Tag Archives: Farming

Broccoli Bouquet – Beauty and Nutrition

Picture 144We used to take our food supply for granted, picking it from a waste-high case in a grocery aisle, giving little thought to where it came from, who grew it and what it took to do that. It wasn’t until we started harvesting our own broccoli that I realized it is actually an edible flower. In fact, there are many edible flowers; nasturtium, bachelor’s buttons, dandelions, clovers, chives, lavender to name a few. To see a longer list, click here.


I don’t know if I’d put this broccoli in a vase on the table, but it sure is pretty to look at as I pick it for an afternoon meal.

garden in morning

Aside from the nutritional benefits of freshly grown organic vegetables, it does something for the soul to walk around in the garden and see the plants a little bigger than the day before, reaching for the sun, so hopeful and full of life.

Whatever is going on today for you, I suspect it will be a little better if you stop to pick some flowers, maybe even eat them once you’re done enjoying looking at them and enjoying their fragrance a while!

Fresh Eggs Are Back


Farm Fresh Eggs Are Back!

Break out the skillet! Farm fresh eggs are back. The baby chicks we brought home in August are laying big bunches of delicious fresh, local eggs.

Bargain Pricing

Right now, many of the eggs we’re getting are medium to large, do we’re only asking $2 a dozen until they get going full steam with large to extra large.

Right now we’re harvesting about 2 dozen a day. If you like, you can call ahead to ask if we have eggs for sale: 603 569 7701.

Bock, Bock!

Why Should You Eat Local Foods?

Sink full of food

You’d never know it by today’s weather, but last weekend, the weatherman predicted a frost. So the day before, we harvested all the less-than-hardy plants, bringing them inside for processing. It took every crate and basket we own to gather it all! Despite a massive canning, drying, freezing effort, (thanks for the help Christie and Zac) we still have many baskets of half-ripe tomatoes, lots of cukes and peppers to put up. I make it sound cumbersome, but the fact is we love having fresh food by the bushel crowding the counters in our farm kitchen.


Many of the broad leaf herbs also got pulled to rescue them from the coming frost. When dry, this will be about a pound each of basil and flat leaf parsley. Chives, onions, mint will be ok a while longer outside, along with the kale, brussel sprouts, peas, etc.


The keeper squashes are on the lawn curing in the sun for a while, to harden up the skins before storage. It’s rewarding to see them all gathered from the garden patch, all huddled together on the lawn.

All in all, a pretty good year and a plentiful harvest!

Mini Greenhouse Is Providing Big Benefits

Broccoli PlantsWell Worth The Effort

For years we have started our seedlings on the porch, with relative success. It provides the plants with adequate protection from frost until we can put those tender seedlings into warm and cozy garden beds come the end of May. Of course, we’d love to have a big old hoop house like the pros use, but it’s hard to justify the high cost to get one started and keep it running unless you make your living that way. We’re not there yet. This is still mostly a wonderful hobby of ours.

This year though, we built a mini greenhouse for the seedlings to live in and what a difference! We still sprout them on the porch, on heat mats, but then they went in the greenhouse. The plants get a lot more direct sunlight throughout the day, resulting in the rich green color and sturdy, stalky plants pictured above.

This little structure was very inexpensive to build. Yeah, It’s ugly, but it’s cheap and it gets the job done.

Miniature GreenhouseI didn’t save receipts, but I’d estimate we didn’t spend 100 dollars to build this. There’s no artificial heat source and no lights. So far, there’s been no need to heat it. All of the lumber came from scrap materials left over from other farm projects, which you could probably get from your local landfill’s demolition dumpster. It’s 10′ wide x 5′ deep x 7′ tall and covered with 6 mill plastic. The roof is made of transparent corrugated plastic paneling from the building center, probably the most expensive component, but important to help it last through many years of harsh New Hampshire winters. We put about 12 hours of work into it over a weekend.

The real benefits are that we can keep our plants in one place and they get a lot more direct sun. We don’t have to move them outside during the day to harden them off (get them used to sunlight and wind) and then in at night to protect from them from frost. The greenhouse warms up within minutes when the sun hits it in the morning, so the plants begin their growing day sooner. At night, we’ve had temps down below freezing, and it’s gotten down to 32F inside, but because the plants don’t experience the dew and the wind with the greenhouse closed up, the plants are not subject to frost, even at freezing temps.

