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 May 19th

Late again. No news this week, just a reminder, it’s . Add rhubarb to the list.

Oops, there is some news… we had a wonderfully productive workparty on Saturday. Thank you all that did come out, especially all the newcomers from Peter Ormond’s Mohawk Environmental Studies class. We got 150 asparagus crowns planted, 100+ Kent and Jewel strawberries, three orchard trees (quinces and a Stanley plum) and some gooseberries and red currants. The new raspberry patch and rhubarb plot got mulched with old hay. The hardcore stayed to learn how to milk a cow!

Will be having a woodshed party this saturday May 24th, to clear out the tools and artifacts in preparation for demolition and new construction of a store, root cellar and loft in the same location. Can you find a bit of time to help out?

Got my bee yard restarted this week, four new hives to pollinate and give us lots of honey this fall.

I will post this week the cuts available for the organic pork.

Mark your calendar for the Old 99 Strawberry solstice potluck June 23rd. Invitations to cowshare and locallygrown members and families.

Special news Old99 Farm

I just got off the phone from my butcher, John Mediema, and have arranged for an organic pig, butchered and smoked organically. So I’ll have pork for you in about two weeks. Bacon will be $10/lb, rest of prices to follow. Leaf lard is available as is bones, head cheese and the usual cuts.

My Tamworth weaners are here now, three of them, which will be fun to watch as they grow and make all their piggy noises pasturing and wallowing in the yard.

Order online, if you please.

Old 99 Farm, week of May 12 2013 to order.

It’s 9 minutes after midnite Monday and I’m watching the thermometer outside hover over zero. Do I go out and spray the blossoming fruit trees to ward off frost damage and cover the freshly planted seedlings in the garden? You’ll have to come on thursday to find out .

We’re at the end of the spring harvest season and not quite in the summer, so selection is becoming limited. Sure do have chard, still sweet from winter cools. Some kale, beet tops, parsley too.

Will try offering garden veggie transplants this spring, so check the listing under transplants. Many are four plants per unit but tomatoes, eggplants, celeriac and parsley root are per each. A unit costs $4.

This weekend I am planting new berry bushes and trees on Saturday. Would you be interested in coming out to help? 10 to 4pm or part thereof. I’m putting in a new grove of gooseberries, red currants and chokeberries and adding some fruit trees to the orchard. Possibly a big patch of asparagus too.

Coming soon is the tear-down of the woodshed to make room for rebuilding it, complete with rootcellar for root, fruit and honey storage. This saturday I will welcome many hands to transfer the contents of the shed beside the barn to the empty greenhouse for temporary storage. It’s probably only a few hours for 5 to 10 people. The new building will become the store for all farm products as well as storage. I hope it will be completed by the Old 99 Strawberry solstice on Sunday June 23, potluck, all invited.

Healthy eating,
Ian, with daughters Kelly and Kendra

Old 99 Farm, week of May 5 2013

I zoomed right past this week leading up to market day here at O99. So now I have picked the orders for you faithful ones, and I look forward to chatting when you come to pick up your fresh greens, eggs, meats etc.

Daughters Kelly and Kendra came again this week for a day in the life of their farmer-dad,and helped plant the first few beds in the outdoor garden. So we have early cabbage, brussels sprouts, parsley root and Nero kale transplants in the ground. There are a lot of transplants that we likely can’t use, and next week I’ll post the list so you could buy and get your garden jumpstarted.

In case you are timid, overworked or just plain doubtful you can do it, try the Square Food Gardening book approach. Here’s a link to the layout and # plants per sq ft you should plant. (Ignore the rest of the site, it’s sort of doomer, even for me.)

Kelly persuaded me to put in strawberries again, after a couple years hiatus. We may have a few late in the season but usually one is advised to not harvest the first year.

Rhubarb is likely available starting next week.

Healthy eating,

PS we posted on for willing workers from abroad or even local, who want a farmstay experience and help out with the work. You can check us out under Old 99 Farm, natch.

Old 99 Farm, week of Apr 28 2013

order at

Holy cow almost forgot to send out my tidbits of news and reminders; it’s tuesday already. I’m organizing a daylong intensive workshop this sat May 4 on Breeding, Growing and Selling Heritage Chicken; for the small flock owner. cost is $75, youth under 21 half price. call me if interested for more information.

First gosling hatched this week, and I have 9 chicks in the brooder from last week.

