We've had a really great year in 2018! It was leaps and bounds more productive and healthy than in recent years. The people we hosted were fun and inspirational, and we learned quite a bit together as a team, as humans, and as farmers.
We hosted work-stay guests through WWOOF-USA and HelpX from across the globe: Canada, England, Japan, France, Brazil, Israel, Turkey, Belgium, and Germany; and from across the United States: California, Florida, Nevada, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin, and more. Huge thanks to all those who came and dug in to make your mark here at Dare 2 Dream Farms. You are so appreciated!
So here's a look back of the year's accomplishments, lessons, and just a few of the fond memories from our farm this year. To sum it up, we'd take these special words from someone who's been down this road:
That ought to be our stewardship mandate, to create Edens wherever we go. That’s why humans are here. Our responsibility is to extend forgiveness into the landscape. Joel Salatin
2018 In Pictures
Jan 4: We let the chickens hunt the garden for bugs and weeds for three months before beginning the garden this year.
Mar 1: We unveil our renovated Airstream Excella500 Farm Stay experience to encourage people to unwind and appreciate the natural beauty and bounty of a working farm.
Mar 8: We find a mole the chickens have hunted in the garden! (I mean, we knew we had gophers munching on our plants, but this our first sighting of these guys!) Also, high-five to all the lady chickens doing work!
Mar 8: We raise new ducklings to keep for more duck eggs. (Unfortunately, resident foxes got a couple tasty duck dinners later in the year.)
Mar 12: The first beds of the garden are formed and filled with produce, compost and irrigation. We didn’t have much of a garden team, or a hired garden manager, so we did a lot of it with the kids. And the first buds are found on the peach trees.
Mar 13: This is no PSA, but our kids LOVE rain, and jumping in muddy puddles, and then baths… definitely baths!
Mar 15: Wyatt can finally wield a shovel! A Raff Family Farm Star is Born.
Apr 5: We find new bats and swallows nesting in the Cold Storage building. Godspeed with those spring buggies you tiny furry beasties.
Apr 12: We welcome 3 new mini-Nubian doeling to our herd: Hermione, Luna and Myrtle. We also find that it's nearly impossible to get back to work when there are baby goats to watch.
Apr 21: With a lot of help from the little boss lady, Zoe, who masters the ladder,
we build out the Dare 2 Dream Farm Stand to include siding and larger overhead cover. And we give the Farm Stand a new spiffy, but rustic, sign, with help from Aaron Rodriguez and his lifelong experience as a graphic designer.
Apr 30: Lots of teamwork goes into keeping the garden going without a garden manager this spring, Wyatt, Zoe and Aaron were a lot of help! Wyatt discovers that garden beds are great for napping when Mom's busy planting the years tomato crop.
May 26: We host our first Farm 2 Table Wedding for dear friends of ours after building our own farm style dinner tables and hunting down second-hand China dining sets.
Jun 12: Attack of the aphids! We find a huge infestation of these bugs in everything from our cabbage to kale plants. But wait… there’s more! Attack of the cucumber beetles found in the new blossoms of all squash and cucumber plants. We order live ladybugs to eat aphids and cucumber beetle larvae.
Jun 16: We watch in admiration as one super strong mama (Karen Brosnan) sinks in nearly all the tomato stakes with the t-post driver.
Jun 21: We find the first weasel ever here at the farm. It was responsible for eating tons of veggies from the garden, and surprisingly it was found right by the chicken barn where it could have eaten eggs or chickens. Lucky Break! Summer Solstice also brings our first harvest of cherry tomatoes!
Jun 14: We discover beautiful, pesticide and herbicide free broccoli and cauliflower can be bigger than your head!
Jun 28: We release ladybugs (that were on back order) to combat aphid and cucumber beetle infestations! Ladybug parties are super fun and educational for kids! Release them in the morning when it's cool so they don't fly away.
Jun 28: WWOOFers Tomomi, Molka, and Juliette harvest early garlic.
Jul 7: We throw an epic farm party to celebrate Independence Day with our Americana Farm 2 Table Dinner featuring Liquid Farm Wines
Jul 19: We try to figure out what birds or rodents in the garden are eating the cabbages, but learn cabbages split with intense heat, especially when overwatered. The heat wave in early July cracked most of our cabbages.
Jul 28: If you mislabel your starts and plant zucchini with the winter squash, you'll find giant zucchini. Not great for dinner… great for chicken treats though!
Aug 13: We say "peace" to the awesome gypsy Brosnan Family who ran our garden for the summer and became dear friends.
Aug 15: We invest in insect barrier row covers to prevent the buggies from eating our starts of leafy greens and carrots. It works like magic! But we also find it works both ways for keeping bugs out, and keeping them in.
Aug 14: We come to an understanding with the garden: summer is for peaches and jumping in accidental irrigation puddles. No need to get mad, there’s tons of fun to be had.
Sept 1: Our Labor Day Farm 2 Table Dinner featuring Transcendence Wines + Chef Augusto Caudillo is a hit.
Sep 6: The Summer CSA is rocking, and we learn that giving the tomato plants more space for working with the plants, also allows us to harvest more tomatoes with fewer plants than in previous years.
Sep 23: Zoe discovers her favorite fruit may be San Marzano Tomatoes.
November 16th: We light up the farm stand to extend our hours!
Thank you to everyone who was a part of our farm this year. Your support means the world to our little farm!