The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by myself, the intrepid farmer-in-process at Old 99. I send out a message every week, but most are set with a delete date about two weeks later. I archive some of the posts if they have content other than weekly availability of produce and meat.

You can send me questions too, which if they are of a general nature, I can post to this Old99 blog.

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Climate March Toronto July 5

14 seats remaining on bus chartered by and Environment Hamilton to get you to the march in Queens Park Toronto next sunday.

Would be great to have you on the bus!
Your kids will thank you some day.

Old 99 Farm, week of June 28th 2015

Some how I got distracted from the computer and did not send out what I composed on Sunday evening. Sorry to all. Now it’s canada day and we’re all celebrating. I’m celebrating at least, it’s a great privilege to be Canadian, to live here in Ontario, to have a civil society and natural abundance. And I’m celebrating that the raspberries are now ripening to harvest. U-pick will be possible this week.

Says Albert Bates in his post today on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si:
“If we are honest and admit climate change threatens the survival of our species, right now and not next decade or next century, and don’t just turn away or accept the numbing banality that comes with avoidance of the subject, we would have to, to not be hypocritical, actually choose to do something about what we know we know."

“But do what, exactly? Our institutions are not working. Any real change has to come from our personal footprint, changing our choices. Change is our only way of being truthful with ourselves, and not neurotic or schizophrenic. "

It is a thoughtful essay, calling out the Pope on some points, supporting him on others. Read more at

We have had 75ml of rain according to my rain gauge on the fencepost. That in two days. Not a record or a disaster but worth a reminder that Mother Nature bats last…

This week we can offer lots of lettuce and greens: romaine, butter (bib) lettuce, collards, kale, three varieties of swiss chard. There are strawberries, rhubarb, eggs, and roasting chickens. This week I take the birds to the processor and will have them here on Thursday for all advance orders to pick up. That’s over 100 chickens!

Anyone going to join me and Cami in the Climate march in Toronto on Sunday July 5th? Environment HAmilton has chartered a bus and you can get on it. leaves at 11am Sunday.

Healthy Eating,
Ian and Cami

OLd 99 Farm, week of June 21 2015

I gotta say, this is worth leading off wtih. Talk about one guy having a ‘noble goal’ and making it happen; learn about Cary Fowler…

First the UK paper of record, the Guardian, gives a current update on the Seed vault at Svelbard, Norway.

Some people are getting ready for monoculture food crop disasters… the story of the guy who got the seedvault project started is now a film. Trailer here

Crop diversity pioneer Cary Fowler travels the world, educating the public about the dire consequences of our inaction. Along with his team at The Global Crop Diversity Trust in Rome, Cary struggles to re-invent a global food system so that it can,in his words: “last forever.” Cary aims to safeguard the last place that much of our diversity is left in tact: in the world’s vulnerable gene banks. Here is his 2009 TED talk

The film will be available for sale in the fall, only showing advance screenings in the US now.

And of more local interest, we have strawberries! Tho limited supply. Asparagus season is over till next year.
New lettuces in the garden Romaine and Butter, winter sown crops were much appreciated by you and the cows, who got into the greenhouse last week, thanks to yours truly leaving the back door open.

We had a delightful Strawberry Solstice on Sunday. Next year I will avoid scheduling conflict with Fathers Day! We did a leisurely wagon ride through the pastures, and got close up to the Lineback calf, born two days earlier.

Palatine Fruit and Roses first delivery run is approaching. I don’t have enough expressions of interest yet to convince them to make Old 99 a stop on their way to Brantford. Speak up if you want unsprayed, tree ripened fruit by emailing me. The schedule look like this
July 5. to 15. early cherries
July 15. to July 30 – late cherries, apricot, early golden plums, early peaches
Aug. 12 to Aug 20 – free stone peaches, red plums, maybe apricot
Labour day – free stone peaches, nectarines, Bartlett pears, blue plums, table grapes
September 10 – Sept. 20 – Bosc pears, table grapes, grape juice

Old 99 Farm, week of June 14 2015

The outdoor garden plantings of chard and kale are now harvestable, the early succulent leaves are delightful. We picked several liters of strawberries so I’ll have some this week. See attached list for full offering this week.

