Tag Archives: Meduseld

Meduseld Pick-Your-Own Grapes

April showers have provided beautiful May growth on our grape vines, and weather permitting we will have these to sell at the Market at Silver Lake Farms later this year. Next year, we will provide the option to pick them here at our farm.

Enjoy these pictures!

Sommerset Seedless Grape

Sommerset Seedless Grape

Concord Grape

Concord Grape

Traminette Grape

Traminette Grape

St. Vincent Grape

St. Vincent Grape

Chambourcin Grape Cluster

Chambourcin Grape Cluster

Wild Grape

Wild Grape

More information on West Virginia wild grapes can be found HERE – WVDNR

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Meduseld Expanding Wine Grape Varieties

Meduseld is expanding the varieties in its “Pick-Your-Own” Vineyard! We are diversifying the varieties so that homeowners making small-batch wines for personal use will have more options. This year we are expanding our Cabernet Franc to three full rows. Our experimental Carmeniere and Viognier vines did well on our soil so this year we are adding more of those vines as well. I have been transplanting Steadler Noir cuttings that I started last year. I am astounded at how much root develpment I was able to get from cuttings in one year!

A Marechal Foch Vine budding at Meduseld

A Marechal Foch Vine budding at Meduseld

We are making soil adjustments as a result of soil test results that we got back earlier this Spring, and hope to see improvements in the quality of the vines. We have been pruning vines and trellising young ones.
As time permits, we are also going to expand our vineyard, adding perhaps another half acre.

A pruned Marechal Foch grapevine at Meduseld

A pruned Marechal Foch grapevine at Meduseld

Once the vines produce their first leaves this Spring, we are sending leaves to a laboratory which will provide detailed analysis of the major nutrients in the vines and give us much needed information for fine-tuning our soil-enhancements.

Even the humble dandilion makes excellent wine

Even the humble dandilion makes excellent wine

This is not all that is going on at Meduseld! Last week the sheep were shorn and the fleeces are ready for us to sort and send off to the fiber processing mill. The Romney Bulky wool is always popular and we are almost completely out of stock, so I am eager to get more of that.

Meduseld worsted romney yarn

And, our seedling trays are bursting the plants are ready for transplanting. Spring has sprung, and we are busy!

What is Meduseld Farm?

Meduseld Farm produces a variety of farm products, and remembering that we are stewards of the land and animals, tries to achieve this using methods that improve the local environment rather than hurting it.

Meduseld is Anglo-Saxon for “mead hall.” We chose this because of Anglo-Saxon roots in the family as well as the bees that we keep and the mead that we make for personal use.

We sell a variety of products and many of these are seasonal. We grow a large variety of fruits and vegetables and these are available at the Market at Silver Lake Farms during the summer months. Larger orders such as bushels of apples and tomatoes are available seasonably at our farm – please send us an email or priavate message on FB. We also have yarn, maple syrup (if the winter was obliging) and lambs for sale that we can deliver to the butcher for your convenience. From time to time we have broiler chickens available.

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We also have assorted beautiful Koi by appointment only. We have Sanke, Kohaku, Ogon, Shusui, Butterfly and more. They vary in size from about 6 inches to over a foot. We have placed a champagne bottle in one of the ponds for scale.

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We have also been working on a one acre vineyard through trial and a great deal of error. Following early mistakes about planting, browsing by deer, and some setbacks due to late frosts, we have learned a great deal in the process. We have experimented with many varieties in order to see which would take to our soils and climate with the most vigor. Even this year, we are still planting and experimenting. We are adding more Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Viognier (the State grape of Virginia) that we planted last year did very well so we will add more. Our goal is to have these grapes available for a pick-your-own operation so that people can make their own small batch wines for personal use. The varieties we have at present are: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marechel Foch, Traminette, St. Vincent, De Chaunac, Carmenier, Chambourcin, Gruner Veltliner, and more. Hopefully we will be able to start the Pick-Your-Own program in 2020. Stay tuned for updates.

Steadler Noir Grape Vine

Steadler Noir Grape Vine

We are also trying a novel approach to the vineyard. Adopting influence from permaculture, we are raising the height of our vines to five feet and over. Not only do we hope this will limit the damage from deer, but we hope to replace the mower with sheep. Not only does this provide food for sheep and save us a great deal of work, but the sheep would in turn provide organic matter to the soil. There would have to be considerations for this, such as no animals in vineyard for months before harvest, and very little use of copper as a fungicide since sheep are susceptible to copper toxicity. We will keep you posted!

Featured Items October 10, 2018 – Corsets!

We have been busily sewing and updating inventory at our store. We have completed two lovely corsets and they are now available.

Corsets should fit very comfortably, so we welcome you to contact us about exact meansurements and fit. A well-fitted corset will feel much better than an underwire bra.

The first corset is a lovely civil war style corset. We have made it with a delightful pale blue silk and lined it with a pure cotton that has a delicate pattern. The corset has a combination of both plastic and spiral steel boning. The spiral steel is in the sides where it provides more flexibility for bending and twisting while still providing good support. The corset is made with a quality busk and strong grommets. Other advantages to this corset is that I have created the cups to curve back in toward the body slightly so that you don’t get a pronounced ledge effect under your garments.

