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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Old 99 Farm, week of Nov 22 2015

The cherry tomatoes are holding on in spite of the cold weather. Larger tomatoes are done for this year. Still have peppers and eggplants tho. We have lots of greens and root crops, apples and pastured meats.

Lots of eggs, and a small price increase in case you didn’t notice last week; 2c per egg. We get rave reviews on the flavour of these eggs, probably because of the organic grain they are fed. Maybe because they are happy chickens? doyathink? I encourage you to step up with us and keep the eggs moving off the farm onto your plates…

Here is a link about biochar and the real problem we are already enmeshed in: too much carbon in the air, not enough in the ground: enter biochar to the solution set. Says Albert Banes, “human civilization is already in massive “overshoot” of CO2 emissions to the tune of some 1380 GtCO2 added to the atmosphere after we passed the critical point at around 330 ppm where we guaranteed eventual warming of 2 degrees. This carbon debt is currently increasing at a rate of about 40 GtCO2 per year pushing us further into climate debt and higher up the thermometer. The UN targets for Paris propose an emissions allowance of a further 950 GtCO2 by the end of the century (about 1 trillion tons), which could push temperatures to 5 degrees by then, and much higher later when equilibrium is reached.”

Are you a Hamilton fan? Here’s a look at why that’s not a crazy question: 28 Reasons to absolutely hate Hamilton

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of Nov 15th, 2015

The unseasonally mild fall is gracing us with an extended harvest from the outdoor gardens.

As of Nov 15th, we can offer the following crops: lettuce and mixed greens, sweet potato, beefsteak and roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes(red, yellow and orange), celeriac, leek, cilantro, parsley, parsley root, kale, three varieties of chard, collards, peppers, eggplant, spaghetti squash. There are enough eggs to go around.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: apple sauce, stuffed peppers, cucumber relish, quiches (on order).

I have pork, beef lamb and chicken in the freezer. The pigs went to the butcher on Tues Oct 27th and now are sausage, chops and roasts, all here. I have Bonny’s Big Red roasting chickens, ducks, geese and stewing hens.

We had a calf born a week ago, to Scruffy, a 7 yr old Lineback, we’re calling him ‘Rolf’ in honour of my friend from TO who was here for deer hunting that day. (Hope you don’t mind RK!) All the cows are now in the barnyard under the coverall, snug for the winter.

Keep your eyes open for news on Greenland and Antarctica with several huge glaciers being tracked due to accelerated melting. is a good choice.

Healthy Eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of Oct 25 2015

Lots happening around the farm these next two weeks. Pigs going to the butcher on Tues, chickens, ducks and geese next week, a new flock of laying hens coming. The gardens are put to bed with compost and seeded with winter wheat as a green manure. Some more beds planted with lettuce and onions in the greenhouse. The hay is in for the cows who will come off pasture in a week or so. We’ve started whitewashing the barn walls inside and out.

I have some new found freedom thanks to farmer-in-training, Kaz Bonnor, helping us for the next few months. An immediate benefit is I can attend an advanced permaculture design course in mid November for a week.

We have lettuce now at the harvestable size, and still have tomatoes blooming and ripening! Lots of root crops in the cold cellar: carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions. Many bushels of apples are in storage including the popular ‘Liberty’ variety. Available are the following crops: lettuce and mixed greens, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes(red, yellow and orange), celeriac, cilantro, parsley, green cabbage, kale, three varieties of chard, collards, peppers, eggplant, spaghetti squash. There are enough eggs to go around.

Place your orders for prepared foods by Cami early as these are made to order.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Cami

The Permaculture City: a review

Permaculture is more than just the latest buzzword; it offers positive solutions for many of the environmental and social challenges confronting us. And nowhere are those remedies more needed and desired than in our cities. The Permaculture City provides a new way of thinking about urban living, with practical examples for creating abundant food, energy security, close-knit communities, local and meaningful livelihoods, and sustainable policies in our cities and towns. The same nature-based approach that works so beautifully for growing food?connecting the pieces of the landscape together in harmonious ways?applies perfectly to many of our other needs. Toby Hemenway, one of the leading practitioners and teachers of permaculture design, illuminates a new way forward through examples of edge-pushing innovations, along with a deeply holistic conceptual framework for our cities, towns, and suburbs.

