Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tobacco Stalks

I haven't gotten to take any pics of taking the tobacco down from the shed, or of stripping the leaves off yet this year....I will get some the next time we take some down. I did however get some pics of pulling the stalks off the lath.

Here the leaves are in 30 lbs bundles, the stalks and lath are piled behind the bundles.

Ed Sr. feeds the lath with stalks through the Lath Puller.

Two rolls pull the lath through the headboard leavin the stalks on a shelf.

The lath are tied into buldes of about 50 and piled in the corner of the shed for next years use.
The stalks are piled into a wagon and will be spread out on pasture and corn fields.

The white circles in the pics are the camera capturing the flash reflecting off all the dust in the air.

One shed done....two more to go!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cooling Down

Well this is certainly a day to see the frost on the pumpkin………that is IF we had any pumpkins! Some crops did sooooo well and others not so much! Even our “pup” Diesel didn’t want to crawl out of bed to get a biscuit! That is saying something. It’s definitely turning cold now and it will make it much harder for the guys to strip the tobacco. Even being in the shed with some protection after the sun goes down it gets cold very fast.
The geese are flying south but also finding some of the fields to make a stopover and the gun fire is abundant. First thing in the morning you can hear the shots being fired. Several farms around us must have them set to go off!
My windshield needed scraping this morning too! I am not ready for cold weather! I would have liked a few more weeks of 45-50 degree weather but I think we are in for some pretty low temperatures now. I guess that means the turnips will be much sweeter this year! Jean brought out his coveralls and so the season goes on!
On our farm the work doesn’t stop because the season is over! Now some of the other work begins. This weekend sweet corn was cooked and packaged for the freezer. The sheds will house some of the tractors as the tobacco is stripped and bundled. The stalks will be put out in the fields to go back in the ground from where it came.
At home our Oak trees are sharing their abundance with us too! Lots of acorns and many, many leaves to cover the ground…….now of course we expect the rain because each year we have not been able to rake or pick up the leaves due to continual rain! Let’s hope we can get some of them up!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Cutting Corn Silage

We finished cutting the corn silage for the cows to eat over the winter.

Ed Jr. running the chopper with Jean along side with the trailer

Gene pushing up the pile and packing it down with the dozer.

Ed Sr. backing up to the pile to dump off a load of corn.

Gene back on the dozer.

And of course, the hardest worker on the farm, Diesel.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feather Pots

I just read an article in the Connecticut Weekly Agricultural Report that says there is now a way to take chicken feathers and make flower pots from them. The chicken feathers which are an unwanted byproduct of poultry processing may have a more valuable use as an ingredient in biodegradable flower pots. This is according to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist. The pot looks and feels like a normal plastic pot that you could buy at your local nursery. These pots are made to disintegrate naturally without harming the environment. These pots are manufactured without any petroleum components would release beneficial nitrogen into the soil. For the full article www.ct.gov/doag the September 16th issue. Well, Jane I guess we know what we should save all our chicken feathers for! It may take a while but we have time. (Only 24 chickens could take a LONG while so don’t wait for us to have pots for you for next planting season.)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Winding Down

This year has been quite a year for the Garden of Eat’n. We are winding down now on our weekly pickups. This week and next may be the last of the main vegetables. Potatoes and Turnips will be available closer to Thanksgiving. We of course, will let you know about that as the time draws nearer. We hope you have enjoyed what vegetables we were able to provide for you this year.
Our honey production for this year was not as plentiful as we hoped but what we did take this year was good quality. We are most grateful to our mentor John Howe of Willington who gave much of his time and talent to help Chris and Ed Jr. learn how to take care of the hives and bees. Thank you so much!
A very grateful thank you also goes out to Joe Jauss for his help in setting up this year’s shares at Emanuel Lutheran Church. Thank you so much!
If you wish to take home your bins home to store them until next year please feel free to do so. If you wish us to hold them over for next year we will be happy to do so for you.
When potatoes and turnips are ready you can bring a bin or bag as we will let you decide how many you would like to have for your family. We will give you notice by email, blog and/or by phone so you will know for certain that they are ready for pick up.
Again all of us at Rothe Homestead Farm would like to say thank you to all who shared our ups and downs with the weather and veggies this year! We hope to see you again next year!

