Garden Update

Our garden is doing much better; still slow but better. At this point, we believe our biggest mistake was using new woodchips verses composted woodchips. This was due to our own ignorance because they did say composted woodchips in the Back to Eden Film. We have been watching the film again and studying more to see what else we can do now, and what our best options are for the future. We do not ever want to appear to be casting blame on anyone. We desire to share our mistakes so others can learn from, and with us.

100_2876[1]The squash on the left side of your screen is mulched with straw. The squash on the right side of your screen is mulched in woodchips. :) Big difference!

So, we are gently raking off the top layers of woodchips, trying not to disturb the top layer of soil. We are then adding more compost, and re-mulching heavily with straw. The woodchips really did work great to build our soil in may other ways. It is actually beginning to look like really garden soil instead of the sandy dirt we are used to seeing. We have much more organic material in the soil and the earthworms are everywhere now.  Our pest bug problems seem to be better so far this year as well. Not sure if it’s the chips/mulch or just the cooler Spring. I will be continuing to spend time watching the garden predator populations to see if the chips have helped in this way. I think they probably have. The main problem we learned in placing new woodchips on the soil was that as they break down, they “rob”, or use, much of the available nitrogen in the top layers of the soil. This layer is where the plant’s main root base is located and they need it in plentiful amounts for their initial growth stages. As you can see in the picture above, the squashes on the left in the straw had plentiful amounts of available nitrogen and the plants on the right did not. It really does make all the difference in the world. The good news is that the nitrogen is not actually gone, it’s just tied up right now as the chips decompose. So, as they complete their breakdown, the nitrogen will be released back into the soil in an available state. With all our advances in science, we still know so little about the earth itself. Truly good healthy garden soil is literally live with microbial and insect life. What an amazing design that God uses to grow everything we need for life. The better we can make our soil, the better will be our food, and then the better our health and our life!

In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying our spring (almost summer).

100_2872[1]100_2871[1]100_2873[1]100_2874[1]Yesterday, we enjoyed awesome oatmeal pancakes with fresh maple syrup (made by our adopted older brother Dillon Dornink!) and then had a great time in the Word on our front porch. We love to read the proverb corresponding with the day of the month so yesterday we read Chapter 18 because it was June 18th. We read 2 verses at a time rotating around in age order. So everyone gets to read and then we talk about what we read. God is good and we are thankful for all he is teaching us in this season.

All for Him, Gil and Cynthia (for the Flock)

 

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Questions on our garden

As we are trying to learn from each other, I thought I would post some questions we have received, along with the answers. Please keep suggestions coming as we want to learn together. Thank you all for your calls, emails, and prayers.

Did you all till the wood chips in?
No, We did not till the garden. We did dig up Bermuda grass in a few rows but we are experiencing the same results on the entire garden. Most of the garden does not have new wood chips, only a thin layer of old ones from last year.
Did you plant in the wood chips?
No, we did not plant in the wood chips. We raked the existing wood chips back and planted directly in the soil. We did not re-mulch, push wood chips back up to plants, or add new wood chips.
Did it start growing good and then just stop?
No it didn’t start growing good, most plants are basically the same size as when we planted them or they have grown very little even after weeks. The seeds that did germinate basically stopped at about an inch or so tall.
Have you tried any fertilizers?  Like kelp, alfalfa meal, blood meal, fish meal, or compost tea?
This year we have used fish emulsion, organic miracle grow, and cottonseed meal. We think this is why the plants are alive at all.
Did you plant your seedlings yet? Yes, we’ve planted everything except fall squash.
 I wasn’t sure of your last frost date? April 15th is our average last frost but this year we had a frost in the beginning of May.
All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

 

 

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Garden Lost for 2014 Season

We are cancelling our CSA Program and our markets for the 2014 growing season. We regret to inform all of our customers that we tried the wood chip mulch in our garden and it did not work for us. Our garden is stunted and basically won’t grow. We do not want to cast any blame on the Back to Eden program. However, we have been informed that the wood chip method does not work in Oklahoma due to our climate and soil biology. So we would encourage any one desiring to try this method to test it on a small part of their garden before applying wood chips to their entire garden. If you are a CSA Member you will be receiving a refund in the mail this week. We are unsure how this will affect us in the future. We do not know if God is closing the door of our farm for business or not. We seek to serve Him wherever He plants us. We covet your prayers as we try to reclaim the garden and seek direction for our future. For those interested or those suffering the same plight, our plan at this time is to rake off all wood chips into the paths and cover the rows with as much organic material as we can get our hands on. We would love to hear from any one who has any wisdom in this area. Thank you all for your support of our farm and our family.

All for Him, Fleshmanflock :)

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Farm Happenings

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Most of the below happened in one day. Yes, life is busy but it’s a good busy. We’re doing what we feel God has called us to do, we love it (most of the time :) ) and we’re doing it together. We worked on installing our new irrigation system. Above – Daddy and Danny’s holding a spool of drip tape. Below – Abby runs to the other end of the row holding the drip tape.

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The woodchip mountains make a great place for a rest.