Prussian Blue Silk Corset

Prussian Blue Silk Corset

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The second corset is an 1860’s style corset with gussets for a very custom fit. It will fit approximately size 12 with a D cup. The shell is 100% cotton Moire’ and the lining is a polyester in a silky grey. This corset has plastic boning, and has some hand finishing on the exterior and interiror. It has a sturdy gold colored busk and quality gold colored grommets.

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If in doubt, we can make a custom corset to your measurments and made out of the fabric of your choice. Please contact us for a measurment form. You can see all our clothing items here.

Lambs 2015

We have had some more lambs the last few days.  Here is an angelic darling born this morning.  Her mother is a Jacob-Shetland cross named Elsa, and her sire is Samson, a very friendly Romney.

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Here is another photo of Aslan, who was born a month ago.  He has already grown a good deal and is looking very fit.

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We have been liming the pastures and will be over-seeding them with mixed pasture grasses and legumes.  The legumes fix nitrogen in the soil and provide more diverse grazing for the sheep.  February and March are good months for doing this since with the thawing ground the animals can “hoof it in.”  In other words, the sheep’s hooves press the seeds into the ground and save us from having to till the seeds into the earth.

The groundhog saw his shadow last week, but I don’t believe him.  The birds are making spring calls outside already, and the geese have been mating on the pond.  Hoping for an early Spring :)

 

 

Eating Local and David Austin Roses

Pigs are an exception, since they can be a very dangerous animal to have around children.  We raised two pasture pigs several years ago.  We made a butcher appointment for them on the same day we found they had killed one of the newborn lambs.

Turning to the grocery stores for pork is not an option.  Eating meat from a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) is not what we consider good nutrition.  Fortunately, there is a local farm that raises wonderful pastured pigs called Watermark Farm.  We picked our pig up this weekend from Gores Butcher and are delighted.  Last night we enjoyed this delightful pork loin cooked in mustard and Esther’s potatoes coated with butter and dill.  Beside being a wonderful meal it gave us satisfaction that we supported local families.  Additionally it reminded us how much we benefit from their hard labor.  We are grateful!

Watermark Farm Pork with Mustard Sauce

Watermark Farm Pork with Mustard Sauce

Dr. Mercola reported in his article today that the world’s top-soil will be depleted in 60 years at the rate that commercial agriculture is using it.  Please!  Support local farms that raise food sustainably!

January is the time when our mailbox fills with gardening catalogs, and it gives me such a surge of hope for Spring.  I am not a winter child and view snow and cold suspiciously.  Having lived in Brazil, I don’t see much need for the stuff.  One of the most inspiring catalogs was from David Austin Roses.  We have shown pictures of some of these stunning beauties in our garden.  This year, I am going to turn the front fenced yard into another herb garden and intersperse additional roses in these beds.  Now for the really good news!  They have a generous 25% off coupon code if you order by February 27!  It’s:

UFS

That’s it.  I don’t get a kickback or any revenue, but I do think they have lovely roses.  Go to their website for gorgeous pictures that are so heavenly you can almost smell them.  Their website is www.davidaustinroses.com

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Spring Harvest

I had a wonderful day yesterday, planting and foraging in the garden, and enjoying the first substantial harvests for the year.  Yes, we’ve picked things here and there, some salads and herbs, but we are finally seeing the fruits of all our March, April and May labors, providing a June feast! 

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You may remember our post about growing potatoes in stackable boxes…yesterday I pulled the forms and found early spring potatoes.  They are crunchier when harvested freshly and become softer and creamier when cooked.    Here they are lightly boiled and then fried in Spectrum Organics Palm Oil Shortening.

 

Red Norland Spring Potatoes

Red Norland Spring Potatoes

The children enjoyed juice from the first batch of Nanking Bush Cherries.  Since the berries are difficult to pit, we boil them in water to release their juices, add a little organic sugar and the children pour this over ice cubes for a refreshing drink.  The additional benefit of Nanking Bush Cherries is that they make a wonderful edible shrub or privacy hedge :)

Picking Nanking Bush Cherries

Picking Nanking Bush Cherries

While we’ve already been enjoying the butter head lettuce Four Seasons, yesterday I harvested our first white Radicchio and they two combined made a delightful and completely non-bitter salad.  Four Seasons is showing off with its brilliant  red accents.

White Radicchio and Lettuce of Four Seasons

White Radicchio and Lettuce of Four Seasons

The Chicken is a broiler raised here on our farm.  It spent over six hours on the smoker yesterday with fresh herbs – thyme, sage and oregano – placed under its skin and in the cavity.   It makes a tender supper and amazing chicken salad. 

Smoked Chicken with Herbs

Smoked Chicken with Herbs

I hope these will encourage those who haven’t yet given gardening at try! 

 

 

Sustainable Seed Company Code!

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Go to this post for the newest code!  2015 Code!

Spring arrived late for most of us on the Eastern sideboard of the U.S., and our gardens have not progressed very far yet. So it may come as a surprise that it’s almost time for fall planting!