Edward Jr. , Edward Sr. and Jane, Gene and Diesel, Jean and Chris

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I know, I'm a slacker!

I haven't been keeping up with updating here. Even though the tobacco harvest is done, we're still busy here.

The newest addition to our Farmall family.....I think this one makes the count now 62.

A new fan assembly and a fix an oil leak.

One of the Cubs I'm workin on.

This one needs a new rear main seal on the engine.

Flywheel removal

A buddy of ours dropped of his H for me to fix. Engine was froze up. Got it freed, but it smokes like a chimney.

Bad valve guides.

Pulled the head...gonna put new rings on the pistons and new rod bearings in it while I got it apart.

Meanwhile, Ed Jr.'s been busy reroofing one of the tobacco sheds.

Ed Sr. helpin him out...ya ain't gettin me up there. I'll stay in the shop...thats where the beer is anyways!!!

One more day and he'll have it pretty much finished. Hope the Rain holds off!!


Monday, August 31, 2009

The Garden

This year we are trying something new with the basil and dill. Since the season was so wet and much of the herbs did not do well we decided that using the cold frame nearest the tobacco shed by Ed Sr.’s house might be the better place to grow herbs. These were planted a little late (cause not all good ideas come timely) and they are making a good showing now. We will be cutting them in just a week or so and bunch them. Then you will find 2 small buckets in the Veggie Shack with where you may take a bunch from each small bucket. We also planted cut flowers and savory and marjoram. I will have to see when these will be ready for the buckets too. Next year we will plant the herbs earlier and plan for wet or dry weather.
The tomatoes took a real hit this year. Not many of the farmers we have talked to have had a really great crop. It took corn quite a while before there was any available for picking. The weather this year could have been much, much better. But we should also be thankful that we did not have a real drought that lasted all season or year! Which is worse you ask; drought or constantly wet? Either can ruin a farmers crops in a year.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tobacco Harvest is Done!!

The guys took advantage of every sunny moment of these days to get the rest of the broadleaf tobacco in. Just when you think the day will be great up pops a shower. You cannot take the tobacco in if it is not ready but you need to make sure that you are there when it is and getting the whole routine down takes some knowledge. The tobacco is cut down by the stalk with tobacco hatchets and left to lay on the ground to wilt. The stalk is sometimes 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. The leaves need to wilt so they will fold closer to the stalk when it is put onto the lathe. The lathe resembles the old lathe used in houses that horsehair plaster would be covered with for walls. A spear head is on one end of the lathe and it is placed into a “spear horse” which holds the lathe out so the end of the stalk can be pierced through. Six stalks are hung on each lathe. Leaves that fall off as this is done are not discarded. They are saved and put onto nails placed in other lathe. All tobacco is precious unless too destroyed to be any good. The lath with the stalks are loaded onto a tobacco rigging (think of the rigging as if it were a file cabinet and the lathe is the hanging folder). When the rigging is full it is pulled by Farmall tractor (of course) to the shed where it will be polled up into layers. Think of the poll as a bbq fork! The poll is centered in the middle of the lathe and when balanced it is handed up to the next tier to be handed on. The top most tier is loaded in each shed first and then each tier is filled to the bottom. The tobacco is spaced out so that air can flow through and wilt/dry the tobacco (this is called curing). The guys work from 9:30 am to around 8pm or later breaking only for lunch. This job is not for the faint hearted! This is not the end of the work. This is only one stage. There are more pictures in earlier posts.

Some Farmalls

One of the Spear-horses

Waiting to be unloaded into the shed

Ed Sr. putting loose leaves on a nail lathe


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Still Chuggin' Along

Looks like the weather is going to be an issue for the last two acres of our tobacco harvest. The last two weeks of sun were perfect for havesting, unfortunately, it looks like we are going back to the weather pattern we had earlier this summer.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer Weather

Well we wanted a break from the rain and we certainly got it! The vegetables certainly responded to it with a BANG! The cucumbers look good, the yellow squash perked back up and the zucchini, well we all know that we will always have more zucchini than the whole world can eat. The lemon squash looks good this year too! I hope you all have been enjoying the sweet corn! The tomatoes are another story. This has not been a great year for tomatoes! We are slowly seeing some for harvest.