We’re no using it for our heat loving plants – for peppers and tomatoes we would have to heat it at night. Given the size of the greenhouse, we could probably achieve temps of 80F easily with a single infrared heat lamp. I might just build a second one with double wall plastic to help insulate it, for use with heat-loving plants, but for now, this is working great for our brassicas, our flowers, our alliums, leafy greens, etc.

Seedlings in Greenhouse



Eggs At Last, Lord Almighty, Fresh Eggs At Last

Farm Fresh Eggs
And now THIS is happening y’all..

I know. It’s been a long and difficult wait for us too. GOOD NEWS: All spring we had to suffer with store bought, cage grown (ew) nasty eggs. But now our new girls at Mercy Hill Farm are finally laying!

Plymouth Barred Rock Laying Hens
Plymouth Barred Rock Laying Hens

The new girls are about 5 months old now and pumping out about two dozen delicious, golden-orange yolked eggs every day. They’re just getting started. Soon we will have 5 or 6 dozen a day. These Plymouth Barred Rocks (above) are curious and friendly, great foragers and love to fight over the tomato hornworms we pluck out of the garden!

Aracauna laying hens

The Aracauna’s are a little more cautious and aloof (the two on the right above are Aracaunas,) but they lay pretty blue and green shelled eggs. They also have a varied and unusual feathering around their faces (like the one below:)

Aracauna Laying Hen Face
Aracauna Laying Hen Face



It’s also harvest season at Mercy Hill Farm. So in addition to farm fresh eggs, you will find fresh, in season vegetables in our store as well.


Fresh Garden Vegetables
Fresh Garden Vegetables
Piper on the Patio
Piper on the Patio

Piper says come on by anytime. She’s really excited about the new patio out back; what we call the “Chillax-io.” Stop by and say hello and chillax a bit.


Summer Blossoms

Truly, summer is the most impressive time for taking pictures of the farm. These are snapshots of flowers blooming currently around the house:

Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea)
Purple Cosmos (Cosmos Asteraceae)
Purple Cosmos (Cosmos Asteraceae)
Columbine (Aquilegia)
Columbine (Aquilegia)
Pink Cosmos (Asteraceae)
Pink Cosmos (Asteraceae)
Purple Monarda (Fistulosa)
Purple Monarda (Fistulosa) Also known as Bee Balm
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia Pulchella)
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia Pulchella)
Red Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma)
Red Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma)
More Cosmos
More Cosmos!

We love growing our own food, but we plant a lot of flowers and herbs as well. Flowers not only add to the charm of the farm, but they attract beneficial insects, and produce scents that confuse or even repel pests.

Chick Day 2012

Spring is just around the corner, and we’re excited to start another great farming season.
Chick Day
The baby chicks are camping out in the office until the blustery winds calm down a bit out there.
Piper Likes Chicks
Piper likes the chicks too.
Griffin and Chicks
The are amusing to watch. and they give whole new meaning to the word “twitter.”
Griffin on Shoulders

Chick Up Close
Two day old Plymouth Barred Rock Chick.

Hanging round on the feeder
Hanging round on the feeder..
Piper With Chicks on Her Mind
Piper With Chicks on Her Mind..

If all goes well, we will have eggs for sale again come August. Stay tuned!
Click here to see more pics of Chick day. Nice job Sara!

Crops are Loving the Warm Nights and Warmer Days of Summer


It’s funny, we talk to people who drive by all the time and they say: “wow, I didn’t know you grew so much there.” There’s a lot going on out back that can’t be seen tooling by at 6o MPH…

ant on peonie flower

When you slow down and look, there’s an amazing menagerie of life happening all around us.

wide row raised bed gardening

Our daughter Christie took these amazing pictures on her last visit to the farm and we sent her home with a mess of Kale, herbs and such.

bean stalks

She’s got a unique perspective and helps us appreciate even more the bounty that comes from the earth each summer.

Which reminds me.. I better go pick snap peas before they get past me again!

Piper says “Woof!” (translation: “pat me please?”)



Sure Signs of Spring at Mercy Hill Farm

The month of March brings with it dustings of snow, like this one last Thursday, but they quickly melt away.

Meanwhile, the Daffodils are pushing up through the mulch,

Brocolli, Kale, Collards, Lettuce and Onions are sprouting indoors.

A thick layer of newspaper weighed down with fresh cut firewood will keep the growing beds free of weeds for another month until the soil temperature gets comfortable enough for our seedlings.

The girls even came out for a spring stroll, a scratch and some foraging.

and then tonight after dark – BONFIRE baby! Woohoo!