In Eliot Coleman’s excellent book Four Season Harvest (in our amazon store), he provides extensive charts for varieties of vegetables that are winter hardy and ideal for extending your growing and harvesting season. Additional charts show planting times for each vegetable – and guess what? We are only two weeks away from the first planting times for our zone! Uh oh!

First, take a look at the handy map on page 208 which shows the last frost date for your area, give or take a few days. For us, it shows October 10, but being on a southern exposure we tend to be a bit warmer. Going to Table 16 Planting Dates for an Extended Harvest on page 206 we scan across to the October 10 column and find that beans, beets, cabbage, and all sort of other plants should be planted in June for an extended harvest. Referring to the tables on page 94 shows that planting cold frame crops for fall and winter consumption starts in June as well.

Fortunately, the nice people over at Sustainable Seed Company can help. Once again, they are providing a discount code for Meduseld readers. You can get your root parsley, lettuce and swiss chard, radicchio, mache’ and cabbages from a trusted organic source.  Use the discount code Meduseld0614 (no spaces) for a ten percent discount off any order over $20.00!  Code is good until June 14, 2014.

And according to Theo Bill at Sustainable Seed Co… “Do you have any followers who are bigger growers?  I.e., might order a 1/4 lb. or more of things?  If so, perhaps you might  include a link to our bulk page?  We have over 750 varieties available in larger sizes for the larger gardens.  Don’t know, but if that’s the case, the bulk page is here:  http://sustainableseedco.com/bulk-heirloom-seed/  Otherwise, just the homepage (http://sustainableseedco.com) is good for a link.”

 

Pond Question

I received a question about what we use in our pond to solve fish illnesses such as Ick and fungi.   Since the honey bees drink freely from this pond it is important to use products that are compatible with their health as well, and antibiotic-based “cures” don’t seem compatible.  Fortunately, I have found these all natural products for fish, and am putting them in our amazon store.  They are made with herbal extracts such as tea tree oil. 

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Look closely, and you can see the honey bees drinking from the new pond, using the plants as little islands or “flotation devices.”

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How to Create a Pond with Waterfall

Last week I shared my plans for adding to our permaculture garden, including installing a pond.  This weekend we got our project underway.  I am going to set out the steps for placing your own pond.  This will be a picture-intensive article, so it may take longer to load up.

Prepare your site by clearing it, and assess the area for soil conditions and how level or unlevel the ground is.  Our location is not level at all, and we are going to take advantage of this height change by creating a small waterfall effect at the upper end.  The upper layer of soil is not rocky, but below I quickly hit shale.  This is going to have to be removed with a pick and shovel.

Here I have started digging out the area in the approximate shape of the pond. 

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Sloan is placing the pond form in the hole to mark areas that need to be dug.  Marking paint, available at hardware stores, is a very handy tool for this. 

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This project became a family affair, with everyone clamoring to help dig.  If you look on the ground, you can make out the marking paint showing the areas that need to be dug deeper.

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It is very important to keep returning the pond form to the hole and check it for accuracy of shape and being level.  Using a large level check how the pond lays in both directions.  A pond that is out of level will not hold as much water, and looks wrong.   If your level is not large enough to span the pond, you can use a 2×4 like this in order to verify the height on all sides of the pond.

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It is a constant process of digging and checking.  Please don’t skip this step!

Dig a few inches deeper than you need in order to accommodate the pond.  This is so that you can place sand in the bottom of the hole.  You can also use “stone dust,” a fine crushed stone that is very stable.  Once again verify that your surface is level.

 

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Now it’s time to permanently place the pond.  It is necessary to start filling it gradually before you backfill around the pond, otherwise the pond will rise out of the ground slightly as you fill dirt around it.  Here we have started filling with water, and Sloan is making final adjustments with the level before the pond becomes too heavy with water to shift anymore.

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Now the entire pond edges have been back-filled and we can start placing the two cascade/waterfall “ponds.”  These will be set in concrete so that they do not shift.

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We’d like to have a small cascade so that the water is aerated as it falls into the pond.  Using a Quickcrete mix, we begin to set the cascades.  Mix the concrete mix with water to the consistency of toothpaste and set the first cascade.  Make sure you check the level, and weight it with some stones or block so that it does not “heave” as the concrete sets.

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Place some decorative stones around your base now.  Here we have placed the second level.

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Now it is time to test the water pump.   I chose a pump from Lowes that is capable of pumping almost eight feet up.  While our cascade is not that tall, I did not want to use a smaller pump since I know this will be running 24/7. We’re testing to make sure the cascade is the way we want it, before the concrete dries!

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Finally, the fun part – making the pond look like an element in nature by surrounding it with stones and plants.  You can place rocks around the edges, but we wanted to disguise the plastic edges of the pond somewhat and give the fish areas with cover.  You can see that the stones overlap the edges, making the pond blend in better and giving it a more authentic feel.  Here is the pond on the same day, now filled with water, plants even some goldfish!

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If you’d like to have a pond like this installed, don’t hesitate to conttact our other compnay, Culver Design Build, Inc.  We’d be glad to help creat a bit of paradise in your yard.