The heat was hard to take during the hottest part of the day and times were needed in the shade! Our fearless furry hunter went on a hunt and found that the black and white “kitty” had a terrible smell and now Diesel still has a trace of it! He was banished to the shed for a night or two so that we could all breathe in the house!

Ed will take advantage of the cooler days to keep an eye on the veggies and make sure that the broadleaf has a chance to finish getting to the harvest stage. We now just hope that
heavy rains, hail and high winds don’t finish the tobacco before we do!


Thursday, August 13, 2009


There was an announcement that coyotes have been seen is New Haven. That means that you will see them in your neighborhood soon. Usually around dusk or early morning before the sun is up fully in the sky. Why is this important to know? Because you should not tie up your small pet (anything under 180 lbs) without supervision. And even then if your pet is small and the coyote snags it there will be little you can do to rescue it. Some areas they will travel in packs of 4 to 8. The coyotes cross our farm usually closer to the end of September and in October. They can take down a calf and will usually leave half for us. Please tell your neighbors that may have small pets (cats and dogs) that they should be out with them and take them in late at night/early in the am.


Repair Time

Ed Jr. and I spent yesterday helping out our cousin Roy with his JD 350B Bulldozer. The steering clutches on the right track slipped under a load, so we had him bring it over and put in the shop. After 7 hours of dismantling.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tobacco Harvest

We started harvesting the tobacco on Monday. It will takes us a couple of weeks to get it all in. Today is too cloudy, but the rest of the week looks good.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Month of "Summer"?

The Farmer’s Almanac (almanac.com) says “You may notice in the middle of the month of August a subtle change – cooler nights, a shift in quality of light, the scritch of crickets instead of the trill of songbirds”. I got news for the FA because Connecticut has had these things for the past 2 – 3 months now! When is the last 80 degree night? And quality of light????? It has been so cloudy many days you didn’t know if it was night or day. I don’t worry about hearing the crickets because I think they have all drowned. Not only is the farm wet in many areas; our yard at home squiches when you walk over to check the bird feeder or bird bath. I am beginning to know what Noah must have thought about during his time on the ark……….will this wet weather ever go away (just for a week or two so I could stop feeling like a mushroom). Ohhhhhh! I just read an article in the Pollution Prevention View newsletter that is for Summer 2009 (Comes out from the CT DEP Office of Pollution Prevention) that gives ways to save water usage and compares top loading washer to front loading washers…….well, the last item was Dishwashing by hand (20 gallons used) and Automatic dishwashing (full load) 10 gallons…..I am so glad that all these years I have been a staunch supporter of saving water! You can read the articles online at www.ct.gov/dep/p2


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Corn Tomato Onion Pepper Salad

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us to observe on which day in August the first heavy fog occurs and then to expect a hard frost on the same day in October.

Corn Tomato Onion Pepper Salad

8 ears of corn, cut off the cob after cooking
1 large red onion, sliced thin
1 cup green, red, yellow or a combination of all, chopped fine
3 medium tomatoes, cubed
Basil leaves, sliced thin

Slowly sauté the corn, onion, and pepper until just soft. Add the cubed tomatoes and basil leaves. Add 2 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar; blend together. Salt & Pepper to taste. Will serve 12 -15


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sweet Corn

Seems the racoons have found the sweet corn. Just might have to put Diesel to work. Pics came out too dark....will try to get more pics this evening if it's not pourin out.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


This morning Ed Jr., John Howe and Chris checked on the hives. We have one that is struggling along and one that is already producing honey. We are nursing the weak one and will continue to feed them with sugar syrup. The other one (with honey) will get an added super and hope for more honey. The honey right now is just sugar syrup honey because the weather has been so wet and many flowers and weeds (goldenrod) have not had a chance to really bloom. The honey we have will be needed to keep the bees over winter. With a little luck the strong hive will bring our wildflower honey if the weather just cooperates. The other hive may go through summer and fall still being fed. As a last resort we may have to find a new queen. That will be tricky! The girls are out when possible and gathering pollen where they can find it!

By pulling out the frames we can check for eggs, pollen and honey. We also look for disease! So far everything looks good. We use the smoker filled with pine needles to calm the bees so that we can take out each of the frames to check them.

It is always amazing to see God’s creations and how beautiful they are with the sun shinning on them.