Farm Update: March 2014

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Our little seeds have made huge progress. We've got them setup in our upstairs for warmth, and on our south facing window so they can catch that sun!

Been watering each morning with a little spray bottle to gently add water. We didn't properly soak the soil that we put into the biodegradable cups, so those seeds started later since they didn't have enough water. Lessened learned there: get all the soil moist before adding seeds.
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Remnants of The Fall: Garlic!

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Last fall we planted 44 gloves are garlic! Look at those little guys in the ground.

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And now look at these little suckers, they've made it through the winter and are already kicking butt this spring! They had to survive squirrel attacks and freezing cold weather, so it was no small task.

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Planting The Seed

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We got down to business and planted our seeds (most of them anyway)! Jen had it all organized out. Not to brag, but we did plant 144 onions. We had some seeds and they would have expired by next year.

We used this awesome calculator to figure out when to plant our seeds:

But we planted regular amounts of:

  • Tomatoes
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Cosmos (flower)

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We got our seeds from Seed Savers and High Mowing Seeds this year

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1 Black Cherry Tomato SS Black Cherry Tomato SS Black Cherry Tomato SS Tomatillo Tomato SS Tomatillo Tomato SS
2 Cherokee Purple Tomato HM Cherokee Purple Tomato HM Cherokee Purple Tomato HM Cherokee Purple Tomato HM Cherokee Purple Tomato HM
3 Brandywine Tomato HM Brandywine Tomato HM Brandywine Tomato HM Brandywine Tomato HM Yellow Perfection Tomato HM
4 Sunkist F1 Tomato HM Sunkist F1 Tomato HM Sunkist F1 Tomato HM Yellow Perfection Tomato HM Yellow Perfection Tomato HM
5 Gold Medal Tomato SS Gold Medal Tomato SS Gold Medal Tomato SS Gold Medal Tomato SS Gold Medal Tomato SS
6 Dester Tomato SS Dester Tomato SS Dester Tomato SS Dester Tomato SS Dester Tomato SS
7 Black From Tula Tomato SS Black From Tula Tomato SS Black From Tula Tomato SS Black From Tula Tomato SS Ruby Red Chard HM
8 Emmy Tomato SS Emmy Tomato SS Emmy Tomato SS Emmy Tomato SS Ruby Red Chard HM
9 Cosomaut Volkov Tomato HM Cosomaut Volkov Tomato HM Cosomaut Volkov Tomato HM Cosomaut Volkov Tomato HM Ruby Red Chard HM
10 Ruby Red Chard HM Ruby Red Chard HM Ruby Red Chard HM Ruby Red Chard HM Ruby Red Chard HM
1 Orange Chard HM Orange Chard HM Orange Chard HM Orange Chard HM Orange Chard HM
2 Early Jalapeno HM Early Jalapeno HM Early Jalapeno HM Early Jalapeno HM Early Jalapeno HM
3 Jalapeno Traveler Strain SS Jalapeno Traveler Strain SS Jalapeno Traveler Strain SS Jalapeno Traveler Strain SS Jalapeno Traveler Strain SS
4 Broccoli HM Broccoli HM Broccoli HM Parsley HM Parsley HM
5 Jupiter Pepper HM Jupiter Pepper HM Jupiter Pepper HM Kinf of the North Pepper HM Kinf of the North Pepper HM
6 Ella Kropf Lettuce SS Ella Kropf Lettuce SS Evergreen Hardy Onions HM Evergreen Hardy Onions HM Evergreen Hardy Onions HM
Onion Trays
Red Wethersfeld SS Walla Walla HM Red Baron HM Gladstone HM


Farm Blog 2014: Getting Started

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I'll start from the start: dreaming! Jen and I had a date back in early February to plan our garden this year. This will be year 2 for us! So we took a lot of what we learned last year and built upon that. We ordered some new seeds and ordered more of old seeds. We dreamed of expanding and more of everything!

We also had some coffee and cinnamon rolls

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We are very excited to get started this year. Jen is an amazing little farmer, and together I feel like we can do anything and have an amazing garden this year.

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Polar Dash!

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Jen really hates running. But she is one of the strongest and most determined people I know. So that means we have fun doing some crazy races because if you're gonna run, better try and make it fun!

So we did the Chicago Polar Dash on January 11th, 2014. It was a 5k run around the Chicago Lake Front. It was indeed very cold. Jen took some cool selfies the whole way just because the person on the PA at the race said not too. Jen's a rebel.

We came in off very little training due to holiday travel and Jen getting a tatoo, so I was REAL SURPRISED when Jen finished the entire 5k!

As we made it past each mile marker I felt the excitement grow. After we were about 2 miles in I thought "We are gonna finish!"

I was so happy to be holding my partners hand as we finished. #ProudPartner

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Wicked Weekend

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I was expecting another weekend at home with nothing planned. It has been that way for 2 months as I was recovering from my jaw surgery. So when Jen picked me up from work on Friday afternoon I thought we were just going to the local park. Well, we drove PAST the park and before I knew it we were in Indianapolis!

Jen had the whole weekend planned and I had no idea! She had a Bed & Breakfast booked for us. We stayed just off Massachusetts Ave. We had a great dinner at Mesh and Mass, visited The Flying Cupcake and enjoyed a night with friends at Revolucion.

Jen told the Innkeeper that we were celebrating our marriage so she put flower peddles on the bed and wine in the room. The best part of the weekend was Seeing Wicked at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis. I had never seen the play before and it was absolutely fantastic! Jen knows me so well and she knew I'd love Wicked. I've been listening to the Wicked soundtrack since.

The next morning we went to the City Market where they had the winters farmers market and we scored some great bread, cheese and fresh apples. Then we had some fancy Crepes!

