Saturday, September 29, 2007

Romney Farmer's Market - Sep 29th

Hello everyone, Just a short note to say that we WILL be at the Romney Market on Saturday. The weather looks to be beautiful, sunny and 77. We'll have raspberries, honey, and many jarred products. We will probably be there until 11:30 AM as after that we have been invited to set up over at the Potomac Eagle train station at Noon. This is when the 10 AM train returns and before the 1 PM train departs. This weekend is the start of the Potomac Eagle fall season and they will run daily. See for full details. Looks like they have big crowds already lined up for this fall as more people discover the train and Romney. We were told yesterday that the 1st class tickets for all of October are already sold out. This is also Heritage Weekend in Moorefield, VA and many folks will be going there also. The fall festivals season is in full swing with something scheduled nearby most every weekend. For ex, the Burlington Apple Harvest festival is next weekend. So come on out and enjoy the fall color over the next 3-4 weeks!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mary Poppins and Choco Bell

Next March will be our first lambing season on the farm. There are numerous predators around our area including coyotes, foxes, and bobcats. All of which would happily prey on baby lambs. So we had been casting about for a solution to protect our sheep flock. The normal solutions include a Great Pyrrennes dog, llamas, or donkeys. We heard of someone, Mr Bob Odle, that was downsizing their farm operation and had 4 mini donkeys available. So we purchased two of them, already named, Mary Poppins and Choco Bell. We can see by their reaction to our dogs just how they work to protect a flock. They face the dog directly, stare them down, and then walk straight at them to get them to back off. If necessary they will stomp an intruder with their front feet or turn and kick with their back feet. They are fearless when faced with a growling, barking dog. Ruth is holding Mary Poppins here. They have a stripe and cross on their back which is their biblical tie to "the way of the cross". These animals have been around a long time. So they are now part of our farm family and have their own job to do, to protect the sheep flock.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Appalachian Festival

Hello everyone, just a reminder that we will not be in Romney on Saturday. We'll be in Frostburg, MD at the 2007 Appalachian Festival. You can get complete details by going to
We attended the event last year at it was quite informative. Its held right in the middle of the campus. This year we'll be vendors and we'll also be giving a talk related to beekeeping at 12:30 PM. The festival highlights Appalachian culture, crafts, history, music, food, etc. There is live music all day long. Perhaps we'll see you there.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Romney Farmers Market - Sep 15, 2007

Just a short note here to tell you that tomorrow will be our final day at the Romney market for the season. Looks like summer's gone. We'll still have lots of red raspberries and still a few blackberries. We put in green beans as a second planting and we should have some available. We harvested honey so we'll have some brand new honey. Its an interesting time as everyone is canning and preserving and preparing for winter. A chill is definitely coming, we had a 48 degree low the other night. On September 22nd we'll be in Frostburg, MD for the Appalachian Festival. Hope to see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Heritage Days Wrap Up

This was our first year with a farm stand at Heritage Days. All in all it was a good experience. We met a lot of visitors to town and our jarred products and honey products were quite popular. Just a few photos here to document the event. I got my picture taken with Abraham Lincoln. He IS quite tall. Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was born just west of Romney in Antioch, WV. She left WV and moved to Indiana when she got married. The observation bee hive was very popular especially with kids. It was featured on the front page of the Cumberland Times on Sunday. Lots of people get into the Heritage Days spirit by wearing colonial costumes as they walk around town. Often they are involved in some sort of reenactment. The photo is of the Fletcher family's triplets in their colonial dresses. We were set up across from the gazebo near Taggert Hall on High Street in Romney so a nice fringe benefit was that we got to hear the live music all day while we were there.

Strawberries in September

I love strawberries and this is a certainly new farm experience, getting fresh local strawberries in the Fall. I did a trial planting of the new strawberry variety, Seascape, which is one of the new "daylight neutral" varieties. And they worked well. Out of the 100 foot trial row, we picked several quarts of berries yesterday. Quite a real treat to have strawberries in September. The birds love them too however, the berry on the right was clearly enjoyed by a bird. These plants do not seem to put out runners like other strawberry plants. They seem to stay put, and save their energy for the second crop of the year. Shorter daylight hours tell them to put out more berries instead of runnering. Berry size is smaller than the spring crop, likely because there is little moisture in August except for a passing thunderstorm. Flavor was very good and they were very sweet. So this is a successful trial. We'll plant more and also when we get our high tunnel greenhouse built we'll have to plant some in there. In the green house we can begin to water them perhaps in mid August and get a larger berry size. It will be quite a novelty to have some to sell at September farmers markets, perhaps next year.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hampshire Heritage Days Reminder

Hello everyone, just a short reminder that the Romney Farmers Market will not be in its normal location this coming Saturday, September 8th due the the annual Hampshire Heritage Days event held in downtown Romney. Instead of the Farmers Market there is a car and motorcycle show in the Bank of Romney Community Center parking lot. We will be set up on High Street in downtown Romney, near Mario's restaurant and the Taggert Hall Chamber of Commerce Building from about 8 AM until 4 PM or so. There is a parade that assembles at 5 PM so most of the artisans and vendors will probably close down just before the parade assembles. We will not have much fresh produce this Saturday. Instead we will mostly have jarred products, honey, and smaller snack packs of raspberries. We will also have an observation bee hive at our area. Based upon our experience at the summer fairs, people really like to see the bee hive and learn about how honey is produced. We packaged lots of honey this week and we'll have a good selection. You can get much more info at or at Heritage Days draws lots of visitors to Romney for the weekend. Romney is the oldest town in WV and history is very prominent for events like this weekend's. There was a fair amount of civil war skirmishing in the area and local militias were active in the area. Civil war enthusiasts track down some of this historical info. Romney itself changed hands numerous times as the town would be occupied, then reoccupied by the other side, when the previous occupiers were called away elsewhere. There is a very large civil war encampment and reenactment held on the field by the river just west of Romney. Its very popular and its quite a display of living history. Hope to see you in town on Saturday.