This sunday June 21, is our annual Strawberry solstice, 2pm families invited. For the potluck portion, please bring as follows:
If you last name starts with letter in first half of alphabet (up to M), please bring 2 quarts strawberries. If your in the last half, please bring refreshments for 4 to 6 people. I’m sure we’ll have enough. We will supply the cream and some fresh berries too. I will need an RSVP by email or phone with numbers coming. Pls bring a lawn chair and table setting for your family. We’ll have a haywagon ride, might see a newborn calf and of course lots of sheep and chickens.

Have you been following the Avian Flu debacle in the US? Its’ here too but very much under control so far, stateside already 40million chickens killed to try and eradicate the virus. Egg prices are going up sharply. Get our turkey orders in early this year; they are hit too.

A bit on rhubarb. Rhubarb has many uses. The most common is medicinal. Rhubarb has been used in medicines and folk healing for centuries.
Then there is cleaning pots and pans

Use Rhubarb to clean your pots and pans (no joke!) If your pots and pans are burnt, fear not! An application of rhubarb over the afflicted area will bring back the shine in next to no time. Environmentally friendly too!

Hair Color

This is a fairly strong dye that can create a more golden hair color for persons whose hair is blond or light brown. Simmer 3 tbsp. of rhubarb root in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, set aside overnight, and strain. Test on a few strands to determine the effect, then pour through the hair for a rinse.


Rhubarb leaves can be used to make an effective organic insecticide for any of the leaf eating insects (cabbage caterpillars, aphids, peach and cherry slug etc).
Recipe 1

Basically you boil up a few pounds of rhubarb leaves in a few pints of water for about 15 or 20 minutes, allow to cool, then strain the liquid into a suitable container. Dissolve some soap flakes in this liquid and use it to spray against aphids.

So, next time you pick some rhubarb stems to eat, you can put the leaves to good use rather than just composting them (which isn’t in itself such a bad use, I guess).

For your home remedy cabinet:
answer: dried red pepper powder.

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of June 7 2015

First thank you kindly to all who replied to our request for haying help and to those who came. We got over 5000lb of hay baled and in the barn between 11 and 3pm. It did indeed rain overnite, about 30ml. And more today. btw, that’s enough hay to feed one cow for a year, assuming 200 days.

Sunday we tasted the first fruit from the strawberry patch! the first is always the best, reawakens taste buds from the year before. I may have some picked for this thursday, won’t list them though.

Asparagus is still going strong, as is rhubarb, buttercrunch lettuce and mixed greens.

We planted more of the outside garden: tomatoes, basil, carrots, parsley root. We hilled all the potatoes, and weeded the squashes. It was a busy fun weekend.

Old 99 Strawberry Solstice is coming up on Sunday June 21. Family gathering in the afternoon, plan on coming with kids for couple hours, 2pm to 4pm. More details next week on potluck arrangements.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm could use your help

The push to get me to the keyboard is that I am making hay today and the weather looks promising until Sunday evening with 90% prob of showers. I would love to get the hay in the barn, or at least loaded on a wagon and covered.
This means an opportunity to come to the farm and help out!! For a hour or two, not more. I cut about 2 acres which means about two wagon loads, about 200 bales. We just have to walk the field putting bales on the wagon and building the load, then unloading with a bale elevator into the barn.

If you or a family member can offer a helping hand, I’d very much appreciate it. Logistics: bale Saturday June 6th, and load and put in barn on Sunday.

You can reply by if by email or phone. I likely will need about six people on Sunday starting around 11am.

If you have a couple hours, I will very much appreciate your help.

farmer Ian (and Cami)

Old 99 FArm, week of May 31. 2015

As of May 31st, we can offer 38 items including the following crops: rocket, kale, mixed greens, chard and green onions. I have short list of transplants available for sale: Tiara cabbage (the popular early one), chard, tomatoes and more) There are lots of eggs. My flour mill is back in service so I can offer whole ground Red Fife Wheat flour.

Specials on asparagus and rhubarb. I have lamb on now at 10% discount till it’s gone.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order).

I have 3 lambs in the freezer. Folks are starting to ask about placing orders for roasting chickens for next summer. Yes you can, leave me a deposit of $11 a bird, minimum 5 birds.

The layers are back in the eggmobile, in the pasture eating grass and the yolks are bright yellow/orange. My regular price is $6/XL doz. I sell mixed size dozens that weigh at least 588 gm (medium), 672 grams, the ‘large’ size dozen, and Extra Large, 770gm plus carton. Please bring in recycled cartons.

