Monday, October 7, 2013

Kaw Valley Farm Tour Day Two

Despite temps in the fifties, after chores, I struck out for Baldwin City, where a young 
woman runs an herb farm. 

I think God did not want me to go there. 
After gassing up the car, 
I could not run my debit card through two of the bank ATMs in Tongie, they seemed to both have changed to a type of ATM that does not take my card.  My own bank is miles away, either in Bonner Springs, or Lawrence.  

I took it as a sign. 

I went, instead, to a farm of commercial gardeners I had last visited 4 years ago, here in Leavenworth County.
That day, I did not learn much, and I am so glad I went back! 
See?  The Lord does work in mysterious ways. 

Crum's Heirlooms is located at Redbud Hill Farm. 

This cute little building is the tomato shed.  Tomatoes should not be kept cold... and this shed holds the ripe, just picked tomatoes. 

Crum's does a CSA, as well as sells to retail, stores and restaurants. 

This beautiful old barn is used for processing and storage.  An apple cider making demonstration was going on in front of it.  I bought a cup of cider and it was wonderful! 

You notice everyone is in sweats and jeans, it was in the upper fifties and blowing. 

Here were their herb beds.  I asked what they did with the herbs, and the CSA members get a plant in one of their first boxes. 

Cucumbers, and yes, there were still some ripe ones, going into the CSA boxes this week. 

These are cattle panels, used as trellises.  Growing on these were red noodle beans, very interesting.  If you biggify this, you will see how long and beautiful they are.  
They are harvested when much smaller, of course. 

This garden is planted on a hillside... and they have added twho rows of apples, and will harvest their first apples next year.  I noticed that they had electric tape surrounding the whole planting area now, because of deer. 

This is a cherry tomato called "Black Rose"... it is the most unusual glossy black color.  When preseed, however, Mrs. Crum said that they did not have a very special taste and she was disappointed in that.  She will grow it again just for curiosity. 

(and variety in the CSAs) 

She told us that she put out nearly 1000 plants every year, but this year they had grown only 650. 

Now.... I was gratified to see that they grew their plants very close together, as had the other grower the day before.  
And they don't prune.  She said it is just too much .

Her husband retired this year, and with the help of one son, two part time employees, and one volunteer who comes on Fridays to get the CSA orders ready, they do all the work themselves. 

I can imagine. 

They now have a large processing area under cover just next to the barn and their storage facility, also run by a cool bot! 

I was very glad to have gone there, because Mr. Crum told me about a source for covering for our hoop house for the spring, Hummerts in Topeka, close enough that we can go pick up the covering.  I looked it up, and it's a GREAT source for me.  He also took the time to show me a roll of what had come off the tunnel they had that had blown down.  What nice people!

Then, I went about five miles away across the county to an Alpaca Farm, 
Manna Meadows. 

I basically strolled through and took some pictures.  I have had my camelid adventure. 

However, I will say that I have yet to see alpaca owners that do not have the means to have a nice place to keep them. 

This was a gorgeous barn, with orderly runs that opened into bigger pastures. 
There are 49 alpacas there. 

There was also a yellow tent set up with a display of alpaca products, raw fleeces, and honey, which is also sold here.  I did not get a picture of it.  

I saw this on the way out... I am not sure if it was a little shade house to sit in, or an aviary. I think it would be a great aviary.  The Blessed Mother was guarding it. 

A lovely place, but, as I said... I have had my camelid experience with the llamas. 

On the way home, I realized I still need to go to the grocery, so turned on a gravel road near our house. 
Look who was on the road! 

This was the area where we found Bessie Mae, the little shiz tzu was abandoned and lived here on the road for almost six months.  See those driveways on the right and left?  Those people HAD to have seen her.  She was often on the road when I went by, and I assumed she lived there.  Maybe they did, too, but the poor little matted, starving girl. 

My ex-daughter in law with her good heart didn't assume, picked her up, and brought her to me. 
After vetting her and cleaning her up, she went to live with our next door neighbors, Troy and Kathy. Almost blind now, she still lives there happily and is much loved. 

Uh huh.  On the hunt again. 

I did not let the henspa crowd out until 5:30.  Here Ferdy is taking them to the flower beds.  If you biggify or look closely, you will see little Bluie, one of my two pure silky girls, who is second in line on the right. 

I did not make sure everyone was in last night, and must have left her in the flower bed.  I counted 31 birds, and assumed one was sleeping in a nesting box. 

Lilly got her.  

I am so sorry, little Bluie... My fault entirely. 

As Keith said, Lilly was just being Lilly. 

Look closely.  There are three little goats who were napping in the horse trough. 

It's actually keeping them warm in the blustery fall!

Keith has just reminded me this morning (though I thought about it yesterday) that yesterday, the 6th, is the anniversary of both his son Joel, who has been gone 12 years now, and my own dear mother, Mary Catherine, who has now been gone 5 years. 
I can't believe that that soft October morning, when my sister and I held our mother as she went to heaven, was so long ago already. 
My own sister Kathleen has gone ahead of me now, and Keith's second son, Brandon, to join his brother. 

I have a lot of praying to do today, to our own family angels as they look down on us at Calamity Acres. 


  1. I so enjoyed this 2nd day of your farm tour. Strange a gas station not accepting your card, but then like you say it wasn't meant to be and you did get to see some wonderful sights. I never heard of or saw a black tomato. Now I've learned 2 new things today, the other being that chomping on an apple will wake you up quicker than a cup of coffee. I'll remember your dear ones in my prayers today. It's a very cool and windy day here in Ohio. The sun peeps out between the clouds now and them, making it look warmer than it is.

  2. what a great place that is and i love that little tomato shack! we finally have wonderful fall weather!

  3. Liked all the pictures. I don't know about you, but I've reached the point where there's more folks waiting for me on the other side than there are holding me here. With this world turning as mean and wicked as it is, I'll sort of be glad when the Lord takes me out of here. Still, I plan to enjoy what I can while I'm here.

  4. I stayed over on my lunch break just so i could read was so well worth it, thanx for sharing everything!! Prayers your way today.
    stella rose
    and mom

  5. There is a reason for everything and it seems that you DO listen!! What a wonderful day you had going to the various farms. I have never heard of the black tomatoe!!
    Prayers to you on this day!

  6. Mary Ann,

    I love farm field trips, these pictures are wonderful to view, and your post just amazing. Did you come home with homemade items? Great tip from the farmer regarding the covering.

  7. Enjoyed this tour too.

    I'm glad your sweet neighbors have given Bessie Mae and loving home.

    Sometimes it doesn't get any easier even when another year has passed.

    Take care,

  8. What a lovely place, I love the barn. Black tomatoes, never seen them before! ...

    So many sad anniversaries , sending love and prayer to you on this day -

  9. That is a very big and beautious garden. Thank you for showing us where you went.
    I know all your prayers are heard-- and your hearts are being held gently as you remember past days when you had to say goodbye- but just for now.

  10. What a wonderful way to spend a day :)

    Nice to know that your loved ones are watching over you, and that you will see them again one day.
    Prayers are always answered.


  11. Being from the East coast, mom misses visiting cool places like that. They are hard to find in CA
    Benny & Lily

  12. Life works in mysterious ways huh? Ended up working out well! That last picture is just beyond adorable. Life without goats just isn't right - look at those kids! Many prayers being sent your way as you remember your loved ones, now angels. I was going to email you tonight and stupid AOL has been down for mail for going in three hours. It's driving me insane, I had it all planned to catch up and poof "sorry, we are working on it..." Grr!


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