I’m out of honey till the summer and I have one hive hanging on by it’s fingernails, out of 8 that started the winter. Neonicotinoid class of systemic insecticides is most likely cause of acute bee mortality; they coat seed corn and other crops with it, it gets in the air and water and minute quantities are toxic to bees. You should know about this.

The orchard looks like it might produce some fruit this year, first since I planted it in 2009; peaches, plums, apricots, apples. At least there are flower buds on the trees, now there’s lots that can go wrong before a harvest!

Veggies, yes still chard, kale, spinach (hurry, the spinach is bolting) and a few other salad greens. Chives coming up this week or next, rhubarb probably a week after that.

Taking orders for fall beef and summer chickens, ducks, geese.

healthy eating,

Old 99 Farm, week of Apr 21st 2013

I can watch the spinach growing I swear, this last week. Should have a bit of rhubarb soon too, as I put some plants in the greenhouse.

Daughter Kelly convinced me to list on for willing workers who travel, work in return for lodging. so you can find me at that site, see how we talk about ourselves.

Still no word on the Niagara Escarment Commission approval to rebuild my woodshed; it’s been 12 weeks! Last news, they were waiting for Min Natural Resources to comment. why you might ask? To assess whether there are barnswallows that are nesting and will be disturbed. But the official who receives the files was on bereavement leave for 3 weeks and didn’t tell NEC and now he’s back the barn swallow guy is on paternity leave. So what does a guy like me do!

Veggies: spinach, chard, kale, cilantro, mixed greens, stir fry, claytonia and beet tops. Also have some gal pots of comfrey which I started from rootstock. $4 a pot, great addition to your organic gardens for growing your own plant nutrient and mulch (chop and drop). Read up on comfrey on the web. This is symphytum offinales, the non-spreading variety.

Old 99 Farm week of April 14, 2013

How many of you had a power failure last week. There were 150 000 customer of Ontario Hydro without power for up to two days, I was out for 26 hours. Long enough to lose the hatching eggs in my incubators, even tho I had the solar PV and batteries that latest 24 hours. Sign of things to come methinks. Get that generator for your sump pump in the basement.

The spinach is looking very good again this week, as is the chard, kale and cilantro. I’m out of carrots, arugula and claytonia.

The egg special cleared the backlog and the hens are laying a bit less, so prices go back to normal this week.

You can order your raspberry canes here, if you have your eye on a little patch at home. I have two junebearing varieties, both tasty red berries.

Are you following the tarsands/XL Pipeline debate? And the reversal of Line 9 to bring tarsands ‘dilbit’ eastward? What if governments decided that most of the tarsands had to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate upset in our lifetime?
See this link:
It matters to billions of people. A moral crisis in the words of MLK: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” wrote Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

Writes Joe Romm of ClimateProgress, "many have criticized the demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline, which would open a major spigot to the Canadian tar sands, as unwarranted and untimely — unwarranted given our broad dependence on fossil fuels and untimely because of our struggling economy. We disagree.

We think there has been far too little direct action, given the staggering scale of the threat. As the International Energy Agency has explained, we must leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to preserve a livable climate and avoid levels of warming that “even school children know” will be catastrophic for us all. The tar sands would be near the top of any list of the largest, dirtiest pools of carbon that must be forsaken for the sake of humanity."

Old 99 Farm, Week of Apr 7th 2013

Orders on line at I still need egg cartons and plastic egg crates. Last week I offered eggs buy three, get one free and will continue this week.

I have some raspberry canes for sale since I’m digging up the beds and moving them to make room for the woodshed/cold cellar rebuild. I have two summer-bearing varieties. Boyne produces medium size, tender, juicy dark red berries, aromatic, medium sweet. Excellent for jams. Very productive heavy strong summerbearing canes 5ft tall, easy to pick, adapted for home gardens, Upick (early midseason). Nova produces medium fruit, dark red, with mild flavours, nearly thornless, resistant to most diseases, Bears early in season. Both developed in Canada, Boyne in the 60s and NOve in the 80s. $4/pot.

Greenhouse plants are really liking this weather giving good growth, but alas, the brassica family (kale, mizuna, arugula, etc) are showing flower heads. These are good eating by the way, like loose small broccoli heads. I stir-fry them or steam them.

Remember that news last week about the dilbit (tar sand oil derived) spill in Arkansas? Well Exxon had reported that there was officially no oil in the pipeline when it sprung a leak; that’s because they have to pay 8cents a barrel of crude being transported in pipelines. The money goes to a cleanup superfund in case of large expensive environmental disasters. Well to save their 8 cents Exxon claims dilbit is not technically oil. Go tell that to the 2000 inhabitants of Mayflower AK.