The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures. Hemenway lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs for food, water, shelter, energy, community, and livelihood in sustainable, resilient ways. Readers will find new information on designing the urban home garden and strategies for gardening in community, rethinking our water and energy systems, learning the difference between a “job” and a “livelihood,” and the importance of placemaking and an empowered community.

This important book documents the rise of a new sophistication, depth, and diversity in the approaches and thinking of permaculture designers and practitioners. Understanding nature can do more than improve how we grow, make, or consume things; it can also teach us how to cooperate, make decisions, and arrive at good solutions.

Hear podcast with author Toby Hemenway

Old 99 Farm, week of Sept 27, 2015

Lamb is in stock, roasts and chops, ground and soup bones. Also mutton stew/kabobs and ground.

As of Sept 27th, we can offer 48 items including the following crops: cherry tomatoes(red, yellow and orange), cilantro, parsley, basil, napa and early white cabbage, arugula (rocket), kale, three varieties of chard, red cabbage, collards, and beets, peppers, eggplant, spaghetti squash.

This saturday is our cider making party, weather permitting. We’ll harvest apples, and cut and mash them as we chat and socialize. Kid friendly. 2 to 4pm, RSVP if coming. Bring a jug to take home your juice and your own apples if you prefer.

Have you been keeping up on your climate news?
Joe Romm at Climate Progress makes it quite easy for us, as in this article about the national carbon emissions pledges countries are making. "The point is that a successful outcome of Paris will not “solve the climate problem” and indeed won’t give us a 2°C world, as anyone who is paying attention understands. (Sadly, a lot of folks in the media aren’t paying attention.)

The bad news, of course, is that since about 2007 leading climate experts have been explaining we only have five to 10 years to act. I debunked the myth that they’ve “always” been saying that in my May post, “The Really Awful Truth About Climate Change.”

So what Paris can accomplish is to give us another five to 10 years of … having five to 10 years to act!!! Woo-hoo."

You can see on this graph that the INDC line tracks the 2degC line for the next few years.

Old 99 Farm, week of Sept 12 2015

We’ve started planting the winter crops in the greenhouse, the same weekend as we are canning tomatoes as juice and sauce. There should be vine ripened tomatoes here till December though.

The bumper crop this year, after tomatoes, has to be spaghetti squash. We just harvested 8 bushels and there’s still more out there on Berry Hill. They are storable till midwinter in a 50 to 60 deg 60% to 70% humidity room, according to the Bubels, authors of The Root Cellar.
Spaghetti squash is a healthy alternative to pasta to go under your fav tomato sauce.

See the attached list for our offerings.

Apples are ripening in the 100 yr old orchard but not quite ready. We’ll do our cider pressing day on an early October weekend. Stay tuned. All friends come and help mash and press apples for fresh juice to take home.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Cami
PS I have a personal facebook page you might enjoy

Harperman going viral

avaaz is doing a campaign to get the cdn federal scientist who wrote a protest song about Stephen Harper reinstated… he lost his job because he wrote and performed this song…

Here’s what avaaz has to say.

Dear friends,

Tony Turner wrote a political protest song about Stephen Harper – and now he’s been put on leave and is being investigated by the government!

They want to silence free speech and stop the song, “Harperman”, from reaching a bigger audience…but it’s about to backfire big time. Because if everyone receiving this email watches the video at the link below, it will be seen by 3% of Canada – if we all share it with just one other person, 6% of Canada, and so on.

Let’s make this viral and timely video a political nightmare for a government try! ing to silence critics. Click now and help make this huge by signing a petition demanding Tony be reinstated immediately – then watch the video and help “Harperman” take-off across the country by sharing on Facebook, and everywhere else:

Tony Turner is a popular folk singer, and also a scientist at Environment Canada. When a recording of his “Harperman” political protest song — calling on the country to get rid of the Harper government – was posted on Youtube, he was suspended and put under investigation.

Environment Canada says that all employees agree to comply with a value and ethics code that lays out expected behaviour – but the Supreme Court has said that public service workers have a right to free expression — just like the rest of us.

