Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Season Ends in Art

Last week we delivered our last box of the season. All in all it was a great season, with amazing weather and good growing conditions. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed farming this year. But there is still a beauty in passing to a new season. Yesterday instead of harvesting and packing boxes we ate soup, napped and watched a movie in the afternoon.

On Saturday we had a great time at a baby shower for Proeun’s little sister. So great to see the family growing! we also went to the city early so that Proeun could go a class for his work and I could help with the cooking. We did have a little time to kill so we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. We had been wanting to go for quite awhile. It is so fun to see kids react to art.


Effie and Pray loved this exhibit. Effie was convinced it was space. I am not so sure. She would have sat there staring at it for a long time. Two was not amused by their interest.



The kids were confused by this exhibit. “A kitchen is art?” But it was in the modernist section. I loved it. I am all about space saving solutions. Art well lived.



This was a modern piece by an artist I know. I did several interviews of Cy Thao and followed his work in my other life as a writer for Hmong Times. Many of the refugee experiences of the Hmong are similar to the experiences of Proeun’s family. This piece depicts their transition from rural jungle to U.S.

We still have alot of projects around here and are already excited about next year’s season. But these cooler days are a nice excuse to pursue other interests.


Timber Harvest

I love trees. One of my childhood homes had a border of woods. I loved those woods even though I didn’t often venture very far into them. My next home had no trees. It had been a farmer’s field before it was subdivided into suburban lots. My first home with Proeun (a rental) again had a border of trees around a pond. Right outside our bedroom window was a willow. That is what I remember most about that home.

So when Proeun and I were looking for a farm I hoped it would have woods–real woods not just a few trees planted around the house. Well we were blessed beyond belief and have 15 acres of woods. However they were not very healthy. We have a tremendous amount of buckthorn that really keeps us from getting into the thick of the woods.

A few weeks ago I saw an ad in the paper targeting woodland owners. We knew we had some dead trees, some fence lines that needed clearing and dreams of a new barn that would have insulation and electricity so it would be more comfortable for animals to birth, even in the winter. But all we had was a wall of trees.

Then Precision Tree and Landscape came into our lives. Steve was amazing. From the first time he came to the farm and gently corrected me when I called him, “the tree guy,” (he is in fact a forester) to his ongoing help through the project, we have been so happy with the company. We still miss our trees but know it is much healthier and usable this way.

And it did take some getting used to though, having those huge machines around. Chris actually did our cutting. He was another top notch guy and really great to work with.


Chris and his machine.



The machine getting ready to cut a problem tree.



Loading into the chipper.



Chipper loading the semi.

We found out that alot of the moisture problems (and hence sick animals) have been because not enough air was moving around the barn. Now the pig pen actually dries up! and hopefully we won’t have as much condensation from the roof dripping on animals inside the barn.

So we now have a beautiful property that is accessible via trails into the woods and an area cleared for a future barn but we also will get a little income. Not alot but we didn’t have to pay for it and Proeun didn’t have to spend months doing it by hand.

Now I guess goats are great for controlling buckthorn. Luckily we have those, including three babies left from this year. Now the children are happy that we are happy the goats are contributing to the farm in a way no other animal can.

Oh and Pray loved seeing all those big machines around.