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Above – It’s Timmy’s turn to hold the drip tape.

Below – We started our sweet potato slips. We put toothpicks in the sweet potatoes and then placed them in a canning jar of water. In about 4 weeks, we’ll pull off the sweet potato slips and put them in water to root before planting them in the garden.

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Doing these projects together remind us of why this whole thing started. The vision to work together so we could spend more time together, walking by the way with our children and loving each other.

Right after we finished the sweet potato slip project, the phone rang. Some good friends blest us with these two baby goats.

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It was family night so we made one of our favorites.

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

First, you pop 20 cups of popcorn. Place in a large roasting pan and preheat oven to 300. We pop extra for snacking and taste testers.

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Emily and Hannah volunteered to be taste testers.

Then, you whisk together 1 c. sucanat or sugar (white or brown), 1/4 c. honey, and 1 stick butter. Stir for 5 minutes.

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Whisk in 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. baking soda, and 1/4 c. cocoa powder.

Quickly stir into popcorn and bake for 8 minutes at 300. Watch closely as it can burn easily. We’ve even skipped the baking part. :)

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Another day, the boys do school around the sweet potato slips.

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While Alyssa helps catch up on some sewing.

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Last night we hurried and covered everything we could with row covers. So far, everything I’ve checked was spared. Thank God. After losing everything last year to a late freeze, we try to get everything covered. Live and learn. :)

Blessings from the Flock!

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Planting Spring Crops and Fertilizing Fruit Trees

100_2259[1]Gil spent the day preparing rows for planting! The dark soil looks so much better than the red dirt that used to be there. Every year it looks a little better.

100_2261[1]100_2263[1]Unfortunately, we haven’t got the greenhouse built yet. Hopefully by the end of the year. So our starts are in the cold frame, all 1,608 of them! The children transplanted some of them into the garden today.

100_2265[1]Here, Daniel is planting Swiss Chard.

100_2266[1]Alyssa is preparing this row for lettuces. Buttercrunch, Red Salad Bowl, and Romaine!

100_2267[1]Timothy and Abigail are fertilizing the baby fruit trees with fish emulsion. It’s great stuff, but phew! Definitely made of fish! :-)

Hopefully, we’ll get our cole crops in tomorrow! We are so grateful for our sweet children to share this dream with us. We would not be able to do it all without them.

Blessings from the Flock!

Gil and Cynthia…

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Sowing Starts and New Shirts!

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We got our t-shirts in today!

I have never felt more blessed or more busy in my life. We are so thankful for the life the LORD has blessed us with! We are living our dream. All my life I’ve dreamed of having a family. I am so thankful to be able to be home to support Gil in his dream of our farm (I’m the secretary), homeschool and spend the day with my best friends (our children), and learn how to run our farmstead. We are learning so fast that I can hardly take it all in. I want to try to post more of our daily life for those of you who would like to contact us with advice (please don’t hesitate to leave advice or questions on our contact us page) and for those who would like to learn along the way with us. We are so thankful for all those who the LORD has brought across our path to teach us. So if you share a similar dream, I hope this website can help us learn together.

Right now on the farm, we are very busy preparing for this growing season. We got our t-shirts in today. Yippee! We all put them on before we even washed them! The kids kept saying over and over, “I love my shirt!” So sweet. We applied and were accepted for the Edmond Farmers Market. Yippee again! We missed doing markets last year and are so excited to prepare for them this year. We will also be doing our CSA Membership. We are making lots of new varieties of soap. We’ll add them to our Soap page as they are available for sale. The girls’ favorite so far is Creamy Coconut. We are filing out paperwork for insurance and licenses. We are sowing starts. So far we have started, tomatoes (lots of varieties), peppers, squash, zucchini, patty pan, herbs, flowers, watermelons and cantaloupes. We have planted onions, turnips, peas, and carrots. This weekend, we have scheduled to plant more onions, potatoes, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, lettuces, kale, chards, spinach, and beets. Gil bought row covers to protect the crops incase we get more freezes. We still have plenty of beds to prepare for planting as well. Speaking of preparing garden beds, we have had several people volunteer to come help with a project. If your still interested, give us a call for a hands on learning experience or just some fun if you already know how to plant. Here’s some pictures and I better go. Dinner Time!

100_2246[1]Here the boys are fill the pots with a mixture of potting soil and peat moss.

100_2248[1]Then they planted seeds.

100_2249[1]We love to order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at www.RareSeeds.com.

A little potting soil, a few seeds, a sunny window, and your off and running! So much fun! Start your seeds this weekend, if you haven’t already!

From our small farm to you, Cynthia (for the Flock)

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2014 CSA Contract is available online!

We just finished our 2014 CSA Contract. If you were a CSA Member last year, you have until March 15th to return your application for the 2014 growing season. Starting March 17th, we’ll beginning taking new CSA Members. Once all CSA Shares are full, we’ll begin a will call list. That means if we have an abundance of produce, we’ll call you and you can pick up a one-time CSA Share. Thank you all for your support of our farm and our family!