Our government has consistently muzzled scientists and public servants whose opinions or research could threaten their policies. And we’ve seen how it views protest, passing Bill C-51 that labels environmental activists as “security threats”.

Fortunately, they can’t silence the internet. Click now to stand with Tony and watch the video – then share it around the country:

It’s our right to protest, and we shouldn’t be punished for it. Let’s turn this story and “Harperman” into a political nightmare as election season comes into full swing.

old 99 farm. week of Aug 30, 2015

Are plants intelligent? So asks Albert Bates, currently in Iceland teaching a permaculture course.
“Plants communicate — they are actually quite loquacious communicators. They are able to distinguish kin and non-kin. They communicate with plants of their own and other species and they communicate with animals and humans.

We are here in Iceland teaching a permaculture course with Robyn Francis and she likes to say plants are just upside-down humans. We have our senses up at the top — in our mouths, noses, ears and fingertips. Plants keep those mostly down in their roots but they also smell and taste and touch like we do. We keep our sex organs hidden down in our bottoms, but plants put them up on full display at the top.

But can a plant be intelligent? Some plant scientists, like Stefano Mancuso, think they are — since they can discover, learn, remember, and even react in ways we would call intelligent."

Check out this TED talk about quantum biology: using quantum physics to fathom how birds migrate using the earth’s magnetic field, etc.

Oh yes we do have more mundane things to mention this week! tomatoes, squashes, potatoes etc. As of Aug 30th, we can offer 48 items including the following crops: zucchini, plum tomatoes, cilantro, basil, napa and early white cabbage, arugula (rocket), kale, three varieties of chard, red cabbage, collards, and beetgreens, peppers, eggplant, spaghetti squash. There are lots of eggs. So please surf on over to the locallygrown site and see what you’d like to eat.

Healthy eating to you all,
ian and Cami

Old 99 farm week of Aug 23 2015

As of Aug 23rd, we can offer 48 items including the following crops: zucchini, plum tomatoes, cilantro, basil, napa and early white cabbage, arugula (rocket), kale, three varieties of chard, red cabbage, collards, and beetgreens, peppers, eggplant, spaghetti squash.

Another week upon us and soon market day. We dug potatoes and harvested onions, pruned the raspberry canes and seeded some flats for fall and winter crops.

The spaghetti squash is going to be bountiful this year, already enough ripe fruits to offer for sale. This is the item you can use to substitute for durum wheat pasta, if you are trying to reduce your wheat and high glycemic index foods.

Eggs are plentiful so please consider introducing a neighbour to pastured organic eggs from here.

If you want quiches, cabbage rolls, or sauerkraut, pls place order early in the week.

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

Living on the edge of the Age of Limits

My acquaintance with Nicole Foss started on the internet and became a personal one through several phonecalls and two visits for public lectures here in Copetown.

Her blog is mostly written by a colleague, as she travels, an itinerant freethinking social visionary and prophetic voice, in my personal view. Her recent speaking tours have been in Australia and Europe so when a new essay by Nicole appeared on “The Automatic Earth” I jumped to catch up on her thinking.

Here are a couple of long quotes from part five of the essay, which is linked at the top of this post.

“We are heading for a profoundly humbling experience, to put it mildly. Technological man is not the demigod he supposed himself to be, but merely the beneficiary of a fortuitous energy bonanza which temporarily allowed him to turn dreams into reality. We would do well, if we could summon up sufficient humility in advance, to learn from the simple and elegant technologies of the distant past, which we have largely discarded or forgotten.”


“Cohesive communities will act together in times of crisis, and will be able to offer significant support to each other. The path dependency aspect is important – the state we find ourselves in when crisis hits will be an major determinant of how it plays out in a given area. Anything people come together to do will build social capital and relationships of trust, which are the foundation of society. Community gardens, perma-blitzes (permaculture garden make-overs), maker-spaces, time-banks, savings pools, local currency initiatives, community hub developments, skills training programmes, asset mapping and contingency planning are but a few of the possibilities for bringing people together.”

If this has caught your attention, perhaps you will snuggle up to the internet screen and have a read.

May we all live well within the earth’s means.