all the brassica greens, mustards aruglua etc; and the spinach loves the cool weather; lettuces can withstand several moderate frosts.  We also have 5 greenhouses filled with lettuces, greens, spinach, boc choi, cucumbers and zucchini.

december organic broccoli

We are still picking:

Broccoli

Boc Choi

Bonsai-Boc Choi

Cabbage

Chard

Collards

Red Russian Kale

Tatsoi

Cape White Turnips

Baby Hakurei turnips (radish sized)

7 Varieties of head lettuce

Spinach, great late season crop this year!

Parsnips

Baby salad greens

Baby mustards

Mesculn salad mix

Radishes

White potatoes

Yukon Potatoes

Garlic

Heaps of Butternut and Acorn squashes

Island Cauliflower

Island Carrots

Dozens of fresh herbs picked daily

Kohlrabi ripe for xmass

Greenhouse grown zucchini and pickling cukes

osaka, suehlihung, red mustards