Went to the barn this morning as per usual and voila, the stork delivered a lovely heifer calf to Bella… That’s two on the ground, three more to go.

Newmarket is home to an intrepid investigative journalist Stephen Leahy, who finances his work by public donation. Read this latest post and consider if you can support his efforts to get the real news out.

Healthy happy eating.

Old 99 Farm Easter Week Mar 31 2013

Beef roasts and steaks will be offered at 10% discount this week, I have to chuckle, the best cuts are the last to go! Not like theater seats or church!

There was a rush for spinach last week, so not much regrowth yet. Maybe a couple of order only.

Chard, mizuna, arugula, claytonia and mixed greens are available.

Lots of eggs, will offer a special this week: buy three, get one dozen free. Works out to $4.10 and $4.90(XL) a dozen.

Thanks for the recyclables, but no one has any square plastic milk crates kicking around? They make great nest boxes for the chickens.

Well I thought March was the start of spring: but this year climate upset foiled us. See this article with map for why global warming is most likely to blame:

Are you paying attention to the Enbridge dilbit pipeline debate – the local line through Flamborough-Dundas being reversed to carry Alberta’s sinful crude. Read this about a pipeline break in Arkansas on Apr 1st.
Not a joke: on Friday, an Exxon pipeline carrying crude oil from the tar sands region of Alberta leaked about 10,000 barrels of corroding, low-quality crude oil into an Arkansas town — Exxon cleanup crews are trying to keep the oil from reaching Lake Conway, a popular game-fishing spot, through storm drains. Exxon Mobil said that fumes from the oil spill posed a risk in “high pooling areas,” where oil could be seen on the ground and where crews were working with safety equipment. …

The Arkansas incident also comes just a few days after a Canadian Pacific Railroad train carrying oil sands crude — a mixture of heavy bitumen and lighter dilutents — from Alberta to Chicago derailed near Parkers Prairie, Minn., spilling about 357 barrels. The full story is carried in the Washington Post complete with pictures of the 22 homes that had to be evacuated. Ever seen a backyard flooded with oil?

Also advance notice on upcoming events of interest to locavores:
April 6th, Small Animal Auction, Rockton Fairgrounds 10am to noon. Great outing for kids and adults alike. See lots of critters, maybe come home with a chicken?!
May 4th; Intensive workshop on Raising Heritage Poultry, Rockton Fairgrounds. $50 for the day. Covering breeding, housing, feeding, health and processing.
Cheque to Flamborough Fur and Feather Fanciers, c/o Old 99 Farm, 1580 Old Hwy 99 Dundas L9H 5E3
June 22, Strawberry Solstice Old 99 Farm. Potluck Social for Locallygrown and cowshare members.

Old 99 Farm, Week of Mar 24th 2013

Vegetables are growing fast in this warm weather. Have some new spinach this week as well as the regulars.

I have organic roasting chickens, about 5lb weights. Place your order with the website.

I have had no inquiries about buying kitchen gear, like mincers, grinders, utensils. the website has lots to look at, but prices aren’t on line; you have to go to a retail site or even ebay to find.

Can you help me with some recyclables? I need plastic milk crates, grocery bags, and as always, egg cartons.

In a couple of weeks to a month, I’ll be taking down the woodshed beside the barn and replacing it with a new building for housing the freezers and sale of produce. I am asking for help in removing the contents to store elsewhere on the farm before demolition. This could take a day if there are enough hands. Please let me know if you could offer a couple hours.

Also advance notice on some dates
April 6th, Small Animal Auction, Rockton Fairgrounds 10am to noon. Great outing for kids and adults alike. See lots of critters, maybe come home with a chicken?!
May 4th; Intensive workshop on Raising Heritage Poultry, Rockton Fairgrounds. $50 for the day. Covering breeding, housing, feeding, health and processing.
Cheque to Flamborough Fur and Feather Fanciers, c/o Old 99 Farm, 1580 Old Hwy 99 Dundas L9H 5E3
June 22, Strawberry Solstice Old 99 Farm. Potluck Social for Locallygrown and cowshare members.

PS. Lambing finished today Tues with triplets. Total 23 lambs from 10 ewes, 15 survivors. It’s been quite a time since Mar 11.