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.

Subscribe to an RSS Feed

Old 99 Farm, week of July 13 2014

The season of bounty has arrived, new crops to harvest each week. Raspberries, vegetable marrow, zucchini, squash blossoms, kohlrabi, beet, cucumber, are the latest.

Now’s the seasonal test of supporting your local farmer, whoever that may be.

Case in point, eggs. I have moved my price up and down as the hens are more or less productive, to keep supply and demand in some balance. But as you well know I don’t offer the produce of my farm at lowest prices, and it needs to be reminded that shopping for bargains is at odds with buying food local, direct and in season. If you buy eggs and you come here for other things, why not buy eggs too? Too expensive? Sure if you compare to the $3.50/doz eggs offered the Hamilton Market and elsewhere. If you can’t convince yourself of the nutritional value of eggs from organically fed, free range (on pasture 24/7) chickens, then you surely won’t see value in the better lifestyle of my hens, or that I keep them two years instead of one (egg production per bird drops by half but they eat the same). Nor will it matter to you that I don’t have automatic feeder and waters, so I have to walk twice a day to the eggmobile to feed and gather eggs, which amounts to about 20 minutes a day for caregiving. And the benefit to my farm fertility and ecological impact of pastured chickens won’t count for much, I wouldn’t expect.

So if you can’t see fit to pay a price for eggs that accounts for all these benefits, albeit hard to quantify, maybe you could ‘dollar cost average’ like they advise in the stock market: buy a few dozen here at my price and a few at the supermarket price such that your average cost of eggs is within your budget and conscience. How about that?

I have three beeves at the butcher, one steer and two yearlings, so-called baby beef. Quarters (50 lb)will be available starting July 31st. So far I have not changed my price from last year, at $5.00/lb hanging weight. Ground beef is is priced higher now at $6.50. Some steaks are up too.

We took our first honey crop off last week and now have liquid and comb honey for sale. Very fragrant, light in colour, delectable. Bring a jar, swap a jar. Same price as last year at $15/L ($12/kg) for liquid honey in 1 L mason jars.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

PS you should make a trip to the farm just to see the garden; it’s luscious. And the Maremma Pups are now 6 weeks old and full of life and curiosity.

Old 99 Farm, Week of July 6, 2014

Market day happens on Thursday as usual. Add raspberries, kohlrabi and garlic scapes (fresh pesto?) to available crops.
Healthy Eating,
Ian and Camelia

Available to Help with Hay?

Ian’s internet is down again till Tuesday, so I am sending this message on his behalf.
Ian has hay being delivered on Tuesday and Wednesday and he needs help to put in the barn. If you have a couple of hours, he would really appreciate hearing from you by phone that you or a family member could help out.
Thank you in advance,

Old 99 Farm,week of June 29 2014

Adding basil and eggplant this week.
Enough orders for beef came in that I can take an animal to the butcher this week.

This Saturday I am hosting a farm tour sponsored by the Ecological Farmers of Ontario, from 10 to 2. Theme: Garden Farming for a Bleak Post-carbon Future. I will be addressing the reasons why the food system we now rely on cannot hold fast and what small farms and urban backyards can do for their own needs as we get used to climate upset, energy scarcity and economic hardships like increasing unemployment, lower wages, food inflation. $10 each or $20/family to EFAO admission.

Climate change?
“The selfish minority will over-exploit and ruin things for the future,” he told ThinkProgress. “So some kind of regulation is really essential — you can’t just leave things to the free market and hope that it will work out.”

Simply cooperating in everyday life is hard enough, but cooperating with future generations is a whole other challenge — and one that makes addressing climate change so difficult.

Why people are willing, or unwilling, to make present day sacrifices for future generations is the topic of a new study called “Cooperating With The Future” from researchers at Harvard and Yale. Published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the study looks at how people weigh decisions that are dependent on the continued help of subsequent generations, such as climate change and resource management.

Check the link, and while you’re at it, read the article showing in 7 charts how climate change will harm the (US) economy.

Old 99 Farm, week of June 22, 2014

Strawberries are now in, have picked first 10 liters and the crop looks bountiful. Also have basil, beet tops and the standbys: kale, collards, chard.

Greenhouse lettuces are over till the fall, but hot weather crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants (yes, lots of eggplant varieties this year) are already fruiting.

I will be taking a beef or two to the butcher next week so get your orders in for quarters, halfs or cuts.

Maremma pups are now 5 weeks old, balls of fluff, falling over big feet. It’s hard to imagine them getting to 100 lbs and being loyal guardians of the family and stock. In case you hadn’t heard, I have 6 puppies from Sheba and another purebred Maremma male, (Justin owned by Jim Wright). These are for sale at $400, with vet inspection and first vaccinations. Please pass the word to big beautiful dog lovers.

Camelia is off her crutches, doing physio and back to her beloved garden.

Healthy eating
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of June15 2014

Late reminder for tomorrow’s market day here at the farm. Yes I do have strawberries, not too many but will be selling on first come basis.

Regret to say I have decided to cancel the Strawberry Solstice potluck scheduled for this sunday. I have been mentioning it in each weekly newsletter for a month but now I must be realistic; between my slightly broken hand and Cami’s leg, we’re not really up for the preparations.
I know a couple of families were looking forward to coming, but I can arrange something else later in the summer or early fall.

Lots of chard, beets beet tops, lettuce, rhubarb, eggs, and more.