Raw Honey
Sorry, sold out. I lost all colonies over the harsh winter, have not restocked and pondering what to do. It’s heavy work.

Thank you to all bringing in recycled egg cartons; you can start saving for me again.

1. Produce units available are same as price unit. eg 500 gram, each, etc.
2. Quantity available is almost always estimated, so if you see a negative number, go ahead and order it, I can fill in most cases.
3. If you order and don’t pick up, I trust you will pay.

Your bit of inspiration for the week: a list of 100 people whe have contributed to the understanding of how to live well within the Earth’s means.

The (En)Rich List celebrates a wealth of inspirational individuals. Collectively, the people highlighted on this website present a rich tapestry that points to globally prosperous and sustainable futures.

The Post Growth Institute spent months defining and refining this list, motivated by the way mainstream media often notes achievement: by celebrating material and monetary wealth. Take, for example, the Forbes Rich List, released each March, which showcases the world’s wealthiest billionaires.

Those listed in the ‘Top 100’ and ‘Honourable Mentions’ have a diversity of approaches, positions (both geographical and political), and perspectives. They have opened up new avenues for engagement with important matters by inviting us to question what is fact, belief or perception, challenging us to imagine ways to a sustainable future.

Healthy Eating,

Ian and Cami

OLd99 Farm, week of May 24 2015

We got through the frost zone, no serious damage to the crops already planted outside. Looks like it’s full steam ahead now with planting the rest of the beds.

Berries look good: strawberries in full bloom and raspberries with flower buds. Currants already ripening up: will have lots of black currants this year. Good for making syrup for pancakes, cold remedies and cordials.

Lovely greens still in good shape. I have to pick the spinach well to reduce the stemmy bits but it’s all tasty! Thanks for the feedback from one regular about that.

So spinach, kale, lettuces, mixed greens, chard, rocket are the list this week for greens.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm special Niagara Fruit

Fruit from Niagara: would you like to get tree ripened naturally raised local fruit in season this year? I am in contact with Palatine Fruit and Roses of NOTL about a drop point here at the farm each week they make delivery to Brantford. This would be half box or full box quantities of the first picking of each variety they grow: cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, apples, nectarines, grapes, and pears. I need to gauge the interest to make a commitment to them so it’s viable to have a truck detour off the 403 up to Copetown.

Please reply: a) definitely going to buy fruit, b) interested luke warm, c) no thanks.

Also I have started to sort the memberlist so as to determine if there are a few areas where enough of you are living that it would be economical to make a delivery to you. I’d like to hear from you if a) yes I would make regular purchases, b)I’ll keep coming to the farm, c)no plans to buy veg/meat/eggs/etc. from O99.

Thanks for your interest in helping us contribute to the local foodshed.


Old 99 Farm, week of May 17 2015

What’s El Nino? What’s SST? See below for some news and pics.

We’ve started getting the front garden planted, with squash, kale, cabbages and green chard already in. Tomato, pepper and eggplant stay in the greenhouse till it gets warmer. But looks like a dry summer so vegetable production will be difficult.

Now offering a special on rhubarb at $5/kg. Buy some ahead and freeze for use with the famous strawberry and rhubarb crumble!

So El Nino… This doesn’t happen every year, this year 90% likely. What this means, especially when we add in likely record warm global atmospheric temperatures (due to an excessive burning of fossil fuels by human beings) throughout the El Nino event period, is some rather odd, and probably extreme summer weather.

El Niño is defined by prolonged warming in the Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (yes, that would be SST)when compared with the average value. Typically, this anomaly happens at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and lasts nine months to two years. The average period length is five years.

Canada among others may actually benefit from an El Niño weather shock (either directly or indirectly through positive spillovers from major trading partners. Furthermore, most countries experience short-run inflationary pressures following an El Niño shock, while global energy and non-fuel commodity prices increase. (all from Wikipedia)

For the US, it means an increasing likelihood of heavy precipitation events from the southern plains states through the desert southwest. Storm track intensification through the Pacific to North America means that extreme rainfall events are a distinct possibility for states like Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. California may even see some abnormal summer rainfall, taking a bit of the edge off the current drought.

Some believed our ice storm in January 1998, which devastated parts of New England, southern Ontario and southern Quebec, was caused or accentuated by El Niño’s warming effects. El Niño warmed Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, such that the area experienced a warmer than average winter during the games.

Link to Robert’s Scribbler blog for more on this year’s El Nino event.