We are looking forward to an amazing growing season!

Gil and Cynthia Fleshman and Family

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Mary Kate’s Visitors

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Life is beginning to get back to normal on our small farm after the arrival of sweet Mary Kate. Today, some of the family spent cutting wood to prepare for the rest of winter. Now they’re cutting wood for some of our sweet family. Alyssa is making bread to go with dinner, I can already smell it cooking. I am trying to catch up on paperwork. Gil and I want to spend the evening starting seedlings. We are so excited for spring to come! So many people blessed our family when Mary Kate arrived. Below is sweet Catherine Norwood, who came to stay with our family and help take care of the children and home while I healed and rested.

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I am so thankful for my family that was with me during my labor and delivery. My sweet sweet man, Gil, my sister, Kristi, and dear daughter, Alyssa.

I was very blessed to have Dr. Willis deliver Mary Kate as well as Elizabeth Norwood, CPM coach me through labor. Elizabeth is like having your best friend to share you pregnancy joys and concerns. She is very calm and comforting. I am so thankful for her.

BeautifulFeetMidwiferyCare.com                                                                                                                            Elizabeth@yahoo.com                                                                                                                     Call or Text 918-361-1557

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My sweet sister and life saver most days!

Below is all the children having a turn holding the baby. Mary Kate is very loved!

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Above is Gramps and Grammy holding Mary Kate. We are so thankful for their love and support in our lives!

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Some of the sweet Burnett family blessed us with a visit. (Above)

The Fabulous Fords dropped by with lots of meals and sweet fellowship. (Below)

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100_2086[1]Grand Suzie and Aunt Chris came up for a great visit. We enjoyed playing lots of games of dutch blitz!

100_2077[1]Gil always says that he’s so thankful for the cloud of witnesses that the LORD has placed around us. We are very blessed by many good friends and family!

All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

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Babies and Babies

100_2137[1]The weather has turned sunny and we are ready to get outside and start prepping the garden. Spring is my favorite time of year. I know it’s not spring yet but it feels like it with the weather change we’ve had! We also had our last set of babies on the farm.

100_2145[1]A buckling

100_2147[1]and a doeling!

100_2143[1]Gil loves his goats. He’s like a proud papa. This buckling is a beautiful blond color.

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We thank everyone for their interest in our farm and our family. All of our kids are pre-sold for this year.

Now for the sweetest baby…….

100_2115[1]We are all greatly enjoying Mary Kate! She does not lack for attention! :)

100_2108[1]100_2107[1]100_2106[1]100_2105[1]100_2104[1]100_2103[1]100_2110[1]100_2097[1]We are so thankful for all the support of our family and friends. Thank you for all the meals, gifts, prayers, visits, and calls. You are all such a blessing!

All our love and prayers, Fleshman flock

Psalm 107:41

 

 

 

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Christmas, a Great Friend and an Amazing Blessing

I know this is late but I wanted to share this poem that Gramps (AKA Don Fleshman) wrote and read on Christmas Day. It brought tears to all of our eyes. Here’s a picture of 4 generations of Fleshmans!

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Top Row (Gil and Cynthia, Don and Carol, Earlene, and Myra)

Bottom Row (Hannah, Emily, Abigail, Timothy, Daniel, Alyssa, and Dylan above her)

It’s Christmas Eve, going on nine or so, turkeys in the fridge all buttered up and ready to go.
The presents all bought and wrapped up with a bow, the trees really pretty, thank God for no snow.
The eggnog is chilling and the giblets are all chopped, I can just smell the pop corn which will soon be popped.
The grandkids are all coming in the morning or by noon, when ever they get here will be no…ne too soon.
There will be cookies and candies and cakes galore,  and chocolate covered cherries that the kids adore.
The home made noodles simmering on the stove, will be better than last year according to my nose.
The smell of that turkey all golden and brown, the rolls and the gravy and honey ham for the crown.
The laughter and giggles of the kids in the den, looking through all the presents that they can’t wait to dig in.
But first we’ll hold hands and give thanks to our LORD for the Son that He gave and the food we could afford.
Then the bird will come out and be sliced on a platter with cranberry sauce and gravy to splatter.
The beans and the taters and yams filled with candy, and all the eyes sparkling, it will be just dandy.
When our bellies are all full all the kids will be hopin, we can go to the den where the presents need opened.
You can hear the kids yelling and screaming so loud, I hope when it’s over, they’ll all be proud.
With games and toys and dolls and cars, there will be ribbons and paper scattered near and far.
Their hearts filled with joy while the den is a mess, why a tear filled my eye, I can only guess.
The day will soon end and the mess will be gone, the kids will be leaving, for the laughter we will long.
The year will soon end but the memories we’ll remember, and the time will fly by and be next December.

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We also enjoyed a visit from our great friend, Dillon Dornink! He really is a great friend because we caught the flu together and still enjoyed each others company!

Last but not least the LORD blessed us with an amazing blessing!

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Announcing the arrival of Mary Katherine! We are very blessed indeed! May the LORD bless you and your family this New Year!

All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

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