We also got to hang out with our friends in Indy. It was an awesome weekend that was completely unexpected but really needed after months of life not being normal. Jen and I thrive on adventures and experience together. So to go 2 months without that was very tough.

Nate's Jaw Surgery

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So it's been just over 4 weeks since I went into an 8 hour surgery. I remember laying in my hospital bed pre-surgery with Jen holding my hand. Next thing I knew I had no idea where I was and I was puking up blood.

Now I'm "eating" almost 2000 calories a day (tough on a liquid diet) and working full-time from home. It's been a long 4 weeks to get here.

The first 2 days was probably the toughest. I spent my first night in the hospital and it took quite a few hours until I really became cognizant. I kept dripping and coughing blood for the first week or so. Swallowing was very painful for the first 3 days (because of the breathing tube that was in my throat during surgery). I used a syringe to drink water 5ml at a time. It was pretty pathetic and real struggle to take in 500 calories for the entire first week.

But, there was a little setback. The day after the surgery the surgeon decided to bring me back a week later and have another surgery. This one was much less intense, only about 3 hours. They literally could not move my jaw any further. They pulled on it and it wouldn't go any further in the 1st surgery. So with the 2nd surgery they got it all just where they wanted it. This was tough because my body was already really weak from the 1st surgery and it's aftermath. But Jen and my mother-in-law Marykay were both there (For both surgeries) and they got me home just a few hours after that 2nd surgery and took care of me.

So I spent a couple weeks sleeping, watching movies and playing videos games. After that I was able to start working from home and get back into life. All of this while trying to increase my calorie intake. It took until about 3 weeks after the 1st surgery until I start getting over 1000 calories a day. Jen did an amazing job of always have new "foods" for me to "eat." Ensure, fresh juice from our juicer!, smoothie, chocolate almond milk, go-go squeeze (like applesauce). After a 3 weeks I graduated to scrambled eggs, yogurt, instant potatoes - anything I can eat without chewing.

I won't get full feeling back to my face for a few more weeks or months, and it will take about the same time for the swelling to finish going down. But I should be able to speak and eat somewhat normally starting the 2nd week of November!  So not long until life gets a little more normal!

Look at my face change over 30 days

Some Pictures from the events

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Here I am before the 1st surgery, not knowing how tough it was about to be. Luckily Jen was there
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MaryKay made the 4 hour drive down, stayed in a waiting room for 9 hours just to take care of her daugher and son-in-law. They don't come much better than that!
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Jen being with me every minute. I couldn't ask for a better life partner
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After surgery #2. By this time I was a pro and could take funny pictures.
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It was a tough surgery
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After a couple weeks I was strong enough to have some guests!


My Old Face

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The face I have now is about to be my old face. I have an underbite - it doesn't bother me much, but that's because I'm used to it. Since being with Jen, I realize I don't eat like a normal person; I use my tongue and lips when normal people would just use their teeth. There are quite a few dental/medical reasons, but the bottom line is I'm having jaw surgery.

Here are the facts since you probably want to know. The doctors are going to cut my jaw in 3 spots. They will cut my upper jaw off and split it in half to widen it. Then re-attach it just a little bit further ahead of where it was. My lower jaw will also be broken and straightened up a bit. Then some of the bone they cut off will be applied to my lower gum line where I don't have 2 teeth so I can get implants later. That's it!

So my top jaw is moving forward a bit, and my lower jaw is getting straightened up. Primary affects will be I will eat like a normal person, my teeth will come together and my teeth will wear more normally so overall dental health will be better. Side affects are I will breath better and be "more aesthetically pleasing" with more defined cheeks.

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Surgery is scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, September 17th. Surgery should last around 6 hours and I'll stay in the hospital for a day or 2. After that my head will swell and the swelling won't start decreasing until about 2 weeks later. I will be on a liquid diet for 6 weeks. If everything goes okay, I will not be wired shut. I will be off work for 3-4 weeks.

This is something I've had hanging over my head for years, so it will be nice to have it all done. I can't imagine going through this without Jen. She has taken care of me so much already (and I'm not even on my liquid diet yet!). She's the most caring person in the world!

- Nate

Smokey Mountains

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It's been a very busy semester for Jen and Me - we are both teaching (me at EIU, and she is student teaching at Windsor), I'm working my full-time job as a web developer, and Jen has been leading some great activism on our campus (mostly Jen). So we took a weekend off and went south for some hiking.

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The weather was great and the trails were pretty empty - so it was great. On day 1 were did the Rainbow Falls Trail since US 441 was closed, thus not allowing us to do the Mt. Le Conte Trail. Rainbow Falls was a great trail, the falls themselves were not that great, but hey, it's the journey that matters.

Day 2 we enjoyed the Laurel Falls Trail - which ended with a spectacular waterfall.

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Gatlinburg itself wasn't that appealing to Jen and I - but it was over-the-top touristy. It was like a state fair decided to make a town - and that's Gatlinburg. But the hiking was fantastic and the park rangers were cool (Jen loves park rangers).

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We also took a chance to put our feet up and snuggle.

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The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Jen had a great gift for me this year for the holidays - she stole me away to Champaign, surprise me with a great dinner at the Big Grove Tavern, and then brought me to the movies to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Dinner was out of this world, if you are in the Champaign, IL area, you really should do yourself a favor and stop in. The Burger and fries tasted great, and I made it through the rest of the night and the entire movie (about 3 hours) and all the way back home without feeling hungry!

The Hobbit - it was awesome! As a long time Tolkien fan and Middle-Earth fanatic I was very happy to have the film live up to my expectations. The entire story was a thrill.

It was a great evening to spend with Jen, she knows the key to my heart (good food and Middle-Earth)!