Anyone interested in a half or quarter beef? I noticed today that a couple of steers look quite plump.

Healthy Eating,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of June 8th, 2014

If I had more time I’d post a couple of pics of the now three week old Maremma pups. Very cute. Be sure to visit them, mother Sheba is now more relaxed about visitors.

We’re planting the rest of the hot weather crops: more tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes.

Two weeks till the Strawberry Solstice Potluck, Sun June 22. Come around 2 with chairs and place-setting, to enjoy strawberries with cream and a light potluck meal. Families with last name starting from A to M please bring beverages or berries. Families N to Z please bring a main dish or salad. I provide the cream etc. RSVP really helps the planning.

Still lots of greens in the greenhouse.
Order at

On July 5th, I am hosting a farm tour sponsored by Ecological Farmers of Ontario. For a small donation you can attend to hear and see what Garden Farming for a Bleak Post-carbon Future is about. register at on the events tab.
Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 FArm, week of June 1st 2014

Feels like summer, first calf came last week, on top of 6 puppies, 7 goslings, 46 chicks and 17 lambs since April 28th. 5 or 6 more calves to go.

Our annual Strawberry Summer Solstice Potluck is fast approaching, Sunday June 22, in the afternoon. Mark your calendars to bring the family. A separate notice will go out shortly.

Maremma puppies for sale in about 6 weeks. Very intelligent, gentle, beautiful large breed, not for small properties. An ancient stock guardian dog. More later. Those who come to the farm know Rama and Sheba (no Rama is not the dad) but they both are excellent examples of the breed.

The greenhouse is running riot with weeds, which is why I love gardening in there in the cool/cold season: NO weeds.
So much extra work. How many weeks till the first farmers market opens? That’s my winding down day for veggies. We’re concentrating on fall crops and winter storage.

This past weekend was the big Permaculture weekend with Peter Bane visiting here and several garden farms in Erin ON. On Wed evening he’s did a public talk for Transition Erin at the Anglican church on Main St., an hour north of Dundas. Was a standing-room only crowd to hear: Learning how you might apply permaculture principles in your own backyard.

Says Peter:"The urban landscape has swallowed vast swaths of prime farmland across North America. Imagine how much more self-reliant our communities would be if 30 million acres of lawns were made productive again.

Permaculture is a practical way to apply ecological design principles to food, housing, and energy systems; making growing fruits, vegetables and livestock easier and more sustainable."

The Permaculture Handbook is a step-by-step, beautifully illustrated guide to creating resilient and prosperous households and neighborhoods, complemented by extensive case studies of four successful farmsteads and market gardens.

Four families signed on for mini-consults with Peter last weekend, so after that, I could arrange a gathering so you-all could hear what it entailed and was it worth it. Three Cheers for the EARLY ADOPTERS!

Now was I writing you about Old 99 farm market? yes. Veggies now mature in the greenhouse: lettuces, beet greens, chard, collards. Eggs are selling out every week, love it.
Most of you are in for advance orders on roasting chickens. Still have room for more tho.

Time to Explore Permaculture Opps

Peter Bane, respected permaculture instructor/designer/author helped me design my farm in 2008/9, as I was thinking through my choices for living in the postcarbon transition. (btw, we are past transition now: climate change positive feedback loops are kicking in that will accelerate climate upset. But that’s another story.

If you want more stereo on your choices in designing your place of abode, be it condo, lux enclave, exurb or farm, you could do worse that spend a few hours with Peter’s book, The Permaculture Handbook.

If you don’t know about permaculture yet, go here for a primer:
Says designer Toby Hemenway, "At its essence, permaculture is about understanding and appreciating how systems naturally operate, and combining those systems in intelligent ways to accomplish intended goals, sustainably.

And while it’s mostly applied to food production and land management today, the principles of permaculture make just as much sense for our economic, energetic, social and other systems."

I maintain that the most positive action oriented response to climate/energy/economic dysfunction is a local hub of permaculturally informed households. We won’t stop, or mitigate one iota, the cataclysm of runaway climate change. (Changes have a 40 yr lag, so we’re experiencing climate upset set in motion by the cummulate carb on in the air in 1975!) We can make the years available to us more livable and become sources of help and encouragement to each other.

So its worth finding the people who will be the ‘early adopters’ and create the local network of more skilful living in a time of collapse.

Are you one of those?

Albert Bates quote, May 11 2014

Here’s a link from one of my fav permaculture guys, Albert Bates. is his blog, which is worth bookmarking. But the quote that caught my eye was this:

The problem we are addressing … at its most general layer, is an observable imbalance in Earth’s climate systems that is an existential threat to all of us.
We attribute this imbalance, now calibrated with a high degree of certainty, to the corruption of “normal” atmospheric chemistry with a superabundance of waste elements from the biological processes of a single, invasive, overly fecund species, you know, the two-legged ones. Since this species shows no sign of going away before it causes irreparable harm to its host, we few revolutionary cells, acting as antibodies in the greater system, are working towards effective and timely mitigation by finding ways to reduce and reverse the damage wrought by our deluded or disengaged brethren [ig: thatw would be youall].

Read more of it if you are intrigued by his solution set, which is decidedly low tech and local. the one he discusses here is about making biochar, basically charcoal, from waste wood and improving garden soils etc. with it. We could all be doing that this spring, with all the deadfalls from the icestorm.